I am Tara, born in a liberal family, my father is very proud of me 🙂 🙂
Summer of 1994
‘Twas sunny, may be late afternoon and I was playing in the lawn with my doll, heard my mom asking me to come inside and have milk with my favorite coconut cookies. Scared that my fat sister will eat my share, grabbed my doll will her leg and ran inside. After, cleaning and sanitizing my hands my mom got me a big glass of milk with cookies.
“There you are my beautiful princess, come on”; Yay my father is home early today. I love him so much.. I ran to him, he picked me up so high and swing me in his arms. He hugged me and gave few almonds in my hand and said “Eat, this will make you strong.”
Summer of 1995
I was sitting on a low raised chair and mother was braiding my hair. Dad knelt down and sat next to me and offered sliced apples and grapes. “Hey my little girl, eat.” I squeeze my nose and shook my head in denial; Mom grabs my head and signals me to stay stable.
“They are very sweet just like you my girl; Eat, this will make you stronger” – Daddy
March 4th, Holi 1996
I accompanied my father to holika dahen, it was so crowded that my dad lifted me on his shoulder and I felt on top of the world. My dad met his old friend and so he lowered me, I got down still holding his hand. The wood was set on fire, the priest chanting mantras and I saw happy faces. We circle the fire, I was still holding my dad’s fingers.
Ouch, someone pressed my chest from behind. I turned and looked up to see who was walking behind me, saw about 500 faces with happy expressions. I walked with my dad and then again, someone pressed my chest with both his hands. I turned and pushed, punched, kicked the unknown man, and also tried stabbing the man’s feet. Papa was surprised and thought I was scared of the crowd so he lifted me in his arms and walked, still chanting and circling the fire.
I was in my dad’s arm and facing the man, I thought who touched me. My eyes were filling with tears making my vision blur, but I kept staring without blinking, cause if I blinked my tears would roll down my cheeks and he would know that he made me cry and would know that I am weak. But, as I could not see anymore, I BLINKED…
My tears rolled down my cheeks, he smiled, winked & blew a kiss at me.
I protested, and with both my arms forced myself to grab that man, My dad held me tight and rushed out of the place. He put me down and saw me with tears.
“Hey baby, it’s okay… I understand it was too crowded… Don’t worry… I am with you. Let’s go home.”
Without saying a word, I raised both my hands and my daddy lifted me in his arms. He kept his warm palm on my cheeks and pressed my face to his shoulder patting me to comfort.
Got home and I directly went to my bedroom –
I felt dirty, felt something was still on my chest.
I was crying, I shouted in my pillow and shouted very loud
My nose blocked, I opened my mouth to breathe… sat on the bed and stared at the wall
I ate fruits, nuts and vegetables… then why I was not strong enough to fight ?
I have nothing on my chest then why I am feeling bad. What was my fault…? I went to see how good wins over evil..
I cursed myself for wearing a frock..
I cursed myself for having long hair..
I wish I was a BOY..
My dad came to my room, he wiped my tears and said “dear, don’t be afraid of the crowd they all were neighbors and family friends. Nothing to be afraid of, please have this glass of milk.”
I held the glass and tried to gulp it down my throat. My nose was blocked. I tried to breathe through my nose and the mucus floated to my throat… I just swallow it with milk. I waited for a bit, then my father said “strong girl, finish your glass now.”
I silently spoke to myself – “Daddy – milk, curd, nuts and vegetables are not enough to make me strong, today I realize that I am a girl” – Thought a 8 year old
That was the day, I was first abused in my father’s presence.
And now 15 years later, I understood that my safety is my responsibility.
I don’t go out much…
I don’t go crowded places…
I come back home by 6 or max 8…
But, still got abused at office…
Ahh!! That’s a different story altogether 🙁