Thursday 12 March 2015

Be The Change

Hope and faith go hand in hand.

For starters, I am not a very optimistic person. I think I would like to call myself more of a realist, you know. Party pooper, sometimes. I believe that excessive optimism can make us delusional. After all, its negative thinking that made man think of parachutes, agree?

Now, I love telling stories. There is a weird sense of satisfaction when you let the world know about a part of you, something that inspired you, makes you think. One incident that changed my perspective about world, is what I'll narrate to you guys today :) 

I have this friend, lets call him Mr.T. He is one of the most interesting people I have come across. He is that sort of a person who can talk about anything. Now, I am not saying I hang on to his words because I have to, but I do because most times I need to. He has a different outlook on mundane things and that's why, conversations with him are always interesting. 

It was a lazy Wednesday afternoon. I was in a cafe with him, whining over lack of sleep and how life is swiftly changing and how, I am growing up. Sipping his coffee, he was patiently listening to me. As we drifted through topics, we reached the issue of sexual abuse. Now, I am the sort of person who has extremely strong opinions and yet, I tend to keep my mouth shut most times for the sheer fear of offending the other person. I am not saying that I tolerate or turn blind eye to a woman's suffering. Fortunately or unfortunately, I haven't had any interactions with women who have undergone sexual abuse. Its the stories that happen around me everyday that pain me endless. I write blog posts hoping my angst will make the world a little better, but deep inside me, I know that nothing can lessen the sorrow of the women who undergo the misery. I also deal with generations that say its the woman's fault. "The day you dress is why you get raped", they say,without the basics of being a human being. 

While I was discussing with him the latest turn of events over Nirbhaya, the documentary that is still making waves and everything surrounding it, I got worked up. Before I knew, I was in my own monologue, about how baby girls get molested, about how one year old babies die because a man just couldn't handle his libido. Lumps in my throat were choking my words that were only getting shriller by the second. Mr.T was trying his best, to make me understand the dire reality and how, me turning emotional over issues will not really help. He was right, and I was angry with him because he was right. Until any of us actually, literally do something, anything to improve the situation of hapless women in this country, nothing is really going to make a difference. 

I was shooting questions at Mr. T, asking him what can be done at all. He, probably for the first time in his life, was out of words. What do you say to a woman who is just so sick of the abuses that happen around her and can't do anything about it? Other than typing of words of venom from behind her computer? He mumbled a few words of comfort and we both realized we needed a change of place. The boring afternoon had somehow become a suffocating evening. I gathered my stuff and just when we were about to leave, I heard a voice.

"Excuse me, can I speak to you for a moment, if you don't mind?" I turned around to face a gentleman, roughly in his 50s. He was decently dressed, probably waiting for a business meeting. At the first look, he looked like someone gentle and mostly docile. Before I could utter a word, Mr.T responded with an affirmative.

"Thank you. I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. You guys conversed in English mostly, I couldn't understand some parts of it. But every word in Kannada, that you spoke, I heard and I understood", and then he turned towards me. 

"You are worried about the fate of women in this country and you have no clue what to do about it? Okay. Let me tell you something. I work a 9-5 job at a private company. I have two sons. The eldest is now in third year engineering, the second one is in 8th grade. One day, at dinner time, my eldest son and me were having a talk. A random talk about his college, classes and the like, you know? Through the stories, he told me about this one girl in his college, who is from a small village in  North Karnataka. She is new to the city and is staying in her college hostel. Apparently, the watchman had been misbehaving with her. And that very morning, he had actually followed her all the way to her campus, catcalling her in the empty corridors. She was too scared to do anything about it and after repeated questioning from her peers, she broke down, told them the story. She begged them to not do anything about it. My son told me this like it was some regular story. Do you want to know what I did? I went to the college the next day, met a senior faculty member and made sure the guard was fired. I am not trumpeting here, kids. All I am saying is, the change that you are talking about? It should start in every household. I am proud to say I have raised my sons as men who respect women. All men aren't pigs. I might not have made a big difference, but I know my two sons, and the sons that follow them will. Do you want to know what to do, now? Educate the kids, teach them the right things. Stand up as an example. You youth are the hope for us. I agree our generation is a little stuck up, but you should also understand that we grew up in a different environment. I am sorry I overheard your conversation."

When he finished, I knew what to do.Everybody can do something about the issues we face in this world. It is easy to write it off and say, "India will never change, man" over beers. But, if a man in his 50s can think revolutionary and bring about a positive change, then there is still faith in humanity. This for me, was the change I was hoping for. Rather this, for me, is the change I want to be :) This moment gave me hope and a sense of optimism that this country, will one day, be free of abuses. There will come a day where women can wear whatever the hell they want to and yet,be valued for the women in them, and not the pieces of clothes that adorn them. 

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PS: I told the gentleman, Mr. Prakash about my blog. 
PPS: Mr.Prakash, if you are reading this, this is my thank you to you, sir. :)


  1. Interesting and a step in the right direction from the man.

  2. This is exactly how I feel about the situation of women in our country! I'm glad people are finally speaking up and taking action but what a lot of people fail to realize is that women aren't the only one that face sexual harassment. There are thousands of men who go through the same but are scared to bring it out in public thanks to the mindsets of a lot of people in this country! I truly hope there comes a day where a human being irrelevant of what gender he or she may belong to feels confident enough to speak about abuse without public shaming and also we as people are able to support all those who need help and prevent further cases.
    Sorry for the rant but this is a topic I feel strongly about so couldn't hold back.


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