“Do not be silent; there is no limit to the power that may be released through you.”
― Howard Thurman, Deep Is the Hunger
The day which taught me to speak up even for a little thing.
Back in September 2018, I had an internship where I normally used to leave my place of work at around 7 or 8 in the evening. No matter the timing, the trains of Mumbai are always crowded and it feels like more than half of Mumbai’s people are trying to fit in one train and hurry back to their homes. Fortunately, enough I got a place to sit as the lady was getting down the next stop. Don’t even get me started on sitting rules work in the ladies’ compartment. I had a 30 minutes ride to reach my town. I could smell the irritation, tension, worries and only a few faces of the joy of women almost every day. Instead of being on the phone and scrolling through Instagram I listen to music and observe people every time I travel through train. You can say a lot from people’s facial expression on how their day went and how they behave around others.
A lady got on and noticed that there was a place to sit which was exactly in front of me. She asked people to adjust a little and give her space.
Only one woman didn’t adjust a bit who was sitting at the window seat to my left side. She was actually sitting in a relaxed position occupying most of the space. The little girl next to her asked her gently to adjust a little. She didn’t even budge and sat as if she owns the train. The nerve.
The woman who was trying to sit and trying to adjust became irritated and with a little frustrated voice, she asked, “ Kya aap thikse beth sakhte ho dusre logo ki tarah? Aap jaise bethe ho uske vajah se mujhe bethne nahi milra. [ Could you please sit properly like others? The way you are sitting occupies the most space.”]
The lady ignored her. Even the little girl beside her told her to sit like other women as it can help sit others comfortably. She pretended as if she actually sat properly but didn’t. The little girl said again and now she started yelling at her.
While this was going on, I noticed she had a little bag kept by her side which she was hiding with her dupatta. No one seemed to notice the bag I guess or they were not telling her because she might just start scowling and yelling at them.
I thought I’ll tell her to take the bag and keep it down but then again, she went back to the previous position, leaving the girl and woman more irritated who was struggling to sit. They told her furiously to understand the situation.
She yelled back and told them “Mein aisehi bethungi. Meri marzi mei kaise bhi bethu. Aapko jo karna he kijiye.” [I will sit like this. It’s my will to sit however I want. Do whatever you want to do.”]
I decided not to tell her to keep the bag down just to avoid a fight or yelling to each other.
And the lady struggling to sit just gave up and stood. I could see her face was so tired and she seemed so exhausted.
I reached my destination and after I got down, I felt something in my stomach, maybe guilt.
I went home trying to contemplate on why didn’t I just tell the lady to keep the bag down? Why was everyone shut up about it?
I understood it was not a huge problem but it felt like this discovered many more answers to me and how I was thinking about the situation.
I finally understood. I got afraid and backed out just to avoid a fight and raise my voice.
You must be thinking why did I feel a sense of guilt for such a small thing?
Or some of you must be thinking “Why didn’t I speak up”?
I asked me the same questions you are thinking of right now.
Why couldn’t I speak up? Or should I for such a small matter?
Yes, ignorance is bliss but not when something wrong is happening right in front of my eyes.
There’s a difference when it comes to being ignorant when it is not your business and being aware if something is deep shit wrong in your surroundings.
You can’t walk down the road and see a girl being kidnapped right in front of the eyes and be ignorant about it. And people still are ignorant of such situations or issues.
You obviously can walk down the road if you see a couple fighting because it is their own matter or some men are beating each other because they hit their bikes to each other. Well, I am a girl so I can’t go and stop it. We all can guess how it might turn out. Boys could do, maybe, instead of watching or you can choose to walk away. This is what we see happening almost every day in our day to day life in Mumbai. 😛
I remembered the times I didn’t speak for someone or something happening right in front of my eyes.
There are various reasons we tend to not speak up.
The number one reason we don’t speak because we are afraid if we may cause harm to ourselves by speaking up.
Or verbal fights may turn into violence.
Or we just don’t have enough confidence and back ourselves up.
It’s alright. Even I have been there before.
I want you to remember if you have seen anything wrong happening on the streets and you have just ignored and walked off?
I have done this many time but then I didn’t realize how important it was to not be ignorant and help.
We see people live streaming when someone is being beaten up rather than going for help.
Is this how we want to make an example of ourselves in this world?
After that incident, many thoughts came into my mind.
How I didn’t sort out a simple fight happening in front of me.
How I didn’t do anything when a person was throwing stones at a cat in front of me.
How I didn’t rush for help when it was needed.
I am not forcing anyone here to make these changes or do huge things. I just want you to know how we can all make this world a better place if we start speaking for each other.
You can take small steps like
“Not throwing garbage on the streets.”
“Choosing to end the fighting among women on trains.”
“If anyone at work is talking behind an employee’s back in front of you, you can choose to shut them up or walk away.” Your choice.
Our future depends upon uniting and bringing love when there are difficult times in front of you.
We can’t sit and watch what’s happening around the world.
There are too many things taking place which are bad for our society and this planet and we can choose to speak on it.
The power of social media is amazing. With one post and message whole world unites to fight the evil.
Use that if need be. But only for the good.
We need more love in this world and fewer misunderstandings and that is the cause of fights most of the time.
I have been silent for so long.
Even still now I struggle with taking steps to speak but I am doing these changes in myself bit by bit.
I am not ignoring when someone throws garbage outside.
I am not ignoring where the world is moving towards.
I am not ignoring the toxic things people say and laugh.
I am speaking up for the good of the people and the planet.
“I can’t be a sinner in silence and what I want to be is someone who is speaking up even if it is for small things. “