Grappling With My Girlhood in Gwalior #BlogchatterA2Z

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This post is written for the theme “26 Places, 26 Memories” for the #AtoZChallenge.

G FOR GWALIOR:

The stately city of Gwalior is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. It’s best known for its beautiful palaces, temples and the magnificent Gwalior Fort, that offers a fantastic sound and light show.

I visited Gwalior in 2001 during autumn break from school. My parents had invited my cousins to join us on a family holiday, and we stayed at the Taj Usha Kiran Palace. A heritage property converted into a hotel, the place was slightly decrepit at the time, but had loads of character. I enjoyed the historical sightseeing the city offered, and loved spending time with my cousins, but one memory stands out the most.

GRAPPLING WITH MY GIRLHOOD IN GWALIOR:

At 14, I was just coming to terms with my adolescent body. I was overweight, acne’d, and rife with teenage insecurities. Most of you would be familiar with growing pains, both physical and emotional.

All four children, of whom I was the oldest, were at the activity centre of the hotel one evening. The man in-charge of the activity centre tried teaching each of us, in turn, the method to play pool correctly. He stood behind us, guiding the pool stick in our hands to show us the amount of force required to push the ball, as well as how to take aim correctly. When it was my turn, he stood extremely close and fondled me with every swing of the cue.

I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I was acutely aware of my own discomfort. After a few tries, I retreated into my shell, curling up with a book instead of playing pool with the others. Though the incident remained in my mind for a long time, I never told anyone about it. In hindsight, I should’ve confided to my parents on the spot, so other girls could be saved from this man’s prowling hands. Unfortunately, I was unable to express my feelings even to myself. As a teenager, I’d romanticised the idea of receiving attention from boys I liked, but I was completely unprepared for this unwanted attention showered on me.

The recent #MeToo movement has proved a blessing for shy teenagers and girls who lack the courage, or even the ability to understand when they’re being subjected to acts of sexual harassment. I wish I had the courage to voice my distress back then. This wasn’t the only time I’ve been groped, touched, leered at, followed, bothered etc., but this was the first in my memory and hence the most distressing. It led to a sudden, stark awareness of my own girlhood.

Come to think of it, when my friends played pool endlessly as a pastime in later years, this was probably why I never enjoyed the game 😉

Come back tomorrow for the letter H and another story!

If you enjoyed reading this post, you will enjoy reading my ebook “TALES FROM MY TRAVEL TREASURY: AN ALLITERATIVE ANTHOLOGY” which is a collection of my travel tales. It can be downloaded for FREE for a limited time only from this link.

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Posing at the Gwalior Fort circa October 2001

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Enjoying the cultural shows at the hotel

G for Gwalior

Book a stay at the Taj Usha Kiran Palace Hotel in Gwalior by clicking here.

*Unless specified, the copyright in all pictures belongs to nooranandchawla. 

**This is not a sponsored post, but it contains an affiliate link. If you book a stay using my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

A for AmritsarB for BhopalC for CambodiaD for Delhi,  E for England, F for France

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79 Thoughts

  1. Sorry to hear about the incident. Indeed people of such mindset should be handled right there and then without any mercy. Hats off to your inner strength to bring this up on this platform with a strong message of awareness and concern.

      1. We all need a little push and pull and the way forward is what matters. You are a cheerful person who enthralls us with your humorous anecdotes. Keep smiling and spreading the radiance,

  2. I am loving to see the chubby version of you. And about the incident you are true, at that time, a teenager mind doesn’t have many clues to react and deal with the situation but one thing is also true, bad is bad and it shouldn’t be appreciated ever.

  3. That’s sad 🙁 Most of the times we girls hide in a chip thinking it is our mistake. We must teach our daughters to stand up and realize what is happening with them. Glad you could openly talk about it.

  4. Its really worrisome that as a young women the life start on a bad note. Parents try to build this trust that kids can com back, but its always tough to get into the shell of teenagers. I am sure now if you see something like tjis happen you will raise your voice.

  5. Such an experience can be extremely traumatic. Many a time a person gets confused if actually such a thing is happening to him or her. Am I really the victim of an abuse? Often one wonders. May be you should have confided in your parents.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story Noor, I agree we as teenagers do not have the courage to yell for our own safety even when we could sense certain discomforts and such incidents leave a mark of disgrace forever in our minds and occupies some space.
    But I don’t want you to ever think about it, you are a beautiful girl.
    Keep shining!! Have a great day!

  7. We all have these memories that have managed to scar us a little. Looking back I wish we were taught to defend ourselves or at least call out the offender. Sorry you had to go through this, but I am glad you wrote about it.

  8. Parents usually avoid these conversations with children while they are growing up and in turn children don’t know how to deal with this. Your experience and that of many others as part of #MeToo campaign shows suffering in silence is not an option.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Aseem 🙂
      I’m sure my parents had educated me about taking care of myself, but some incidents at such a young age, confuse one so much.
      In a way, the current generation is luckier that they have this incredible exposure and may never face these confusions!

