One Slap

Storm raged in our kitchen.

I was yelling “How dare you?”

I had slapped her.

One Slap.

She had called me an incompetent coward and pushed me.

Just.. One.. Tight.. Slap..

 

Her eyes widened and filled up in a flash.

Tears refused to cross the borders that were her eyelids.

Those eyes simply asked

“How could you?”

 

Those waiting tears melted me.

“I did not mean to. I love you.”

I held her face in my hands.

The tears sparkled..

In both pairs of eyes.

Hers still hesitant to cross borders.

 

Months rolled crawled by.

The slap had multiplied – unfettered as an amoeba.

The tears had dried up.

Mine too.

She had started to keep distance..

And silence.

I had begun to wonder..

If silence is here, where are the koo-chi-koos?

Frustration. Desperation.

I had learned to secretly check her phone and Gmail.

She had learned to wipe them clean.

 

Rage. Helplessness.

“Where is he right now?”

I asked, post-coitus.

“Behind those closed eye-lids?” I searched.

The said eye-lids opened in a hurry.

As if to quickly unveil an image – my image.

But the eyes showed nothing.. said nothing.

Not even a “How dare you?”!!!

“I knew it”

“You Slut!”

 

Never again did we eat under one roof.

Talk we did..

At the family court.

Deep inside, I knew I had no justification for my violence..

Both physical and emotional.

I explained.

“I have always been a nice, sensitive guy.”

“Heck, that is why she fell for me.”

“How could this smart woman not have recognized a psycho if I had always been one, huh?”

“She turned me into one – Obviously!”

“With her head-strong feminism and selfish greed for her so called freedom!”

“Is this the prize I get for loving her so blindly?”

 

She left me.

The court let her go.

Without explaining anything.

No one explained anything.

“Arrrrgh… This world, the law, these feminist bitches.. “

“Everything is anti-male, anti-marriage. Dooms day isn’t far off.”

 

Five years.

I hear many voices now.

I see many visuals.

I recognize domestic violence now.

I understand.

It is never ‘just a slap’..

It is ‘One Slap’..

And much more.

 

Bollywood was mistaken.

‘One Slap’ can never ‘correct’ a ‘misguided woman’.

‘One Slap’ can only hurt a woman.

It burns the skin, punctures the ego, stings the self-esteem.

Exactly the way it does to a man!

 

My parents had blundered..

By never demonstrating how to end fights..

Without a “..to be continued. Exciting episode tomorrow. Don’t miss it.”.

 

I had been naive.

Ignorant enough to believe..

That to love is to possess – complete ownership.

That domestic violence does not happen in ‘normal households’.

That I knew very well to control my temper and express anger in a civil way.

That the articles highlighting women’s issues were clichéd!

That I need not learn about such issues.

That it won’t happen to me!

 

Should she have been patient?

Explained it to me?

Waited for me to see reason?

 

Nah.. That would be expecting too much.

She isn’t obligated, is she?

To educate a grown-man who refuses to even attend class?

At the expense of her own peace of mind?

 

Sigh.. It was just too late.

A raging mind can not be reasoned to.

She deserved better.

I needed to be educated.

 

If only..

This education had happened earlier..

Say, ten years back?

Then, that would not have happened..

That One Slap.

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27 thoughts on “One Slap

  1. Good poem! I was confused at first, because your blog is called Conjecture Girl and it seemed as though the woman had slapped another woman or a child.
    Otherwise yes, I liked the story within the poem.

  2. as in first comment i got confused too at firt I thought someone hit a child ..

    I have a different view to it , although I am totally against domestic voilence and definitely against physical abuse

    but there would have been some reason behind that slap, did anyone think of that ..
    mental abuse is also considered domestic voilence.. voilence doen’t have to be physical always.

    it is a big issue and a lot of things are involved..

    a beautiful poem though and well written ..

    • Physical abuse is at once both emotional and physical. More emotional in my view.

      Your point is a very commonly raised one. So common that it has now come to become “valid”.

      Saying “but there must have been a reason behind the slap” is akin to saying “the rape victim might have asked for it. she must have dressed immodestly and why was she out there at that hour?”.

      No adult is justified in hitting another adult no matter the “provocation”. If I hurt/abuse you so badly, just walk out or throw me out.
      Violence (physical/emotional) has come to be the first reaction only because :
      a) People think ‘righteous’ rage and helplessness justify violence to some extent.
      b) The more civil way out – of walking out – is considered taboo. A divorce is known to the world. Abuse is not. And hence, the easier route is through abuse.
      c) Abusing the person opposite me who is provoking me no extent gives me an immediate ego boost. I might regret it later, but that moment, it is simply a winning blow in close-combat. Adrenaline driven.

