If there is one thing that has killed more than Covid-19, then it is patriarchy. From dreams, to aspirations to spirit and even life, patriarchy has turned no stone unturned to kill everything possible for the human race. Not only does it affect women, but this devil extends its hands to men, children, transgenders and to all shades of humanity as well. It is this shitty patriarchy at which I wanna snap with all might. A single thought of unpleasantness is enough to make me angry for the whe day. Why does it exist? Why does it exist?

At tuition, I was a close friend to a warm and bubbly girl and one day she ran upstairs, put her bag on her chair in the tuition room, quickly came downstairs and wrapped her hands around me and cried profusely with loud sniffs, breathlessly as she had burst into tears. She was probably in class 9 or 10 at that time. I let her be and asked her about the matter. So, she told me that every time her father drops her off to tuition, he ‘wishes’ her death like, ‘May someone smash you with a car’ or ‘May you meet an accident today’ etc. They were well off. Her father had a nice big car, his children dressed up in fine clothes, everything looked good but their family was an issue. Her mother had left the family for whatever reason and her dad had decided to pour out his frustration against women and ill wishes on her in the form of these statements. Not only this, she was not allowed into the kitchen when she would be on her periods because menstruation supposedly makes women impure for a few days somehow in a patriarchal household.  She wasn’t allowed to touch the pickle, sleep on the family bed. A set of different utensils was there for her to use during periods and the ‘impeccably pure’ men in her family won’t touch her during those days. She is no longer in my contact but I just can’t forget this incident of her life. All thanks to patriarchy. 

Next story. Once, I heard my parents discuss something. The whole story was not clear to me but they were talking about someone whom they know. Or maybe, I knew her too. The thing is, there was this daughter in law who was upset with all the nasty torture that her patriarchal in-laws gave her and decided to run away from the house. They let their dog loose and she was bit mercilessly in her ankle, an event of success for them. They had carved out a simple way to prevent a ‘bad-girl’ from running away. The dog’s canines worked well. I wonder what made her just run away, and not declare that she would simply leave them. What it takes to harden a heart to let a dog bite off a rebel, a speck of hope?

On to the next incident. After my twelfth, I took admission in a college and me and mum found a PG too and this man was way too strict, telling me all the rules and regulations straight into my eye and how I cannot bring my friends even to my room and if they ever come over, all conversations would happen in front of him in his room. Maybe he was just being protective about his daughter and making sure that she doesn’t fall into bad company. I didn’t give it much of a thought. Anyway, being new to Delhi, the pollution hit me hard and I was in bed, surging with fever and intense weakness and my mum postponed her journey back to my hometown. There, I got to know that the man’s wife was confined in the house for years, not even allowed to step outside the main gate. His work-from-home made things even more difficult and now he regularly monitored her from what clothes she would wear to what cover they would put on the sofa. Everyday, she would come to my room, wrap her hands around my mum and cry profusely, how badly she wanted to end her life but is living due to her children. She would soak her pallu with tears, her locked up emotions of caged in condition could only find solace in the shoulders of a woman she just met. I saw it all. What could I do? I don’t know whether my mum ever said anything to that man or not, but she took me out of that PG and I went to another one. 

In that PG, I met another girl who was distinctly loud, used foul language and mingled up abusive words in almost everything she talked about. It was not a language of the streets that I had heard but even worse than that. To listen to such a language everyday was a pain in the beginning. I got hurt every now and then due to her words but eventually got used to it. She became the life of the party of the PG. The one with many gossips and stories and an awesome sense of humor with that very language she used. One day she disclosed to us that she was raped in class 9. I could not believe that it was her, the strongest, the tallest, the most bold of us all was the one having such a horrible experience. That guy was a son of a person of some rank and never went behind the bars. My friend took one year to recover from that trauma and currently, she is happy in her life. Despite all this, she is happy and that is enough. Nobody deserves to be judged like I did in the beginning.

Once, when I was merely ten years old, I was playing in the park when I spotted a grown up man squatting in the ground giving flying kisses to me and showing a toffee. I was a child then, I hadn’t hit puberty and this guy was making some weird lip movements with his fingers around his lips. I remember it clearly, he was doing something with his tongue and was calling me constantly. I felt a weird vibration, a spark of feeling that makes you sink in and I quickly took to my heels, ran back to my home and told my mom everything. I was a child and I knew it was not right. Maybe, my mother had trained me well that I should run away from strangers. Now when I look back to that incident, I have words like ‘pedophile’ ‘traffickers’ etc but back then, he was someone ‘bad’. It is one of the many incidents I faced, and a few stories out of many out there. These stories are connected to patriarchy, a mentality which will only degrade a human. I am privileged, my parents created a space for me where I can speak out, I can say ‘no’ but not all are lucky. Everytime I listen to a story related to patriarchy it just messes up my head. This is one thing I just cannot tolerate. So many crimes under one umbrella! Not just women but men, transgenders, guys etc., all are affected by it, how bad it is! How many stories go unspoken? I have no idea. We all should stand against it, speak against it and make a nice space for everyone here. os.me is a platform full of positive vibes, how good it would be if we would be able to make this world an os.me!

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Suguna Ganguly

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