What's in a name?
Let me tell you a story,
Of how my life changed,
And how my name changed,
Every time it appeared on the newspaper.
Replaced by a pseudonym,
Something to do with courage,
I was namelessly admired, slandered, and debated over,
Media’s Exclusive Coverage!
The newspaper headline read in big block letters:
“14 YEAR OLD GIRL SAVES SIX KINDERGARTNERS”,
That made me smile.
Just maybe I thought we had come that extra mile.
But no for I noticed,
My name was changed,
And the Printing Department was not at fault.
That’s just how my country dealt with ****** assault.
I never asked them to hide my name,
They had presumed, of course, that I was ashamed,
Of saving lives. It took me a minute to remember,
I had called Jyoti Nirbhaya for years.
I wanted them to know who I was,
Hiding I thought was for criminals,
Until I realized that I WAS one when,
On returning from the hospital I saw,
Pain in my mother’s,
Anger in my father’s,
And disgust in my relatives’ eyes.
No idea why a part of me had come expecting pride.
In school my “friends” guiltily refrained from talking to me,
Neither were my teachers too happy to see,
That I had returned to the same school,
Bringing with me my painful story,
Which I had mistaken as one of glory.
And when I went to receive the “Bravery Award”,
Only the trophy didn’t read compensation award.
They looked at me with too kind eyes calling me a “hero”
Their smiles told me they meant violated.
As I received the award,
I saw they were trying really hard,
To not let it show,
That they wanted me to know,
The difference between:
Bullet marks on the chest to bite marks on the breast,
Blue around the eyes to blue around the thighs,
Scratches on the fists to cuts on the wrists,
Loud screams in the cold to muffled screams against the cold,
The red of the torn ligament to the red of the torn *****,
The difference between a soldier’s and a victim’s blood.
And suddenly I felt as if I was,
Not the rescuer,
Not the fighter,
Not the rebel,
Not the warrior,
I thought myself to be.
What’s in a name?
Apparently, a lot.
The name of the girl who is a **** survivor is always changed and replaced by a pseudonymn in India.