Shree Niveditha K
In a recurring dream of mine,
Stepping into a huge crowd,
I find all eyes on me
while the cloth covering my chest
shreds into pieces and falls down in
a matter of seconds.
I cringe and cover as
their eyes, probe my breasts
so deep, that it feels like
a nail tearing down further towards my heart.
just like how I hunch
when a I walk past someone
even on a less crowded road,
cos' last time someone
in a quick moving crowd took
the pleasure of dashing my breasts
and disappearing in broad daylight
on a two lane road.
I try to pull up and cover,
just like I did when
the other females on the opposite seat
couldn't stop scrutinizing the distance
between my neck and neckline of the tee,
as well as my character.
I try to walk away,
just like how I did
when someone groped my back or
breathed behind my right ear
or pushed oneself hard against me
in a jam packed crowd where
I couldn't turn but only move aside a little.
I cry in guilt,
just like how
when someone I knew
took the pleasure of fondling my breasts
without my consent,
and I loathed in guilt for months
for deceiving myself.
But, this time I was proud.
I was proud that I didn't stoop low;
that I didn't give in to the expectations
of those prying eyes because,
Neither in the dream nor in reality,
I gave in.
This work has been published in Beetle Magazine's August 2020 Issue.