Dear Mr. M L Sharma
I am a 24 year old girl working in Bangalore. I work in an industry that has very tedious schedules and erratic timelines. I work for at least 10 hours a day and I love my family back home. If I don’t live up to my job and be pretty damn good at it, I will not be able to feed people whose lives are dependent on me. When you were 21, did you have bills to pay? Mouths to feed? Well, I did. And I could only do it because the job, that I have. I say it every day and I say it again today, I love my job.
I have spent 5 days back to back in office wearing the same underwear. I have stayed outside at venue set ups all through the night, be it in a mainstream city, The Rann of Kachchh, or a far off interior village in Rajasthan or even in the gorgeous Dal Lake. The people I have worked with have been my Knights in shining armour. They have comforted me, bought sanitary napkins for me, offered their jackets to me in the extreme cold and also given me the confidence to wear shorts on occasions where it makes my work easy.
I hope you honestly believe me when I say that I am a bad girl. I live alone away from home. I wear shorts. I occasionally enjoy a sip of beer and love watching late night movies and going on long drives. I remember, as a kid, my dad used to only get evenings to spend time with us. And he used to make us do the most of it. I go out to hang out with my friends, I go on random trips to Goa, I love movies. I support the LGBT community. I occasionally abuse. I wear short dresses and low neck tops. I do all of that. I also go out on dates with people who are not my family.
I am a bad girl. I honestly am.
But you don’t know how attached I am to my family. You don’t know how much I cherish and value my friends. You don’t know how religious I am. You don’t know how I envision my life 10 years from now. You don’t know if I have ever been harassed or abused or hurt. You don’t know how many nights I have cried myself to sleep missing the warmth of my mom or the sternness of my father’s voice. You don’t know that I adore Ganesh Chaturthi, more than Durga Pooja. You don’t know that being a Bengali, I fast for 2 months and keep traditions and rituals alive in little ways. You haven’t met my adopted pet dog. You don’t know that I have paid for both my grandmother’s surgery when I was 23 years old. You have no idea what little things I do to contribute my bit to helping the society.
You don’t know a thing about me. And yet, you have stereo typed me as a Bad Girl.
Fine. I accept it.
But here’s the actual reason why I am writing this letter to you.
In the documentary , you have said that a girl is like a flower, and all men are supposed to protect that flower. I have to hand this to you, that you couldn’t have been more right. I have always been protected. By my family, by my colleagues, by my friends, by random people who I even go on dates with. I have had such awesome male figures in my life in terms of my bosses, my boyfriend and my best friend that I have actually become a stronger, confident and independent person so as to be able to make life changing decisions for myself and my family. My mother has silently always taught me to stand up on my own and voice my mind out. My father, has taught me to be responsible towards people who matter. I am blessed to have such wonderful protectors who have always put my needs and wants in the front compared to their own convenience and desires.
But that’s not fair, is it , Sir? Jyoti was a bad girl. And she was punished to be taught a lesson, wasn’t she? So she was penalized and raped and killed.
I should be punished too. I should be raped too.
Also, the man with her who tried to protect her was hurt. Why? Wasn’t he protecting the girl? Didn’t you say this is in fact a man’s responsibility? Then why was he hurt? Why did the destroyers killed the protector?
Anyway, I don’t want to talk about all that, because you have garnered enough of hatred for yourself, just by talking your heart out. Maybe , unlike my parents, no one taught you what voicing your opinion, really means. Maybe if you worked in a call centre, you would learn what empathy, what courtesy is and most importantly, what compassion is.
Nevertheless, I’ll get straight to the point. The idea of this letter was not me wasting your 2 minutes of your really valuable time. I am a bad girl. A very bad girl. The Indian Constitution has given you an authority to be a lawyer, and I hence, I take this offense seriously, the accusation that you put on Jyoti, Me and the rest of 80% of the Indian Female Population.
Have you finalized on a punishment yet? For us, for all of us? Like you justified Jyoti’s rape ? Should I wait for these rapists to do a national tour and rape all of us one by one? Can you imagine, maybe after the All India Rape Punishment Tour, maybe you can make a tomb for these rapists. And frame all the removed intestines and hang it there. Maybe, next time even cut the vaginas from their bodies, so that they never enjoy sex or pleasure or love, as a form of punishment. Maybe you can cut off our breasts and eyes and everything that a man finds beautiful about a girl, which you term as sexually provocative.
Let me know when and where in Bangalore I should wait to bear my punishment. Also, should I wear a burkha during the rape or be in a bikini? It will eliminate the unnecessary undressing times. Is there an age group that deserves the punishment or is it open to all females? Is my 17 year old cousin, who has just entered college and who just had her first kiss also categorized as a bad girl? Please do let me know when to be there, so that she can accept her punishment, too.
There are many things I have seen in life – In reality and through literature and through social media and through films and through documentaries. But I have never ever seen or read or thought about the existence of someone like you. Someone who is worth so much more, who is capable of saving lives and delivering justice. Someone, who is a father, a brother, an uncle, a husband, a son. You amuse me.
Since, you know so much about me now, I want to know something about you?
Do you have a daughter? Does she go to school? Does she tell you “I love you, papa, and everyday?” Do you read stories to her? Do you teach her about Cinderella? Have you made her read the Mahabharata and explained about Kunti or Draupadi? How is your mom? Is she in the kitchen all day, picking up after all the dirt that you have left behind? Have you ever hugged her, or fallen asleep in her lap? Have you ever heard how her day went? Have you ever asked her how hard her labour pain was? Do you have a sister? Do you celebrate bhai dooj and raksha bandhan with her? Do you tease her and protect her? What about your wife? Does she always wear sindoor and mangal sutra? Do you take her out shopping? Do you buy her flowers? Does she still let you make love to her, every night without hating you?
How do you sleep at night?
Answer these few questions for me.
Then, you can punish me.
Then, you can rape me.
Then you can take my intestines out and play catch with it.