The mad hatter

Sunshine, sand and sea… Waves crashing, winds breezing, world’s smiling….

That’s how my morning started with a feeling that I could conquer anything that I could be the best. Sitting on my terrace sipping a cup of bittersweet coffee while reading is the ideal start to any day.

I’m off to my bus stop, spirits soaring, heart humming, eyes ebullient until a sight crashes in. A sight I wished I hadn’t seen. A sight so broken that it was begging to be fixed. A woman dressed in a man’s underwear as a top and a petticoat, she swung her branch like a baton shouting at a group of lewd men who sat staring and laughing.

She swung it around at imaginative beings, She swung it at cars and lamp posts across the street from me. I knew she was mad. I knew she put on a show. What I didn’t know was how could another woman sit by and watch? How could she laugh simply along with other men? What was I supposed to do?

I thought of calling home… Asking my sister to bring me mom’s old saree, but instead of doing it I thought of reasons not to do it – can i expose my sister to such a situation she is but a child? What if the mad woman harms her or me? What if she goes before my sister comes? And then I said to god please do something for her please help her…

That’s it I just prayed and turned my back to her. Prayed and tried to forget her. I still turn to see one last look at where she is… We’ve been walking together step by step in parallel lines along the road… He could always swap positions. She is no longer on her side of the road but mine. She is no longer turned away from me but right in front. My feet slow. She is shouting. My feet stop. She faces me laughing. Sardonic. Broken. Cruel. Pained. A laughter I hope you never hear. The laughter of PAIN!

My bus came I boarded it. And set off. Trying to forget I send up one more prayer for her benefit. Till realization swoops in and I still. I was across the street. I was across the street just like those men. I was across the street just like the woman who laughed at the miserable state of one of her own kind. I was across the street. And if I couldn’t do anything to help her being so close how could he???

And so I prayed once again
Twas for strength
Strength to do
Rather than think
Strength to help
Rather than stare
Strength to wipe that laughter
Rather than crumble at it
Strength to face society strictures
Rather than not help
Strength to be
But not let be
This post is for ISB iDiya for IndiChange


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