The air is still. Almost as if it has decided to see just how quietly it can creep, undetected, through her home. Not a leaf has moved. Not a sigh has escaped her lips.
Not a word of this article she has read has stayed back except one: raped.
The images swirl in her head. She remembers how just a day ago, she was walking back home. Not a great distance, just two kilometres. She knows how she walks. She dodges, she clutches her bag close to her, so nobody can snatch it away and run for it. So nobody can grope her. So nobody can snatch her chain. She keeps tossing her head, not just checking for traffic but also for people; for men who might try to touch her while her head is tilted the other way. Her eyes glance this way and that, she keeps crossing the road, zigzagging her way home so she can avoid threatening or shady looking people, innocent as they may be.
She wonders when was the last time she walked without worrying about the process.
She knows she cannot take those share cabs alone - women hardly ever get into those alone.
She thinks then, about this little girl who had been murdered after being raped. Kidnapped while she played. Raped and then murdered, her body chopped to bits. She tries to think about incident after incident, news story after story that she has avoided reading just so she can restore some normalcy to her own life as a woman, trying to accept the caution and defences as normal, everyday. She looks at the surge of anger rising inside her, almost as if it is not hers.
She hopes, hopelessly, that there is some justification behind what is happening to women. She hopes that she never finds out. It almost justifies another article in the same paper that reports a mother who killed her own daughter. And for the first time, she can completely accept that.