A Hole in My Pyjamas

Image Credit: Wikipedia
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Image Credit: Wikipedia

It’s a cold night and there is a hole in my pyjamas.

It is shameless of me to be cribbing in a city that has never seen the mercury slipping below ten while the good old Delhi is raring to embrace the zero. But then Delhi can rape and pillage its daughters with six wolves and crowbars and scrape and rummage the streets clean of protestors with batons and water cannons. Delhi can both suffer and get away with lethal extremes.

Blast me if I were to boast it can’t happen in Mumbai. But I am a diehard optimist, the kind that is happy with the glass one tenth full. After all, worse things happen in Rwanda all the time.  We are the shining India, aren’t we? And when the shining peters out we’d give the sickly Africans a run for their money. Believe me, those days are not many moons away, not many goons away.

Forgive me if those sentiments sound like a broken record. Indeed, it is one of the reasons I am speaking of the hole in the pyjamas. But there is this real, physical hole that was burnt by a snapped matchstick head as I prayed the Gods to send me inspiration to write something for the lost girl. That was surely a sign. A big, bad ominous sign. Even the deities seem to have washed their hands off the mobs.  And remember, it is just one of the millions of ravished females I wish to talk about.

There is the boy who accompanied the doomed girl that fateful day on the television today, telling how people watched and walked away when they were hurled half-dead off the moving bus.  I think of Keenan and Reuben who tried to stop some zombies from molesting their girlfriends and were chopped to mincemeat in full public view in Mumbai. A policeman was slaughtered by political crooks in a bustling bazaar for protecting the honour of his own daughter. Thank you, Amritsar. The hole in my pyjamas is getting bigger.

Yet, there is this real, physical hole that was burnt by a snapped matchstick head as I prayed the Gods to send me inspiration, you know.  If the turbaned Lazarus needed a week to awaken and whine, it was sweetly wiped out by the lecherous son of the Premier of this nation in no time. To each his own, but my own wisdom is failing me.

India is a land of riches and life and life term is a joke under these skies. The raped and the maimed and the acid-burned are groveling for life, if not long buried or cremated. And the rapists and the butchers have slithered out of jails and living contented, lusty lives, barely after eight years or so of devastating their victims.

A mosquito slips in through the hole in my pyjamas and plants a sting on my modesty. The charge is vicious and igneous and I feel castrated.  Rightly too, only seventeen years old have the right to be a man and get away with rape and first degree murder.

I have no pyjamas, only a hole.


  1. Hmmm … There is a lot of bitterness in this post, understandable. We need a collective mood lifter these days, but even Sachin has retired.

    1. Puru, I’ve been holding and holding myself but as I said, there is this hole…! Mood lifters? Yeah, I could use some. Sorry about Sachin.

    1. You don’t sound carried away at all and that is the sad truth indeed. Yes, that is something to consider, that rhyme. As for the nation of dead souls, it has got a corpse for a prime minister and a corpse for a president and a corpse for a chief minister for that national capital region. The signs of rigor mortis are there for everyone to see.

  2. So many of them don’t even spend the whole of the 7 years in jail.

    There is no India shining or feel good India or whatever new gimmick they think of, unless there is fair and just treatment of all people. All I see shining are big malls, big cars, big houses, big scams and big crimes, all of which are enjoyed only by the “big” people.

    Yes, it is shameful, and I am avoiding invitations from people who I know are invariably going to ask me my personal take on these recent events. They are calling India the “next big economic superpower”, but the power lies only in the hands of a select few. Without ensuring that human rights are respected and guarded, we cannot feel proud about anything.

    1. Agreed and agreed and agreed! I don’t see how a sensible soul can feel any other way. What is there to take on, Nomad? We are all frothing at the mouth and what is there that has not been said? Yet another girl gets raped and murdered in the national capital region and here we are advocating life terms for these monsters. God, how great can we get?

  3. We are a nation with frontier-town attitude – every man, and woman, to himself / herself. Nobody cares about the other person unless there is some selfish interest.

    A lot needs to change here, but I think very little will. We are happy being this way. Blithe and crass disregard till we are affected by something.

    1. Jayadev, that is a thought provoking statement. What can represent our attitude better than the sentiments of our own Home Minister who pipes he is also a father to three daughters. God forbid, but I am sure he’d be a different man had one of his offspring been in that bus that evening instead of the doomed girl.

      1. Damn right!

        Most of our politicians (I won’t call them leaders) mouth platitudes and play games. They do nothing of substance.

