WHEN, O WHEN WILL THE WORLD BELONG ALSO TO GIRLS?


Lovely
warm day in the hills today. I am sitting by the bedroom window, watching naked
young boys from the village bathing in a pool east of the house. They are so
unselfconscious, splashing about, having a great time. I love looking at them,
though my pleasure is vitiated by the realization that girls don’t do it, and I
feel really sad about that. Last year I had taken five young girls into the
water with me, with their clothes on, of course, because I didn’t want to be burnt
as a witch by the village. They were so excited and I took Meera and Himmat
with me to make sure they were safe. I haven’t done it this year because the
rains have been incessant and I haven’t been in the water either.  When, O when will we have a better world
where the girls will be safe and allowed fun?! This is the question one of my
young central characters in my new book (hope to finish it by October) asks.
She is Muslim, a child prodigy in music and is not allowed to perform. I am
reminded of Ravi Shankar’s wife, Annapurna, who took herself out of the music
scene because Ravi Shankar was competitive with her.

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