Thorns and Petals

The air was filled with cries demanding justice. The crowds were swelling on the icy cold winter night. The entire city had forgotten to sleep.

The media was on a warpath, whereas a group of students quietly marched with candles. I looked at them and wondered if the dripping wax was burning their fingers. Maybe the hurt has numbed the pain. Maybe they are like me. The cuts, the black and blue spots, the torn tissue, nothing hurt Now…. Nothing as much as my wounded self respect.

I held the red rose close to my heart and walked on. Banners painted with slogans, demanding justice for the crimes at kathua, unnao and Delhi dotted the road. How was I different from the girls and women whose bodies were reduced to mere objects of play and vents of frustration. Grim proofs of the savage society we are a part of. All I did was sigh.

There was an unending sea of people, of flowers.

I looked at the man who walked with me. He too had a red rose in his hand, so did all the members of the social organisation he headed. We all followed him like a flock of sheep behind the shepherd. Not really thinking about what we needed to do. A memorial was to be unveiled. We were part of the audience.

He ascended the dias and gave his speech. He spoke for us, for girls and women.

I could not but help tear the petals of the flower I held, one by one. My hands that had so gently held it all this while, destroyed it as I was overcome by an extreme emotion. That’s how life is. That’s how my life is. It was being notched away, petal by petal.

His speech went on. Promises, of a safe society, safety for women, protection of honour ,were made. The public went into a frenzy and the air reverberated with cries of ” long live the leader ” now. They wished him well and probably thought of him as a Savior.

The roses offered at the memorial were crushed by the highly energetic crowd trying to get a glimpse of the man who had promised them all. The flowers were reduced to pulp by trampling feet but yet gave out the heady beautiful fragrance that they are known for.

I shifted my gaze to the garlanded leader, the man,the hero of the moment , the monster, my husband.
It was getting unbearable now. I couldn’t stop myself. I let out a cry… I screamed ..I wanted my story to be known. I wanted the people to see his true face. The thorn that was tearing the rose apart .I demanded attention and justice. I cried my eyes and heart out.

Like every other night, I was unheard.
People just moved on without sparing a look. Unflinching , unsympathetic, unmindful.

In their society, marital rape was not a crime!


Meghna Pattavi

Meghna is a dentist by profession but a writer at heart. She normally likes to write stories that are are centered around people’s everyday feelings. Her belief in life is “some people feel the rain, others just get wet “.
-Bob Marley

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