Wednesday, February 22, 2006

You'll Feel It When You're Me

It all began with my late night craving for watermelon juice. I tried shutting it out, I really did. I even shook out my sheets and curled inside the tent I make every night. Only to wake up my already wide awake self.

My roommate, the last of her kind, looks at me from the dough she is pounding. She'd invited her friend over for dinner over an elaborate menu.

"Watermelon juice", I pout. I like playing the kid with her.

"Put something decent on. He'll be here in half an hour."

Walking in back to my room, I look for a suitable dress to meet a suitable boy. I don’t find any.

I crawl back into the now cold and reformed lumpy bed. But the magenta pink chunks with an occasional black seed that evades the whir of the blades, in tall glasses. Watermelon juice on rocks. Shaken not stirred.

I pick up the phone.

I don't linger in front of the mirror.

I pretend I don't see the disapproving look on my roommate's face. Girls from decent homes don't go out at 11 in the night. But home is miles away tucked away in a street in Pondicherry. Decency- well, we'll pretend I've left behind what I never had.

Maybe it’s the drink, but he comes.

Climbing in, I see him smile.

"What's with this watermelon thing now?"

I smile back. Pushing my luck, I ask, "Shall I drive?"

He's too attached to his car. It’s not healthy.

We play guessing games at the music that runs on the system.

I smile a smile of alarming severity at the juice shop guy.

We wait for the drink in the car. He recognizes the tunes I sing tunelessly. I recognize the ones he tries to sing. We'll never make good singers.

The beach is deserted and it’s only 11.30. I think I sound like my army uncle when each time I begin 'In Pondicherry...' So this time I don’t.

We talk about work. Friends. Non friends. I draw heavily into my fast depleting glass of juice.

So when the policeman comes and barks at us to get lost, we continue walking but this time towards the car.

"He could have been more polite. Anyone can see we aren't like..."

He appears amused. "Like?"

I don’t answer the answer he already knows.

The policeman isn't thrilled by our pace. I can feel his angry and irritatingly derisive look. The feet drag more than before.

"It is important that they do this. And he doesn’t really care what we are. He has a home to get back to too."

I let him take my hand. We walk, our steps longer this time.

I don't remember how the topic changed from everything pleasant to everything not. But we were suddenly talking about rape. I see he's played this through his mind before.

And it fell on my ears which I still refuse to believe, his acceptance of the fact. The whole situation. The reasoning out to the attackers. Their refusal to reason. The pleading tone. The scornful villainous laugh that is played until worn in every movie, which might not be there in real life. And then in a series of fast moving images, the actual act.

His words roll on. I hate the ease with which they fall. I hate his logic, his helplessness.

I throw away the water melon juice. It doesn’t tempt me any more.

It doesn’t end there. I hear his words laced heavily with sarcasm.

"Where did the logic that's so characteristic of you vanish?"

What do I tell him? That he's talking a woman's worst fear? That it’s easy for me to get into her shoes and imagine the horror?

"Do you really think I'll be able to take on 2 or 3 people at the same time?"

"Does that give reason enough to not even try?"

"Even when you and I know it's gonna be pointless? A random throw away act of heroism when the last thing that you feel like at the moment is heroic? And you still would want me to 'try'?"

I hear our footsteps on the gravel. Long wavering shadows that appeared almost apologetic in front of us, sorry to be there.


I feel his warm lips on mine. I hope they were saying sorry. At least, that's what I wanted to hear.

Tomorrow, we’ll go back to being friends. Just friends.


Blogger arvindiyer said...

Another conversation in the beach maybe? *hugs* and u know wat its for!!!

10:30 PM  
Blogger Hyde said...

I had watermelon juice a couple of days ago. Very refreshing it was.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The end of the conversation reminded me of a disturbing scene in 15 park avenue. If he thinks its not reason enough to not even try, he can go to hell.

2:05 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Arvind: There are always conversations on the beach.

Hyde: I love watermelon juice!!!

Anon: To hell. *Cheers*

4:54 AM  
Blogger Hyde said...

Remind me to get you a large Tropicana pack. Coolers, I think it is called.

6:38 AM  
Blogger Arun said...

The conversation actually resonated in my mind when I first read it. Some discussion in the past. The topic of rape has always been seen in two different ways by men and women. Men do not talk about the helplessness rather there is a sense of detachment. The do not quite completely feel the gravity of the situation. Perhaps there was never a need to, unless one gets very imaginative.

Women, on the other hand, face situations in real life that brings in palpable fear of Rape. Even the very topic is discomforthing to them.

This is just my theory, but gleaned rather from my experience. And yes, I love happy endings ;)

- Arun

9:37 AM  
Blogger Xoff said...

if the words in question are spoken by the lady, it takes on a totally different meaning. something i would understand.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Hyde: That I will!

Arun: Happy endings. What happens after? Happiness ends?

Xoff: There are two people involved here. A guy who is careless and a girl who is overly careful.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Arun said...

