Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Inspired By Anurag Kashyap’s That Day After Everyday

On a recent work trip outside India, I met some great people, got to know about each other’s cultures, languages, accents and so on. One night we all wanted go get some dinner after a long tiring schedule and it was a beautiful night so we decided to walk it. Walk through the neighborhood of the non stop city, pass through streets trying to get familiar with buildings and wall arts. Suddenly a fellow woman journalist wanted to call it a night and walk back to the hotel alone while the rest had other plans.

My first instinct - was to walk with her. While the men in the group seemed at ease with the idea, I wanted to walk her back through those unfamiliar streets. There, that very moment is frozen in memory.  Because it wasn’t until then that I realized, no matter what time zone I am in, I carry this strange sense of fear. Being in the capital, where we are poured with horrific news stories and almost 99.99% of the women(considering how there might be that one 00.01% still in the womb)  have experienced instances of eve teasing. This feeling of being at constant guard the moment the sun dips or the clock strikes 9, the sense of wanting to protect my loved ones,  trying to be strong at all times and ready to battle down those little leeches on the streets. I somehow carry this bundle of emotions with me, almost like a scar.

We tell our women to be careful if you are on the liberal end or decide to put them on a curfew if you are more of a control freak. As a woman you will get free valuable advice from your fathers, brothers, husbands, boyfriends, male friends, colleagues, relatives you don’t really know…  on how to protect your body. Cover it, don’t take it on the streets, don’t walk alone, dress decently, carry a pepper spray, take martial art classes, come back on time, btw what is a safe time, really?

No, I am not irrational! I understand that it is good to be alert considering how one cannot control external forces and trust me, no one is worried more about my safety than me. But, what are we ultimately telling our girls? What is the message we are trying to convey? If to protect is to hide and to be conservative is decent, where are we leading? I know we aren’t surrounded by Edward Cullens (thank God for that) who would appear the moment you tip toe into trouble, but what is the point? It took years around the world to get women out of their homes, to make them believe that is more to life, a more versatile role that you need to play. And now its like we are moving forward only to step back into the past. In our attempt of trying to avoid the misery, you sir are instilling fear in me. And I don’t want to live like that. You want to help women then watch out for every jerk you spot on the streets, trains, bars and raise your voice for me, even if you don’t know who I am.

Now, considering I am in a situation like this, what will I do? Well… I have done a lot of things in the past like run, scream back, create a scene or even knock down someone. But I am no hero, I am barely 55 kgs, I trip on the every 100th step I take… forget watching out for myself I can barely cross the road sensibly. But at least I wish to walk free! Someday i will, without this scar. Hopefully!

P.s. I saw this short film and words started spilling out of my head. A Must Watch!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

She Dint Say And Neither Did He

She was at the park next to his house, waiting as usual. Rattling her mind, going over all the rights and wrongs, the good times and the bad times, thinking if this was the best thing to do.  She sat down by the bench, taking deep breathes and suddenly she realized it was their spot. It was the same bench where she once sat as a teenager with for him, the same spot where he decided to drop the L bomb, the spot where he asked her to be his girl.  Her phone buzzed and she was brought back to the present with his message flashing on it, “Will be there in 5”.  She jumped up from that bench and decided to walk instead.

He sent a message to her and ran to his cupboard. He knew he took way too much time in the shower and was late as usual.  Throwing the towel on the bed,  he grabbed the first thing he could find from the heap of clothes.  Her voice began screaming in his head, “You need to be more organized, no wonder you get so late  all the time.  How can you find anything in that clutter”.  He smiled for a brief second, until his eyes fell on a dry rose stuck on his wall, a rose that she bought years ago.  He shut his mind, grabbed that letter on his table and walked towards the door.  He was wearing her favorite tee shirt. On any usual day he would have lied about wearing it on purpose, just to make her smile.  But today he simply walked back in and threw a fresh shirt on himself. 

“You’re late”, she said. “I swear I left on time”, he sheepishly replied.  She loved his sheepish face but today it meant nothing. They stood in front of each other, avoiding eye contact and awkwardness became the third person in the picture. 

They sat in that park,  staring into space without saying a single word. There wasn’t much left to say anyway.  Just the thought of being away from each other seemed like the end of the world once upon a time,  but today it is was the right thing to do. “So what happened?”, he asked her,  knowing there wasn’t a simple answer. This is it, she thought to herself.  She got up and turned to him, no tears, no smile, she carried a straight face, trying hard to hide her broken heart. He handed her that letter he got before leaving home.

They both walked way from each other, no hugs, no goodbyes, no regrets...
She opened the letter in the train, smiled to herself till her station and left that note on her way out.