"You have to agree you girls get a lot of undue advantage" I spoke up trying not to lose my charm. This date had been the most unique one I'd been to. Never before had I spoken so much before on a first date. My usual routine was to be quiet and be a good listener, make use of my best quality. My game plan was quite simple, let the girl do the talking, keeping nodding your head, show as if you care and end the day with a walk (mostly coz I am always almost broke) and woo her with some of my poems. But today was different, I was talking as much as the girl. And the conversations were meaningful too. Yes, this wasn't the first time we met, but it was the first 'date'. We had been online friends for quite some time now and had met a couple of times before for some other purposes.

"Yes, we do. But when you compare it to all that we sacrifice. The price we pay is very very high"

"Don't get started with the feminist bullshit for once. Please."

"When have I ever talked about feminism?"

"You haven't but every girl does at this point in the conversation."

"So am I every girl?"

"You just acted like one! But isn't it a little over-rated? The sacrifices we make, we go through a lot, the world is unfair to us, blah blah blah"

"Oh yes, it is over-rated, Mr. Pillai. FYI some years down the line I will be Mrs. IDONTKNOWWHO. Girls do not own their own identity. Sure it is over-rated."

"You know right that now you can keep your name after marriage as well."

"Oh yes, a gift to womanhood after over 2000 years!"

"I get your point. But it shouldn't be you who should feel ashamed, but that snarly creep. He shouldn't get to live a normal life after committing something so heinous"

"You know what makes me sick? The fact that a girl in 9th standard gets raped by a relative at her own house. The fact that when she spoke about it to her mom, she was made silent. The fact that a girl cannot be safe in her fucking house."

I didn't know what to say to that. No one could have a reply for that. After being mute for a while I managed to speak up, "Whom are you talking about?"

"No one! Leave that."

"Wait, if the girl was never allowed to speak up how do you know about it?"

And she sat quiet avoiding any eye contact.

"No. It can't be..."

"Yes. You will never understand what a girl goes through."

"But... Wait maybe you don't wanna talk about it."

"Yes, but I'd rather talk to you than anyone else."

"I have a lot of questions. I don't know where to start. Why did your mother make you shut up? How could a mother let go when her daughter went through something such horrible? How could she let the culprit just let be?"

"If you think about it, she did what she did, for my betterment. She just was saving me from the disgrace of being a 'rape victim', saving me from those tens and thousands of judgemental eyes, hoping that I grow up a normal life, marry a normal guy and lead a normal life. Any mother would do the same for her daughter's sake. Although it killed her from within to do so."

"Still, I don't get it how a mother could do that. Also, fuck the society! It wasn't your fault what happened to you, it is that creep who should be shamed."

"A country where women are sexualized in item songs in every movie,every ad, all over the media, rape victims aren't even considered human? Somehow it's for me to be ashamed, where I'm the victim"

She looked down for a second. Took a breath and spoke again, looking directly at me.
"Undue advantage, right?"

Once again I stayed quiet, not sure whether I should say what I was about to.
"I'm sorry. That's not what I meant. What a rape victim suffers is unimaginable. I wish I could be of any help. But I was talking about those who haven't suffered, who've taken advantage of their gender"

"You are right, not every girl is a victim of rape. But, every girl has been stared at, stalked, eve-teased, even publicly groped at least once in a lifetime. This may seem nothing serious to you now. But it all makes you disgust yourself. And this is what an Indian girl goes through every day. She cannot walk past her society gate without being judged on any given day. And you feel we have an undue advantage. You know what, there are hundreds of such cases happening every day which go unreported because the victim feels ashamed of herself. There is no reason she should but, our society has managed to develop this attitude towards the so-called weaker sex that most of us are ashamed to be alive. "

I couldn't keep up. She was in pain.

I kept my hand on hers. She stopped, realising how loud her voice had become.

"I'm sorry I said that" I said silently."It was stupid of me"

Silence

"More coffee? These have gone stale"