Not sure if you meant that philosophically or in the context of the post. Well, I had the latter in mind while posting my comment.

I thought lack of empathy was the theme of the post. Perhaps the guy empathized with you in the end. Perhaps it was sympathy. Nevertheless it sounded like a happy ending. Hmmm... too much thinking for a Friday evenin' Have a great weekend!!!

- Arun

3:43 AM  
Anonymous Prashant Kumar said...

thought provoking, it sure is... it is all so very easy when things remain at being friends... but they dont, do they? as for the rape thing, i am sure no male can ever imagine the true gravity of the feelings, the dread, absolute horror that a female goes through just thinking about rape. good one poornima.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Arun: Have a good weekend!

Prashant: Its better if it did!

7:15 AM  
Blogger crallspace said...

Another conversation in the beach maybe? *hugs* ...And you know what its for!!!

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Maddie said...

Hyde guided me to your blog a few days back when I thought there was nothing refreshing on blogs anymore. Since I have a sore throat now and I spend every summer devouring watermelons but can't this time, allow me to tell you you're every bit (if not more) as refreshing as watermelons.

That too, when I feared the ink of the good bloggers was past dry :-).

Love reading you.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Crallspace: Am a little psyched out here! You've all repeated Arvin'd comment! Am I missing something here?!

Maddie: No one's ever compared me to watermelons before! Lol! Maybe I'll let Hyde live!

10:15 PM  
Blogger phatichar said...

New here...and I know I'm gonna come back for more..poignant..thought provoking

4:25 AM  
Blogger Dhanya said...

first second time, after i read your post, i felt somehting heavy in my heart. disturbingly heavy.
the first time? the mother and the cotton saris. i remember the post well. forgot the name.
i hate you for making me feel like this, in between loads of work. now don't ask me why i read u in between work. why does poornima need to ask so many questions?
the heaviness is still there, my eyebrows are cross and i need a glass of water. u and ur watermelon juice!

4:31 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Phatichar: Welcome aboard!

Dhanya: And I think that's exactly why you read me! *Hug*

4:43 AM  
Blogger pallavi said...

You;re just what I need... and you're there everytime i need you... thankyou for blogging...
and i have missed you!

5:09 PM  
Blogger aks said...

hey love..... water melon juice... ill get ya lots of it wen i get back...

8:28 PM  
Blogger Dhanya said...

HUMPH! :P *hugs* back!

9:26 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Pallavi: I really have missed you- you have no idea how much!!! There's a mail on the way!

Aks: :D Lots of it!!!!

10:23 PM  
Blogger Muppala Suryaprakasha Borthakur said...

I don't know whether I am being politically incorrect, but personally I am of the opinion that legalized prostitution would take away a part of the stigma associated with sex, and also will bring down the number of rapes to some extent. It will not completely solve the problem - in India, rape seems to be a mechanism for men to prove their point to a woman. That attittude may take a long, long time to change.

Excellent post anyway. It was a pleasure reading it -- the language, just perfect.

-by Muppala Suryaprakasha Borthakur ("Surya")

8:51 PM  
Blogger Anirudh said...

great finish...second time I have read ur blog andsecond time I have been impressed by ur style....
thank u

2:43 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Surya: I don't know if I'll agree the whole way through to your point. From whatever I've understood the sadistic satisfaction that rape offers isn't obtained by assenting/willing/paid partners. The ghastly act is the one that turns such people on. This is exactly what they want- to take what is not given willingly.

Anirudh: Thank you!

7:22 PM  
Blogger Muppala Suryaprakasha Borthakur said...

Dear Poornima, my point was that something becomes coveted only if there is a dearth of it. If everyone were a masochist, will threats of bodily harm carry as much weight as they do now? What I meant to say was if sex were plentiful and cheap, and prostitution as regular a job as any, probably there won't be so much 'thrill' associated with the act of rape. Just like most of the thieves are not interested in gold plated jewelry. Of course, it is all conjecture, and I am just thinking aloud.
-Muppala Suryaprakasha Borthakur

8:47 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Surya: Robbery- It is justifiable. Yes. But rape- I do not see how it can, that the pleasure of one is at the expense of another's. Your points I agree- but only to a certain extent. The whole point of rape being, the 'thrill' is in breaking another's spirit. Of fighting and winning/conquering or whatever.

8:58 PM  
Blogger A.G.Sudarshan said...

I am going to restrict myself to a few syllables per comment from now on:


12:00 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Sudarshan: Aww... come on! You can do better than that! :D

2:58 AM  
Anonymous kerabyte said...

mean can be easily classified
stupid with conscience
men who try to stop a rape even if they are alone and get beaten up,long days at teh police station,ridicule by every one they know
smart guy
he is with a bunch of guys he says what crap lets take a video in our mobiles then send it to ndtv we will become famous let us also shout dont interfere shoot pics and shout.they ought to be raped anyway such revealing clothes and who told her to walk the road at

12:27 AM  

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