It was just another weekday evening. The roommate was immersed in her books and I had my headphones plugged in, shutting out the noises of the world outside. Tinie Tempah’s Written in the stars was growing on me when roomie jumped up from her chair with a start and pointed towards the window. A short male figure stood on the other side, his face pasted on to the window and with a clear intention to display his manhood to two hapless inmates in a women’s hostel. My heart skipped a beat and both of us remained frozen on the spot. It was a first time experience for me. I still feel like kicking myself for not calling the police then. But, at that moment fear gripped me and I knew how far fetched from reality it was to think and react. The first step I took, was to let the hostel in-charge know. She enlightened me on how the same guy was caught by the police a few months back and let off later.
What surprised me was the nonchalance of the authorities towards this incident. There is nobody to complain to and the only response we get is ” Ningal mind cheyyanda, thaane nirthikollum”. Don’t be bothered about it. He’ll stop it. FOR HOW LONG?
A few weeks later, a girl was literally thrown out of the hostel because she was
seen caught talking to a boy. “We cannot handle this kind of behavior”, they claimed. The mother was summoned, the girl was reprimanded and her character assassinated.
Such hypocrites! A woman’s chastity weighs over her safety. Its okay to have a pervert knocking at your window at night but an innocent girl who just happened to speak to a boy is considered a threat to the ‘good name’ of an ‘institution’. Non-sense.
These are just random incidents, a few among the numerous ones I have come across ever since I shifted back to Mallu land 6 months ago. For all the literacy levels we claim to have, it irks me that a society can still remain so narrow-minded. Not to mention the new brigand of moral police who have taken it upon to cleanse the state from all evils. Just how filthy can one’s perception be.
A normal day at work requires me to interact with customers of all ages. Its pathetic when I try to make eye contact and the loser in front of me has eyes only for my body. Just because, I’m a woman. When I walk towards the bank, I cross paths with a bunch 16-17 yr olds who attend coaching classes for entrance exams. Though I pretend that I haven’t heard them and walk off, their lewd remarks scare me. These young boys could turn out to be serial rapists in future. When I shared this with another elderly woman ( a senior colleague), the response I got was , ” Nee enthina athu kekkan pone”. Hello Auntie.. since when have we started listening to things that only we want to or we should! I got to hear such unreasonable explanations that question one’s basic common sense from most people I spoke to about this.
Why is it that any sort of abuse a woman has to face is treated with silence and apathy? In most cases, people frantically search for a loophole to blame the woman under any circumstance.
If a woman is vocal about the injustice she faces, ‘the feminist’ label is pasted. If she expresses a progressive view on what she wants from life, ‘its the evil of women’s liberation and misguided youth of today’. If a woman decides to walk out of a marriage she cannot handle, ‘its her problem that she couldn’t adjust’. If she decides to have a career and make all efforts to go up the ladder ,’ she has her priorities misplaced’. If a woman decides not bring kids into this big bad world, ‘ she is incapable of being a woman’. The accusations are plenty for every step a woman takes against conventions.
Its high time we moved out of the archaic value system, that has been twisted and tested to suit people’s needs. Its a crime to blindly cling on to conservatism to protect a retarded society. Education and literacy serves no purpose if the society is made regressive.
Why don’t I change the hostel and find a safer place to stay , you may ask?.
I was new to the town and absolutely clueless. Being the Archdiocese and all, the area has a plethora of convent run hostels. But, 95% of them were not ready to take in an employed girl who wouldn’t return from work before 6 p.m. So, why are these hostels run anyways and could somebody explain the logic behind the 6 p.m deadline? Its not like Satan would cross the gates and destroy the sanctity of the place along with me if I returned from work after 6 p.m and they let me in.
The only other option left was to find a house for rent. Now a single unmarried girl comes with a baggage of trouble and juicy details for the entire house owner association in the area. I knocked doors only to have the doors slammed on my face or the nicer people’s nod of regret when I mention I’m all alone. People are apprehensive about giving a girl a safe place to stay. Nevertheless, all ears and eyes and tongues are in action if they see her walking/ traveling alone at nightfall.
Did I say I live in a district with 100% literacy and 200% hypocrisy?
(I do not intend to generalize against the entire mallu clan here. There are genuinely nice people who do respect women and treat them as dignified individuals. But, a few bad experiences in the recent past have been building up a volcano of frustration and it had to explode today. Had to vent!)