  4. i don’t read newspaper or watch news channels because i am not comfortable reading or watching grisly news stories but i have been doing this for the past few days only because i want to see at least 6 criminals getting punished. well, these 6 (now 5) will probably get some punishment but what i got to read in the meantime were a 21 year old girl being raped and murdered in Noida, someone (perhaps a protester) groped a lady during a candlelight vigil and numerous cases of molestation and rape. can we really expect things to change when we don’t even know how many potential rapists are there on the roads, inside offices or in social gatherings? it is sad but true – girls have to protect themselves and be careful. and we have to sound like broken records if we really want to see any change in our society.

    1. Deb, I seem to have a similar temperament and hate televisions and newspapers. Yet, we may not afford to live under a rock. Enlighten me please, I fail to understand what judicial processes are holding the death away from the putrid wolves? What else is needed to establish their crime? Why can’t the judiciary sit late into the night and proclaim that it actually happened? Why were these monsters allowed to see the light of the sun in 2013? You talk of another rape and murder in Noida? Shouldn’t the genetic fingerprinting be enough to shoot the rapacious criminals dead? Or tie them to a pole on a thoroughfare and let the people take care of them.

  5. Yes Umashankankar, Delhi may be the pits but Mumbai has little to be proud of these days. Rwanda is coming to India. And how do I reassure my daughters, who are now scared of getting into a lift with strangers, that all men are not animals, some are human too? I have argued elsewhere for a 30 day limit for punishment in open-and-shut brutal cases but what is one to do when everyone from the Police Commissioner to the Home Minister looks culpable?

    1. True Satish, beasts are prowling everywhere. The tragedy is, there are good ones too! My own daughters are growing up and they have stars in their eyes. I can’t even imgine beginning to tell them about the black holes lurking at every step and turn. Yes, Rwanda is almost upon us.

  6. The problem which is unfolding, is so deeply ingrained – the mindsets, the apathy, the insensitivity, the failure of democracy. We have elected these people, we have chosen them to be our representatives, we are to blame. The Honey Singhs of the world, croon on shocking lyrics, because we have given them that status. If there were no audience, how could a person like that become famous. Unfortunately, the other side of democracy is horrendous to contemplate but wish there were a flavor of democracy we could embrace which is more tuned to taming the beast in us.

    1. I couldn’t have agreed more with you Moonstone. Indeed, there is a rot in the roots itself. Apathy, insensitivity, democracy… these terms assume certain degrees of cognition. What we are up against here are creatures who are yet to cross the Rubicon of hunting-gathering. Psychopaths are rare aberrations in civilized societies. Sensible humans seem to be aberrations in the Indian society. If this is not the Dark ages, what else is? It is futile to impose human sensitivities in a jungle bristling with predators.

      1. US, Moonstone, just wanted to share two links here.
        One is a document I came across while searching for something:

        Click to access No69_11VE_Deol1.pdf

        It is titled, CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN CELLS – THE DELHI POLICE EXPERIENCE, and was prepared in 2006 by Ms. Kanwaljit Deol, who was the then Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police. (now with National Human Rights Commission). The document seems so comprehensive in covering the shortcomings, yet, the insights don’t seem to produce proportionately concrete results, do they?
        Second link is just another random thing I came across today,
        that just goes on to emphasize how deeply entrenched are the insensitivity and unawareness regarding the psychology of sexual crimes. Educated people with access to resources don’t even try to educate themselves about these things, what can be expected from the dimwitted politicians.

        1. Nomad, I read that document. The history seens to have been put in correct perspective. There is something called ‘window dressing’ in banking parlance. Put simply, it indicates to less savoury realities. The conclusion about Delhi Police is hard to swallow.

          About the other link -I am not sure if it is a sadistic or a masochistic conviction but Dr. Shukla surely needs psychiatric attention.

  7. Today I woke up to the news of SC commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment of a 23 year old man who stabbed an old woman 21 times, cut off her fingers then raped her grand daughter in law who was 5 months pregnant. And the reason they gave was “he was under the influence of alcohol and may not know what he was doing”. Puducherry govt has decided to put girls in overcoats to prevent rape….. where is the country going…. Completely, Rwanda is coming to India.

    1. The egalitarian, archangelic Supreme Court is decidedly holding aloft the Lady of Jurisprudence corporeally. Is it not then the blood of the raped and the slaughtered that stains the ramparts of the high temple of justice too? Puducherry! How have the mighty fallen!

