An echo of a dying squeal

“I was born in a shed, in a green grassy town. A man cleaned me the blood on me, and his wife cared for my mother. The man looked under my legs and smiled, looking at me. “Lakshmi” he called me. The couple played with me and always were happy to see me. My mother, I loved her a lot, don’t know who Papa is, never got to see him. Mom tells that even she did not see him. I am a teen now, and Ma is telling me a lot of new things that I should know about my body. Ma doesn’t even know how I was conceived. She tells me that I’m a goddess because I was born to a virgin! But I don’t believe that! I’m not a fool. I think she was raped, and that’s how I was born. I guess she didn’t even see the face of my father. However, even the care-taking couple treat me like goddess give me all the things I need. One day, my mother was sleeping, and the care-taking man entered our home sneakily. He looked at me and asked me to come out with him. I went out, and he made me get into his vehicle. I couldn’t understand what he was doing with me at that time. He was smiling, he put his arms on my neck, back and down there, and started oddly tickling me. I didn’t understand what to do, so I closed my eyes. This is what my mom said to me; she said we would be separated one day, and during the moment, I better close my eyes and imagine all the best moments I have had with her. I kept on imagining the beautiful moments I had with my mother, and I can feel a new pair of hands touching my nipples. But I still didn’t open my eyes. I know the vehicle was moving and I’m being taken someplace elsewhere they are going to use me more than just touching my tender nipples.

They got me down, and I was tied. Did I mention that? Yes, I was tied and being dragged somewhere new, and I still did not dare to open my damn eyes!”.

She started crying, and she could not continue anymore. She was shaking to speak the horrors out, and Ms.Saraswati patted her back. “You know it feels hard to speak it out, but when you do, it feels good. It is good to let go of the ghosts that haunt us. These ghosts are our traumatic memories. You can take a break, but you need to speak, and it happens today, Lakshmi! You are the oldest of us” Saraswati encouraged Lakshmi to speak. “Okay” Lakshmi sobbed and gathered her courage.

“So, no matter how prepared I was for this day, how much my mother informed me would happen to me, it still did not make me strong enough to face it. The people who touch me started increasing day by day. Sometimes doctors come to test me. I was finally of age, and one day, after all the tests and weirds touchings, I was forced to wake up in the middle of the night. I was taken to a secluded room. Before I know what was happening, I was restrained to a few metal rods and the chains were so tight. I shouted and pleaded, but no one was listening to me, I don’t know what is going to happen. They left me there tied, for a while. I kept on struggling and crying, and then I heard the door open again. I couldn’t turn back as I was tied, but I know something terrible happening. I can sense it. *sobs* Ah! Er… I could feel someone getting on top of me from behind. Then! Then I felt a piercing pain down there, something was thrusting inside, and the pain was so unbearable that I don’t even have the energy to scream that big, I just! I blacked out! When I woke up, I could not feel my legs, the pain it was no more, there was no feeling at all, it felt very… numb!” Lakshmi stared on to the floor deeply as Saraswati, and other travellers looked at her with teary eyes.

Lakshmi continued after gulping her tears in. “So, after that ghastly incident, I was left untouched for a few days. But I was checked up once in a while. My breasts have started to swell, and I started vomiting. After a couple of months, I gave birth to Naren, that’s what they called him. I didn’t know what to call him. He was sweet, and he never left my side. Even when I was carrying him, I was still groped but never raped. He was out, and the touchings increased. Every morning they woke me up with a touch and made me sleep after a touch. I felt like I don’t own my body, it’s theirs, not mine. My dear son is a real momma’s boy. He cried when I went out of sight, and he never left my side. His smiles and touch were the only things that looked like a light in that never-ending darkness. But after he got to his teens, they thought his body was useless for them. They can’t cash him, so they took him away from me. I didn’t cry. If I cried I would be relieved of him, I want that pain inside me, and I don’t want to forget him by crying. Days passed, and one day they took me back to the rape room and the incident repeated, I did not conceive this time. So, there was no gap, I was raped every day. One day I conceived again, and this time, I did not feel any attachment to this newborn. It was a girl, and I know she would face the same fate as me. I know she would be groped and raped repeatedly. I told her that straight. I did not lie like my mother did. I prepared her for the worst. I gave birth to many, and I got raped my many more. Years passed, and I didn’t keep track of the babies I gave birth to, but Naren! I still keep remembering him. He has a scar on his foot, it was shaped like a star. What might have happened to my boy? Did they kill him? Or did they left him to grow on his own? Is he muscular and handsome now? Will he become a rapist too? I had so many questions about my beautiful little boy. My nipples became dry, and my glands were wrinkled. I’m old now! Will that stop me from looking attractive? Will that stop me from getting raped? I didn’t know. But that da..” Lakshmi was staring blankly into the walls of the truck. “Speak out grandma” Lilly asked her.

“It was the day I can never forget. I was taken to the rape room like every once in a while, and they restrained my scarred hands. I could hear him enter, he sounded young and excited. He held my waist and tried to climb over me. I could tell that it is his first time. He struggled and weirdly stood over me. All these years, I never saw even reflection of them, but the way he stood, I can see his right leg. Before my eyes were totally open and I was shocked to see the star-shaped scar on his foot he was already inside me. My jaw dropped, and I cried to stop after all these years first time I cried so loud, but he didn’t stop. He rammed me. He completed what he was doing, he waited and he pulled it out. It was him… My beautiful boy Naren, he was…”

Lakshmi burst out in tears as all the others were looking at her with eyes open as they have seen some ghost. “I… I was raped almost entire my life but that day, I was killed. I was mentally dead. I feel nothing anymore, and I have wanted to die ever since. I feared that I would conceive his child. But luckilly my days are gone. My body couldn’t do that anymore. So they decided that I have no use for them and I’m put in this container with you guys. Travelling to the end of the tunnel, towards freedom” Lakshmi cried. Saraswati couldn’t stop her tears. “I was made to conceive too, but with machinery and what happened to you in un-imagineable, And Naren..” she burst out too. 

“You all are used and wasted, but I’m young why am I being freed?” Lilly asked. “You are a lucky one, Lilly. They saw that you can’t be used to torture, so they found a different way for you—a quick way to freedom. Trust me, it is better this way” she hugged Lilly.

The containers opened and Rajappa stood there with a neem stick in his mouth and a lungi. “Why are these cows moo-ing a lot, Ravi?” he asked his partner. “Who knows, they might be having a conversation ” Ravi laughed. “17 cows, that’s a huge batch” Rajappa smiled. “They all look thick! Lots of meat” Ravi exclaimed and dropped them one by one. While walking in, she remembered an image of herself in a third person’s point of view. “You are at peace now” she imagined telling her younger self these words.

Picture By – Prahlad Kosuri

And Ravi lead them inside the slaughterhouse where they were cut into pieces as they squealed with pain.

The echo of their dying squeal has reached my ears and woke me up. I took the responsibility to make you hear their screams.