"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer."
I have not been quiet all the time. I tried not to be a victim all the time. After being harassed a dozen times, you learn. You grow up from a child to an adult pretty fast. It jolts you awake from the sweet innocence of childhood to become a confused adult. I think I learnt to read the signs and be more weary only when I was around 17 and entered college. Every time I caught a bus to go to college, I looked at faces, judged them and hugged my backpack close to my chest. This one time, I was surrounded by men and this one guy kept staring at me. I stared at his hands all the time. As soon as he brought his hand close to me, I shifted and looked straight into his eyes and said in Tamil, "Don't even think about it! You wont know what hit you!" I could see fear and shame in his face and he got down at the next stop. For once, I felt powerful. But of course, for every situation like this one, there were dozens more where I was the victim with fear and shame in my face and tears in my eyes. But I grew stronger. I started looking out for young girls and tried to protect them as much as I could. I swore at the perverts, complained to the bus conductor, called them names but I have nt hit them. I regret it now. I should have slapped at least one of those perverts. It would have made me a little more happier person today and respect myself more.
Today when my 22 months old daughter told me shes afraid to walk on the dark corridor, all I could think about was how was she going to survive the bad, bad world out there if shes afraid to walk in the dark in our own home. I asked her to be brave, held her hand and walked with her. I told her to be strong like me, her mother. I knew I have to be an action hero so that she can be one too. I don't think I was a hero before but I am one now. Like the title quote* of this post, being a mother is my 5 minutes.
Thanks to the Blank Noise Project for reminding me to stop being a victim.
Posted 21st March 2007 by J