Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Most women do not want this

By Sumitro Chatterjee, Corporate lawyer and a true Delhi boy.
Perception, it’s a dirty word. The process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. Most humans are very bad at interpreting. We interpret how a woman is, just by looking at her or hearing things about her. She may be the most religious in her heart or the most caring, but if she thinks freely a large population will characterize her as they perceive. What is most interesting to observe is the behavior of the male sect who will go to same parties, gaze at the same girls with short dresses, and want to dance with them and if they get to chat her up then maybe take her back home. In a city like Delhi to achieve the conclusion of my previous statement is a rare occurring, and on not achieving the end men drink more to satisfy their ego and numb their brain and in their drunken confidence recount to their male dominated sausage fest about the loose thread holing her moral fiber (aka 'she is a whore') . In our city if you go to any nice club a sight often seen is where a girl or a group of girls are being closely protected by their male counterparts and rightly so as the others staring are mostly savages and having an intelligent conversation with them will make pigs fly! However, sometimes there are men who are genuinely interested in talking to a lovely lady. In this situation let’s call her male counterparts; protecting her from preying eyes; the 'protection group'. This protection group doesn't take it very sportingly when another alpha male preys in their territory and this leads to easily recognizable sounds of hostility from them. Now the problem starts when the woman is also willing to talk to this stranger. The protection groups do not fancy such an act and in most cases call her a slut or a woman with low moral values. It is funny to analyze such a situation as most likely these men are frustrated and/or are looking to get off with this woman. They are also many a times 'close' friends.
Lately, I have notice a tilt towards the better, where in some very high ended places men and women both interact freely with no judgment of any sorts. This is a rarity and is like the paradise of what most like minded dream about. This mentality will not change in one day as this stigma has the reach of the highest class and has a good ring to it! This perception sounds like you are trying to 'protect' women and in their benefit. The reality is that most women do not want this kind of protection; they want the freedom to walk the streets when it’s a full moon, dance when it rains and whistle when India wins.

Every human being wants to interact and showcase their personality to whosoever is interested. Let us not bound them with our chains of perception!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Chains of perception!

By Sumitro Chatterjee, Corporate lawyer and a true Delhi boy.
While I was standing outside my office smoking the last cigarette of the day, I saw 2 very aggravated young men fighting with the guard outside my Bombay office. The reason was 'simple': how can some women stand outside on the streets and smoke. They should be taken inside the office premises. This was against their 'cultural' and 'ethical, standards. Obviously, they were MNS goons whose headquarter was right next to our office building. This was quiet shocking for me not because some guys used the garb of morality to demean woman, but more so because this was happening in Bombay, the city of free. I had stayed in this truly cosmopolitan city for more than 2 years and saw the freedom that this city gave to the modern woman. My shock was then turned into laughter and then intense anger. The situation soon turned ugly with more and more men joining the ranks, demanding that "it is not only morally wrong but also 'dangerous' for woman to smoke outside the office premises." After I shifted base back to Delhi, was retelling this incident to some of my colleagues and as expected everyone was very angry at the state of affairs except one woman who said that men who acted like moral police were wrong but the women should be responsible enough not to put themselves in a position where they are vulnerable. I argued that Bombay is a safe city and its not like Delhi, where a burkha clad woman can also be challenged. She, however was adamant that even one incident can ruin a girls life and this is India after all.

This is a perfect example of where we as society are going, in the vanity of our progression, the very urban is actually very constrained in their thoughts. We like to believe that most of us are a perfect mix of the Indian traditional and the western modern.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A sigh of relief. Home safe and soundly!

By Michaela – Intern, Centre for Social Research
The dark scenery of the Indian capital is passing by as I travel towards the south of the city… the time marches on… it is already 8.30pm. I am silently swearing that I should have started my journey earlier just in order to avoid the darkness that has already settled over the city. I am vividly looking out of the window just to avoid the twenty pairs of eyes staring at me. The only thing that goes through my mind is that I want to reach home without facing any problems…
These kinds of thoughts cross my mind frequently as I am travelling by myself in the capital during the evenings. Being a girl from a small town in Scandinavia, where I am able to fearlessly move from place to place, I have found it very difficult to adjust to the fact that because I am a girl I should not move around the city late in the night by myself. There is always a fear of experiencing eve-teasing or other kinds of sexual harassment. Just the fact that a great number of people are staring at me, leads to that I am not feeling comfortable. Having faced eve-teasing, I know that it is better to be safe than sorry. Means being home early, if I am alone… this is sad, because Delhi should be a nice and safe place for both women and men during the night.

... An hour later… I am able to see the local temple next to my house. A sigh of relief. Home safe and soundly!