Partly inspired by DalitNation.com.
What can I do about it? Nothing now, the past is the past. But the past has a way of lingering in the present, doesn’t it? Laxmi Soundararajan, what have you done?
Have to make sure no-one finds out! Keyo will have to keep his mouth shut. Oh, he’s not from our clan, our tribe, our country, even our continent! Why did I have to fall for him? I’m already the lowest of the low! At the merciless mercy of the aunties’ ever-watching eyes and ever-judging tongues, the uncles’ leers and wayward hands, the young boys’ simultaneous hatred and fetishising of me.
Me, whose only hope of success is after this life if I do my dharma, accept my lot, and stay within my kind…
God, I’m blabbing to myself – out loud. Am I going mad? Oh Brahman, I hope no-one’s hearing me! I’m already dark, fat, Dalit, female and infatuated with a Gambian man! I don’t need to be mad on top of that like Mother! Good, Keyo’s still asleep.
Mother. Those scars. Those hideous acid scars…
I can’t relive that agony! How will I get out of this? Even if Keyo does keep schtum and agrees to stop meeting me in public places – never going to happen ‘cause he’s always the centre of attention – what if someone already saw us?
What if someone’s preparing the acid right now? Or gasoline? Or running to tell Dad? Oh no, his honour! I’ve ruined his honour irreparably!
What about my karma? Lord Brahman, I beg you! Never have I shamed myself before, never have I sinned before. If You get me out of this alive and well, I’ll never do this again! I’ll even dump Keyo if…
That’s it! That’s the only way out.
But… do I really want to?
© ONE TAWNY STRANGER, MAY 2016