It was always fun being in the teenage days. That was when we were growing-up too fast, and also realizing it in many ways. The romance and adventure was dreamy and interesting; the changing attitude of known people suddenly was equally confusing. Eyes were suddenly shining at us, not in a very encouraging way. It felt weird.
The saddest part is, we all had an idea of what is wrong and what is right. Something that was happening, as a process of this growing up, didn’t feel correct. We didn’t know how to express it. Neither did we know how to shield ourselves. Those are the times when somewhere the innocence gets covered by the term called maturity.
Being a dancer, I always looked at the world with a delicate point of view. But one incident made all the difference.
It was raining that day. I and my friend were coming back to our respective homes from our classmate’s place. We both were walking together, shivering in the moisture laden breeze with a smell of wet sand at around 7pm. Such an ambiance always left me mesmerized. It was a pleasure walk as we whispered sweet nothings to each other and chuckled. At that very moment, we were stopped by a gang of some boys who were standing alongside the road. One of them came up to me and grabbed my hand. He pulled me inside to the courtyard of one house.
It was all so sudden that for quite a few moments I didn’t know how to react. It took me a while to release myself from the monsoon dream and hit the hard reality. It felt terrible, and dirty. I had started crying by then. I was pleading and begging of them to leave me alone. But those cruel hands showed no mercy whatsoever. Unable to get rid of him, I finally asked him for his demand. Shamelessly trying to force himself on me, he replied, “I want you!” And he laughed.
I was getting goose-bumps at that bizarre moment. I decided not to step back and let that happen to me. But all I could do was hurl out the strongest of words at him, to defend myself. ”Get off my way or I will inform at my home. And you have no idea what will happen to you after that.” I shouted.
At my sudden fierceness, his intentions seemed to weaken a bit. Or so I guessed. Taking advantage of his distraction, I jerked backwards, pushed him hard and fled. I ran as fast as I could, looking nowhere and thinking of nothing. I managed to escape unscathed, but I still shudder to think what all could have happened with me that evening.
Since then, just one thought keeps hovering over my mind. How can a man, more than 30 years old, even think of molesting a 13-year-old girl? I don’t yet have an answer. But since that day, maturity successfully managed to take over my innocence!
*** This is a true story, as told to Akshay Peddiwar.