When I was Five, My uncle had come from Saudi Arabia, I was sitting across from him, He called me closer and gave me a little present, I unwrapped it and saw a green color lipstick, “Green?” I asked, clearly, disappointed. “This is a magic lipstick, when you wear it, it will turn red,” he said.
Next day, I was getting ready to school, Ponds powder and eyetex bindi, Black ribbons for my plaits, Uniform, White socks and shoes and a small white chalk piece to paint the brown spots fair, And some parachute oil to tame the frizz on my crown. All done. Then, I slowly picked that green lipstick and stroked it on my lower lips and it turned red. I smiled.
Then, someone grabbed the lipstick from my hand, my father, He walked swiftly to the balcony, threw the stick outside, turned to me and said “Lipsticks are for bad women,” and went away. And, I stood, holding the balcony grills and looking at that magic lipstick on the road.
When I was fifteen, My mom enrolled me into the math tuition that starts at 6:00 AM and I had only 2 salwar kameez, so, I wear them on alternative days, In weeks time, tuition mates asked why am I not wearing anything else, their eyes were glistening with mischief,
“You are going to tuitions to study and not for a fashion parade,” said my mother.
I vividly remember borrowing a bunch of colorful hairbands from a friend, I cannot wear them at home because questions, I would keep the bunch in a small pouch, hide it inside my bag, I will ride my cycle, go to the next street, I’d wear the hair band and smile.
Then my elder sister wanted company and took me to a parlor and asked, “hey! Do you wanna thread your brows and I said yes!” I cried because that was the first time I’m plucking my brows. It was painful. I cursed my sister. But, when it was over and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt pretty. But, also, I had to keep my eyes on the floor just so I don’t get caught. But, that wasn’t a big task of a thing because I am always expected to keep my head down because I am a woman.
Things slightly changed when I went to college though,
I had better clothes to wear. 5 of them. I had power and I wore glasses, so I do not have to wear Kajal you know, I used to tell my friends. Ok, I lied to my friends. Truth is, I was not allowed to wear anything makeup.
Hostel life though was a tad different, Four of us in a room with shelves assigned for each, I would see their shelves with deodorants and perfumes and lip-glosses but mine were plain, I would wait for them to leave, I would sneak, and take a little bit of those cosmetics to try, The orange of that lakme on my lips and the moral science about stealing something on my mind, The fragrance of a tommy Hilfiger perfume on my wrist and the values that my grandma taught via the Mahabharata and Ramayana story in my heart,
Whenever I ask that I want something so cosmetic at home, they’d say “It would attract boys!” or they’d blatantly ask “Whom are you trying to attract?”
I grew up to understand that the world sees a man’s body as a vessel for one’s soul, But, a woman’s body though is not it. It is sexualized. I grew up to understand that the world sees a man’s clothes as civilization, But, a woman’s clothes are designed to just attract the male eye.
I was taught that women dress up to attract men, I was preached that women who dress up are bad women, who’d wear red lipsticks are sluts, and high heels are what porn stars wear.
I was forced to think that female sexuality is for everyone else except herself, I was forced to assume that female sexuality is required only when they want to please their partners,
A woman should know to dress enough to satisfy her male counterpart, be innocently seductive but not anything else.
But, then, I think I really grew up over the past decade, With life happening, love happening, social media and great bunch of friends and books, Trip to a different country and jumps to different companies, I sense a notable shift in my ideology,
Moral policing on social media is always on the high, I look at people commenting, Sleeveless clothes are not feminist’s tools, That, short skirts are not really empowering, Moreover, body hugging clothes – OMG! Is this even feminism?
Let me tell you something, When a person is not allowed to do something, if the reason is their gender, and if the person rebels against it, it is feminism.
There’s no said tabular column or match the following with a list stating what all fall under feminism and what doesn’t.
So, next time, when you have the urge to comment “Is this feminism?” or “Oh dear woman, you don’t even know what’s feminism. Torn clothes are not it,” or “revealing clothes is not feminism” or “what you’re wearing would invite rapists,” and sorts.
