I’ve known Malaika for over three years. We’ve been friends, confidantes, enablers of literary snobbishness and several other things. For me, my perpetual quest for reading and learning is my desire to one day be the most evolved man that ever lived (delusions keep me grounded) but for her, it’s an escape from her otherwise constricted world, an excuse to feel different, a crutch for when she feels like the world is falling on her and her back’s giving way but most of all it’s a tiny hammer that she uses to quietly shawshank a tunnel out of the prison that is her home.
Malaika’s parents are not tyrants. Like most Indian parents, they probably think they have her best interests at heart. I’ve never met them but after three years of knowing someone, you’re able to paint a portrait of what they might be like in your head. I know she’s not allowed to stay out very late or really even stay out a whole lot even if it’s just coffee with childhood friends. This is commonplace even in the most open minded Indian cities. Malaika will not have any say in who she must marry and when she does. Like me, she studied engineering but that too was probably against what she might have liked to study, given the choice.
Like most people who share their lives with one another on a daily basis and discuss literature and drugs at length, sexual fantasies come up with a remarkable regularity. I know she’s into some fairly dark shit like bondage, a little good natured sadomasochism, popsicles and other harmless colorful details. That’s the kind of people I like having as friends, who don’t cringe every time someone utters profanity or talks about a blowjob. One day however, she told me very earnestly that consensual rape was a fantasy she had been nursing for a while. It baffled me, because as fascinating sexual perversion and aberrant kinky behavior is, rape consensual or not should not be any human’s fantasy.
I never thought I’d ever fear hearing something from her or about her that I couldn’t un-hear but this makes for an exception. I won’t let it dictate in any way our friendship in the future or judge her for it but I need to, for the life of me rationalize it and find some reason to make sense of it. Too many women get raped everyday for anyone to role-play for sexual gratification. I admitted to appreciating her telling me and together, we began to try figuring it out.
I was aware of her situation at home, having to meet prospective grooms as part of her daughterly duties and make up her mind about one or it’ll be made for her. There are restrictions for everything and she gives in more often than she should just to avoid the constant pain not having to cry in the shower later. While no one is pinning her to the ground and violating her person, I’d say this compares. I’d definitely say that. While I’ve never been raped, it’s occurred to me that perhaps one may eventually get over a stranger molesting you for a few minutes but having to constantly put up with needless restrictions and having infinitesimally little control over your own life is something no one can really get over.
We’re left to wrestle with it and maybe having an orgasm helps us get a little closer to closure. It’s cheaper than therapy, not as destructive as drugs and just dark enough to keep secret. No one at point should have to get raped, even if its consensual but maybe if you’re into it, whispering “hey love, wanna do something for me?” before can be condoned. Just remember to tread lightly, very lightly. It’s a very slippery slope.