This is for Atul Dev and Nikita Saxena, for their admirable courage and unflinching honesty. This is also for, The Caravan, The Wire, The Leaflet, Scroll.in and other online portals, for fearless journalism and upholding the truth.
Welcome torchbearers of a brand new generation.
This is the link to the article, published in The Caravan, dealing with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of power, against the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi. It is co-written by Atul Dev and Nikita Saxena.
Our dearest Dolly,
I had a scary dream last night. I want to share it with you, before I forget, as the good part about my scary dreams is, that I do quickly forget them.
I saw us all there, and Nani, and obviously Nana too (though I did not see him), in some place where there was a large family gathering. It could have been a family wedding. I’m not sure you were there, but I was, as an adolescent.
I saw myself chatting with some guy, much older than me, but not very old, say around 35-40 years of age, in a room, that was part of the main place, but a little separate. I’ve always had the habit of getting friendly very quickly, and of not drawing any boundaries, whatsoever. I remember these thoughts, admonishingly criss-crossing my mind later, in the dream. This nonchalance has been a part of me ever since I can remember. Anyway this man was part of the large circle of family and friends present, and so well known to all of us there.
Very soon he tried to come close physically. He lunged at me 2-3 times, trying to put his arms around, but I managed to fob him off. Then I got angry, said a few things, that I don’t remember clearly, perhaps like, “stay away”, or such, and left the room. Nothing much happened. Believe me, this sort of a direct attack has never happened with me. Other things have, and you know some parts. But do not get perturbed about all that now. It has all passed and gone.
It was then that I started looking for Mummy, to tell her what had happened. Since there were so many relatives around, some one or the other kept coming in the way, and cutely stopping me from conversing with her. It was like, “no no, you can’t begin a serious conversation here. We are here to have fun!” Anyway I kept trying to get Mummy alone unsuccessfully.
It was somewhere in between all this, that two other little girls appeared. By the time I was feeling better, and started interacting with them playfully, as sisters and cousins do.
It was at this unguarded moment, that the man again appeared and tried getting physically close with one of the girls, in a wrong way, several times. I was livid, and the child was too small to do anything, but somehow we all managed to push him away, and send him off. A little later we saw the threatening nose of a gun, pointing at us, from inside the room, where he was. We could not see anyone there. It was very scary, and we started flapping and flailing our hands, pushing the little one down to protect her, but nothing happened. I again started looking for Mummy, and this time managed to get her alone to myself. She seemed unwell and unable to walk comfortably. We started talking about her difficulties in walking, and that is when I woke up, frightened and shaking.
I kept thinking why I should be seeing all this. It was nowhere near my mind, when I slept. My immediate reaction was to sit up, and pray. Then I remembered the CJI incident, and understood where the chain of thoughts was coming from.
I also thought how unsafe it is for women everywhere. We know, it has always been so. At least now, they have the means to protest, and their voices are being heard. I also thought of working women, and how vulnerable they were, to indecent behavior.
You know I always think of you. I became immediately concerned. I spent many miserable moments, until I realised who you have become today, and what strength you embody in your fragile, sweet frame. I see you today, as do other friends and family members, as a courageous girl. I also see you, as a woman who through her work, has sent out word, “I am strong, and I will help other women too, find a voice. I will support, and give them a suitable platform to speak from, and in doing so, I will never hesitate, for even a second.”
Well done sweetheart. Very, very proud of you,
Papa and Mama
Notes in passing :
The incident is both real and fictional. It is real, as it records the happenings in the dream, and my thoughts thereafter faithfully. It is fictitious, because in reality, none of the scary incidents occurred. The offender was a dream figure, and no one I know. We all know, the stuff dreams are made of, and mine was no exception! In the end, I sincerely wish for more power and greater strength to our tribe, i.e. women, all over. Other than this, I have no affiliations, political or otherwise.
Nana and Nani mentioned above, are terms for maternal grandparents, as used in Northern India, or specifically Uttar Pradesh, where I belong. They were my dear parents, and my daughter’s grandparents.
© Shruti Saxena mochatalks.wordpress.com