Updated: Sep 13

An unwelcome touch, a searing look, a seemingly normal word spoken but which is pregnant with hurtful intent — these are some of the ways in which people indulge in sexual abuse. The action may not even be evident to the next person but is ample to scar the person for whom it is intended.

“Ammu” by K. M. Sindhushree talks about such a scar that was caused to an innocent victim.

Illustrated by Shailusha Anugu

“I have always wondered why plastic melts when you heat it… Mamma never tells me why, because she is always busy working and fighting with Papa.

And why has Papa not come yet? He said he would buy me that pink choki today, without fail.

He keeps asking me for the name of the choki when I have already told him so many times — the name is pink choki, Papa.

But he still asks for the name.

Why do Mamma and Papa only ask questions but never answer?


“Hey Ammu! what are you doing up this late, that too alone.”

“Hi Topi Uncle, I am waiting for Papa. He said he would buy me pink choki today no matter what. But see, he hasn't come yet.”

“It’s okay Ammu, go inside now. Aren’t you feeling cold?”

“No Topi Uncle”

“You will catch a cold, go inside. When your Papa arrives, he will meet you inside.”

“No! Mamma will tell him I have fallen asleep and Papa will go back home.”

“But your papa is stuck somewhere, he may not be able to make it today.”

“How do you know Topi Uncle?”

“I called him, Ammu just before coming here to meet you.”

Papa always does this. That is why mamma always fights with him.

“Ammu don’t cry now”

“I am not crying.”

“Okay come, I will give you that chocolate.”


“Yes really…”

“But Mamma…”

“I will tell her don’t worry”


“Topi uncle! This is not the shop.”

“This is the building where Deepu and I took all the pipes for choki.”

“Are we taking the pipes again for choki?”

“No, but why did you take the pipes, Ammu?”

“Deepu said we will get choki in exchange for pipes.”

“You mean to say you stole the pipes, Ammu.”

“That’s what papa said I don’t know.”

“You naughty girl. Anyway we are not stealing pipes. I have hidden the chocolates inside for you so your Mamma won't catch you eating”.

“And don’t tell anyone about this okay? Ammu.”

“Okay Topi Uncle.”

“Uncle it is so dark inside and I am getting scared.”

“Let’s go to Mamma, uncle”

“Aree ammu, you are a big girl now so stop being afraid.”

“Come here and sit next to me.”

“But what about choki, uncle?”

“I will give you. Wait!”

“Uncle, why are you shouting?”

“I am not… your impatience is upsetting me.”

“Give me your hand.”

“Why uncle?”

“You won’t stop asking questions, will you?”

“Do you want choki or not?”

“Yes uncle.”

“Then put your hand inside my pants and squeeze me.”

“And don’t ask questions okay?”

“Just do as I say.”

“Squeeze hard, didn’t you eat enough?”

“Ummmm… you are getting good at this.”

“How does it feel, Ammu?” “I don’t know Uncle…” “What do you know?” “You are just like your mother. I guess that’s why your father married someone else!” “Now remove your dress and underwear. Don’t ask a single question, okay?” “Now I am going to go inside you. You should not scream okay?” “Okay uncle” “Why is it so tight, man!” “I told you not to scream! If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t have wasted my energy on slapping you.” “Now stop crying. I said stop!” Oh! Damn! She is not breathing, I guess. Ram, what did you do man? You should have been more careful. What if she dies? Where will I bury her? Okay, there must be water in the tank upstairs. “Wake up! Wake up!” “Oh! Good Lord! She is not dead.” “Do you know how much you scared me?” “Shit! You have so much blood on you go clean yourself. Get up!” “But uncle?” “Just go from here, Useless! Don’t tell anyone about this.” “If you do, then, I will tell your Mamma and Papa about the glass you broke and you know how angry your mother will be with you when she gets to know.”


“Ammu! What is all this? Why is there so much blood on your hand? What did you do? Stop crying and tell me what happened?” “Oh, you are bleeding from inside. Did you play and hurt yourself again?” “But why are you bleeding from inside? Speak up, damn it!” “You are just like your father. You never answer my question.” “Fine! Let’s get you cleaned up first and Stop crying now!” “What will people think of me if they hear you crying so badly?”


“Ammu, you sleep now and if there is a lot of pain tell me and not your Papa okay? Don’t tell him anything about this. That irresponsible man will again blame me for not taking care of you guys when all he does is roam with that woman, and forget about what happened today.”

“Stop crying for heaven’s sake and sleep. You won’t even tell me what happened. You are such a burden! You are eating my soul slowly everyday.”


“Uncle no no… it hurts! No please… stop uncle!”

Meena yelled, “Ammu, stop screaming! What happens to you every night. You keep screaming like someone is trying to kill you. I am fed up of this.”

“Maa, can you please let me share the room with you. I can’t share the room with her anymore.”

Before I could realise, it was another horrendous nightmare like every other day. My mother with a grumpy face started her grumbling. The nightmare ends with her grumbling and my day begins with it.

I don’t understand why I get the same nightmare everyday and why mamma prevents me from talking about it to my therapist and anyone else for that matter. It is always on my mind – while eating, working, walking – always.

I can’t get rid of it and everyone tells me that I am not normal like them. Am I abnormal? Is something wrong with me? And then My mother yelled once again.

“Ammu! Enough of your overthinking! It’s now time to get ready for work.”





This contribution is edited by Manognya Bethapudi & Tarun Chintam & illustrated by Shailusha Anugu.



This short story is available in paperback & ebook.

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