And thus, she lived.

The woman you defined and killed is now ALIVE.

I wonder if I was ever a complete replica of what they call a girl.
I wonder if I ever REALLY liked pink?

I wonder if I ever wanted to shy away from speaking about bold things like rape, domestic violence, molestation?

I wonder if I ever was someone who spoke low, and smiled all the time?
If that is what a girl is supposed to be, I’m definitely not that.
I walk around with my male and female friends alike. Hang around with them and my parents don’t hate me for that. I talk loudly, and when I say loudly I mean scream, yell and all of it mixed into one. And no one around me makes a hue and cry about it. I wear what I chose to wear and well, honestly I DON’T love pink. It is just another color which I wear and it’s definitely NOT my color, just because I’m a girl. That’s the female I choose to be and I’m really HAPPY about my choices.
But still, I’m scared.
Every time I walk down a lonely lane, at wee hours of the night, I have a fear in my heart. I feel myself squeaking and nudging even at a tad bit of unfamiliar noise. A rustling leave could actually send me into jitters.
But the point is, I know I’m brave and I know I can stand up for myself.
I know that I have the power to destroy, just as much as the power I have to create. I know that if I’m the fortune in the form of Lakshmi, I am also destruction and fierceness in the form of Kali and Durga.

But, I do not know when I really will have to fight, will they allow me to?

Or will they tie my hands up, disarm me, stuff things into my mouth and force me to give in, to surrender?

And thus she lived
I don’t know what lane I’d be walking in and I don’t know what kind of demons I’ll encounter. And thus, I don’t know if I’ll be safe in the arms of a lane, where cowards, filthy, cruel, and disloyal figures house themselves and shamefully term themselves to be MEN.

Because men definitely aren’t them.
The thought of being in the vicinity of hatemongers, monsters who feel that I’m their territory to conquer, DOES deter my spirit. It shakes me down to the spine and makes me feel low. The very thought of being dragged by my hand into a dark, silent, and obnoxious room, puts me down.
But only for a moment.
Because after that I remember who I truly am.
I remember that I am a female. The female they worship in various incarnations. I’m that female whom they fiercely proclaim to be Durga, Kali, and others. I’m an incarnation of those females and all the females that exist everywhere in the world. I’m an example. An example to every woman who has given up. Who has let herself be subjugated under the oppression and burden of patriarchal norms that still surface in our society.

And when I remember that I’m an incarnation of the Goddess cults, and an example for all those women who’ve fallen prey to oppression, I’m no more low. I no more feel my spirit falling.
I’m high.
I have a sudden surge of energy gush past my body, run through my veins, boost my blood, release hormones that energise the system, and I’m suddenly activated.

I’m activated to be cautious and to FIGHT.
I know that the men I’m going to be fighting are physically stronger, but my mind and intellect are miles higher than their masculine power.
I know that in the course of my battle, I may fall prey and die; I may lose myself forever.
I know I may succumb.
But I know that my battle will be remembered and revered.  For years and years to come, women and MEN will cherish me.
And when for years I’ll be cherished, I know that I’ll be inspiring.
I’ll be re-inventing stories about fierce women. I’ll be giving new life, a rebirth to all those forgotten stories about valiant, young, vibrant, and swift women of the past. I’ll be giving the Rani of Jhansi a new life. I’ll be giving Kalpana Chawla a new life. I’ll be giving Anne Frank a new life. I’ll be giving all the women who’ve ever stood up for themselves, a new hope, a new inspiration.
And that will make me live even after I die.

 


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Karen Johnson is 17 years old, living in Vadodara City, Gujarat. With dreams soaked in her eyes and faith embodied in her heart, she has always relentlessly worked in the direction she prefers - She never has let anyone define her choices. Her choices are always distinct and definite, and once she has made them she swears by them. And such was her choice of beginning to write. Writing was merely a part of her life, until one day it actually began defining her existence. She writes, always. Even at this point, she's thinking, noting and writing things in her mind. She wishes to pursue journalism for higher studies. Her thoughts about women empowerment are extremely bold and self-made, and she makes it a point to stand for her opinions always. She also has a deep interest in film-making and the theatre industry and wishes to learn more about film making and the institution of theatre, through her future endeavors. Her story ‘Winter Cuddles Us’ has been published in the anthology Half Baked Stories and another of her short stories is being published in the second part of the same anthology. She has participated in several creative writing workshops at the city level and has tried to harness her skills to the fullest. In 2015, she added another golden feather to her cap, when she won the laureate prize in a 'Creative Writing Competition' organised by Katha (an organisation) at national level. She has also participated in several debates, elocutions and extempore at her school and has received a lot of appreciation for her quick wit, sharp questioning and fluent speaking. Her dreams are big, and she aims to embrace them.

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