• Vedashree Khambete Sharma

Question of the Day

Last week, on the auspicious day of Gokulashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, the eternal flirt, two men made me feel like shit. They were both politically backed hoodlums, drunk with alcohol and power.

One walked up to me and stared pointedly at my chest just to drive home the point that he could. The other loudly kept asking his friend to join him in “a bit of fun” with Smiley and me. Look, he said, they’re two, we’re two, let’s have some fun, huh? I took it all in silence, because they were many and I didn’t want to become the next day’s headline.

I was angry at them for doing it, angry at me for taking it and angry at everyone else for allowing it to happen.

So I guess my question is this: Why must men be such assholes?

No, really. I realise that a lot of you reading this right now are in fact endowed with the Y chromosome. But please, stand apart from the ra-ra men’s club for just a second and answer this question for me.

Why is it that I can’t walk down a road, any road, anywhere, without being mentally undressed by some eve-teasing, hormonal creep? It’s not like I’m flashing him, or licking my lips lasciviously to provoke him, or winking or giving him come-hither looks. Then why?

Do they not realise that women are deeply humiliated when you call them dirty names, make lewd gestures or pass obscene comments? Or is it just some kind of power trip where they’re trying to say, “I’m going to make you feel like a piece of meat and there’s nothing you can do about it, bitch, so here, suck this.”

And then, there’s the other kind, mind. The man, who personally might never have stooped to the depths of passing cheap comments or feeling up random women in public, but who defends those who do. The one who says, “Maybe she was asking for it”. The educated, urbane one, who allows the offender the benefit of the doubt, who justifies his being a depraved bastard by saying, thinking that after all, men have “needs”.

My mom once told me that a lot of men who come to Bombay from rural areas aren’t used to seeing women outside the veil and the shock of girls in jeans and sleeveless tops excites them. They’re not civilised men, she said, so it’s natural that they behave like animals. Well, there’s a way to deal with animals.

And from today, I know exactly how to deal with the two-legged kind.

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