Take a white sheet of rectangular paper and write down your comments, Hold the top corners, bring them closer, and make a triangle, Flip it and fold it, Flip it again and fold it, Make a paper plane out of it. Keep it upright. 90 degrees. Take it down. Far below your crotch, Shove it up your ass and fuck off.
Is it a pretty woman running away from a room, yelling and crying with her clothes so torn? Or, is it a scene from a movie where you see their clothes all over and the woman throwing her hands and legs in all directions? Or, is it a small street, all dark, and you see a group of people in the far with a woman crying out loud for help?
What is the definition of rape? What is your definition of rape?
Or should I ask, What’s your prototype of a rape? Because, we are taught and preached that rape is always performed by a criminal who attacks a screaming woman at a gunpoint, isn’t it? What if I narrate an incident that deviates from your prototype? But, still claim that it indeed was a rape? Would you sympathize? Because evidently, the further the incident deviates from our idea of “how a rape should look like” – We seldom understand it
Have you heard the stories of marital abuse and claimed, he’s your husband after all, he has all the rights? – No. He doesn’t have the rights. It is a rape. Do you know there are men who are victims of rape and have you ever said, huh! Men actually enjoy sex any given day, No. It is a rape. How about mistreatment of sex workers because after all that’s their job and they get paid for it. No, it is a rape. And, same-sex assault, does that ever happen? Yes, it happens. It is again a rape. What if alcohol and drugs are involved? No 2nd thoughts, it can be a rape.
There are millions and millions out there in all the corners of the world, who scoop up the incidents that happened to them and are asking “Was it a rape?” to someone else and are slowly dissolving into their own tears of self-pity.
Because, we usually stick to a few well-known rape incidents and forget to see the whole spectrum of assaults. Such that, many sexual harassment victims are still unsure how to classify the misconduct. Because, people. They always want to just label an incident as rape or assault or harassment or misconduct. But, they fail to understand how it affected the said person.
Would you throw the rape case on a weighing scale?
100 points if you were killed during the rape
99 points if that was a gang rape
90 points if they had inserted an iron rod
80 points if you were just violently attacked
50 if you look physically fine
40 if the other person had used protection?
How about ranks, though?
1st Rank if you had said No and still get raped
2nd Rank if you said ‘Stop’ but the person continued
Fail – if you had said yes first and then said no second
Fail – if you were forced and coerced to saying yes after a 100 no
Fail – if you said maybe
Fail – if you just froze and laid there like a corpse.
Anything outside the commonly accepted definition of rape is considered less worthy.
The victims are pressurized to either classify the misconduct or to just shut the fuck up. But, one question from me, who gave anyone the rights to trivialize the victim’s experiences?
Do you know there are women who make the sound of pleasure as a defense mechanism? So the rapist assumes she’s done and would let go of her?
Do you know there are people who think that violence is a part of a woman’s life and it’s just okay because all the other women out there do face something similar or, even worse.
There are women who are advised that they were lucky because it was not a violent rape but the point to note here is, it is a rape. There are women who are brain-washed that it was not a rape but a bad sexual encounter.
There are people who say “How one should take the incident” – let me tell you, you have no rights to say how someone should feel about a traumatic incident. You’re not entitled to an opinion.
Consent has to be given. Consent cannot be taken away.
As much as we understand that “No means No” – we should also understand only “Yes means Yes” – A maybe or errr I need to think or especially, silence is not a substitute for a yes.
Disinterest is rape
Discomfort is rape
Someone not minding your pain but are pushing to finish is definitely a rape
Uneasiness is rape
You don’t have the rights to say that someone’s experience of a rape doesn’t “Count” as a rape.
You spending money on her doesn’t give you the rights to rape
you cannot rape someone just because you’re turned on
You cannot rape her just because she’s not a virgin
Let’s summarize? Shall we? If a person does not verbally say YES – yes, for all the sexual acts, it is a rape.
When I first had a crush, And when I said that to the person of interest, He said “You’re a woman. Have some shame!”
When I fell in love for the first time,When I winked and blew an air-kiss to him because the initial butterflies in my stomach made me do so, He met me in private and warned, “You’re a woman. Have some shame!”
