Skip to main content

A quick tale 113

A letter

Last night I lay awake thinking about you. Wondering where you are right now. Perhaps married. With kids. May be a daughter? Is she the same age now as I was when I met you? 11? Do you worry about what happens to her when she travels by bus? Or walks home from school? Or gets stopped on the road by someone asking her for directions? For you must know what happens to girls in public. How they get fondled. Their breasts touched and squeezed and pinched. How they get rubbed against. From the back. By strangers who press themselves against young girls. Leaving an ugly impression on their minds. Confusing the girls. Who are too young to understand what is happening to them. Too young to have the words to explain to others. Leaving them feeling ashamed and dirty.
Do you accompany your daughter when she goes to tuition class?Do you tell her to carry an umbrella with her no matter what the weather? Do you tell her why?
Do you lay awake at nights wondering about the girl you touched all those years ago? Do you wonder where she is now? And whether she is married and has kids. And if she warns her daughter about the men who don't see her as a child? Do you worry about it coming back to haunt you? It always does. As I write this, there's someone watching your daughter. And she is about to lose her innocence. Very, very soon.

Related link: Blank Noise Project


Anonymous said…
the ending is unexpected and kinda rude...
the narrator wishes wholeheartedly that the same thing happens to his daugther too which i find is very sad.
Boo said…
The narrator is nt wishing, anon. She is just telling how its going to be for a young girl, any girl, on the steets.
Awesome post, Ammani.
Anonymous said…
Why not remember some good experiences from our past? There must be at least some such experiences in our lives .. Bitterness doesnt always help, or does it?
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Ammani.
I've had this exact same emotion, out of rage and tears.

That he will spend the rest of his life worrying about if someone does that to his daughter - thats the only way he will know I still remember his thumb and forefinger rubbing, squeezing, feeling me down there when I was about 8.
It went on for about 3-4 minutes, but now, 20 years later, I remember the calloused fingers as clearly as if it were yesterday.

That was the first day someone touched me that way. (Unfortunately not the last, but then I learnt how to carry weapons like pins and long nails on the Bombay streets)
Anonymous said…
This is the anonymous 2 ... Well, I think I want to update my comments here. I did not understand that BlankNoiseProject is the context for which this article is being written. It makes sense now.
Anonymous said…
u know what
that man has a daughter now
my only fear is he does not repeat the same with his daughter

i feel guilty that i dont know how to get to her, to check if she is ok...
Vijaybabu said…
Blog with full of anger and comments with full of emotions, that is how I like to describe about this particular post and its comments.

Carry an umbrella??????? hey it is a very good idea.. I feel that you could have talked more about preventive measure. Like the parents should keep their kids informed about this. Also they should ask their kids to wear proper dresses while going outside.

For the questions you have raised... "Do you lay awake at nights wondering about the girl you touched all those years ago? ..."
Please don't ask these kind of questions to that kind of man... He doesn't hav time to think abt those old things.. rather he might be thinking abt doing some other things which you might write after a decade that... "And if she warns her granddaughter about the men who don't see her as a child?"
Rubic_Cube said…
Another of those sad exploitation stories. Somewhere a tinge of raw reality. Too sad, this world is made up of too many perverted idiots lurking free on the roads. Even young boys are easy targets, as I was once in a crowded Mumbai local. An elderly man was pressing his lower body against my bums... and it felt real bad. When I got down at my station and gave him a look, he gave me one of his cynically evil looks with a sneer on his lips. Felt vincible, shaken and destroyed. I can only understand how a girl must be feeling. I have heard countless stories of girls being felt on railway bridges, in buses... Why is this world so... ? I am now a father to a daughter. And these thoughts haunt me, day in and out. I am going to make sure she knows martial arts so that she can defend herself. There are a few other things that I have told myself... like making her a mentally tough person to act right in any situation etc. Hope I would be a good Daddy to my little girl.
There is always someone watching, making sure that 'we' as women get our life's revelations whether we want it or not.
As one of my best friends once said : Friends may come and go, but the street harasser aka eve-teaser, will always be there. Watching us ,waiting for oppurtunities to fondle, to abuse, to harass.
Good to hear voices coming. Good post Ammani. Here is my 2 cents
apu said…
my first reaction was similar to Comment 1..Then I realised the underlying sadness behind it.. th sadness that this man will probably NOT realise it...
Anonymous said…
Very very good post. I am a male and was a victim in a railway of Mumbai. At the rush hour crowd (I was teenage) I found someone fondling my private parts. That was really sick.

One thoght I have is that We must also try to find out what shapes the psychology of such people. I have a friend who once confessed to me that he had done things similar to what you narrated. He said he knew all the while that it was wrong, but just cudn't control himself. In his words, "it was some sort of beast that had taken control over me, it was like my hands had mind of their own and they would just move on their own". There is a saying in Sanskrit "Kaamaaturaanaam na bhayam na lajjaa" means those who are overpowered by sexual desire, have neither fear nor shame. By this he does not mean that he is not ashamed of what he did or that it was not his fault or anything. I wonder if Blank Noise is thinking from that angle as well. For helping such men control themselves in time.

