A few metres away from a temple, a 12 yr old girl was standing on a bridge overlooking a river. She was leaning on the bridge, watching numerous diyas (earthen lamps) floating away along with little hibiscus flowers. People come to this temple, to worship, in order to get a better life, pray for their or their children’s success and also redeem for their sins, to ask His forgiveness. They say, one dip into this river washes off all the immoral acts. Such a holy place. Paradise of hope.
She stood their, cold breeze slightly unruffling her hair. She felt a hand on her side, she shifted a bit, distancing herself from the man it belonged to. He came a bit closer, she shifted again. This continued until she had no more room to do so. He inched closer until his hand rested on her left breast. She looked at the man, but he was staring at the temple. She walked away to the other side of the bridge. Silently.
She always thought it was a mistake. That day, the next day, everyday. A girl of that age in an Indian society, how much does she know to judge? Sexual abuse? Who would do that to a 12yr old? It was all a mistake. Yes, it was. She thought. These things were all over the newspaper, but the newspaper didn’t interest her. At least not the serious crime portions. So she continued, oblivious. Until one day she grabbed the newspaper, with a new born curiosity to know the world at large. There she read about these. So many suffered. Some older than her, some younger.
Now she knows, how much intentional the whole incident was. No, she can’t go back and punish him. No, she can’t go back to that moment and slap him or scream. No, she won’t be able to see if he had changed or he is still the same. Maybe she doesn’t even remember his face, it has been long, and it was dark enough. But she knows what it felt like. To be taken advantage of. And deep down she has made a solemn promise, never would she allow it to repeat again.