Published in One India One People magazine, April 2017
What irritates a woman more? A bad-hair day? The “stay safe” message from the men of her life? I would like to affirm the former, but sadly, for most women, it is the latter. The only thing that comes free in a woman’s life is advise from the ‘know-all’s, in case we forego the ‘buy one, get one free’ offers.
It starts with “Don’t play with Anu’s son” and goes on like “Not this dress!”, “Don’t wear this lipstick”, “Not this stilettos”, “Reduce the compact, will you?”, “Why do you have to laugh so loud?”, “No outing with your guy friends”, “Cheee…does your friend smoke? Don’t you ever do that!”, “What? A drink with the friends? Are you insane?” and goes on and on till eternity. We preach sermons on ‘don’t dos’ to our girls. Have we ever bothered to tell our sons to treat the women right?
How insensitive our men can get? While the mother keeps rolling rotis out of her kitchen like the roti-maker on fire, the father lounges on the sofa and complains how Kohli missed the catch. Our sons grow up seeing their fathers acting the couch- potatoes they are and sense watching TV brings rotis to their plates once they’re married. “Beta…that girl is probably PMSing…please excuse the way she behaves…”- try saying this to your son, dear mother and see which bomb detonates first- the dad or the son!
Safety of a woman is directly proportional to the length of her skirt. Shorter the skirt, lesser her safety. Don’t ever question why the nun with her five layers of dress isn’t safe. Or why the little six-month old with her rompers isn’t safe. Rapes happen because the woman asks for it. Yes, dear Lord, she prays- please let me be the sacrificial lamb today, send me a bus with four drunk men.
And oh! Learning krav maga to deal with jilted lovers isn’t a safe option against the acid attacks. Safety isn’t about teaching your daughters karate and kung-fu alone. It is about teaching your sons that ‘failures always happen in life and how we make the best of a failure shows our real worth to people’. These days the love of jilted lovers is worse than the roads laid during election dhamaka! In three days of a proposal and a rejection, all we are left with are potholes the size of moon’s craters. Only time will teach our men that ‘rejection’ is cool and it can end well with little booze and a “why this kolaveri di” soup song.
If there is one word that can make a woman go ballistic, it is “Care”. All in the name of care, our men keep suffocating the lives of women. We are brain-washed from time immemorial that a woman is ‘weak’ and is to be cared for. She needs ‘pampering’. She needs constant ‘care’. No sirs! All she needs is a fag at the end of a tough day or an outing with her besties. Definitely she doesn’t need your “Shall I come and pick you up?” or “What time will you be back home?”
We don’t need fire-breathing dragons at the back of our necks, checking the watch and saying, “You’re late!”, “This place isn’t safe”. As our equals, it is your duty too to keep this place safe for us. After all, you are the bosses! Ah! Talking of the bosses! “Who is the boss?”- “You!”, “Who pays you?”- “You!”, “Who can molest you?”- “NO ONE!” A woman gets paid for her work as salary. No one, take the point, no one gentlemen, pays her in kind, unless SHE asks for it!
We don’t need a Superman to save us every day. Let him please wear his ensemble right (not the undies over the pants, gentleman!) and go save the world. We need the ‘considerate man’ who perfectly knows what a woman possesses and doesn’t cross the boundary under the pretext of ‘caring’ for her. A woman is aware of her power. A man must simply acknowledge her very being and walk hand-in-hand. Safety starts at home. Let’s treat our mothers and wives right. Our daughters and sons will take their lessons from us. As simple as that!