As aalways I enjoy your blogs.
N said…
Mahadevan said…
If he remembers that he has a wife, daughter or sister and is also conscious of the fact that there are roving eyes and prying hands like him on the streets, he would refrain from his intented acts.
Renuka said…
Amazing QT as always....

Those were pretty much my thots too as I suffered in the buses of Singara Chennai. Back then as a naive school going girl I used to curse such men saying that they would realise the pain and misery of it when their daughters come back home with stories of their suffering.

Good to see that lot more people have thot on those lines too ;-)

Keep up the good work !
Anonymous said…
One of the anonymouses brings up a very good point, about people who cant help commiting these despicable acts. something like 'kleptomaniacs', they know its wrong yet they are wired in such a way,it is beyond them to stop.

saw a very interesting documentary a while back about pedophiles, along these lines. some of them resorted to self mutilation to prevent themselves from harming children ! there is little research on these kind of disorders, plus the enormous stigma of owning it in the first place.
Anonymous said…
I sometimes wonder why people so talented as you do not write about something nice, pleasant things that happened to you? Why not write something when you are happy about something and not always when something disturbs you? Not that I'm trying to escape but c'mon there must be a time you feel good about yourself and turn to your PC to emote?

Or have I missed any quick tales? Well I have you on my blog reader so I read you almost everyday.

well...I'm listening.
rahul said…
what is the umbrella thing?? i did not understand that part
Anonymous said…
I am glad that Ammani chose to bring this subject up. I can't understand how the Indian culture that is so proud of its moral values has not addressed this all so common sexual abuse of young children. I think everyone of us has experienced this in one form or another...I have witnessed a few indecent exposures growing up in India. As a parent now, I strongly believe in educating our children age appropriately about these issues and making them understand that such things are called sexual abuse and should be reported to their parents. The lack of open dialogue in Indian homes is the reason we did not know how to respond to such threats. Perverts and danger cannot be completely eliminated....but our young ones can be trained at home and school to handle such situations safely and without emotional scars.

Great work ammani!! You definitely need a wider audience to raise awareness of such social issues...

a fellow chennaite who has made her home in Southern California
Premalatha said…
my only fear is he does not repeat the same with his daughter

exactly. I have witnessed men rubbing their daughter and went confused..(couldn't understand what on earth is going on here).

Have you seen the movie "The woodsman", chilling. (how did I miss to quote that in my post.)

one interesting observation. why there are too many "anons"?
shakunthalai said…
fucking awesome, yes!

You May Also Like

Guest blog by Chinna Ammani

Here’s an interesting write-up by Chinna Ammani on stereotypical portrayals in Indian adverts. The opinion expressed is strong and the language uncompromising. Read at your own peril!-a

The Aiyaiyo Syndrome

These days I do what is called as a shooting supervision. When ads are filmed (with lip sync) in Tamizh, my job is to teach models their lines and rehearse with them. Most of them are from Mumbai and are non-Tamilians. So when they have to do a line in Tamil, for example "Adanaaladan Dettol ubayogikaren" (And that's why I use Dettol) , they invariably say "Aadanaladaanu naanu Detttaalu ubayogikkareanu" (Something hideous). Their exaggerated delivery of our supposed accent is all thanks to Hindi actor Mehmood. My blood pressure rises and I yell "DO NOT DO A MEHMOOD HERE. WE DO NOT SPEAK LIKE THAT".

Though their voice is dubbed later with a Tamil voice-over, I ensure that they pronounce it the non-Mehmood way. Mehmood has done this major damage to us So…


Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.


Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

To a little boy

It cannot be easy being you. A follow-up act to your more devilishly charming, flamboyant older brother. Before you were born, I was convinced that no child could ever take the special place your brother had come to occupy in my life. I used to argue with your father you would always be a second-born. A runner-up. A bridesmaid (or a best-man, as you turned out to be). That you could never be the prized, cherished, celebrated apple of my eye that my firstborn child was. But how easily you tore down my flimsy little conviction. The minute I saw you, I knew I was gone. What was worse, I succumbed willingly.

My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

I ask, you write

Okay, here's the idea. I ask you a question and you write a short story explaining it. Let me give you an example.

What happened when young Padmavathi was drawing water from the well to wash her clothes, early one Margazhi morning?

Annon's story

One morning when Padmavathi was drawing water from the well, she found Pettai Rowdy # 1 Govindarajulu inside the bucket! She dropped it at once and Govindarajulu went down and down and hit the bottom of the well with a Nung sound. His upper and lower teeth fused together and since then he has been fed intravenously. Pettai Rowdy # 2, Ragothaman Iyengar, who suggested this to Govindarajulu, now rules the roost.

After marrying Padmavathi, he is inviting all of you to a water drawing ceremony at the new well they dug in their house.

Jai Ragothaman Iyengar! Jai Padmavathi! Come one, Come all!


Here's a question for you.

What happened that made young Meenakshi change her mind about the parrot green saree she had originally chosen and go for a …