Poetry at Sangam



Asking for It by Ravisha Mall

Yes, I was asking for it when I wore that skirt
one evening
that showed three inches of my legs
you could sense that
my entire body language
for you
to violate it beyond repair
and all you were doing
was showing some care
to the wanton pleas
my lowered eyes
made to your masculinity
and before you could realise
you were right on top of me
giving me exactly
what you deemed fit
and you couldn’t have been wrong
because I was asking for it.

Yes, I was asking for it
when I went to watch
a movie with my male friend
past eight o clock one night,
and you were surprised
that I would even pretend
that I’m not an inviting
who already had been fucked once
and was asking for more,
and so you and your gang
didn’t need to think
ripping to bloody pieces
my vagina
and my soul
while assuring each other
that I was nothing more than a hole
waiting to be plugged
by your cocks
and rods
and anything that
may or may not fit…
because that’s what I deserved
and I was asking for it.

Yes, I was asking for it
that night when I had a little more
to drink than I had planned
and woke up
to your hands
down my pants,
your face a blur
issuing perverted rants
of how you wanted me
through the drunken haze,
which you later told the judge
was merely a passing phase,
in an otherwise blemish-free record
which might get marred
and everyone shrugs,
unsure if I didn’t remember it
would I even be scarred?
by your compulsion to penetrate me
in a roadside ditch…
because there is that possibility
that I’d been asking for it.

Yes, I was asking for it
in the midst of an agitation
led by men for men
who believed they needed reservation
not just in jobs
but also between my thighs
and you pleaded not guilty
and got acquitted
because the evidence on my body
didn’t suffice…
for who’s to say
that I’m not looking to be raped
when I’m driving in the middle of the day,
cruising along on a highway?
and you were simply
caught in a mob
that swept your senses
and made you deaf to my sobs,
because No definitely means Yes,
especially in the midst of
a social conflict…
and either ways my consent
doesn’t matter
because I was definitely
asking for it.

Yes, I was asking for it
when I moved cities
and continents
to get back some confidence
that I can walk the streets at night
without a traumatic incident,
and feel like I’m safe
from hands that would stretch
to cup my ass
and up my dress,
to feel like I’m not just meat
for every passer by to grab
and take a bite to eat,
while talking about
the size of my chest…
and to tell my parents
they can sleep at night
without distress
while I work
thousand of miles away
out of their sight
but safer than I’d ever be
back at home
which no longer seems to be
the haven that I feel
like I belong to,
and which belongs to me.
and all my life
before my eyes
will be an endless search to find
that space
where I’d be able to
feel safe
and trust that a man’s voice
calling me from behind
wouldn’t be another attacker’s,
just like the kind
that made me leave
my city,
my state,
my country
my parent’s house
and all the things
that could comfort me…

Yes. I’m asking for it
simply because I exist
and because it’s hard for you
to see a pair of breasts,
and the curve of a bottom
makes it hard for you to resist,
and the animal inside
your hollow chest
makes you forget
in an instant
how you’d feel
if a rabid dog were to chase you,
would you kneel
and beg to be forgiven
for the fact that you are insignificant
in front of his manic rage
for your blood and your flesh?
or would you blame yourself
for attracting him with
the smell of your skin
that’s simply fresh
food to be devoured
by it’s gashing teeth
at your throat,
and with blood ceasing to flow in your veins,
will you wonder
whether it was your fault, after all?
and the only question
pertinent, it would seem,
would be asked by the by-standers
watching you bleed to death
behind their blue tv screens…
“Did you ask for it?” they’ll ask
and then finally,
at last
you might just understand
what I mean
when I say,
No, I did NOT ask for it…
But I doubt even then
whether you’d ever believe me,
and by then it would be too late
to believe in what
our sombre voices have to say…
and you’ll be replaced by someone else
who’ll see with your eyes
and be just as agile
in not taking no for an answer
and push himself onto me
with a menacing smile
and tell me over and over
that it’s better not to fight,
while through the rancid stench
of his penis
forcing itself into my being
I’ll know that somewhere
he must be right!
and within me
something will die
as I lie comatose
and submit…
because that’s all I can do
after asking
so much
for it.