Today, I organized a gender sensitivity workshop for the employees, researchers and students of my university. We held a session of sisterly sharing where women came up with their real life stories. I cannot help penning down the incident narrated by a young lady. It's a passing incident and yet so telling.
She recently met a powerful shot in the official system. He was at the very top. He headed a whole academy. His powers lay far and wide. She had gone to listen to his lecture. Full of reverence, regard and awe, she cast her eyes on this top honcho. He was tall. He was comparatively fair. His eyes were small and deep stuck inside. She said to herself, "Lack of imagination - small, deep stuck eyes". But that's how real men ought to be, she thought.
Power impresses people. There is no doubt about it. And as she was pondering things in her head, the giant was standing right near her, shaking her hand as though he would take the hand away with him. Still, she hoped and thought of seeing some worth. He had brought a prepared lecture which was good. The aura of power around the giant impacted the words on the audience. She took her notes. She went away.
As she reached home, she received a call. The heavy, power-soaked voice informed her that he was indeed the giant. She had mixed feelings. Her experiences in life taught her not to take things at face value. And the voice went, "Choo - choo, puchhoo, ilu ilu". She was stunned. How could such a powerful man, sitting at such a responsible position could be so unaware of basic human decency. He had no shame in hurling obscenities at a woman who did not want to take them. Her words did not matter. From there started his calling. She did not want to offend him. She did not want to fight with him. Yet his behavior was unacceptable. What a fall it was! From what high pedestal the giant fell. Her heart sank.
Are such people at the helm of affairs in this country? Uneducated, instinctive barbarians who had no idea about the words like consent, reciprocity and decency. He would cook up false stories at the spur of the moment. He would call her at any time. She said that she felt feverish. Not used to such behavior, she did not know what to do. And she was alone in dealing with this situation. Her husband could not be involved. The society would hardly take it kindly. Adding to the direct insults hurled by the giant, the society would only laugh at her. Listening to her, we all got so tensed up. We wanted to rush and help her. With abated breaths, we waited for her to complete the narration.
Looking at us, she burst out laughing and said, "You know what I did. I went to the bridge (badi pul) and threw my mobile away. And that's the end of my story." It's months now. The giant is in media glare. He cannot directly come and jump at her. But it was the way she ended her story that touched me most. "You know what; I didn’t exactly dislike the man. Had he been sensible, logical, decent and aware, we could have done so much together. I could have written his biography like no one else could. He too could have been my support. We could have collaborated creatively if only, if only.... he was sensitive... What a wasted opportunity."