      Your conclusion is bang on.

  8. Poignant, angry and sensitive all at the same time. The juvenile was the cruelest one. He needs equal punishment, even if law has to be amended. Rapist are often repeat offenders, hence duration of punishment is important. After watching the brave mans interview, a could see a gaping hole in my soul too.

    1. Yes, that ‘juvenile’ is the filthiest reptile. But what should send a chill down the spine of us all, he is not alone. There is a legion out there. And if we don’t want the legion to decimate the female of the Homo Sapiens Indians, we will have to execute this one.

  9. After reading it… i realized there’s isn’t just a hole in my pyjamas but the entire Pyjama is in a Hole… don’t have more words for the situation our country is in.

  10. You said it for all of us Uma! I can hardly see a ‘Human Rights’ argument against death sentences for these animals – human rights are for humans and for those who show some semblance of respect for societal norms.

    As for the governance, what can one say about them? I mean I do not see anyone arguing that if you flaunt your wealth you are culpable for the robbery that happens at your house but a similar stupid argument is repeated ad nauseum by various ‘leaders’ of Society whenever there is a case of molestation in all its variety of gruesome forms. If the guardians of Society find such crimes excusable and hold the victim culpable – and if the bosses of the guardians do not punish such ‘excusing’ of crimes – we will find ourselves in a pseudo-Rwanda soon!

    1. Suresh, the state of Texas in USA scrapped away the choice of last meal to the death row inmates. They feel ‘the inmate showed no mercy towards his or her victim, so he or she should be shown no mercy by the prison system.’ Couldn’t agree more. Brutes will be brutes. And if they are just seventeen -they should be snuffed out faster. The longer they live, the greater the perils to the society.

      This Rwanda is going to be real!

  11. a sensitive and touching post Umashankar ji—-every word says so much more than what meets the eye we are a dead lot the most insensitive selfish lot we can attend a candle march and hold demonstrations but we can’t help a dying person lying on the road side —and yes about those other cases you mentioned —-They have been forgotten as will this one and we will continue our normal lives until another such incident takes place –hold demonstrations and go back into hibernation –at the most blame the govt an the police BUt never look at ourselves and our selfishness

  12. before heaping blames on politicians and judiciary, we should peep into our own dirty laundry. The girl and boy were kept lying there for hours, beaten, abused, hurled, almost murdered, people kept ogling over them but no took a step to help. The same people might have joined march with candles in their hand. We have made politicians and judiciary, what they are. Let the millions of cases gather dust and justice seekers eventually die, but courts have to shut down for summer and winter vacation.

    1. Guilty, as charged. That can of worms is true. Conscience is passe.

      That said, neither the police nor the medical profession seems to be helping the cause of the injured or the battered, leave alone the lot of those who happen to accompany the victims.

    1. Words are failing because we have all become deaf and blind. I don’t mean to say we can’t hear and look. But we can’t listen and see anymore.

  13. Life and life term is a joke under Indian skies!
    A juvenile can rape but can not be punished..! How pathetically ridiculous indeed!
    Excellent…couldn’t have been said better.

  14. Very sad, touching & sensitive and excellent writing brother. Today entire nation is shocked and grieved by the tragic end of Damini ……….. the victims are yet to be punished ………. and the life will go on, many questions are left unanswered. The intellectuals of Bollywood will not stop showing vulgarity & nudity for “Box office hits”. Nudity & Item numbers have become essential in the films & this is just checked by giving them “A” certificate ……….. minors will keep on watching ……….. there is provision of giving “A” certificate but no provision of not selling the tickets to the minors ……….. porn stars are becoming celebrity in India ……….. Electronic media is showing “A” grade masala programs for the sake of “TRP”, electronic & print media are full of vulgar & indecent ads ………. And finally the internet giving full access to young girls and boys to all vulgarity, pornography & masala which is blocking their minds and souls. What is our censor board doing? What are we up to? Where are our laws? What can we expect from the politicians when “Manyawar” rapists are sitting in Parliament. Politicians are shouting of banning social media but where are their voices to ban all these dirt flooding the local market and easily available …….!!!!!

    1. My dear Samir, you are clamouring for ‘Manyawars’ to ban the ‘dirt flooding’ the market. Do I need to remind you of the ministers watching pornographic clips bang in the middle of assembly sessions? And then you expect them to filter seedy stuff from percolating to the grassroots!

