Public memory is short term. Some of you may remember. Many, won\\\’t. Ten years ago, in the heart of Delhi, Siri fort, a Swiss diplomat was abducted in her car and raped. An hour after that, a young filmmaker was assaulted by the same men with the intent of abduction, rape. She escaped. But the memory remains. And private memory, is never short term.
The sun had just set. Darkness was softly settling in. People, in their cars, in the buses, in autos were heading home. I was sitting on the balcony of Apollo hospital. Alone. Very alone. They told me, the Swiss lady had left India, she would never come back. Staring into the traffic far away, i was flooded with a feeling. This is my home. Where can i go. I belong here. To these very streets, their play of darkness and light. Of intense beauty. Of intense ugliness. I belong here. To this very city. To this very land. This was home. And would always be.
Delhi. I had come here as a soft, tender, naive young person. The city has been my wise mother. She has allowed me to fall. Get bruised. Break my bones. Straighten my spine, pick my bags, and move! I would not trade that experience for anything. After the sirifort assault, i had a choice to leave the city. I chose to stay. She had more to teach me. And every learning comes the hard way. No short cuts. No easy ways. Ever.
I don\\\’t know who the men who assaulted me were. The police never found. I never searched. My search had taken an inner direction. Thanks to them. I realize, they are individuals symptomatic of a larger illness. Me or the Swiss lady, both were incidental. It had nothing to do with me, personally. It was their energy – stuck, seeking a release. I needed to go to the roots. What was this energy? What made it stagnate and pervert its direction? The only way for me to know that was to study my own energy. For essentially – them or me – we are both human.
Before this time, my description had never even been slapped. For the first time it faced violence of this degree, this nature. The energy flow went into a shock. Like theirs, it got stuck. For me and them, both, it had to be dealt with deep sensitivity and tremendous creativity. There was no time, no space for feelings of victimization, weakness or blame. Time, each day – like today – was running out.
I don\\\’t know about the men, but i got lucky. I danced, danced, danced. I danced my pain, i danced my rage, i danced my sorrow, i danced my freedom. It was the time to live, not die. And life is creativity. Only creativity. When a womb is attacked. Its the source of human creativity that is attacked. That needs to be suffused with more more and more nourishment. Public reactions may, perhaps, prevent but they can never heal. Healing is a process that has its roots in the individual and its branches in the universal.
For every boy who protests, and simultaneously fantasizes, and simultaneously feels guilty for the fantasy. For every woman who desires and calls desire a sin and carries the guilt of that sin. Husband wives included. People who split into – not just two – but multiple personalities. Each at war with the other. Each person a battleground. In the deep recesses, a raging war. What this culture needs is healing. Not just of the women but also the men.
When the fundamental basis, the sexual union that births a new life on this earth is so corrupted how can we expect the edifice to be honest? The rape of a woman comes much later, first the Basis of Life – its innocence is raped. That innocence needs a creative rebuilding again. An interplay between men and women, like night and day. In deep harmony. In friendliness. We are not alone in this. None of us.
I hear, that the girl assaulted in the recent case has been given the pseudonym of Damini, lightening. I am called by the same name. In almost 10 years, this is the first time, i am giving my experience a public expression. With a hope, a prayer.