A Mumbai For Women

It was a Saturday. It was a lazy afternoon. And to top it all, it required for me to travel an hour on the Mumbai local train to reach the venue. But still I went for the 'Mumbai For Women' blogger's meet, organized by The Times of India and IndiBlogger. This wasn't to be the first time I'd be part of something that would rather require the involvement of women.

Like the entire nation, I too, was awakened by the sheer effrontery of the Nirbhaya gang-rape case in the capital. The unprovoked and dastardly attack brought me to a face-off with how uncivilized our society has ultimately turned out to be. That how every essence of safety that we've carefully put up for ourselves, has been rendered senseless. Why is the progressive Indian society passively accepting this situation, for the last decade?

Like a fellow blogger pointed out, unfortunately we're all only here at this point of confrontation because of the use of a rusted, L-shaped, metallic wheel jack handle - the infamous rod. Before this case, it was the 'chalta hai' and 'mango baatein' attitude that easily held us separated from the horrific truth. What a shame!

The meet brought out the various outlooks of the people of Mumbai, men and women alike, on the issue of how safe Mumbai is for women and what can be the responsibilities of it's citizens to make it even better. Now I'm not a Mumbaikar. I have just arrived a few months ago from Vellore (say Chennai, for a better societal perspective), where I studied and Kolkata, which is my home. And as I see, things are lot better in the financial capital of India. Being not from Bombay, I tried to associate on a much larger palette, with an otherwise city-centric issue.



Statistics show that Mumbai is safe for women, over many other major cities in the country. And yet as the experiences speak, it has a crazy molester at Powai, stalking girls late in the night. Women being eve-teased by unknown men at Antop Hill. For a woman, travelling on the common compartment of a local train still means daring a stare, or a lewd remark, a suggestive smirk or even a physical brush of mildly offensive intent.

So natural conclusion from all this comes to the point where the women begin to accept that men, except their fathers maybe, are generally bad. But is it really?

A woman is being beaten by her alcoholic husband every night. The beatings are enough to develop visible wounds and scars. Those, she can apply ointments on. But why continue hiding her emotional scars by claiming that 'her husband otherwise loves her, and it's only when he drinks..'? Why does a young, independent modern woman keeps the number of her hair dresser in her cellphone while avoiding to store an emergency helpline number? Why did the group of young women I met at the silent candlelight vigil at Kolkata (to show our solidarity with the Delhi gang-rape victim) insisted rather on taking innumerable photos of themselves, and tweet about it simultaneously?

The problem is of a higher level, not answered in the way a society divides itself on the ground of gender and sex. It is ultimately a culmination of social, political and mental failures in this country. We desperately need education, awareness, information and an understanding of mutual respect among people to bring back that forgotten sense of security.

And if I'm allowed to take potshots and point a finger at, in this connection, I'd like to point at the ways modern women are portrayed in the TV serials and Bollywood movies. They're not always some expensive saree-clad gossipy figure who has no sense of what goes on in the world beyond the zone about her palace-of-a-house and the neighbouring aunty's sex-life! And show me one woman at a wedding, who would be dancing to songs like Fevicol se and Munni badnaam hui in such suggestive choreography! In my personal opinion, people like Malaika Arora Khan and Ekta Kapoor need to undergo rehabilitation, with the former one needing it ASAP.

For all I know, the modern Indian woman is an entrepreneur, a CEO, a journalist, a social worker, an author, a fashion designer, an artist. Then again, she also is a fashion blogger, a happy homemaker, a gamer, a technology buff, a food blogger, a travel blogger, a poet, a daunting yet dashing host and what not! What more can you expect from our friends, daughters, mothers, wives, and sisters? Can they not expect a little respect? A little care? That little feeling of being loved?

Change begins at home.

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Thank you Indiblogger for the wonderful blogger's meet, which was also my first Indimeet. Hope I get to attend more of these in the future. Thanks much for the opportunity to be meeting some of the most amazing contemporary Indian bloggers, to be talking to few very tenacious journalists of the ToI, and for the much-needed sandwich in the end!

10 comments:

  1. good one Deep! Well done! Is there something similar in Bangalore? I'd like to know. :)

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    1. There was another meet on the same initiative in Bangalore few days back. You had to be a member of IndiBlogger though. Sign up! There's going to be a lot more in the future.

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  2. Heard a lot, read a lot, discussed a lot too (maybe!). Besides, the usual stuff about how we need a drastic change in the way a woman or a girl is portrayed or even thought about by the common man; Don't you think we women ourselves are sort of apathetic towards our situation? Born and then being raised up in a patriarchal society, the fairer sex is taught to be the goddess of patience, tolerance and likewise. Mothers discriminate between their children (and this still happens trust me!), Mothers force their daughters to get married (You are the one who can save the honour of the family), Mothers sell their daughters or even force them into prostitution and worse they always end up being a silent spectator during honour killings too. And there are those girls you mentioned about who were more excited about tweeting stuffs. How can we expect the patriarchal society to lend a ear to the woes of the women folk when its us who still continue to be apathetic

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    1. Yes, even this was discussed yesterday. Even in the financial sector, if a woman is making progress and climbing up the hierarchical ladder better than most, it won't only be the men, but also the women to say that 'she must be sleeping with her boss!' or it's '..because of her looks!' Discrimination begins at home - girls are groomed to be the perfect housewife right from their childhood, while the boys are expected to be the breadwinners. I have one problem with the solution that everyone puts forward for these issues - if a woman is supposed to go forth with her independent plans, and the men also are not hurdled with their's, what is the fate of an old-school 'family' going to be? A family like yours and mine, when we were kids..

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    2. With regards to the point of letting girls go forth with their independent plans I would like to say, these days it has sort of become a necessity for both the man and the woman of the household to work, in order to be able to support their lifestyle etc. Nevertheless, here I would say maybe the old-school "family" has to go in a such a case. Everything does change with time.

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    3. Or a tremendous understanding of mutual respect, trust and apprehension between the two, to create a fine balance? The 'you do that, while I do this.. and then we'll switch' attitude?

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  3. I don't know any woman who dances on fevicol se or chikni chameli...... Its either kids(girls and boys) or guys (desperetly trying to act funny)... never a woman.

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    1. I think kids also should be discouraged to develop any form of likening for these songs. They are just derogatory in character.. Sooner or later I think if this government ever wakes up, there will be an uproar about banning these commercial item numbers.

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