Having a passion to write since very initial years of life, Meghna Khanna wrote different poems about different things in school. They got published in the annual school magazine, but she kept collecting all those and hiding them in a box so that no one sees them. Like many people in the writing world, even she feared feeling judged by people and thought it cannot be a career.
As she started experiencing different things in her life – personal and professional or even whatever she was observing in the outer world, she just started penning all the thoughts on paper.
If you ask her now, she says, she might not have many old writings with her now as she just wrote them as a way to express at that very moment and then lost them.
While studying in class 11th, she came across an instance, where a Delhi girl was brutally raped by a gang in a bus and was thrown on the roadside. “It was when I realised the power of words within myself for the first time,” says Meghna, who feels that rape is a topic on which no family talks openly, opinions of people differ, and generally it is said ‘what can we do about it’. That is when she wrote a poem addressing her mom and asking her the question “Kyu layi mujhe iss dunia mei ma” (Why did you bring me in this world).
Since then, she wrote regularly, but never posted it or shared it with her family. She had a few friends to whom, she used to send 1-2 poems whenever she wanted feedback.
After school, Meghna took admission in Journalism and mass communication in GGSIPU, Delhi.
Having a stage fear and constant judgment pressure, she was involved in studies or internships. She never willingly took part in any extra activity or committee in school or college.
In her college time itself, Meghna did nearly 8 internships under different newspapers, channels, agencies, and even PR firms. She got a job in college itself.
Things were moving fine for her when working in a national daily, she realised this is not what she is meant to do. She thought that she does not know who she is anymore, and she needs to find that out first.
In December 2019, she quit her job as a Sub Editor in the newspaper and started regularly posting on her Instagram account. Whatever came in her mind, poem, write-ups, quotes, anything.
One day, she saw a post in which an organisation was calling entries for open mic. Curious about what it would be like, she filled the form and went straight to perform at the open mic on February 9, 2020. That’s when it began. Writing and performing – that’s where Meghna belonged all this while and she understood.
Combating her fear for stage and judgments, she just went all out with new poems and new platforms from that time.
Two sisters and a maid
“Okay, Prachi baaji take care… I am leaving for home now…,” said Aziz, a maid working in the house of Rao’s – the biggest industrialists in the town, as she shut the door behind.
Aziz turned around and was left surprised as she looked two men approaching her. She tried to call for help or run inside the house, but one man came and shut her mouth with his hand.
They took her in a van and she wrestled against the masculine power but finally got tired after 5 minutes and stayed as she was.
Sitting tired and helpless there, she realised she forgot to clean the living room area in a hurry. Aziz’s husband had died in an accident and her 2-year-old was alone at home – “he might be hungry, he might be crying,” she thought to herself while leaving Rao’s house.
“Don’t talk to me ever again,” came the voice from Prachi’s room (the younger daughter of Rao’s, a spoilt brat). Shilpa, her elder sister, was worried about what had happened to her sister, why was she yelling in the middle of the night.
Prachi and Shilpa both were daughters of Sumeeta and Subhash Rao who died in an accident along with their driver Amjad (Aziz’s husband).
Shilpa kept calling her Prachi, but she did not respond, she tried calling her cell, but her younger sister had switched her phone off.
Worried about Prachi’s behaviour, which was turning worse day by day, Shilpa got up from her bed, sat on her wheelchair and started moving towards her sister’s room.
There was just one sound which was coming from the other room and that was Prachi crying. Shilpa started moving faster, unaware of the oil which was spilled on the floor.
Yes, Aziz forgot to clean the living room.
That night, while Prachi was crying because she had a fight with her boyfriend again, Aziz was raped and thrown on the side of the road because she could not pay all debts which were due to her husband. And, Shilpa? She had slipped injuring her head, lying unconscious on the floor of her house.
Prachi woke up the next morning with a sorry message from her boyfriend and smiled as she started coming out of her room. She saw her sister, and she ran towards her.
“Di, di, what happened to you,” she was shivering worriedly after all Shilpa was the only family she had now.
She called the ambulance, went to the hospital with her sister, and kept calling Aziz to inform her about the incident.
“No answer, what is wrong with her…is she still sleeping?” she murmured as they reached the hospital gate.
She was running alongside her sister to the observation room, where she saw people around a stretcher where a woman was lying half-dressed and covered in blood.
“She was raped and those people just threw her out of the car,” someone said.
After a few minutes of brisk walking outside the observation room, Prachi realised the woman was Aziz. She ran to her and started crying looking at her condition.
3 days after medication and observation of both Shilpa and Aziz, got their consciousness back struggling from the memories of what happened that night.
And, Prachi was talking to her boyfriend when she got that news. They called her, talked to her, but never said anything about that night or her mistake.
Moral: Sometimes we think our problems are the biggest, unaware of the fact what others are going through and what problem is our behaviour causing to them.