When I was all in love and when all the songs made perfect sense, And, when I got some private time with him,I hugged him from behind, He turned and said, “You’re a woman, have some shame!” – Because a Woman doesn’t take initiative.
When I was intimate with my ‘forever partner’ and when I barged in to give him the first kiss because the inevitable chill wouldn’t let me be, He again said the same lines that all others said.
I’ve had no qualms about showing affection to my own body, When my roommate caught me pleasuring, she was shocked, she gave me a disgusting look, and told, “You’re a woman and you’re not supposed to do that. You’re in India not in a foreign country. Have some shame!”
I failed once, I was deeply distressed and upset, But I didn’t cry, Many around me were shocked that I didn’t and said “You’re a woman!” How can you not cry, are you a stone?
When someone groped me on the road, I got all worked up and I pulled up a fight, “OMG! You’re a woman. Have some shame, will you?”
When I started working, I striven to become better, And, I was put in a situation to raise my voice because none listens to the feeble, “Stop yelling will you? Act like a woman!” they suppressed me.
The other day when I was munching a pack of chips, Loud and all that, They said, “You’re a woman. You’d grow fat. And then, you’re not allowed to eat that loud,”
Have some shame, woman. Don’t burp or fart or pick your nose. You’re a goddamn woman for a reason.
I met a bunch of friends, A group of men and women, And, I didn’t notice that I had a wardrobe dysfunction and that my cleavage took a sneak peek, “This is so wrong! Are you giving signals to any of the guys? You’re a woman. Women don’t do that. Have some shame!” they said. They’re clearly not proud about having me in their lives.
If you don’t have a problem when a person with penis does something and if you have a problem if a person with a vagina and a pair of boobs does the same thing, it’s you who should be ashamed.
Have some shame, dear society!
I’m 28.3 years old,Yes, the age that many of them consider as pretty old,Probably the age when you’re expected to have a board around your neck that reads ‘Sold’
I know of people, who worry a lot, When the scale of their age slides slightly to the right, but Guess what?I’m actually really happy.You know why? Let me explain it to you!
Because, I’ve crossed the baby days when ‘milk mustache’ mattered,I’m done with the toddler stage, when I thought that the shells I find in the shore are from the mermaids.I’m not in preschool, when all that mattered was the decals stickers on my bedroom walls,And, also I’m not in high school, when bullying was the most terrible thing,
I’m not a teen anymore;Those were the days I thought,People have the heart made of gold,And, I can trust someone who’d smile like a sun,You know those teenage-teeny thing are all outdone.
I’ve traversed the young adult stage when I thought roses burst in rainbow colors,When I thought love was all about Romeo and Juliet,And, life is like a lantern that floats in the sky, And, my soulmate was that guy with bright green eyes.
I’m not 20 year old to mellow down and ask ‘Ah.. May I’I’d now shout like thunder and ask ‘Excuse me’ I need extra ketchup please.
I’m not 21 to cry when my plants have yellow spots,But, hey, sorrows and concerns are always tightening the knots.
I’m not 22 to make a wish with dandelion, Or to pray with one of my eyelashes on my knuckles, I’m so damn done with the customer care calls that I just slap them with a ‘I’m not interested’
I’m not 23 anymore to stay in love with the wrong kinda guy,I’m not 24 to constantly have doubts about my own abilities,I’m 28.3 – who knows that success will never wait for you with arms spread wide,
When I was 25, I risked my life for that one person, whom I cared a lot about, But now, I go out with someone I’m interested, share the food bill, and then take a selfie with a pout,
When I was 26, Guilt and regret swirled inside my belly,When I was 27, I slowly learned to shut the echoes of the Memories that are best forgotten,
Now that I’m 28.3,
I easily shut everything down, ignore life and take a long nap,I’m a literature fanatic but let’s just say I’m still a Harry Potter fan, does that sound dramatic?I now delete the pathetic evidences that I’ve left on Facebook, And, I know I can survive another heart break, just like the previous one.I know that life, is just a pair of tectonic plates, that shifts at times,
I’m bold, and reckless,But, you might call me a bitch and characterless.
