I’ve spent most of the last month of 2012 being angry. It is the January of a new year and I’m angry still. It simmers right beneath the surface, ready to lash out at an unsuspecting victim. I keep it in check, but it seems like it’s waiting in ambush.
In case you’re wondering what this is all about, you might have heard of the gang rape in Delhi (yes, it unfortunately has its own wiki entry), where a woman was raped and sodomized using an iron rod in a moving bus by 6 men, so much so that her intestines fell out and she succumbed to her injuries after a battle lasting almost two weeks. Warning: I suggest you do not read the details if you intend to have a peaceful morning, afternoon, evening, depending on where in the world you are when you’re reading this.
Other people have written about it, some in moving words I myself would’ve chosen to express my very personal feelings on the subject, so I won’t go into the other ramifications here. Since this is an insecure writer’s group — I’ll march straight on, selfishly, myopically, towards my own individual anger.
(As I write this, India still protests against the crime that has left people grasping for words, and made the government and its police beat up its own people. People are angry with the establishment, some of which has been accused of crimes against women, others who advice women that it is their own fault they get molested or raped, and yet others whose commentary on the protesters will make the blood of any sane human being boil.)
Since the incident first came to light, I’ve been wanting to bash something, somebody, getting migraines — my peace of mind poisoned, like a scorpion stinging itself.
Everyday I see the girls and women (and some menfolk) protest in New Delhi’s freezing winters, (initially braving brutality from the very police that’s supposed to protect them), I remember the number of times men have tried to grope me or my friends in buses, passed humiliating remarks, hit me on the road, once causing me a sprain and at another time, a concussion.
I watch the protests become politicized, and I want to drink the blood of those who want to exploit the death of this girl. A girl whose name I do not know, who did not want to be a hero. She only wanted to watch a movie with her fiance’ and go home, and get married this February. That girl could be me, my friends, my sibling. (Yes, it is always the one that resonates with you that makes you angry — hundreds of women get raped in India on a daily basis, but the one I identify with most fuels my anger. I admit the hypocrisy — a writer has to be honest, or give up the pen.)
I want to fly out to New Delhi and get somebody, bash in a few heads. If this is hate speech, so be it.
Meanwhile, the rapes continue, even as we discuss them. Even in New Delhi, even as women protest on its streets. To 3-year olds, 16-year olds, 65-year olds. The protestors themselves are groped and molested.
I’m an angry writer, and after a few days of drought, I’m on a flood of fire. My dialogs spit venom, the guilty are tortured, not merely punished. I fight men on twitter (flouting my own vow of internet hiatus), who blame rape on women’s immorality. I chide friends who make sexist remarks. I debate with people who call it India’s “rape culture”. I even defend India’s men against a mass epithet of “rapists.”
I need to get a handle on this, calm down not only for my own sanity, or validity as a writer, but also because anger needs to be directed to be effective, or it is so much impotent rage. If I want to make a difference, boiling blood won’t help.
Or, perhaps, as an author I respect suggested to me on Facebook, perhaps it is the only thing that would. A writer needs to stay angry.
Have you ever been this angry about something that has happened outside your own personal acquaintance? Has it affected your writing? What have you done about it?