21 December 2013 | By Jahnvi Devulapally
I hate him. Things would have been different if the 19th of March, fifteen years ago, was different. I would have loved my life. My brother. Myself.
“Hey! Here, meet my brother, Sam…”
“Is he okay?”
“Well, um… T.V?” This happened every time I encountered him. It was always the last thing I wanted. But you just cannot avoid a person who lives in the same house. Perhaps, I never mastered that art as he did. He had his own bunch of friends that hated me because he did, or felt sorry for me because he didn’t. I acted like I did not care. Later, that turned out to be a reality. I ignored.
“Do you realize I was the victim? A goddamn victim, you know…”
“Do I care anymore? Just don’t bring your filthy self in when my friends are around. I can’t stand your face!” Followed the silence, for as long as it could. I craved a family that loved me. A brother who didn’t hate me. He just didn’t hate me, he abandoned me for life. Mom had spoken to him a million times. Tried explaining that it wasn’t my fault… only, after she came to terms with the fact that it wasn’t my fault… not until much later. Twenty years that I lived were miserable. I detest fifteen years because I hadn’t been happy and I hate the rest because it was too short a phase to remember a happy moment!
That day was a nightmare that haunted me and continues to haunt me… No matter how hard I try to get away with my past, it shows up nastily, always. Though a blur vision now, I feel the same pain I’d felt then, whenever I’m reminded of it.
I felt my head to toe struggling against everything that was happening to me. An unknown force by which I was choked, felt a sense of being strangled and then came sharp anguish that made me go numb. I believed I was dead. And I wasn’t alone… There was a man who was trying to kill me. A very brutal one. Later, I concluded he was the tyrannical giant in fairy tales. So less did I know fairy tales surreal. But then, this was, too.
I could hear the rush. There was police, TV and people. My mom’s frantic cries were all I could hear even in the deafening chaos. They said I was raped when all I could think of was the pain. I hoped it was a bad dream but everything was so real. I’d seen my brother sob. Things were so wrong. I could see people mourn for what I didn’t know. That shocked me to bits as it confused me.
“Who was it that hurt you?”
“Where did this happen?”
“Did you see his face?”
The questions seemed endless… Their expressions were frightening me to no limit. The reporters flocked around with huge cameras and microphones. I was bewildered. Not sure if all this was really happening… I felt nausea inside me, I did not know whether my trembling arms and legs were going to function. I felt the sore wounds. I felt my head spinning and before I could speak, I fainted.
“Hey!” Abhimanyu’s voice was always very mellow.
“Hey… Bhaiya isn’t home”
” Okay. Mind if I talk to you?” This meant trouble. Every time he called, and every time mom heard us speak, she smiled and told me how I should be considering him. Whatever that meant, I was in no mood! I was comfortable with him and maybe I liked him more than what’s reasonable. I could never bring myself to trust a guy anymore. But this guy, I’d known him all my life. He was the only guy who knew my horrifying past, among my brother’s friends.
“You know, I think you must talk to your brother.” He said in a no nonsense tone.
“Talk about what?” “About how you feel… It’s time. He’s not adolescent and he deserves to realize things.”
haha… My brother? Not in a million years. “I don’t know if it is a good idea. He’d seen me through all. If he didn’t ‘realize’ ever, he wouldn’t, in a life time!” There was silence. How desperate I was! To let him know I missed a brother. To get that love back… Over years, I chose to neglect the idea. I was starting to cry.
“Sweetheart! Think it over.”
“You know he hates me….” I couldn’t gather my words… I listened.
“No. It is embarrassment. He was scared of being bullied that his sister was sexually abused.” He paused. As though he read my thoughts, he said, “Listen, I know. It never was your fault. They say time heals. If it won’t, hell! We’ll work it out. ”
” hehe… You always have something to say to make me feel good”
” Hmm… Believe me, your brother loves you. He can’t say it because he’s guilty of having abandoned you.”
This whole conversation with him was some hope…I couldn’t wait to greet my brother by telling him all that was pending. Sunday afternoon, was his video game time. He was at his hostile best. Especially irritable. I had to be careful. I had to be patient. I could do anything for a happy family. I wouldn’t have had another chance. I was very anxiously waiting, half prepared, to end the rivalry. I wished Abhimanyu was right.
Maybe my brother didn’t hate me. Maybe, he’s ashamed of a sister with a terrible past. I found it sensible enough. For a person who’d been guilty, gone through hell, this made complete sense. My strength was eyewash. I was the most insecure person I’d probably known. I was going to try anyway.
“Hi bhaiya.” He hardly smiled. “I’ve got to speak with you. It is about….”
I knew he listened, though out of no choice.” You know, when I’d moved on, don’t you think you should, too?” “It was an accident. I’m happy I withstood…” I blurted out.
He looked at me sternly. Like, he didn’t want an interruption. That made me wish I were invisible.
“Alright, can you drop me at the mall?” I backed off… After a conflict of thoughts, I finally preferred to begin anew. “In fact, I think we must put an end to it. I want you to accept me and…” I gathered up courage that I thought, never existed in a timid girl like me. Nothing worse would happen, I thought …and. “Game Over?!” He cried like it was world’s end. Before I muttered again, he left the room in a huff.
I’m not letting go…
Jahnvi Devulapally proudly declares herself a high school dropout. She is a Kathak dancer and is passionate about teaching.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, The Petticoat Journal
If you, or a woman or women around you, are subject to domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and other atrocities at home or anywhere else, here is what you can do.Know more