I’m finally who I’m supposed to be,I know that life is a play of emotions – joy, happiness, hatred, love and longing,Life’s too short to just exist, I chose to live where I felt a sense of belonging.
– Kavipriya Moorthy
Last Wednesday, a colleague of mine came to my bay and handed over his wedding card with a hint of blush on his face. “Please do come” he said. A cute card it was, mustard yellow in color. With a modern art of lord Ganesha in one corner and a cute ‘holding hands’ clip-art icon between their names and red font and all that. The border had gold lace.
The other colleague I share my bay with asked “Hey! Why aren’t you settled yet?” and that’s not just a casual question you know, it is the usual questions that we hear once in a few days. I smiled, and I said the casual/usual lie “Horoscope issues. Astrology. Next year for sure!”
It reminded me of a few people I met in this course of ‘what’s called as life’
I thought first of Aarthi who needs permission to step out of the home, to buy a nice Saree of her choice, to call me and say a Hi. Once, very slowly, she whispered to me over the phone “See what marriage did to me?”
And, it also reminded me of Aishwarya, who is now incapable of making any decisions of her own. And, also about Ajay who regrets getting married every single day of his life. I thought about Anand and Anita who started to ignore the issues because that’s the best thing to do, and are now ignoring each other and are strangers under the same roof. And, the society says that they are all married with a capital M.
Whatever happened to ‘love’ and what happened to love means making the other person happy? I only see couples who make each other’s life miserable, who are egoistic and call it ‘reality’
I thought that the love and marriage that I witness in the books and movies are true. That fairy tale is indeed true. It’s about books, wine, and cheese, and Friday-night dinners. But, everything now, is completely materialized. Looks like some kind of spell. Because, they want their kids in international schools and they’ve booked the 16th floor in Estancia away from Chennai on EMI.
Bibhu and Balaji hurt each other and refrain from forgiving every single day.
Charan and Charvi thought that there’s more between them than friendship and got married, but, you know what? Charan fell a little bit in love with someone else and left. I don’t know what happened to them being hopelessly in love.
They’re all waiting for a small spot of light called hope in the darkness. Waiting for something to bring a spark their relationship and for something that would make it all work. And, the society says, they are married and settled.
Why should we sleep with a stranger every day and call it a marriage? This to me is beyond the logic and reasoning.
Dharun did a heap of things to prove that he’s in love with Divya. But, Divya was very clear. We cannot help whom we fall in love with, do we?
And Easha and Emraan have mastered the art of fighting. They make me feel like it’s the end of the world.
Farzana cries every day. She says to me, that she’s fine. She’s crying but she’s fine.
Gayathri has got many talents but keeping an affair secretive, is definitely not one among them. Harish did find a match on tinder but his parents wanted it only from a matrimonial website. So he married someone of their choice and fantasized his tinder date, every single night.
We’re all running to either find a relationship or from a relationship, as if we’ve got no time to lose. Aren’t we all kidding ourselves enough about ‘made for each other’ and ‘soul mates’ and ‘happily ever after’
I was wondering why Ishaan had to kiss a stranger behind the bars but only until Jitha confessed that it’s okay and that they are sexually incompatible.
And Kirthi filed a divorce because unsuccessful pregnancies, Lina did and called him a psychopath, Minu’s husband said he’s done with her emotional blackmails.
There was this guy who asked if i’m ‘pure’ because he said his decision is based on the state of this ‘virginity’ that doesn’t exist. And, then, another wanted me to quit my job and stand in his beautiful bungalow, wave him bye, and wait for him to return with my cheeks pressed against the glass of his balcony doors. I’ve met men who wanted to reduce me like the ash from their cigarette.
What’s love? Just a figment of imagination? Or are good people just a mirage?
No. I don’t want to be humiliated. I don’t want to hold my hand to my mouth and cry so that my 5yo child doesn’t get terrified. I don’t want to wake up half past four and say ‘this isn’t working out’ and I don’t want to burst into tears when we are signing the contract papers of freedom. And, no, I don’t want to fake orgasms.
I don’t know if I’d find the man of my life but I do know that I shouldn’t get married because I’m in my late 20s.