      Justice Markandeya Katju suspects that at least 90 percent of Indians are “idiots”. I am sure he was either being way too modest or mistaken. At least 90 percent of Indians are imbeciles -they never rose above the cognition of hunter-gatherers. And when I say 90 percent, apparently I mean women too. It is a well established fact that female in-laws of dowry-related victims play equally lethal roles. And if you scroll a few comments above, Nomad has posted a link to a ‘Daily Bhaskar’ coverage of a seminar organised by the police on ‘Sensitivity towards women’ where certain Dr Anita Shukla has postulated that ‘Women instigate men to commit such crimes’, and that ‘if a girl wanders late at night with her boyfriend, such situations are bound to happen.’ Hold your breath for what comes next: ‘The victim should have surrendered when surrounded by six men, at least it could have saved her intestines’.

      Dear God in heaven!

  15. What can one say about this. People say hundred things. But when system has gone beyond repair and people in power’s basic intentions are not good what can help? A hundred quick fixes can be applied to hundred different problems – Lok Pal, Hanging for rapists etc. etc. But the hundred new holes are going to come up. Nothing short of a complete revolution and revamp can improve things.

    1. Right TF. This is probably what the Mayans meant by the end of the world. It is obviously synonymous to end of humanity which has happened in this part of the world. Now, who is going to save the Indians from Indians?

  16. Scathing post US.. rightfully so. As parents, we can and should start thinking of how we will teach our kids to stand up and protect themselves. I do not see much changing for better in future. If only the society will only become more materialistic and self centered.

    1. Mayank, that seems to be the only way out. We can ignore the mayhem at our own peril. Let us equip our progeny with the best possible defenses and pray. Rwanda is right on top of us.

  17. Well written…The nation is really going down to rapists and criminals. It burns my heart everytime I hear of a rape and the Delhi victim. We r clearly giving away the message that this city is not for girls nor this country is. From small kids to aged women, none is safe!

    1. Ekta, I came across a Facebook status that said, ‘Incredible India! Women are not safe either inside the embryo or out of it!” I guess we can’t better that statement.

  18. I have quietly listened to this ubiquitous discussion on television, web forums, newspapers, twitter and facebook since the last few weeks. I did not go to the Candlelight Vigil, I was not water cannoned in front of the India Gate, I did not write a rant story on my blog, I did not sign an online petition, I did not post my number on the “Mahila Bachao Committee” lists, I did not ask my sister or wife to carry pepper spray to work or join Krav Maga classes in the weekend.
    Everytime the discussion popped up, I sat like a stone,unmoved, disturbed and ashamed. I was generalized when my friends from other countries concluded ” These Indian men are a bunch of shovers, gropers and gapers”. I thought how could someone be a brute like these men, I tried to figure out if I can think of anyone who could do something like this. I thought about the severest of punishments that can be handed over to them, something like stripping and tying them against a pole and ask every passerby to spit on them for 1 year, then I thought about human rights commission and paused my flow of ideas.
    I started thinking about solutions to this problem. I thought of shock machines, SOS messages, foetus killing by identifying criminal gene and then I dropped them thinking they are impossible or impractical.
    When the count of incidents like these rose, I stopped reading newspapers, seeing television news and stopped commenting on this topic in other’s blogs. I felt safe knowing the victim was not my sister and the brute not my brother.
    On another cup of tea, I thought, why did they drop Sehwag from the England Series and how Bebo would look in her next movie, a tad plumply or skinny?

    I am the Common Indian Man!

    1. Thank you, Arnab, for that scintillating sketch of the Common Indian Man! And we need not wander far looking for the creature. It is never more than a neighbour away. Hell, it could be within the walls of our own homes, our own bodies. Someday though, the grisly winds are going to sweep them off their feet and that is when they’d belatedly realise how tragic and poignant it all could be. Someday, it will not just be a sensational story being beamed by rasping television channels. Someday, it is going to be his story, an irreversible truth to have happened disturbingly close. Someday, he is going to be the Common Indian Victim.

  19. After I have been reading and writing about the ill that has befallen our nation, sometimes I feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The best I can do is to ensure that I stay sensible and not be a perpetrator/accomplice of crime. Ensure that I can be a good neighbour to people in need. Teach my children that women and girls need to respected. Raise my voice when an injustice has been committed . . . The only issue is that we see injustice so often. I can go on and on . . . And ultimately . . . to know deep in my heart that I can also become one of the victims of a crime if I’m not careful.

