You grasp the edge of the desk and swallow your fear, blink your eyes rapidly until your face feels composed. You tuck the letter into a drawer, stack the vetted stories, and place the article about the Delhi victim and her rapists on top. You owe it to your country, you think. To your fellow Indian women, all of whom know this occurs on a daily basis and only to be met with silence. To the Indian men who try to defend their female friends, only to fall victim to violence themselves. To all the other local papers still hesitating to run the story.
You don’t think of yourself as foolhardy, but if you don’t run this as a local story, you truly believe: no one else will. The atmosphere of fear, the culture of silence, it’s just too oppressive for anyone to want to break first.
You call Isha into the room. She glances at the story on top, meets your eyes. You think you see admiration there, if mixed with anxiety. You hope you’re proving a good example. You hope this moment doesn’t come back to haunt you.
“Thank you,” Isha says, and you’re not sure if she is being polite, or if she is also saying, Thank you for showing me that a woman in this profession can also be brave.
You haven’t practiced religion in years, not since the last time your mother was well enough to force you to go to temple, where you bent your head and received garland and ash with barely repressed distaste. You’re an agnostic now. But after Isha leaves the room, you take a moment to breathe, you pray.