I don’t know if I’d have beautiful kids but I do know that I shouldn’t get married because my biological clock is ticking.
I don’t know if I’d fall in love but I do know that settled is not equal to marriage.
P.S – The names used in this blog post are all fictitious. I used Google for common names in India.
P.S 1 – #NotAllMen #NotAllWomen #NotAllRelationships #NotAllCouples and please feel free to include other hashtags that you’d require that would help you to refrain from leaving a “How can you generalize and write such a post,” comment. Thanks!
It was when I lost my innocence, That everything else made perfect sense.
That I was a result of a random affair, And, I’m being cursed now, how is that even fair?
Something that sparked between the old flames, But, why should I carry the burden and be blamed.
How would I even explain you the pain, To be the walking embodiment of what’s called as shame.
To what do I owe this honor? I’ve got to live with a misnomer.
I try to endure this with great fortitude, But the neighborhood says, “like your mother, you’d become a prostitute,”
I feel like I’m drowning in a bottomless pond, I don’t even know what’s father-daughter bond? Oh, when I call him, he never responds. Can someone change my life with a magical wand?
My tears don’t wash away my sorrows, But, it hurts to know that my initials are to be borrowed.
And people forget to see what’s beneath my skin, Their comments that brings tears to the brim,
None understood my grief, Can I live a different life for at least a short brief?
I just want to go nowhere, Away from this world that spells not of affair. Dear God, let me please disappear, The opinions and judgements – oh, I don’t want to adhere.
— Kavipriya Moorthy
“I need a baby. That’s all I’m asking. I’d lead my whole life taking care of the kid. He can do all that he wants, I wouldn’t care,” she said and terror slammed into me.
The above is one sentence from a 4 hour phone call I had with a woman who is in a married-relationship that’s so wrong and has no way out for various reasons.
I hear something similar from many. Those who are in a relationship that they don’t want but are forced to stay for reasons that one can have no say about. “I need a job, I’ll be happy then. I’ll stay hours together without him and without his thoughts,” said another. “I talk no more 200 words at home. I just hate her! I watch series and read books to while my time,” said a guy-friend of mine who’s separated because divorce is not an option in his family.
This made me realize that people really think that there’s a fix for an unhappy relationship but WHAT fixes is what they’ve got it all wrong. So, here I am, writing in pain, because, this goes to many friends of mine.
Issues in a relationship pile up – one on top of the other, as days go, they create a void that sits at the center of the relationship. It empties you and the other. These issues are like wearing wet socks, none will know but you will suffer, it’s going to hurt you again and again and again in various forms.
Not talking about it doesn’t equate it to becoming vanishingly-small. It’s just going to add more skeletons in your closet.
First – Hey you, stop burying your head in the sand like an ostrich. DEAL WITH IT.
Second – STRIP. Strip the issue for clarity. Talk about the bald facts involved. It could be his family, or lack of sex, or not having personal space, or not letting the other dress the way they like, or kids.
Most importantly, don’t involve other people in your issues – none on Earth ever has the knowledge about your relationship more than you two.
I’m thoroughly against relationships that involve physical abuse, infidelity, and other undeniable issues. I’d rather wish that they part away than stay put. But, when it is not that and when it can be worked upon, all it takes is some efforts.
Two different people who grew up in different environments, culture, and mindset and way of life start traveling together from a said point, and each having expectations of how the other’s past should have been and how the person should act/react/behave from day one is totally insane to me. What’s a relationship if you’re not ready to accept the differences? How can one force a reserved person to change themselves and become an extrovert because MARRIED? – just an example. This is the major issue that I find between couples I know of. Difference of opinions and forcing the other person to change like a clay-made-doll. One phrase for you – suck it up! Don’t expect the other person to change even their Facebook DP, it’s their freaking choice. Compromise would make life better but compromising to an extent where the other completely loses their individuality is insane.
Issue in a relationship is not constipation to take a pill and relax and pray that you’d be fine. Invest a lot of time, stay empathetic and understand what it takes to be the receiver, cherish the differences and give each other the personal space, and to a few men out there, please keep sexism away.