      Responsible adults should learn not to succumb to these. Yes, yes, that is easy to say, but very difficult to do. But hey, isn’t the whole point of calling oneself an adult that? To do the difficult but right thing?

      I could say “there would have been some reason behind the so called reason behind the slap, did anyone think of that?”.. Or “how is it that when a woman slaps her husband, she is held to be a monster, but when a man does it, he is held to be self-defensive?”. I won’t. That does not address the core issue. It simply circumvents it.

      • Agree with what you have to say, as i said I am totally against physical abuse or any kind of abuse.

        I jsut put a point in front irrespective of the gender, as i said why one is slapped needs to be looked at too, the reason for that .. I DID NOT SAY THE SLAP WAS JUSTIFIED.

        it is a valid one cause .. the reasons need to be looked for sure. YES the MAN in this case needs to be punished or whatever for the slap, I never denied that .. its a assault.
        but till the root is changed it will happen again so along with the slap getting penalised there has to be a way to look at the causes too.
        It does not matter if it is a man who did this or a woman who did this , Gender is not the question.. BUT people have this habit of bringing everything with GENDER in context.

        That is what you have done , if you change the genders would you have replied the same answer to my comment. Because I know 100% my comment would have still been the SAME ..

        I in my comment have not mentioned any gender …

    • The post and comment had specified gender cos the issue in question is very much skewed with respect to gender.
      My answer would have been the same irrespective of any gender reversal. My post too for that matter. Abuse and the associated trauma has no gender.

      The slap was not justified – clear.
      We seem to differ only in the “reason” behind the slap.
      The root cause of a slap is not the provocation or any inter-personal problem. It is ONLY the person’s inability to control rage and nothing else.
      That is the ONLY thing that needs to be addressed to prevent it from happening again and again.
      Pre-slap, inter-personal issues can be addressed. Post-slap, priorities change, and have to change. There is no point in fussing over a razor nick when a bullet injury has occurred simply because the gun went off cos the razor nick made the gunman flinch.

      • Thats the reason why nothing happens in my great nation as we seldom address the root cause of anything and go on and on about what has happened, No one is interested in why it has happened.

        So even if the court has given the verdict and people have moved on, this will again repeat and this time with another individual.. the story hence will continue.

        What will happen for example this lady does the same and somehow the next man also end up giving her a slap, then what should happen.. Just a theory.

      • That is the lady’s headache. The court and society is not out to solve inter-personal issues. Those are too personal and subjective to be solved by outsiders. If the lady ends up provoking the next man too, it is his bad luck. BUT.. the lady’s immaturity is still not the reason for the slap!

        Activists and courts can only act against menaces.. dangerous ones. It is up to people themselves and psychiatrists to sort out the psychological issues.
        Domestic violence is no longer just an inter-personal issue. It is a menace. One mainly brought about by patriarchy.

      • Btw.. Why did I not stop this saying “It is almost always the man who is the root cause behind the slap. It is his ego and inability to digest the wife’s individualism that is the root cause. That’s the statistical majority.”? Ah.. cos I did not want to promote stereotypes.

        But why is that whenever a woman-centric issue is being discussed, men always come up with “it need not really be his fault you kno.. we shd see the other side. God knows what she did!”? Issh.. There, I caught myself stereotyping. I take that back. 😉

  3. I am really amazed that people want to look at the reason behind a slap. There is always a reason behind violence, but once the slap has taken place, the focus must shift from the reason to the action of violence. You would not slap an irritating boss or colleague, you would not slap your neighbour if they throw water out of the window, you would not slap a random driver honking like crazy to overtake you on the road. All these people give you reasons. Why does a wife end up getting a slap for giving a reason? That, my dear, is called patriarchy.

    • Spot on! 🙂
      One might even argue that rage does make people hit people on the road, abuse a colleague etc.. but I am yet to hear of cases where people hit their parents how much ever the ‘provocation’ (they are an extreme minority). Why don’t they do that? Because they have been taught, from toddler days, that they shouldn’t hit their parents. Why does the same person hit his wife? Simply because he has never been taught that it is wrong.. rather, the popular culture has put it in his mind that it is OK to do it.

  4. Pingback: Women’s Web: Pick Of The Week | Women's Web: Online Community For Indian Women

    • Thanks & welcome here, koushik.
      I’m beginning to think that poems have to be easy to understand to be powerful. If I am going to use mental energy to decipher the words & structure, am I not going to be too tired to soak in the effect? Don’t you think?

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