Change begins at home and not on facebook/twitter

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I was reading P’s post on facebook again in the morning and thinking about it in my balcony. I love P. I have to, right? How else can we have a one hour conversation on the phone every single time?

“You know I was reading Mr. Kejriwals message to the people of Delhi on how it is inappropriate to comment on the dresses, timings and acts of women and it suddenly struck me that there were so many men in my college who candidly indulged in this as their pass time all the time. I shudder to think if this cramped mentality of policing and judging could be a bedrock to rapists in making”

I do have lots of work:

– Submit a case study. KC heard my conversation with a colleague where we both forgot to do it on Thursday (deadline was Sunday) and have now swapped our respective cases because I like his and he likes mine

– Book a venue for the farewell on Friday. No, that’s not my responsibility because am a woman. It’s because am the only one who stays in Gurgaon and goes out

– Submit all the reimbursement claims. This is the most important one of all

But I am getting a little tired of people outraging over what the rapist and his defense lawyer said. Because 80% of these people have never taken a stand in their life. Here I am referring to stand when it comes to women. They have never protested over sexism or wrong doing and looked the other way.

This post is about my B school where sexism was galore. And the most vociferous voices raging over the whole rape issue on my timeline are these people.

But let me give you a little background. I studied in a super cool engineering college. It is a government college which is the political center of Gujarat. The General Secretary elections have the masala of a Bollywood movie. I stayed in a government hostel where I came across women from different parts of the country and state. Most of the students in college were from rural areas who barely knew English. But it is one of the most broad minded/open minded places I have been in. Why? Because Gujjus are broad minded when it comes to women. Women in that state have more freedom than most other places. Love marriages are common, boyfriends are common, guy friends coming over your house is not looked down upon. I don’t remember any point of time I was told – don’t do this, don’t wear that, don’t date him, how can you have sex etc etc. Ok, my then bf did it but he was a doofus then and knows it.

So, I dated (yes, even though I already had a bf. Was I supposed to give up everything for a relationship which wouldn’t last beyond college? Are you crazy?), had fun, wore what I want, ate what I want, made friends, had sex- basically did everything I wanted to do without restrictions.

So, when I joined my B school where I met the most educated and smartest (or with 2nd rung of smartness because smartest were in IIMs already) men and women I was shocked at the regressive attitudes. This was in Manipal- where life can be cooler than a government engineering college in A’bad.

– The first day of college. A very strict professor who is now the dean was inducting us. Women asked- ‘Is there a dress code?’. He said ‘If it was upto me, I would want women to dress in sarees but it’s not upto me so you can wear what ever’. That made me cringe. What kind of a person is this man? And that set the tone for the next 2 horrifying years of my life.

– I will never forget this ragging. We were ragged in engineering too and it pissed me off. I went along with it only when AM came to my room and requested me (do you remember that, AM?). But the ragging in B school was a whole new level of chutiya giri. The senior women wanted the youngest women and most likely, the virgin ones, to enact a rape scene. It was demeaning and sad. A rape scene? Did these women have any idea what rape even is? The girls did it and were completely shaken up after. That’s when I protested. I threatened to complain to the authorities. It spread all over the college. But nobody supported me. I don’t know why. I think it did scare the seniors because some conciliatory noises were made, the student body had a talk with me and asked me to let it go. And so I did. You know what’s the worst part about speaking up? The loneliness. Because you are invariably alone out there. It makes you want to give up. After all, I wasn’t made to do anything derogatory in the ragging. Why should I care and stick my neck out?

– I loved our parties. I had started drinking for the first time in my life and didn’t have to worry since my friends would ensure I reached the hostel room safe and sound. During one of these parties, a guy- P was shooting the party. I didn’t think much about it and even posed for him with my friend H when H sensed something fishy, went behind the camera and asked him to stop. P left. The next day I heard other girls discussing how they were afraid about what he shot. After all, nobody was thinking clearly while drinking and dancing. I remembered the incident with H and asked what P was shooting. Guess what? He was trying to focus on my boobs when H told him to stop. P was shooting women at the party. I protested. Complained to the student body. What happened? Most women (even the ones who were discussing this earlier) didn’t want to sign the petition. Someone even told me ‘So what if he shot you? Big deal’. The student body president was this P’s friend. So all they did was ban video cameras at the party. I decided to complain to this professor (who is now a dean) and waited outside his room for 2 hours only to find out he is out of town. And then I walked away… with my dignity in tatters because the other women didn’t care enough about theirs.

– Everytime you went on a date or even met a guy alone it would be the biggest news of the day. This was very weird for me because I spent 4 years meeting up with all kinds of people – men and women. Since when did that become a big deal? And god help you if you dated another guy. You were automatically labelled a slut. Secret? I didn’t even sleep with anyone in my first year but I was probably the biggest slut of my batch. Heights of stupidity!!! And no, none of the guys who I supposed to have slept were given any labels.

– Our seniors were the suckiest batch ever. At a party, seniors and us (juniors) would dance separately. Heaven forbid if anyone breached the Lakhsman rekha and danced with the other batch (unless they were going to get married, then it was allowed) blood would have been spilled. I was so glad to see them leave because our juniors were the coolest bunch ever. They changed the whole culture of the place.

– There was this period when 2 guys (not from the B school) on the bike had started touching women’s boobs and driving away. I don’t know how that is fun but it happened to A and she was pissed. We complained to the warden. What did she do about it? Nothing. Not even a police complaint.

– I have seen friendships break up because the guy and girl were teased too much. And it was always the girl who was at fault. Stuff like- she was wearing whites at the beach and everything became transparent so the guy ended their friendship.

All this is so much shit I have avoided writing it till now. I couldn’t make a difference or change anything by protesting because I chickened out.That’s my biggest regret in life. But no worries. When something like this happened at my workplace I complained all the way to the top with a resignation ready in my other hand.

I am not boasting here or anything to say I am so great and you are not. The point is – please be outraged by the little things. That’s what changes the bigger things. Your rage against the rapist and lawyer don’t change anything. And your rage on facebook or twitter have no power. Be enraged in your own home or workplace. Charity does begin at home.

And please for fuck’s sakes… don’t bore me on facebook or twitter.

*scampers off to start work on the case study*

4 thoughts on “Change begins at home and not on facebook/twitter

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