A very difficult story

Me, reporting in Maharashtra. Vivek Singh, the photographer on the story, took this in Nawargaon.
Me, reporting in Maharashtra. My friend Vivek took this photo. He was the photographer on the story.

I have reported difficult stories before. It was never easy to tell tales of tragedy from places like Iraq. But a piece that published on CNN.com today is the hardest story I’ve ever told.

Because it became very personal. Because it was raw.

The producer, the photographer, the cameraman who went with me to Maharashtra for this story had no idea how I was feeling. Even I did not know, really, the emotions that would surface and then haunt me as I returned home from India and began writing the story.

But in the end, I felt it would be disingenuous not to reveal a horrible truth about my own life.

I hope you will read the story on CNN.com. Here is the link:


As always, I have indebted to my editor, Jan Winburn. She edited the story with her usual brilliance and grace. But most of all, she believed in me. Again.

I hope rape survivors will be inspired by the quiet strength of Mathura. I know that I am.

6 Replies to “A very difficult story”

  1. I have read your article on CNN today. It is very powerful. I am also an Indian born American. I could relate to some references you made about how men/boys look at women/girls in India. Men think they have the right to grope women in the buses and busy streets.
    What I did not feel comfortable with from your article is you mentioning some activities as menial. Making patties from cow dung is not menial. For Sankranthi, in South India, we (though I am from a well-to-do family) used to make balls out of cow dung, decorate them, keep them on Rangoli through the day, make patties in the afternoon and used the dried ones to make fire on which we would cook pongal. There is nothing menial or dirty about it. My daughter who is born in the USA cringed at first but later did it after I started making them. There is nothing menial about it as long as you respect it. The same thing with being a shepard or being maids. If your studies are not enough to get a so called “non-menial” job, there is nothing wrong in doing a job which can feed you. That is the greatness of the country I live in, there is dignity of labor and no job is menial as long as I can earn a living out of it.


  2. I cannot begin to express the wave of emotions I felt reading your article today on CNN, it compelled me to look you up, leading me to this blog. Not only was your writing incredibly powerful, your courage and strength, so clearly demonstrated through your writing, was even more inspiring. As an Indian and an aspiring writer myself, I can only share in your hopes for a brighter future for women in India and hope to write half as well as you do to create stories that move individuals to action.


  3. Moni Basu, thank you for this insightful work. A trip into the villages of India brings great revelation. The sharing of your journey is one which I will share with many others as your reveal the hearts of men, not only those in India but our own hearts as we sit quietly by.


  4. Very powerful writing..this story shall stay with me for a long long time… I learnt a lot as a person and as a reporter.
    I happen to be from Maharashtra, India currently residing in Atlanta.
    Is there any hope for me to meet you?


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