The Pink Tinge of Hope

I am a 20-year old girl. I wear whatever I want to, whatever I am comfortable in. I am not against the idea of drinking. Staying out of home beyond 7 pm doesn’t scare me. I am not at all opposed to the idea of pre-marital sex. I am one of those women who pick careers over kids and I can assure you I won’t feel even a tiny sliver of remorse or regret when I do.

Does this mean I have no character or am I in any way asking to be sexually assaulted?

No.

Nor were the thousands of women who were in fact assaulted. Nor were Meenal, Falak or Andrea.

 

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Source: Wikipedia

Pink is a story of three working girls in Delhi who go to a rock concert and end up with a court case. An action taken in self-defence is considered as assault while actual assault is not and the whole case against them is on the fact that these girls drink, party and have sexual relations ie they are not ‘decent’. Retired lawyer Deepak Sehgal steps back into the court to fight this case by waging a war against sexism.

I spent the first half of the movie crying. The incident happens. Meenal bashes Rajveer’s head with a glass bottle as he repeatedly tries to sexually assault her. The three girls, terrified of legal action, run away from the scene. Rajveer along with some dear friends insists on an apology and on being refused, starts to harass them. Anonymous phonecalls, threatening messages, kidnapping and molestation- all of this without any guilt. In fact they consider it their right to instil fear into the three women who dared to fight back.

Meenal, Falak and Andrea are strong independent women who earn for themselves and are generally okay with living away from home. They are fearless in their own way until they aren’t. This kind of harassment and mental torture can break apart the strongest person. It’s terrifying to see the women you hope to become so helpless in the face of such an adverse situation.

It’s terrifying that they received minimal support from the police who nicely pointed out that they shouldn’t have ventured outdoors after dark in the same place.

It’s terrifying how even their parents, close friends, boyfriends and neighbours chose to believe that the three of them were prostitutes over the fact that they were victims/survivors of assault.

It’s terrifying how Rajveer’s lawyer felt okay to wash all their dirty laundry in court without any warning.

It’s terrifying how helpless they were despite being strong and independent.

The thing that terrifies me the most though is the fact that it could be me. I could be the one asked if I had taken any money for the sex. I could be the one whose character would be written off as indecent due to the fact that I wear jeans or the fact I venture out when it gets dark or even because I hug my guy friends. It could be my neighbours talking about how I had it coming. I am actually terrified of my family not supporting me although they are pretty modern and all for equal rights.

It could be me. It could be my sister, my mother, my little cousin, my grandmother, my bestfriend-it literally could be anyone and the society will point fingers at the girl’s morality over the guy’s inability to control his id impulses.

If that is not crazy, I don’t know what is.

And the preparation for this kind of shaming begins even before any kind of assault. It feels like people wait with bated breaths for something untoward to happen to the girl wearing a crop top or shorts. Sometimes not even that; sometimes the mere fact of her being female is enough as a source of shame.

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I shared this post on my facebook timeline yesterday.

Hey, if people can make fashion trends shameful, then why the hell not everything else? I mean, it is a choker. It is slutty. Wearing a certain kind of necklace can lead girls to being judged, mocked and branded as hos.

Numero uno

What in the world is wrong with being a sex worker? I mean, it’s easier to forgive someone for being a thief, a murder or a rapist (Yes, Brock. I’m looking at you) than for using your own body to earn an income?

But here’s a thought. Don’t we use our bodies for any damn profession?

Numero dos

Can’t we be allowed to enjoy any thing without being judged for it?

This whole system is frustrating and almost hopeless. Almost. What gives me hope? This-

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There were so many girls in my friend-list who did not hesitate in calling out this stupid attempt to belittle women for following a harmless trend.

Deepak Sehgal, the lawyer from Pink so beautifully defended Meenal in the trial. He managed to kick sexism in the nuts this one time. It was so satisfying.

So long as there are people who are unafraid to call bullshit just that, there is yet hope that the society’s mindset will eventually change. We have come this far; we can go further still.

 

 

 

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A new way to Cinephilia

Last two weeks have been crazzzy!

First there was all the preparation for my college fest. Then there was the actual fest. Blitzkrieg is a big deal. It’s a BMM fest after all, and KCBMM at that.

Immediately after Blitz got over, I went ahead and registered myself for a course in German at the Goethe Institute in Mumbai.

Actually since I had gone, the Queen of Procrastination that I am, on the day before the course was to commence, I didn’t get in at first. My mum was all serves you right. 

But my friend Dee was the one with me. She’s like a lucky charm or some kind of talisman. Really! I’m going to drag her along with me for job interviews.

She assured me that someone would cancel and I would get the call. And hey pesto! Two minutes später, my cell began to ring.

I got in!

So now, my timetable basically goes like

Morning – College
Afternoon 1pm onwards – German Class
Evening around 7.30 – Home

Yesterday was hellish. I had college at 7.30 am. Then I had nothing to do 10 am onwards and finally German class at 1 pm.

I left after class and walked down to the station with a neue Freundin from MMB (or Max Mueller Bhavan ie the German class). She was planning on going for a movie at Alliance Française. They have free movie screenings every Monday. I went along.

The movie was amazing! It was an Iranian film called My Sweet Pepperland.

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Baran, a Kurdish independence war hero, is now sheriff in Erbil, the capital city. No longer feeling useful in this society now at peace, he thinks about quitting the police force, but instead agrees to be stationed in a small valley, at the very borders of Iran, Turkey, and Iraq. It is a lawless territory, right at the heart of illegal drug, medication and alcohol trafficking. Having arrived in the small village, he refuses to bow down to Aga Azzi, the seriously corrupt tribal chief and absolute ruler of the area. Baran meets Govend, the village school teacher, who is also rejected by the villagers. Like Baran, she represents another law, that of the young and autonomous Kurdish state. Govend is all the more vulnerable as she is not a married woman.

That’s the summary on imdb. It’s directed by Hiner Saleem and stars Korkmaz Arslan and Golshifteh Farahani in the main roles. Imdb has given ‘My Sweet Pepperland’ a 7.1/10 rating.

I would personally raise it to an 8/10. I don’t know if I’m the right judge because it’s the first middle eastern movie I’ve seen but I really liked it. It shows Kurdistan as a newly formed country trying to form it’s laws and have a police force to ensure that the laws are followed. Of course, this process, as always, has its adversary in the traditions and norms that are deeply rooted into the minds of the citizens. We see the old ideals wrestling with the modern changes.

The way that the people of the village cannot accept a female teacher, and the way they are unable to comprehend the friendship between Govend and Baran- it is something I can very much imagine happening. The doubt and mistrust is a part of being an Indian girl too but on a much much lower scale. At least, in the cities.

What I really loved about the movie was the way the characters kept on fighting back. Right from Baran to Govend to the female Turkish Kurdish rebels. They were just tiny acts of rebellion (except for the rebels from Turkey and Baran towards the end) but it made me realize that not every rebellion needs a Mockingjay to be effective.

Now, my Monday evenings are booked. I’ll definitely try and catch movies at Alliance. I am also trying to download a movie called ‘Kilometre Zero’ by Hiner Saleem again. It is a roadtrip movie that takes place in the Kurdish land.

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