Source: Filip Mroz on Unsplash

I live in a country,
Where my safety each day is decided,
by a flip of coin.
My mental and physical security,
Depends on a 50-50 chance, where,
Heads: I reach home, tired but safe
Tails: I reach home, with the noise of four motorcycles,
Which later transfigures into my demons.
The road side aunty, however,
Points out that I still reach home.

I live in a country,
Where my evening walks,
Lead me to run into an unasked entourage,
Of four men snickering and whistling,
Calling out to me,
Sometimes there are more, sometimes less.
Their hands reaching out to grasp mine,
And I scream only to realise,
That my voice has betrayed me,
And pushed me into an abyss of fear.

I live in a land,
Where a lady watches me getting catcalled,
And holds her silence.
Where people find it amusing,
To look for “ikraar" in "inkaar”
Where 17 year olds can smoke all the pot they want,
But their female classmate cannot take a safe walk.

I live in a land,
Where a passerby watches,
And records a girl getting ill treated
And later remarks, “You should stop wearing provocative clothes, beta!”

I have never hated the word beta before.
So, I hide behind a cold facade.
I act distant and formal, and
Cry my emotions over a call with a friend.
I take cold showers and wash away the touch of other people,
And as I over scrub, I see red.
Blood or tears?
I rip apart my favourite turtle neck,
And blame the face in front of the mirror.
I have started to despise this silly ductile voice
And I embrace self infliction.

It all turns red.
After all,
Who needs safety as long as you reach home?

.    .    .