    1. Jeevan, it is the reign of darkness.The tunnel of humanity seems to have collapsed on top of us and we seem to be buried deep in the graveyard of depravity. The only ray of hope lies in sensitizing our young ones. Do be careful.

  20. I feel very disturbed whenever I think about everything that has happened and everything that will keep happening, more so because I haven’t done anything to stop it not am I doing something right now to stop it. I feel it is beyond ignorant, insensitive comments by Politicians, it is beyond changing laws and making the punishments more stringent, it is even beyond changing our mindsets. Something way beyond, very very deep within our very core we need to change ourselves, every single one of us.

    1. Well said, Akshay. We have to scrap our decaying cores and start afresh. We may or may not suceed but before we can do that we have to acknowledge the rot and the need to overhaul. Sadly, a majority seems to be living under a rock, if not harbouring sinister intentions.

  21. There is so much angst, pain and rage in your writing. And I share that anger and pain against a race of men who will make animals look like angels. I don’t follow news more so because I am so scared it makes me sick to watch these incidents being reported in such an insensitive way as well. Every time such an incident happens, I feel ashamed of being a man. I feel humanity left the earth long time ago and we are all walking corpses. If not, I will never be able to understand how some lawyer came volunteer to defend these wolves in court. I sincerely hope that these animals are punished soon. At least that will send other wolves into hiding even if for a short while.

    1. What you have said is all true. Indeed, we are all dead men walking. Or maybe we are all dead devils stalking the earth, for even devils would have ceratin scruples. There is that good old saying. Birds of the same feather flock together. Apparently, the lawyer has responded to the ones of his own kind.

      There is nothing new about what has happened. Yet, the cups of ignominy and injustice seem to have run over.

  22. I was away from India while this happened in my own world, Umaji. Though when I was back, the hype aorund the matter on media makes me realize the intensity. It is just one case that has been on media, thousand such cases are reported but lakhs which go un-noticed. An instant rape and people fighting for it is fine. I wonder when I read about a lady raped for almost a year or 2 years etc. I wonder how can that happen. If an act is a rape after today, it was rape 2 years back as well. Why it wasn’t voice at that moment to avoid today? Certainly, there might be some odd conditions which may not permit to voice it on time. This is a big trench of dirt but still need to get into it and be enlightened. It is like the Municipal men getting into a manhole to clear off some shit that is jamming, for the new shit to come in. But about your Post, I like the way you write it. The Hole in the Pyjama also becomes an epic post like The Evening That Killed, for me.

    1. We are referring to inhumanities that cannot be captured by words. When I started writing this post I was not sure what it was I was wanting to write, or what it was I will write. I was deeply dejected. Your simile has captured the situation with stunning clarity –cleaning shit for creating way for more shit.

      Thanks for your kind words.

  23. One political leader called for 10 Pakistani heads as a retaliation for beheading of an Indian jawan. I wonder why the political class is so circumspect in its condemnation of an equally heinous crime committed by our own countrymen ? As for what happened on December 16, no words can capture the true horror – the hole engulfs us all.

    1. It is truly dismaying to see the politicians engage in such rhetoric. Apparently, their efforts are aimed at distracting citizens from their unwillingness to take remedial measures. What stops them from amending the archaic laws and resuscitating the paralyzed police and judiciary?

  24. Blind deaf and dumb ….every 22nd minute a girl is under the venomous claws..I am repeating the lines from my blogpost here ““Geld these bloodthirsty beasts .Let them be between the same hawk and buzzard “…
    but what is more important is to clean the tree from the roots to the tip of the topmost leaf and for that even if we need to cut some shoots or leaves and throw them away we must do it…

  25. Hello Umashankar ji.. I am here probably for the second time. Forgive me for wandering away from the subject but I got to say that your writing draws one in. I loved the flair, intellect and the use of words in your writing. I am a regular follower from now on. I look to learn a lot from you.

    1. Deepak, ‘sometimes I have good luck and I write better than I can.’ Thus spake Hemingway and that is the truth about me. Thank you for your kind words. You are welcome to my nondescript corner!

  26. Beautifully put .. and I loved the metaphor. Feel so helpless. These days I am only on the lookout of even one man who dares to touch me on the road and all the rage will come out on him. As a girl, I do not feel safe even on Mumbai roads now 😦

    Love your writing style. Its beautiful and poignant.

    1. I am happy you touched the soul of the post, Roshni. Thank you for the encouragement.

      True, Mumbai is not what it used to be once. God forbid that you ever have to thrash a lecher -it’s not worth it.

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