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Last Updated Sunday March 18 2018 09:56 AM IST

The Space Between Her Legs

Hari Shree
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The Space Between Her Legs She didn't know which was worse; losing blood for an entire week or walking the walk of shame in that skirt where her thighs would occasionally bruise up rubbing against each other.

"But why? Why can't I wear shorts just like him?" She asked her mom, pointing to her 18-year-old brother who had his hairy leg exposed in front of her.

"Because you simply can't! You're growing up, young lady!"

"But he's all grown up too!" She snapped back. Her 10-year-old innocence didn't have the slightest idea of what possible harm could be caused from wearing shorts.

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Two years later, she wonders why the school changed her uniform from a pinafore play-suit to long, uncomfortable skirts. And like how mom told her back then, she was now all "grown up".

She didn't know which was worse; losing blood for an entire week or walking the walk of shame in that skirt where her thighs would occasionally bruise up rubbing against each other while she managed to move like a handicapped zombie through the waves of meaningful stares that followed her on the street. She just couldn't understand why the ever-so-dominant men couldn't stand the sight of her blood.

After all, she was the one losing it. "If men are scared of my tiny legs, and if I'm powerful enough to bleed for a week and they can't stand seeing the sight of the blood a twelve year old could lose, then I must be a powerful young lady!" That was a time when the rebel in her felt like a fugitive from the law.

At seventeen years, she was just learning to love her churidars when people started giving her innuendos like "I see you're all ready to wear a sari in a few years." "Is there an age to wear a sari? Why?" She thought.

It was three years later that she found her answers. Twenty-year-old her was looking into the mirror, to see how effortlessly a thin piece of clothing was exposing her feminine features. The curves of her body that had been hidden even to herself all these years were so explicitly open, like goods kept in a public market.

She finally manages to reach her office in time, though she had trouble running in a sari to catch her bus. In time, she realizes she had no choice; this was tradition and she simply had to be accepting it. It was her first day of work and she's already received more compliments on her body than on her performance. "Hmm...tradition..." She pushed the thought away.

It was 7:00 pm when she finally finished work and was walking down a lonely lane back home. At the corner of her eyes, she could see the vultures of the night drinking her beauty as she walked past them. She wouldn't have been alarmed, if one of those vultures weren't following her. She felt her heart beating faster with every step she took and every step that echoed behind her. He was closing in now and in one swift move he caught hold of her swaying garment, disrobing her.

She ran and that point, she didn't for once care what the society wanted her to look like. She was half naked, a damsel running in distress in the eyes of such pathetic, flesh-thirsty beasts. She realized no matter how much she bent to the norms, she was following the so-called "tradition" that chained a woman's freedom even to her legs. However, she was glad that he took that cursed piece of garment from her. While the rest of the world watched her running across the street, she found the freedom to finally run without having to hop about in a sari. In fact, she found freedom in her nudity and she knew for a fact that this was not what the society expected from her. The public would celebrate the story of a rape victim, making her look like she was the one at fault but she wasn't hurt at all that night. She was perfectly happy that the monsters of the dark helped her get back the rebellious child in her.

There's a space between her legs. A space that defined the purity in her. A space that men are so concerned of; probably much more concerned than a woman should ever be. Overtime, they made these rules, covering them up with the name "Tradition". In any religion, in any land on earth, these traditions have never once allowed a woman to spread her legs. Why? Because the idea of "spreading her legs" is unimaginable to these dominant yet pathetic beasts. And eventually, he defines an attire for her. One that covers up this space.

One that is just convenient enough for her to show off her seductive features and yet one that simply does not allow her to take giant leaps. Had she been wearing a pair of skinny tight jeans, it would've definitely earned her enough time to get away; for those men who wear them would know the struggle of getting them off. Why did tradition make it so convenient for him to just grab the only piece of clothing she had? "And to think all these years, shorts weren't safe for me!"

That night, she was brave enough to break her chains. Being a lady, didn't have to compromise with her comfort. If people find her body to be obscene, then it is high time they have to change their mindset about a lady for she is definitely someone who works with unnerving courage even in the midst of all chaos. How funny would it be to judge a heroine based on her armor! And today, here she was, walking down the aisle to her own marriage; wearing shorts to the bewilderment of all.

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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