Of all the weird, bad, happy and exciting things that happen in my life, the one I’m going to narrate beats all the uninvited weird events that have ever happened to me. But the point of my post is not the event. Its my contemplation on the attitude of Indian society which caused this incident. On Thursday night, I was coming back from a dinner party with colleagues and it was bit late (10.30 pm). Suddenly this guy (read:weirdo) came along on bike and started driving beside me. He said hello and I sped up totally ignoring him and his blabbering. He drove all the way to my home. By then I had started to lose my temper. I stopped my Scooty, turned to face him and our conversation followed:-
Weirdo : What were u doing back there, standing and talking with a guy in front of my house?
Me with incredulous look : What on earth are you talking about? Do you even know who I am and where I’m coming from?
Weirdo : You were standing with a guy in front of my house. Don’t stand in front of my house ever again. Its not a good thing.
Me with my temper lost completely and shouting : Are you mad? I’m coming from xxx and haven’t stopped anywhere to talk with anyone. I think you are mistaking me for someone else.
Weirdo : No its you. Its not a good thing to stand and talk like that. Is this your home?
Me shouting : Yes it is. So?
Weirdo : I’ll tell your dad what you were doing.
Me hopping mad and shouting : Yeah?? By all means do so. Just get off your bike and tell my dad.
By then, my parents came out due to the commotion and he went off saying “don’t stand outside my house again” and me shouting “Hey you, stop..I said stop”. I suppose some girl had been standing but by the time this weirdo came out to do moral policing, she must have left and he found me the only girl passing by at that time. Next day when I told my colleagues about this, one of them told us about the time when he and his friends had beaten up a boy who had been standing and talking to a girl since 2 days around a street corner near my colleague’s home. And they dropped the girl off at her home and complained to her father.
So I was enlightened by the fact that the act of being the man of the house and scaring people standing and talking outside on road is a common activity guys do, at least in my city. But it also made me ask that from where does this sort of absurd and twisted sense of righteousness come? This moral policing comes from the prudish attitude of most of India. If it were 2 guys standing, it would have been fine. 2 girls that too at such a time is out of question. But a guy and a girl standing together and talking are instantly interpreted as a couple and being a couple & expressing that in India is a crime of the magnitude next to saying Ramayana sucks!! On the top of it all, there exists a huge inferiority complex in many for not having a girl-friend or for not being able to talk with girls themselves, stemming from sexual suppression and conservative ideologies. And this creates the misplaced sense of propriety. And of course its the natural course in Indians that if we label something to be proper then we bestow upon ourselves the right to go about forcing it on other people to accept and conform to. Be it Valentine’s Day being a bad occasion or homosexuality being illegal or Cheer leading being immoral or two people just sitting together being obscene. Who decides whats moral and decent? Some scriptures and mythological stories? My colleague who beat up that boy, comes home at 12 am or so and drinks 4 times a week. Just being out with guys and having no apparent involvement with girls makes him moral? The way he turns to look at each girl on road while driving is moral? Demanding dowry is moral but just sitting quietly with a loved one is immoral? In a country having the freedom of speech and expression as a Fundamental Right, is it immoral to stand on road and talk? Getting so much hyper about it is totally unjustifiable. I understand freedom comes with responsibility and modernism comes with sense of dignity and consideration of other people’s comfort but this is no way to make people understand the same.
One more important thing is that even when I was expressing my rage, I’d an inner fear of repercussions and thus did not say what all I’d in mind. I didn’t inquire in that neighborhood for that guy and refrained myself from showing up at his home and giving a piece of my mind, lest I hurt his fragile ego and create more trouble for myself. Alas!! we don’t live in a place where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.