Who are you?

I am a woman. 

Does that mean you are weak?

No. I am strong.

But physically? Are you strong? Are you as strong as a man?

That depends. How strong do you want me to be?

She wears black mostly. She sits patiently and waits for you to finish. I watch her put away her little craft box, where she is making bead jewelry for those who can’t afford costly stuff. On the other hand, she smartly arranges for food to be sent to small, poverty-striken charity homes.

She is twenty-six.

I first met her around ten years ago. I was thinking of joining a counseling session to talk about Child Sexual Abuse, and I found her. She was sixteen, vocal, and she wanted to make a change. We talked over cups of hot, strong coffee, and then I saw her hearing other people’s stories too.

It was horrifying, some of it. I could see her flinch. She still listened. She still offered support. Nothing but that. Quiet, honest support. A sympathetic ear. She would not react to the goriest tales – not flinch, but ask people to carry on.

When it came to a fight, a conflict, she was never the person to back down. She fought alone, her voice steady and strong, and she made it a point to support the ones she thought she was in need.

Over the last ten years, she has come across many ups and downs, fought against the system when she felt it was wrong, and voiced her opinion in more ways than one.

In my eyes, she is stronger than any man I have come across.

I am sharing my favorite picture of Pranaadhika Sinha Devburman, who is an activist and a fantastic person. Her fight against sexual abuse, especially child sexual abuse, has brought her in touch with thousands of people, and she has opened her heart, her home and her self to make things better.

Disclaimer: This post is a response to the “I am Mardaani” contest hosted by Blogadda.

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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