Harshini Misra

Harshini Misra is a young Indian writer based out of New Delhi. She expresses her opinions and concerns about societal problems using free style poetry. She tries to find a balance between fiction and reality within her writing. 

(Not) My Fault

By Harshini Mishra

They told me that it was my fault.

My skirt was too short and my shirt was too tight. I drank too much, I was out too late, I resisted too much. And that maybe, just maybe, if I hadn’t provoked him like that, if I hadn’t rejected him, if I hadn’t angered him then he wouldn’t have been compelled to force me.

The police officer who hesitated to write my FIR when I came rushing in- make up smeared and crying- asked me as she judged me by my clothes and my appearance disdainfully- if it was really worth it because ‘boys will be boys’. As if by recognizing the injustice done to my body, I was the one committing a crime. As if it was within his right to touch me the way he did, to beat me the way he did because he was a boy. And boys will be boys.

So I asked them whose fault it was when the two-year-old was raped by her own uncle. I was curious to know how she provoked the 43-year-old- was it her under-developed breasts or her inability to form full sentences. Whether playing with her toys was too much to handle for him, whether her fondness for her favorite relative was too provocative for him.

Whose fault is it when he gets drunk and beats his wife again?

Whose fault is it that I am told to cover every inch of my body, that I am told to make sure that I show no skin but he is not told to control his urges? Whose fault is it that the fact that I am covered inch by inch doesn’t stop him.

Whose fault is it that I don’t feel safe in my own country, in my own city, in my own colony, in my own home?

Whose fault is it when my dad starts worrying after 7pm, when he starts calling me every hour, when he starts praying. Praying not only for my safety but praying that he never has to face the dreadful day when his daughter becomes India’s next daughter.

I had screamed and kicked and shouted and begged. For my safety. For my virginity. For my dignity. But, they told me that it was too late because, after all,

It was my fault.

Photographed and edited by Harshini Mishra

School Of My Imagination

By Harshini Mishra

The school of my imagination would be a place which I could call MY safe space.

A place where it doesn’t matter what I want to study, where no subject is inferior and where students can study what they actually want to.

A place where no one is labelled- where the word nerd, geek, popular mean nothing. A place where it doesn’t matter whether I’m gay or straight, whether I’ve had no relationships or far too many.

A place where my gender doesn’t signify my abilities. A place where it doesn’t matter how high the length of my skirt is or how tight my shirt is, a place where boys are told to control their actions and girls aren’t told to lengthen their skirts.

A place where boys are allowed to cry and talk about their feelings, where they’re allowed to speak up if someone (of any gender) makes them uncomfortable.

A place where students are not labelled in the “economically weaker section” and even if they are, they aren’t treated differently because of it.

Yes, these are all issues which burden all the people, not just the students, but my safe place should be a place where each and every person should feel safe, at home, where no one has to ever feel the pressure of changing themselves just to fit in or be accepted, a place where no one is ever ashamed to be who they actually are.

The school of my imagination would be one where I could drop the facade and just……..

Breathe.

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