On a bus

I felt his hand roam all over my thigh.
It was rough but very warm.
I was six. We were on a bus.
I was standing at the front of the first seat.
He was someone on the foot-board.
It was crowded and smelly.
And when I thought the heat would make me puke,
He put his hand on my thigh and began to massage it.
In a way, it was comforting.
It reminded me of my papa’s hands
When he rubbed my cheeks
As he put me to bed.
But there the comparison ended.
Because this man played with my panty.
I had worn the colour-colour spotted one.
The one I always liked because it was soft and cool.
Because it had all the colours.
And I still didn’t have a favourite.
Though, Amritha, my best friend, liked pink, she said.
It was too crowded to see his face.
I genuinely thought there was some mistake.
I thought he meant to put his hands under some big girl’s dress.
And instead he had found my thighs.
I was six. I knew the facts of life.
I suffered in silence and a growing annoyance.
You would think a man would know a little girl’s legs when he felt them up, and that he would stop in confusion, in retreat.
You would think he would stop and feel a woman up, like the neighbour Aunties said they did in buses.
You would think he would slip off the foot-board if his hands were caught up under my skirt.
Nothing happened.
My mother yanked me off the bus as our stop came.
“Are you sick? Do you want water? Do you want to puke?”
I nodded. No.
Unconvinced, she moved to where my father was waiting.
I launched myself in his arms.
And when he rubbed my cheeks, and pushed the hair away from my face,
I realised I was so wrong.
His hands were nothing like my papa’s.

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About Bhumika's Boudoir

I love to laugh, and end up being a part of high drama and stormy emotion even when I don't pursue it. Being creative, and communicating with people get me going. I enjoy all the good things in life especially those that are slightly risque, and apologise little, if ever, for all that I do. Literature is a passion and so is music.
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7 Responses to On a bus

  1. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! I will soon share my experience/s as well. At times it does feel like it is a curse to have been born a woman. Either in our country or anywhere else. Argh!

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  2. Yes, sadly, we all have. I wasn’t scarred, really. My overriding emotion was annoyance. But yes, I didn’t speak about it to anyone. After, maybe a week, I told this sordid tale to my rakhi brother with whom I grew up. He just hugged me. And that helped. After that, I quite forgot about this. Bigger, nastier things have happened. 😀 This came up because I wanted to write a non-sentimental, non-speechy piece about abuse. Thank you so much for your words. They mean a lot.

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  3. Ravi says:

    a clear masterpiece, your writing is amazing, so matter of fact with a poignant reminder of internal emotions, love the “his hands were nothing like papa’s”, kudos again

    Like

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