All you fathers, uncles, brothers, friends, well wishers, husbands and boy friends, this letter is particularly to you.
You raised me from birth or watched me grow up or went to school/ college with me or have once worked or still working with me or just met me somewhere and now friends with me. To you, I am a smart woman, bold and beautiful, bright and brilliant, lovely to hang out with, who lends shoulder to cry on every now and then and is an inspiration in multiple aspects.
But you know, to the outside world, I am none of that! I am nothing but an object of ridicule- a body with curves which can be caressed uncalled for, a bundle of nerves which can be exploited at vulnerable moments, a snob who doesn’t deserve any sort of position or power and a baby popping machine who is meant to be confined inside the four walls of home especially kitchen. So should I want a place in office? Good heavens no! I do not deserve that at all!
I am sorry dear ones to have been so blunt, but face it, that is how we are seen by many of your counterparts in this world.
You know, conventional wisdom has it that, its OK to molest me, if I am a beggar because my life has no value; its OK to eve tease me when I am in a bus stop because I shouldn’t be out beyond my confines at the kitchen, its OK to grope me because I invited it upon myself by wearing jeans and T shirt, its OK to seize the moment in office and make sexual advances when I am at my most vulnerable self, and the worst part is, its OK to get on top of me and even kill me if I go out with a boy for a movie late in the night and have the guts to scream when forced upon! How dare I?!
I am repeatedly told its my fault when I face any of the above situations as I invited the troubles myself, I am also told that I would be safer at home! But is that what you wanted for me? Did you not tell me seeing my report card that I deserved to get the best of the jobs when I grow up, did you not admire my spirit when I defeated you in sports, did you not admire my ability to multitask and carry out all the tasks with absolute perfection, did you not tell me you are proud of me, my achievements and wished for me to go places?
You see you are not around all the time to ensure that I reach the heights you said I deserve; and you can protect me only so much! Most of the times, I will have to do so myself. Thanks to the plethora of mobile apps, pepper sprays, sharp needles and most of all the now conditioned spirit, I am able to deal with most of the atrocities myself, albeit silently. But I am not sure, when I will give up fighting and just break down!
Maybe you were wrong! Maybe I shouldnt repeat the mistakes you did! Maybe I should do things differently!
When tomorrow I have daughters of my own, maybe I should raise them in a way they are “safe”, unlike the way you raised me! And maybe I should not let them have aspirations of their own, and silence them when they speak of it. Maybe I should protect them and not let their dreams go wild- if at all they ponder about making it big in this world. Maybe unlike what you did to me, I should discourage them and nip the root of all troubles in the bud, just when they seem to be doing well!
Maybe I should not let any of you near my daughters, lest you change their minds and put them in the unsafe world that I am in right now. Should I not ensure they are safe and sound, even if it means they might get back to the same place we fought to get out off, the good old kitchen!
I hope at least in there they are safe!
I can only hope!
A very concerned India’s Daugther