What’s worse than death is a relationship that’s killing a person EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Don’t find a job or have kids so that you can while away from these issues. It is better to face it once for all, fix it properly. Let love be the reason and glue, not kids or financial dependency. Yes, we are all puzzles ourselves and are very intricate to decipher, but I suppose it’s all worth it. The more you procrastinate dealing with it, the more ‘numb’ pills are swallowed by both of you!
When you’re older and when you’re attempting to make sense of the shattered pieces of your life – I wish, REGRET is not the only word that flashes. Take a step towards fixing your relationship, NOW!
*An imaginary conversation between those who were raped in India and killed/committed suicide/died as the treatment at the hospital didn’t save them*
“I was traveling alone in the night with just one friend in a private bus. Maybe, it was my mistake,” Jyoti Singh (Nirbhaya) kick-started the conversation.
“Yeah, I was so stupid to visit the Shakti Mills, Man. I shouldn’t have. Damn!” added the one sitting next to her, caressing her shoulders.
“Maybe the soft plumpness of my breasts or the scarlet lipstick provoked them to do,” Jyoti Singh said.
“My sister was a child, she was yet to develop full-grown breasts, and we’ve both had no opportunity to touch lipsticks, but was still raped and hanged,” said the 14 and 16-year-old sisters wiping away their tears.
“Hahahaha, I was 71 when I was raped.” the grandma rolled her eyes. “I was nothing. I was not beautiful. No lipsticks, hair color or whatever you young chicks do,”
“I was wearing a burkha, dude. My face was also covered. I’m not sure what provoked them,” fumed the lady.
“I’m an American. I was raped in your country.” One said, with a tight fake frown. “They’d rape any woman, no matter what!”
“Well, I was a newborn when I was raped,” said the child. “They just want a hole, apparently!”
“True that. I was raped and killed too,” said the guy and took a deep breath.
“I am neither a woman nor a man – transgender, but, you know what happens to us, right?” sighed, the other.
Why would you want to disperse the blame between the rapist and the victim?
Why is the heart inside your chest so completely numb?
The way she/he left the world – is a shame to you, me and the society.
And, you think by discussing the victim’s clothes, you’d uncover a great grand mystery?
A human with flesh, soul, and a purpose to live was forced to breathe their last.
How can you see a motionless body and find reasons to blame the soul that was residing in it?
What’s interesting in the search for a blemish of imperfection on the deceased?
Your curiosity hits a new high whenever a new rape case clouds the television screen – To what the dead owe this shame?
For you, a person raped is just another Facebook update or a tweet.
You’d share another funny meme in an hour, order a deep dish pizza, and grab a cold beer.
While her family’s eyes are growing heavy with your comments and they struggle to blink away that pain.
There can be only one reason for ‘rape’ – Mentality of the person committing the crime.
Stop blaming the victim.
Stop dispersing the blame.
— Kavipriya Moorthy
Blood trickled between my legs,
‘She’s ready for marriage,’ announced my mother.
I was married, within a few months,
She pulled me by my arms,
‘Do whatever he wants you to do, never say no, let him do anything, you just be quiet, alright?’ said my mom.
She claimed that it’s sex education.
And, there, he entered,
His lust filled zombie eyes gazed down at me,
He pushed me on to the bed,
Ripped me off my clothes,
He stood, rubbing himself,
He threw sloppy kisses all over my face,
A scream started to rise in my chest,
It erupted as a strangled gasp,
But, my mother’s words ‘Never shout or scream,’
Kept me from yelling loud,
His thighs against my open legs,
I squirmed beneath his still hips,
His hand squeezing my left breast,
His teeth biting my nipples,
He thrust hard into me,
Again and again and again,
I could feel nothing but pain, Unbearable pain.
How do I communicate this pain? I’m informed not to,
They’d call this ‘privacy’ to even discuss,
They’d undermine my hurt,
A flood of tears fell from my eyes,
He was done,
He rolled over next to me,
He didn’t care to look at my face.
I took a breath,
I grip the edges of the bed,
Gather myself to get up,
A sharp pain shoots up all over me,
Blood trickled between my legs.
— Kavipriya Moorthy