Counting My Lucky Stars- by Anushree Srivastava

“Do me a favour”, in silence she cried

Speak not for me but for your stubborn tribe

For the life that I lead, you will never know of

And the fears that I feel often make you scoff

It was not the first time that she ventured out alone

And like me, she too, had a kin on her phone 

The perils that befell her on that fateful night

Fill me with anger, but more so with fright 

You may shout slogans and conduct a rally

But how is it changing the fear that I carry? 

You demand justice for a girl that died

If I told you that you enabled this, will it catch you by surprise?

Have you ever stared too long at a girl that passed by?

Or grazed your hand against her thighs?

Have you often just laughed at a friend’s misogyny? 

Or lauded a sexist joke and called it funny?

When I walk outdoors, I notice their eyes

When they touch me “by mistake”, I know it’s all lies

You call me “uncool” for not laughing at a joke,

My sense of humour is fine until the feminist in me you poke

Be it in a crowded metro or on a deserted street 

I could be in my shorts or be covered from head to feet 

It’s not about the clothes or the values that I hold 

It’s that they don’t respect me and the fact that I could be bold

Their inherent desire to show me my place 

As they tear down my dignity or throw acid on my face

It’s a slow grave that they dig for every man around

For no woman will be silent or with chains will she be bound

So tell me right now if you’ve never played a part

In belittling women or setting them apart 

It may seem like no deal when you ignore a sexist jibe

But you’ve then contributed to this downward slide

I’m not here to talk about safety alone,

But for the seeds of mistrust that these events have sown,

For often if an honest man tries to help me 

I doubt his intentions and look for ways to flee

When on a lonely road I walk at night 

My heart starts to pound at any man in sight 

Or if I travel solo and sit late by the window

Even a distant voice makes the fear inside me grow 

That night it was her, for she was unlucky,

Just like any other girl, her safety remained tricky 

Do we really need to rely on our luck to be safe?

If that’s what it is, I hope you are feeling the disgrace

While you chew upon this, don’t forget this fact 

Every girl you know is susceptible to these acts

It’s no longer the time to sit back and wait 

To get agitated when the next girl meets with this fate

“Do me a favour”, in silence she cried

Speak not for me but for your stubborn tribe

For tomorrow again I’ll venture into the crowd 

With a silent prayer that another safe day I’m allowed.