Today is the day she became a rape victim. She opens her eyes slowly and even the sunlight in the evening that pierce her eyes feels painful. She can’t feel her legs as if it were fallen branches of a tree. Her vision is blurred because of tears. She is not sure about what happened to her and she is trying her best to pretend it was a nightmare. But her bleeding legs and wounds all over her body remind her that it isn’t a forgettable nightmare.
Who hates morning? Morning is the best part of a day which wards off all the darkness of the night and brings up all the positivity inside everyone. There are no smartwatches or alarms here, but people here wake up early than city people. The credit goes to roosters — natural alarms of tribal areas. A teenage girl in a tribal area of Kerala(South Indian state) eagerly woke up after listening to the sound of a rooster alarm to prepare herself for school. Her wrinkled uniform never touched an iron box or a costly perfume. But lack of facilities never bothered her as she always has a way to overcome it. She brushed her teeth with the leaves of mango tree and salt. She decorated her hair with a few jasmine flowers to smell good. She rubbed her lips with a piece of beetroot as lipstick. She wanted to look attractive like the women visitors that come rarely to her area from various countries. After doing all the makeup, she put her slate and pencil inside her jute bag.
“Don’t be late my dear. There is a chance for heavy rain in the evening,” warned her dad.
“Ok” she replied with a smile.
She put her rubber slippers on and waved bye-bye to her parents.
Walking to school from her home is a short but wonderful journey that school students in cities can only dream of. No smoke and sound of the vehicles and no traffic jam. No need to suffocate inside a school bus with windows glass closed and less space to sit. Tribal areas are ethereal — only the sweet sound of various birds and the air carrying the sweet smell of flowers. Halfway through her journey, she heard the sound of a hatchling nearby. She looked for the source of the sound but failed.
“Oh, I am late for school,” She reminded herself. But she couldn’t ignore the helpless sound of the hatchling. Finally, after a lot of thinking, she had decided to find the hatchling and was wandering through the forest.
After searching for a few hours, she found the helpless hatchling under a tall teak tree. The hatchling was difficult to find as it has the colour of dry leaves.
“Poor baby. I must help it as soon as possible,” She thought. She looked above and saw a bird’s nest. She put her bag down on the ground and started to climb the tree. She couldn’t climb the tree with a hatchling in one hand. She searched nearby for a solution, for someone to help. The sound of men reached her ears. She went there and saw two tourist men resting under a tree. There were a few bottles beside them which she didn’t know was alcohol. She requested them to help. One of the men started to look at her carefully.
He then looked around and understood that there was nobody else other than them. He grabbed her with his strong arms to quench his lust and crushed the hatchling under his feet. Her painful moans waked the other man. Both drunk men couldn’t resist themselves. Her tender body became worse than a corpse. Trees and birds stood as mute witnesses to this brutal gangrape. After an hour, they left the scene, leaving her naked, unconscious and bleeding.
She opens her eyes and tries to get up. But the pain is so intense that she is unable to move. It is 6:00pm and her parents and neighbours are searching for her. She sees her dad, her mom and a few people searching for her in the forest. She screams as hard as she can. They run towards her. Everyone is in shock and her mother is sobbing. Her dad comes closer to her, wraps her body with his blanket. He carries her on his shoulder and walks towards the govt hospital which is 5kms away. His wife and a few tribal people join him to hospital. The march seems like a funeral.
After effects of rape
They reached the hospital at 7.30pm. Hospital authorities have told them to wait. While they are waiting, the news about gang rape has already spread like a wildfire. News has reached the ears of various political parties, religious organisations and media. The opposition parties are not interested in this horrific incident as the issue of a tribal girl can’t bring any major change in vote share. Why wasting time for tribals that are only 1% of the total population? Police have other “important” things to do. News channels aren’t interested in the rape case of a tribal girl because they have other important news to cover— especially the news about the grand wedding of Bollywood diva Sonam Kapoor and Businessman Anand Ahuja that attracts a lot of viewers. But some local news channels were “too kind” to add this news in news ticker between the advertisements. Different religious organisations, especially the extremists and anti-nationals, have enquired about this gang rape to know whether she belonged to any major religion. To their disappointment, this case doesn’t qualify for a communal, religious violence. So they remain silent. Feminists who came to know about this tribal girl rape case also have decided to stay mum. They are waiting for an abuse or rape of a city woman, which gathers more attention and publicity.
The wait goes on at the Hospital and now it is 8.30pm. The hospital authorities approach near the tribal people and offer them cotton roll and bandaid. There is no doctor at the hospital and the post is still vacant. The only hope is a nurse, but she is on leave. Whom to blame the pathetic situation of rural/tribal areas?
“water…water…,” asked the rape victim to her dad.
Her dad looks outside and sees a well. He carries his daughter and goes towards the well. He gently puts his daughter down to the ground. He gets some water from the well with a bucket and slowly pours the water into her mouth. He wipes his tears with water and hugs his daughter.
He has gathered courage and said,”Nothing has happened to you, my child.”
His wife hasn’t stopped sobbing yet. She hugged him and their daughter. The poor tribal farmer carries his daughter and walks towards his home. His wife and tribal people join him.
The next morning
The news ticker has been updated with the latest news — “Tribal family commits suicide.” A few people have noticed and then ignored it as they are busy to get ready for their work/office.
The end (of the story. Rape cases around the world hasn’t ended yet).