Calcutta has been a revelation. It is probably the maximum time I’ve spent away from my Madras and I have been received warmly and I do not have a single regret about any instant I’ve been here.
The quantity of time spent here qualifies for the amount of incidents that is swarming in my head when I think about the city of joy. In no particular order of time, this is the first entry in my Kolkata Khronicle
1. Lungi, Aurat aur Audi
I had just returned home from a refreshing and an insightful discussion/argument/decibel war over a lot of issues ranging from stereotypes to the discrimination of people to the chassis description of the new Audi A6.
It just got me thinking about what if I, being a guy from Kerala, born and brought up in Madras conform to the stereotype of a Madarasi.
I would be an oiled up, thick moustached, dark guy with a streak of grey ash or any other colour on my forehead and being extremely good in math, either settled in the USA or the Middle East, eating spicy food and adding coconut in everything I consume including Lassi.
Now that’s not exactly a true picture and the prettiness of the same is debatable. The same holds good for the stereotypes forced upon the Indians who are to the north of Karnataka. I can’t go into the specifics of the same because of my well placed lack of knowledge in the north indian stereotype.
Ignorance seems to be the order of the day and is certainly not bliss anymore because it is just plain stupid. It is not easy to overlook the fact that a particular person is a north /south/east/west/north-east /central Indian… But in this clamour to sort everything under categories we have lost something that is dear and unique to all of us… Our individuality.
I did think a lot as to what could be an easy method to do away with all this stereotypes and I came up with just one thought. There is no easy solution to this situation except ENDURE and EDUCATE.
My train of thoughts now reached another destination which was emphatically discussed over lengths of time till the night patrol guard had to shoo us off to bring back peace and quiet in the locality. I know that this entry of mine might not be read by millions of people across the world, so this actually goes out to my three faithful readers (thanks amma, pa and archana) and the others whom I will ask. “If free, go through my latest blog entry. I have even posted the link on FB. You know how much I value your feedback”
This is a small exercise for the aforementioned readers of this entry ..
Imagine this person in the age group of 4-104. That person could be from any walk of life, any strata of society and even from any part of the world. It could be just about anyone.
Now consider these daily life situations/predicaments
1. This person walks down the road. The time of day doesn’t really matter. This person is being leched on and lewd comments are passed about that person.
2. This person is travelling in a public transport and unnecessary and unwarranted advances are made towards that person
3. This person is the head of a company, and has to endure doubts or aspersions about the morality and the values that person has.
4. This person smokes, drinks, parties hard and the ‘society’ immediately brands them and casts aspersions again
5. The person is married before the legal age of marriage and the consent of that person hardly matters
6. The person is sexually assaulted.
Well… While you were reading through these 6 instances, was this person that you had in your mind, a man or a woman?
These are situations that are faced by both men and women. I don’t know what the majority would be because exit polls aren’t to be believed. But I’d like to take an informed guess.
The first thought in many of our minds would have placed a woman as that person in those instances. I can’t put a number to the women and men who are subjected to such discrimination on a regular basis, but I’d unfortunately assume that it is not an exact balance. It’s not that men aren’t subjected to similar situations or a man is less sensitive and not emotionally vulnerable. But the majority of this society immediately brands a man who shows his sensitive side to be a ‘girl’ and bombards him with questions like “Where are your balls?” or “Is it that time of the month again?” Such statements are not just bombarded by men, but by women too
I had voiced a similar concern about the situation of women in India when the Nirbhaya case had happened. Its been more than a year now and there is not much change yet. We still have our ‘Leaders’ spouting off criminally insane stuff, we still have people blaming the victim and not the perpetrator. We still curb freedom of an individual by playing the ‘sanskriti’ and religious sentiment cards. We still are doing enough to ensure that the power is concentrated in a few hands and the common public lives in a sense of paranoia.
Yes, we will always find exceptions to refute the grim scenario prevailing in our society. Society is you and me. I can’t go and change the mindset of my grandparents or their parents, but it is my sincere wish that my kids and grandkids don’t say the same thing about me. Lets not give good and progressive examples as exceptions to the existing situation anymore. Let regressive and criminal thoughts become the exception in our society.
I am tired of being the exception. I don’t want to be the anomaly.
And yeah about the chassis, wheel base and the suspension of the Audi A6… I’ve got no clue… I was busy listening to Superstar telling me that I’m not a name, life or a body.
I am what I Do.