Before I start talking about the film, I have two honest stories to share, so please bear with me.
I live in a Metro city – Mumbai. And most men on the streets think my body is their father’s property, to look at, analyse and if approved – follow.
I watch movies alone. I love watching them alone. I was going to watch Pink alone yesterday. 5 pm show at Citimall, Andheri. I was wearing shorts just till my knees and a loose tee. I had my laptop bag on me. I was alone. I’m emphasizing on ‘alone’. Because in our society an ‘alone’ girl is considered to be a ‘vulnerable’ girl. A girl wearing shorts is obviously ‘easy’. I had no ‘boy’ with me to protect me.
I was listening to Bulleya on Saavn and walking towards a bridge I cross everyday. It’s been 7 years. Also, everything you’ll read has happened with me before, in different versions.
Two men on a bike. The rider casually slowed down his two-wheeler, had a good look at me, down till my legs, before I could react, his eyes were satisfied, he rode off quickly. I shook my head, ‘aah the atrocities of being a girl’, I thought. Casually.
On my way back home, I was moved by the movie and lost in thought. 8:12 pm. I reach home, ring the bell, wait for my mother to open the door – I see an umbrella and a silhouette standing just outside my wing – I think someone has come to the building, people go to buildings, it’s no big deal. But I’m curious when seeing me see him, he steps back. I run out to get a better look, but it is dark and it’s raining and he takes off in fear of being caught. My mother opens the door, I hand over my phone – I change my chappals – which were slippery – I run behind him.
Societal Intervention: Wait.. What? It was dark, it was raining, you ran behind a boy, alone? You’re a girl, he’s obviously more strong, his head is filled with thoughts of raping you, killing you, throwing acid on your face and what not!
How could your mother let you run behind him like that?
How dare she teach you that much courage?
You’re bound to suffer, after all you were showing your legs!
I chased him, until 2 kind men decided to help me. He was well aware of the lanes and he disappeared in one of them. But I had him run, for his life. His chappals somewhere on the street. Drenched, I felt a sense of victory. But it didn’t stay for long.
A woman on the streets with a young girl (her daughter) by her side, directed me and those 2 kind men to the way the guy ran – she looked at me and said ‘He was following you? Why are you running behind him ALONE? You’re a girl, go get a man from your home!’
You see, I don’t blame her. I understand where that stems from and where that thinking will be planted. Our society is such that a girl has to be scared at the end of it all, because of her gender. Even if she is right. I am scared too. Even my courageous mother is scared. Why? Because I opposed being followed back home.
‘He could do all kinds of things to you because you have provoked him, it’s shitty to say this but us men are fuckers!’ – a really close guy friend said this.
I agree and I hate it!
I hate that I agree. I hate it that if I walk my way to a place – I’m unsafe, if I don’t have a car to hide my legs below my knees – I’m unsafe. If I don’t protest for being checked out by lecherous eyes – I’m unsafe. If I chase him down for his wrong deeds – I’m unsafe. If I don’t have pepper spray on me – I’m unsafe. If I’m giggling with a boy on the road , I’m easy, hence – I’m unsafe.
There are no cops out there you know! A few months ago, two bikers followed me, for fun of course. I noted their number-plate and called the cop station and this is what the cop said – ‘te lok gele tar tumhi pann zaau dyaa‘ (They’ve left so you also leave the matter)
That day I decided to chase these bastards down. To speak back and kick them in the balls if need be.
Societal Intervention: You’re bringing it upon yourself.
Why do you have to be so gutsy? Are they touching you or anything, let them look!
Boys will be boys, you have to be careful!
Your area is bad, you must shift.
Think about your family, what shame they’ll go through!
I do not rebel. I let go off most such incidents, because of these societal interventions and my own fears. I’m not that strong, agreed, but I want to learn self-defence, I want to have a pepper spray handy and I don’t want to walk on the roads wearing shorts and I hate it!
Who is to be blamed? We as a society let go of it all. Be it Nirbhaya, or the girl stabbed 30 times yesterday, those women who, for centuries and centuries have been bought and sold. Won, gambled, shared by 5 men, abandoned because shared by men- in our greatest epics.
The simplest thought that 5 brothers didn’t mind sharing the same wife but they all wanted her to be a virgin when they slept with her individually, speaks of something deeply ingrained in the human psyche. Irrespective of whether it was fiction or non-fiction.
Such is our history! And history repeats itself?
This hypocrisy is deep-rooted and feminism is understood only by the elite. We need education. We need boys to realise and understand that a girl walking on the road isn’t leading him to her home. That a girl sitting on a bus isn’t eager for him to grope her or show her his disgusting body parts. We need to teach his father, and his son, to come to help women in need, because we’re but a fragile community that needs to be guarded by men, from men.
I don’t know how much watching Pink will help, but I request all mothers out there to take their sons to watch it, along with their daughters.
P.S: This isn’t a promotional post. It all coincidentally fit. And I surely wasn’t rebelling after watching the film, if that raised an eyebrow.
Thanks for reading.