So many thoughts have occurred to us in cab rides. I generally don’t write while sitting outside or in a café. I am yet to develop that habit but cabs give me that space. To be some place outside and yet be inside. I can think, observe and write. As people pass on and I observe their faces, a flashback occurs in my mind. The image of me sitting on my bed a year ago, horrified with the news that I have heard. An 8-year-old girl was raped in Jammu and Kashmir. My body was numb that day after I heard it and I sat like that for so many hours.
Initially, I was thinking of the times of barbarians. There was no civilization. Men did what they wanted. There was no one to question them. And I think about today. How I am sitting in a cab and forwarding the link of tracking my ride to my brother. People started wearing better clothes, there is advanced technology, we can have anything in the world and yet I don’t call us civilized. HOW IS TODAY ANY DIFFERENT TO THE TIMES WHEN THERE WAS NO CIVILIZATION? Men still do what they want to do. We hear about the movements like “#METOO” and undoubtedly, I am extremely proud of these strong women who came out and raised their voices but I still wonder how did it take this long for women to speak up.
Where did we go wrong as a society?
Surprisingly, I have the answer. It was centuries ago when women realized that they are being mistreated. They knew every way how men could disrespect them. After this realization, every mother started getting indulged in the full-time work of teaching their daughters how to protect themselves. While they were busy teaching their daughters within the four walls, their sons were out somewhere ill-treating another woman because who was there to teach them after all? This is where we went wrong. We involved ourselves into teaching little girls how to dress, sit and act and no one cared to teach those wild little boys how to behave.
The question is – Is it too late now? No, it isn’t. It is never too late. When it comes to making the society better, I don’t think it’s ever too late.
Men started wearing clothes. They learnt languages and etiquette. I think we can still manage to teach some little boys and stubborn men. It obviously starts at home. We must make sure our daughters and sisters are safe at home. By “safe”, I don’t just mean physical harm but the mental harm especially. When you teach your daughters to dress appropriately in her own house, you make her believe that no man, including her father is to be trusted. You make her believe that men will not change. You make the boys of the house believe that every woman must be covered in front of them. When you teach boys not to “cry like girls”, you make him believe that girls are weaker. That is where the boy leaves emotions and feelings behind. You need to make the boy and the girl of the house feel equal. They must be taught how to dress, sit and behave the way they feel comfortable and to be respectful and polite to other people. There is no gender stronger or weaker than another. It’s high time that “#equality” reaches every nook and corner of the world.
I am riding in the cab giving continuous side-eye to my cab driver. I wonder when will this stop. I don’t want my daughter so terrified to take a cab back to her home that she opens all the windows, keeps one hand on the car-door-handle and her hand bag pressed near her in case she needs to jump off anytime. I will teach her how to be brave but first I will teach my son how to be a civilized human. We are yet to be completely civilized. It depends on what you make of your sons.