Today I repost an article I published a few months ago but which, unfortunately, concerns a theme that seems to never change…
Today the spotlight of Indian news is on the alleged suicide of Jiah Khan, 25 year old Bollywood star who hang herself last night in her apartment.
No one talks about another girl, ten years older, who was found this morning naked, her wrists tight up, in a dark room in her parents’ house by the Bangalore police.
Hemavathi is 30 years old, has a business degree from one of the biggest universities in the country and lives in a city that is the centre of each and every phone complaint of the English speaking world: each query, each complaint passes through one of the call centres of her city.
And while living in this alien world she is led to believe she’s an alien herself. She thinks she can fall for a man she loves and has not been chosen by her family. She even wants to marry him.
She makes this decision and a minute after she vanishes in thin air, no one reports her missing, no one looks for her -not even that man who was supposed to marry her- and for five years she’s gone, disappeared.
Until this morning the blurred picture of a white larvae with nails as claws appears for a moment on the news.
But India has an actress to mourne and a thirty-five year old woman segregated in her own house by her own family to tear her away from an unwanted wedding is no big news.
I write this story because I’m deeply touched by the intensity of this intimate tragedy, which takes place in a house where a daughter, with nails like claws and with the skin bleached by darkness, is discovered by a stranger because she screams “I’m hungry”. The home, the family, all we find refuge in during difficult times too often becomes for Indian women a wax castle, inhabited by familiar torturers, which melts upon itself trapping them in a familiar prison.