Have a little compassion to spare, for it costs absolutely nothing.
If we voted you to power, I don’t see how we gave you a mandate to skip the queue or to deserve VIP treatment. How does a servant of the public become a celebrity that ought to be put up on a high pedestal?
Yes, a servant of the public- that is what a member of parliament is.
But the public is so used to seeing their politicians have a claim to better treatment that though it may irk them, they are still individuals who speak for themselves. Members of the public aren’t the ones surrounded by bodyguards and yes men.
Suddenly, everyone around such a politician starts considering himself a very important person too.
So you have the driver abusing other commuters and misbehaving with toll booth staff. The assistant demands attention as the stepping stone to the MP if you want to be heard. The distant relative flaunts his relations everywhere with the very common, तू जानता नही मैं कौन हूँ।
Power can be that addictive to those who simply bask in someone else’s influence.
The step taken by Air India and other 6 members of Federation of Indian Airlines in barring Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from their flights after he blatantly misbehaved with an AI staff is commendable.
He created the ruckus when he was seated in economy class of ALL ECONOMY Pune Delhi flight.
What is the airline supposed to do in an all economy flight to accomodate him?
A. Seat him in the cockpit and let him fly the plane.
B. Seat him on the roof of the plane itself.
C. Apply to add business class section to the flight and wait until it is approved, sanctioned and made available.
These carriers stood up for their staff and that boosts employee morale. The last straw in the hat you need is your employer being apologetic to your client for misbehaving with you.
It has set a great example. Tell me, by what yardstick does a politician deserve special treatment at our expense?
This is a culture that needs to be discouraged.
Politicians are people like you and me, only worse because they apparently live above the law.
Please mind the gap,
Between shanties and high rises,
Please mind the distance,
Between them and us.
Please mind the differences between,
My culture and yours.
Between those that sleep on the pavements,
Run over by cars and the ones that couldn’t set the air conditioning and slept in the dilemma of discomfort.
Mind the bridge,
Between he that scrambles into a garbage can looking for glass,
And the one that squints from behind his glasses,
Looking at a screen.
Please mind the wall, ladies.
It does not discriminate between the two inches of your eyes,
And the five inches of your waist,
Covered and wrapped like a candy.
Torching our bridges now, are we?
I, the privileged one,
With food to last two square meals in my stomach,
Do not understand how,
You can die of poverty.
Go find yourself some work.
Stop being the scum that is upto no good,
Always tapping at out car windows,
Asking for alms.
Toil and labour,
For the sky is the limit I heard.
Fall into the clutches of vicious moneylenders.
We’ll find you by the pavement,
Drunk in a stupor.
For the world is your oyster.
I refuse to believe you can die of poverty,
Or starve of opportunities.
I refuse to see beyond the promised land.
Hold my hand and watch this nation change.
I hold the soul of a man in my bare hands,
Cold and evanescent.
Down alleyways and passages,
Corridors and lanes,
As if I am one person too much,
Occupying more space than I exist in.
So I make myself small,
Pull my hands in
And hold them folded,
Against my body.
I stick to the straight line,
That becomes fine while I walk.
And I envy that fiery stride
Step after step moving forward in silent determination,
You hold your head high for the world to see
And though you hinder me not,
Unsure of my gait,
Tone it down.
And I jump in my skin,
When I hear footsteps behind me,
Or voices that I know for sure are talking about me,
Or eyes that I know are burning a hole in my clothes,
To see what lies underneath.
Is it skin?
Is it fresh meat?
I don’t know.
I gather myself up,
Shrink a little,
Trying to dissolve into thin air.
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.
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.
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.
A six month sentence is not enough.
A gentle sentence cannot be awarded just because Brock Turner is a man of potential.
That is as good as saying the victim is not.
The woman had aspirations of her own. A man’s future is not of more value than that of a women.
Both were bound to do better in life but for this.
But for the rape culture that exists.
That we teach our boys that denigrating women is okay and they shall always earn forgiveness.
When our swords leap in defence of our men while we shame the victim. We blame her.
Even in such a clear case of sexual assault on a drunk woman, Turner refuses to admit to guilt.
Probably because he believes it to be no big deal. So what if he raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster?
Let us make sure he is portrayed as a man of infinite potential whose life ia ruined because of ‘twenty minutes of action’
Or because the victim was more drunk than him.
Or just because an unconscious woman was not resisting him, it was consensual.
He says he was drunk.
How often we regret being drunk. But none of my drunk friends dragged women behind dumpsters and raped them.
If being drunk was an excuse, this world would be a more horrible place than it already is!
Drunk enough to be aware what he was doing, what he intended to do!
Or sober enough?
Sober enough to be in the constant consciousness of an unconscious woman that he could thrust himself on for instant gratification.
For ruining someone’s well being for as long as she lives. For filling her nights with dread of nightmares. For giving her the creeps when she wants to drink.
And the justice system failed us. It failed women. It told victims of sexual abuse that there was no hope for them and they can go to hell.
That men were entitled to ’20 minutes of action’.
That men with means could bring justice to their knees.
I am no expert on feministic theories that have progressed over the years but I am befuddled by its many ironies.
I speak of the irony.
In this largely patriarchal setup, those who have had to speak for the rights of women have often had to address their men who are in the possession of these rights so that they can cede with them willingly.
I speak of the irony.
That women who can afford to have their voices heard themselves differ on how a woman ought to command her just status.
In capitalistic developed economies, these women cannot be blamed if they neglect class struggle in relation to women. Women in poor developing societies are not aggressive about the high end demands made for diminishing the pay difference or equal representation of women in offices, committies or influential lobbying for the same.
I speak of the irony where we are at crossroads with one another and branded ‘fickle’.
And often we have to ask our men to respect women rather than asking our women to strive to command it. Because we are aware that a women’s revolution can not be instigated and there may not be a dominoe effect to events.
A long way to go still.