Once upon a time in a small village tucked far away in a beautiful green country, there lived a girl. She was just like all the other girls in the village. She liked playing in the park, she liked laughing with her friends, her eyes lit up when she gazed at the stars, she liked flying high on the swings, she loved playing mother as she made little blobs of mud cakes for her make believe family and she loved spending time with her story books. She had a perfect little life. But then slowly the demons of society started catching up with her. Soon she realized that her body was a thing of beauty and pain. Grown men would lust after what she never thought would matter. She didn't understand what really happened when for the first time a man groped her. It felt weirdly uncomfortable and strange. She never felt weird when her mom bathed her or her dad carried her on his shoulder. Neither did she feel uncomfortable when aunts pinched her cheek or uncles patted her head. She couldn't really place this new feeling that she was having. Should she feel ashamed or should she feel sad? Or did she just have a bad dream and mistake it for real. She couldn't really say. As she grew up, her mother taught her not to trust men. And she took it to her heart as slowly she started seeing the filth in the society around her. Her fight or flight instinct would kick in at the slowest provocation. Being alone in any room with a guy turned her senses on over drive. She would feel a lump on her throat and she would gulp down her fear. But she was a brave girl. She stood strong and took on her fear. She let her self believe again in the goodness of people. She convinced herself that not all men are bad. She took down the demons from her mind. She was a happy girl again. She let her guard down and let herself fall in love. It was a beautiful feeling. She started smiling to herself all the time. She woke up with happiness in her heart. For the first time she felt the need to look good. She would catch herself looking at her reflection on the small puddle on the way to school. She would write her eyes with jet black kaajal and put on her light pink lipgloss to give her best to her love. She wanted him to love her like he had never loved anyone. She wanted to call him her own. She wanted him to have eyes only for her. She would gaze at his strong hairy arms and would dream of holding it all day. She wrote his name a hundred times behind her maths notebook. It felt like every waking moment of her life was spent in the anticipation of meeting him. She wanted him to be her knight in shining armor, protecting her from the big bad world. She was ready to give her whole heart and soul to him. But he wanted more. He wanted her naked body. Her body didn't mean as much to her as his love. She was willing to give it to him for his love and affection. And for the first time in her life she felt the pleasures of flesh. She felt the pleasure of naked bodies touching each other, the pictures we draw with our mouth, the heat of a man's breath against her face. She felt it all that day. And the next day he was gone. He left without a trace and she was left standing alone in a very large and menacing world. Her heart broke into a million tiny pieces. She felt guilty and ashamed at herself. The shame overcame her sadness and spread a gloomy veil over what was left of her heart. She blamed herself for letting her guard down. She blamed herself for trusting. Her knight in shining armor had just turned back and stabbed her. But our little girl was brave. She knew she had to move on. She couldn't tell anyone her secret because she felt deeply ashamed. So she collected all the million pieces of her heart and glued it together the best way she could. And life did move on. She passed out of school and college with flying colors. She was extremely happy when she landed her first job. She was ready to join the league of adults and explore the world beyond her small village. With packed bags and eyes full of dreams, she boarded the flight to the land of her dreams. The big city overwhelmed her with its bustling streets and crowded shops. But she loved every bit of it. She loved her job, her new friends. Life was beautiful again. She spent hours shopping with her hard earned money, she started going clubbing on weekends and on long road trips with her best friends. But the demons were still waiting for her in the dark corners of her tiny little world. And they found the right time when her male friend from back home decided to visit her. She was happy to see an old and familiar face in the big new city. She welcomed him and happily showed him around the town. But he was barely amused by the city. What amused him more was how the little young girl from his childhood had blossomed into a beautiful young woman. For her he was still the young childhood friend with whom she grew up playing cute little games. She was unprepared to face his lustful advances. She didn't know how to react when he tried to forcefully kiss her. She was lost and utterly speechless. The power of a male's grasp scared her. She had never felt this helpless before. She felt scared and desperate. She pushed him away with all her might but her mind was scarred forever. She cried in her prayer. Where is my knight? She wondered. Where is the person who shares my rib and is sworn to protect me from this big bad world. As if in answer to her prayer, she met someone. He was handsome and loving and he loved her with all his heart. She loved him too with all her heart. But was it real love or her need to find a protector? As time went on, their relationship saw many springs and winters. They fought madly and loved deeply. She felt she could get lost in his arms and he felt he could never live a minute without her. Time ripened their relation but fate challenged it when he got transferred to a distant city. With tears in her eyes and promises to never let the distance break them, she bid him goodbye. True to their word, the love was strong and they spent their nights talking and making up for the distance. But she was again alone in the day. She had friends but everyone was busy chasing their own dreams. She would spend the weekends walking alone on the beach and reading books by her balcony. She would occasionally go out for a movie or try out new restaurants. She missed her love but she missed companionship even more. So when her colleague and good friend of long time asked her if she wanted to check out this cool new bookstore, she was happy to go along. She had known him for a long time now and he was a good friend of her love. So, she suspected nothing devious in his invite. But the demons were smirking at her from the corner of the artfully decorated bookshelf. As if to grab a book behind her, her colleague leaned over and pressed his hand over her body. She froze as she realized what had happened. He acted like it never happened and she felt disgusted. The same old feeling from her childhood creeped back into her. The confusion, the disgust, the weirdness, it all came back in an instant. She felt betrayed. She felt angry. She felt scared and helpless. She felt angry at her colleague but she felt even more angry at herself for not slapping him. She felt angry at not reacting to him the way he deserved. She felt angry that even after all these years and so many mistreatments, she still didn't know how to react strongly in these situations. And she felt angry at her love. Where was he when she was mistreated. Where was the guy who is supposed to protect her when she was shamed. Where was her knight? She cried herself to sleep. Next day she called her love and told him that he had failed her. He didn't understand her mumbled words and misplaced tears. He didn't know what to say. She felt betrayed by him. But he didn't understand. She didn't love him anymore she told him. Love turned sour and then bitter over time as the trust was broken and more broken was her scarred mind. He never understood what he did wrong. But she had lost the faith. Our young little girl tried to be brave. She started questioning herself on why it was happening to her over and over again. She pondered over the question many times running different scenarios over and over in her head. One day while typing away on her office computer, it dawned on her. She was the knight in shining armor that she was searching for. She was searching far and wide for her protector while all along, the knight was in her. She thought her love should protect her from the big bad world. But she was the only one who could do that. She had to build the strength in her to fight back. She had to train herself to fight back. The story books were wrong. No knight in shining armor would ever come. The knight was in her all along. Our brave little girl will keep fighting for she has just discovered her knight. Life goes on and so will the fight..