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10 January 2008

Outsider- at home

The best write-up I have read since.

(Since when? The molestation at juhu of course.. you did not think I had moved on did you?)

Take a look at Jahnavi Samant's Mumbai on the inside article in Mid-Day of 9th Jan.

I prefer this because I am bored of reading people (men & women) spouting womens causes as they see it. You know, the ones who would not pick up a cup or change a light bulb and would need a woman/man to do it for them. Who don't even live in the city of Mumbai but write from some 38th floor of an apartment or a condo in a far away land that has 'security' and 'freedom' - not in the either/or situation we face here. Not to forget the freedom being discussed is that to get drunk and wear revealing/fashionable clothes (else- be perceived as dork!)- the fashion and follies freedom-which again we have no shortage of at least in Mumbai. And not dowry, not rape, not infanticide, choosing contraception, career choices, dress in comfortable clothes instead of traditional in presence of in-laws, property rights and such topics that face the large number of the women here.

By men who'd never in their lives gone to a police station in Mumbai on behalf of a strange(r) woman they are not related to by blood or by law. Even then, unless there has been a burglary at home or the car has been stolen. Definitely not for any other 'minor' (a.k.a molehill) matter.

Those who would treat a single woman relative in the family as an unpaid nanny and (with concurrence of other women in the family) cheat her out of her property rights.

By others who'd enjoy your company and seek you out but would not part with their home number or address or encourage a stay over because who knows? The female may just get 'needy" or emotional.

I prefer this article- because it is a view point of an average ' woman' who lives in 'Mumbai'. An every day view seen in the life of a citizen. Not any pledge, not any poetry. Plain prose. Or as I call it, Direct Dil Se.

Now can we have some people joining 'our' cause? That of a safer city. Where the women as Jahnavi, after making an excellent note of insider-outsider perspectives, concludes;

" ....prefer leaving a moving train instead of getting into a gents compartment in a hurry. [..] hold folders and purses across our breasts while walking in a station or getting into a bus [..] don't walk on the streets when there is a Ganpati procession or political rally about [..]our slinky dresses are reserved for the times when we are picked by a friend's car.....

....But there are no reporters to report it (and even if there are, they are quite capable of just sitting out a rape out of fear or indecision). There are no cameras to catch our humiliation. And there is no one to listen to our pleas...

Mumbai is safe, but only the 'insiders' know how safe.'

Thank you.

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