The Interview

Tell us something about yourself.

Suffice it to say I am a woman?

So, what do you feel?

I feel a lot of things: angst,  anxiety, paranoia, joy, ecstasy, happiness, delusion and fear, but never too safe.

You don’t feel safe?
Yes. And no, this isn’t a country thing. I mean I tried everything, dressing conservatively, being holed up in my home, not speaking unless spoken to. I followed the instructions you know. I stuck to my side of the road, I moved in groups, you’ll find it funny that I enrolled in karate classes and started keeping pepper spray in my bag.

So, that must have made you feel empowered then!
The illusion frankly. But not safe or protected even then.

Well then miss. This might be the textbook case of female hysteria. We’ll have it fixed in no time.
How is that?
The time tested solution of marriage. You can party hard to bollywood songs, put on bling, wear that red lipstick or the little black dress and have sex as much as you like.

Oh! But what about marital rape?
Umm, well. Let us assume it does not exist.

Oh, okay.

So its time for the HYPOTHETICAL ROUND!!
What happens when you are commented upon, out of the blue.
Well,you see, I’ll talk about tonight. I alighted from an auto and entered a passageway to home. This boy on a bike goes past me, takes a u turn and buzzes past me saying, ‘I love you.’ Dude, I didn’t even know that guy.

What did you do?
I pretended to not have heard him.

So, my hypothetical question is: What if this has happened three years ago?
I would have felt angered. The blood would have boiled over in my veins at such a preposterous act. I would have retaliated with a nasty retort because I was prone to panic.

So what changed?
Did you know an Australian court acquitted a man of harrassing two women because he was influenced by Bollywood and considered stalking women as normal?

What is your point?
My point is, that it is okay for that guy to confess love to a complete stranger because she is a woman wearing red lipstick and walking alone at 8 p m with her hair down. It is okay because well, they get away with it in our movies and telly. It is okay for our representatives to talk shit about women. It is okay for women to shame other women because they were ‘asking for it’. It is okay for our media to go on air on national television and glorify the good girl wronged and doubt the one in a club. If that is okay, it is alright to have a sense of entitlement that lets us get away with rowdy guys because men will be men.

Very well.
Now we reach the end of the interview with one last question. What is your name?
Name,ethnicity,race,nationality,religion, ot does not matter.
Suffice it to say I am a woman.



Travelling in Dhanbad

Mine is a small city, marching forward one of the fastest growing cities in India. As an undergraduate student of SSLNT Women’s college, Dhanbad, I had to use the autorickshaws for an hour long commute which I seldom looked forward to. I have developed auto-phobia ever since.
This chauvinistic male dominated society looks at women largely as objects of sexual fulfillment and it gets manifested in the form of the unwanted touch, grope, shove, lewd commentary, eve teasing and what not!
How long am I going to tell myself that I must be an exceptional case who goes through all sorts of such incidents? As far as I know, using the public transport vehicles can not be a pleasing experience, not in Dhanbad at least.
What do I begin with?
This issue shall take up a couple of posts to cover the whole matter.

I’ve observed that most of the autorickshaw drivers ferrying people via the Sindri-Dhanbad route are young men in the age group 20-35 approximately. They are supposed to wear navy blue uniforms but not all comply. On the road they are the most reckless drivers throwing passengers into fits and starts.
Loudspeakers blare forth with all sorts of tracks and it effects mental stability so much as to drive anyone mad!
I, for myself, cannot tolerate such noise which is often enough to give me a headache for the rest of the day. Oh these men have no compassion for the elderly who seem more perturbed than me. I often speak up and complain. Some of the songs in the local dialect that are played cross all limits of indecency with the abundant use of all clear puns.
It feels insulting and embarassing, specially to women. Added to the already nonsensical notes are the comments thrown in by perverts.
I don’t understand this- What is the very need to provide for a music system in autos? It doesn’t serve any purpose at all. They need to be done away with.

PS All the apples aren’t rotten. But the rotten ones fall often to my lot.