I am a Woman in India by Chandni Singh

Written in response to the gang rape of a 23-year-old in the city I call home. I have travelled in white-line private buses with ‘Yadav’ flaunted on their flank. I have been harassed and fondled, eve-teased and ridiculed. I am part of every woman that gets raped. I want to risk asking why.


I have had my breasts fondled.
Not by a lover,
but by strangers on buses.
I have been gyrated against
as I navigate the city:
packed like sardines
they are more depraved than animals.
I have had penises flashed at me
whose owners I know not;
they only come with a pair of lust-laced eyes
and a soulless smile.
I can hold my own on issues
about the environment.
I can wax eloquent about literature and music.
I am told, I am the future;
and for a moment I am bent into believing
in the bubble I have bought into.
But every morning,
I cower.
My ego slouches
as it is castrated at the hands of
crotch-clutching goondas.
I have lost count,
there are too many to fight.
I may be liberated, and educated,
but my fire has been doused.
Neither rhetoric nor review can
bring me solace.
And so, I turn the other cheek.
I have become deaf to the whistles and
blind to the lewdness.
I adjust my dupatta
and look straight ahead
as they line the streets and pucker their mouths.
I am just a woman in India.

About the Author

Chandni Singh is an environmentalist and poet. Currently doing her doctoral research in rural livelihoods, she strongly believes that everyone has stories to share. She likes taking long walks and writing in her journal. She has published her work in Reading Hour, Red River Review, The Rusty Nail, The Taj Mahal Review, Helter Skelter, Coldnoon and others. She writes regularly on her personal blog.

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