  9. It is good that you showed courage to atleast write it now. I guess we all faced such incidents in our early teens but now a days due to awareness our children will not face any. And if they face they know how to react.

  10. Sorry to hear about your incident. A lot of girls have gone through such incidents which somewhere or the other changes the way we look at the world. After all the world is not as we see it. Keep up the good work.

  11. Overweight?? Cmon..it was just puppy fat that disappears with the onset of puberty. It is very sad that most of us have had to go through such incidents in our childhood. Glad you spoke about it as it gives closure to such incidents.My parents wore rose tinted glasses and believed that everyone was good. It took a terrible incident to make them realise the true reality. Your was still a stranger but what do you do about predators around you?

    1. Haha thanks Gurjeet, I still have plenty of puppy fat 😂
      Yes this post indeed seems like closure.
      Thanks for sharing your story too, it’s so important to vocalise these incidents so others are prevented from having them.

  12. I hear you, Noor. Almost everyone has to handle this unsought attention and uncomfortable leering at some point. I too never raised an alarm with my parents when something similar happened to me, out of fear and shame. Imagine, when it wasn’t my fault at all! I hope more girls now come forward and report such entitled jerks.

  13. Glad you came up with this post. I second that the MeToo movement has given courage to young girls. Hope it makes a difference

  14. I am proud of you Noor you brought it up girl, whether we say it or not, each one of us has met such beasts and felt bad without knowing what to do. That’s why we should now teach our daughters how to raise an alarm.

  15. I agree, Noor. This Me too movement has been a blessing for many women who could come out & speak up. For me, I was able to share the bad memories with my husband which were so deep rooted that sometimes thinking about those would make me feel sick. I felt so light after venting it out. I can understand how you must have felt in that moment, we all have gone through those yuck feelings. But really proud of you for putting it right here, young girls need to read such pieces.

  16. I know Noor what you must have felt and that helpless of not speaking out at that very moment. I think most of the females have gone through this nightmare in their lives. I feel nauseated to see how sick minded people we have around us. Kudos to you for sharing such sensitive instance of your life. Hugs.

  17. That is so unfortunate that you had to face such an incidence, this clearly depicts the evil face of our society, Glad you could come over it and talk about it, RESPECT and hugs 🙂

  18. We all have had our uncomfortable moments but sharing them takes courage. I wish as girls we are taught about it so we could talk about it easily with our parents/family.

    1. Often, the trouble is that even when we are taught about it, we’re still unable to vocalise it because of an inherent shame. I’m glad that the current generation feels differently.

  19. #Metoo was an awesome attempt to let girls break out of their own shells and share their stories… And i also think that many of us have these stories lying at the back of our minds but never had the courage to speak up. I can tell you definitely that i have mine too… The only good thing i see about this whole movement today is that our own stories have given us parents enough wisdome to raise our sons nd daughters to be respectful and at the same time have the courage to stand up for themeselves… Great post Noor!

  20. Gwalior is a nice place, but sad to know you had a bad memory attached to it, I understand such incidents take place deep inside us. I am proud of you that you spoke about it and wish these people with dirty mind get the punishment.

  21. Firstly I hear you and I stand in solidarity with your strength to speak about it. I have faced harassment and I know how much it affects us as a child. This men should rot in hell. And you are one gorgeous and brave girl.

  22. Its quite sad that when you cherish your golden memories, it brings back some unpleasant one too. Things are changing, and I hope that the gender difference and such thinking vanishes sooner than we think. As far as the concern about weight, I think it’s still in existence, infact more – exp from my own teen age daughter who keep complaining. But believe me, she is thin!!! But still, her perspective is different…

  23. It was so unfortunate and sad Noor, and hats off to you that you had shared this with so bravely.

  24. I must say this is not easy to talk about this unfortunate incident. It is sad that you had to face this. You are really brave girl. Keep always shining.

  25. You look cute in your childhood. I think most of have this bad experience of weird touch and not confident about speak and saying no. Even I had one too and that make bad memory for life.

  26. Good that you wrote down now Noor, those are the years when we really don’t know the right way to reach or to convey our feelings. That’s why it’s important to make teenagers aware in this century.

  27. First of all honestly saying, you just looked damn cute in your childhood, and yes hats off to you that you actually shared this amazing story. We need to make our kids learn too what exactly good and bad touch is.

  28. The age of innocence and purity. You have that cute little face that everyone loves. I am really loving this series. You are reaching at another level with each article. Kudos.

  29. That’s such a wonderful memory of your stay in Gwalior. Gwalior is one city in MP that I yearn to visit still.But staying in Taj Usha Kiran must be some great experience.

  30. We all have such memories of our childhood or our young days. Such things make me really sad especially now when I have two young girls. I have never been to Gwalior. Looks like a nice place.

  31. Those days it wasn’t so open and parents never discussed unwanted touch with children like the way it is now. One of my dad’s colleague who were our next door neighbor tried to kiss me, I was just 15. I didn’t tell anyone just stopped going to his house of his wife not there.

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