“Never doubt the capacity of a small group of citizens to change the world.”
It started with something; something that happened in December 2012 in New Delhi. It changed each of our lives. We were more scared, more confident about standing up and more devout to covering ourselves and trying to avert trouble. But, did everyone know and hold on to it? I’m not sure they did.
The play started with Nirbhaya walking across the stage humming softly while the other members walked on to the stage with their hands raised. They all had a story to share. They would all feel for her through each of their stories.
I had made a conscious effort of not reading any reviews before I watched Nirbhaya – The Play myself and hence I wasn’t prepared for what was in store in the NCPA auditorium. What went through me was beyond words. Witnessing something so intense and deep a few meters in front of me was depressing. I would be lying if I said that I did not feel the pain; her pain, while I sat, watched and wept through those 90 crucifying minutes. Her story was severe but so were the other stories that were shared. Right from the one where a li’l 9 year old girl was molested and used to the one about a woman being burnt by her husband in a fit of rage to the one in Chicago where the quintessential short dress, red heels and drunkenness led to something. Each one was successful in digging a hole in my soul and even now as I am writing this post about 2 weeks after witnessing the play, I’m feeling the intensity.
I won’t talk about every scene from the play and I won’t mention anything more about how things proceeded because it would defeat the purpose of the play. If any of you reading this post gets a chance to watch it, DO NOT miss it for anything. Every individual, men and women alike need to witness, feel and be harrowed by it. Everyone must bear this and find it difficult to sit through it. Nirbhaya – The Play was incredibly powerful and it might not stop sexual abuse and sexual violence from the Earth but, it is a start; a start to something that I hope does not cease. It is our encouragement to raise our voices and #breakthesilence.
Ankur Vikal – plays all the male characters
Thank you Poorna Jagannathan for bringing home Nirbhaya – The Play. May it help all of us raise our voices against acts like these. Thank you Yael Farber for making this gruesome episode of her life into a play so strong and vehement.