Feminism India


Ashna was a hot headed 18 year old engineering student determined to make a name for herself. Her mind was constantly confused between cynicism and idealism; wanting to go and save the world at times and cursing her very existence at other times.

When the time came, she packed up her bags and left a teary eyed mother and a reluctantly emotional father behind. It was there that she met him. A perfectly built, somewhat intimidating college senior. She couldn't explain the attraction at all. Her mother had warned her against the likes of such people. And yet, the next day she found herself replying favorably to his pathetically worded texts.

Days passed and she was told glasses suited her, ethnic clothes suited her and that she had a seemingly insurmountable "allergy to eye contact". Perhaps that was when she should have realised they didn't quite see eye to eye (she had seen the deplorable music video by the same name, though). A couple of days passed and they went for a walk one night. It was then that he most gallantly asked her permission to hold her hand. She reluctantly acquiesced. When it grew later and darker, she suddenly felt afraid and excused herself. But not before he once again, very politely asked to kiss her. Once again she felt fear and a crippling compulsion to say yes. Her mind was petrified when he started to lean in. She wanted to run. But her legs felt rooted to the spot. Suddenly his hands groped her breasts. One hand snaked down her pants. She felt faint with fear. She opened her eyes which up until now had been squeezed shut with fear. Yet he carried on, occasionally putting her hand on his crotch that throbbed with some perverse pleasure. Finally, she could take it no more. She physically pushed his rock hard stomach. Still, she felt his weight on her. When he had his fill, ten minutes later, he had the gall to enquire if she wanted more. "N-n-no" she stammered. He simply laughed and went on. Following this encounter, he sent a simple text- "that was impulsive, let's just be friends". At first, she felt relief, then guilt, then fear. When she saw him around college, he would give her the briefest of nods as if to acknowledge their new "friendship". She, in turn, would smile nervously and feel smaller than she ever had.

Would you say this was her fault? That her "no" had not been loud and firm enough? That she couldn't handle rejection? Is it the nature or the tone of the "no" that matters, or is it the weight of the word itself?

Rhea Tewary

Mumbai |

When I introspect, I see myself as a self-aware person with an annoyingly steady moral compass juxtaposed with hints of brutal realism. I express myself best through writing and am an avid reader.