The Marital Rape
“marriage is not an option now,” Simran shouted at her father after an hour of serious conversation.
“I am getting older,” her father yelled back as he fell on the floor unconscious.
“Someone please call the doctor, I think he is having a heart attack,” as the old man lay on the floor helplessly, a distinct voice came. The voice was of Sheela – Simran’s stepmother, who was now crying breathlessly.
Ranpreet and Simar were happily married but could not have a child for 5 years. And unfortunately, when she finally conceived, Simar died while giving birth to Simar.
After that dreadful incident, Ranpreet married another woman to take care of his motherless daughter.
It is not an unknown fact that daughters can never share things with their fathers. And that is what was going through. Simran could never share with her father why she did not want to get married…what happened when she was 13…was it a good touch or a bad one? Was it a toy that she was asked to hold and play with? She could never tell her father how gross she felt when she understood what actually happened to her. A man sexually abused her in her own house.
Simran was lost in her thoughts, crying silently while Sheela was making all noises and cursing Simran aloud. The ambulance came, and both of them said they would go with Ranpreet. As they reached the hospital, doctors announced Ranpreet dead.
Sheela’s family came to console the family later that evening. While everyone sat in the living room and talked about what happened, Sheela’s sister wanted to help her with the house chores.
“What happened…it was so sudden…I called Sudeep ji and came straight here…I am still in shock Sheela,” said Sheela’s sister while making tea for everyone sitting in the living room.
“It was her didi…it was her…when Bebe told me that she killed her mother…I should have known she will kill her father too,” Sheela started sobbing.
“I did not kill my papa…..I did not kill him,” yelled Simran, who had come to take water from the kitchen but overheard her stepmother blaming Simran for her father’s death.
“How dare you shout at your mom like this, you thankless kid,” Sheela’s sister scolded Simran.
“She is not my mom. She was just papa’s wife,” Simran murmured and ran to her room crying.
Everyone heard Simran but did not react.
More guests started coming to their house as the news started spreading about Ranpreet’s demise. Later that evening, everyone blamed Simran for her father’s death. “She should have agreed for the marriage, poor Ranpreet could not even see his only daughter as a bride,” said someone.
Now Sheela was the in-charge of house and even of Simran unfortunately. So she made the decision, she said it aloud, “This witch has to get married, who knows she kills me too.”
The next morning, Sheela told Simran’s best friend to bring her downstairs in a decent dress.
“Aunty ji uncle died yesterday only. Please don’t do this to her, she is already very upset,” replied Pallavi – Simran’s friend, who knew everything about how Simran was harassed.
Simran just had Pallavi as a friend whom she thought of as a sister and shared everything with her.
“That bhaiya came and held me from behind, he said we are playing a game and made me touch his body as said that it is a toy, I have to play with it,” Pallavi recalled how Simran was crying that day.
“I am not asking you Pallavi, I am telling you. Go and ask your friend to come downstairs. Her to-be husband is waiting to see her,” Sheela said angrily.
There sat an untidy, matured looking guy, grinning with the thought of marriage at the age of 30.
Simran did not come, she locked her room. Pallavi came downstairs to inform Sheela about this.
“She is a very adamant girl. Let me tackle this now,” Sheela said and went straight to Simran’s room.
“Simran, all the guests are waiting downstairs. This was your father’s last wish to get you married. Open the door at once,” Sheela yelled.
“Who is the guy?” Simran questioned.
“That does not matter. Just do what I have asked you to do,” Sheela said and banged the door.
Simran was crying heavily holding her parent’s wedding picture. “I wish you were alive Mumma, you could have understood my feelings,” she said sobbing.
“5 minutes, you just have 5 minutes,” came the voice from the other side of the door.
Simran stood up, washed her face, and opened the door. “Only for papa,” she told herself.
As she went to the living room, where her groom-to-be was sitting with all the family members, Simran’s feet froze. She could not move an inch ahead.
Sheela held her hand and dragged her to the room and made her sit in front of Nikhil (Sheela’s nephew and Simran’s would-be husband).
Nikhil looked at Simran and winked.
They got married in 2 days in a simple ceremony at home.
“Take good care of her beta, she is very adamant,” said Sheela while sending her stepdaughter to a new house.
“Don’t worry Massi, she has always been my favourite,” Nikhil replied.
Did Sheela know about what happened between Nikhil and Simran at Simran’s 13th birthday party at home? Was it revenge? Did Sheela always hate Simran this much?
The answers to this question will always be unknown. But poor Simran, who never got her mother’s love lost her father a day before marrying a 10-year elder man who abused her when she was just 13.
On the first night of her married life, Simran was beaten up and raped by her husband. “Now you have to play with this toy, this is your responsibility,” said Nikhil.
Maybe some stories just don’t have a happy ending after all.