Congrats on landing your dream job. You must be soaring in the sky like an out-of-control kite. Allow me to fill you with dread and some unsolicited advice. Before I begin my monologue, let's make it very clear—relinquishing your sanskari position at home (the silent, supportive daughter-wife-mother behind a "man") was a BAD IDEA. What made you think could step out of the house and become successful in your own right? Must have been those silly quotes that pop up like zits every Women's Day.
You may have convinced yourself that you are capable, smart, intelligent... But that guy in the corner cubicle would rather have lauki ki sabzi every day than accept this fact.
Cool that you slogged your ass off to ace all your exams, made the company reject scores of candidates to hire you and are finally who and what you want to be. You may also have convinced yourself that you are capable, smart, intelligent and determined to achieve any goal you have set for yourself. But that guy in the corner cubicle giving you that creepy smile would rather have lauki ki sabzi every day of his life than accept this fact. For him you are just a piece of meat regardless of what you do and how many obstacles you scale to reach for that glass ceiling.
Don't blame him. He has been on a diet of sexist WhatsApp forwards themed around shaadi-is-every-man's-barbadi for so long, he has convinced himself of his bechara status. Never mind the clean house and warm meals that await him every evening. He's too much of a decent guy to let go of his oppressive marriage and deprive his missus of her many back-breaking duties and listless life. Office is his only chance of fun on the side—yet another gyaan he has got from boss-secretary jokes where the secretary's sole duty is to pleasure her boss.
So, it's hardly a surprise that he is a firm believer in equality... he harasses all women equally.
Correction. He fancies himself as a hopeless admirer of comely charms. When he finds a woman irresistible, he makes her aware of his sincere feelings through many thoughtful gestures such as pinching her butt, sharing porn clips and suggesting they do a quickie to ease the unbearable tension between his legs.
As a true upholder of government-approved morals, it's your duty to try and understand this poor man's point of view.
As a true upholder of government-approved morals, it's your duty to try and understand this poor man's point of view. If he walks up to your desk to discuss targets for the next quarter while staring intensely at your boobs, please discard any feeling of discomfort like a used tampon and roll over in gratitude.
It will not stop here. After all, he's a heterosexual male, single or otherwise. His affection will continue to grow like post-demonetisation GDP and his advances will keep getting bolder. But girl, you gotta keep that feeling of revulsion under control. If you don't, all hell will break loose.
You might be tempted to file a complaint against his unwanted overtures to put an end to it, once and for all. Let me roll on the floor with laughter before I proceed. Remember you are in an age where filing a complaint against sexual harassment is still considered a graver crime than the assault itself. And, if you still fancy yourself in a utopian world where the bad guys get punished, go ahead and fight for justice. But please brace yourself for the shit to hit the ceiling and soil you instead.
A woman raising her voice against unwanted advances will go through the same grind every single time. First they will ignore her, then laugh at her, then shame her, and then try to silence her.
You are but an inconvenient glitch in the status quo where men get to set the rules. And men like these will do everything in their power to wear you down in your fight for justice.
Chop off that mane, save those pretty dresses and knick-knacks for special occasions and wear a permanent scowl... think Mayawati.
But here's the thing. You are a survivor. Once you accept that you have to be fearless Nadia with nothing to lose but your hair, peace of mind and sanity in your fight against harassment, you learn to avoid conflict in the first place.
So how do you go about it? You start by shedding all traces of your femininity. If you don't look like a woman, half your problems will solve themselves on their own. Chop off that mane of yours, save those pretty dresses and knick-knacks for special occasions and wear a permanent scowl. For a crystal clear picture, think Mayawati.
Dress preferably in a shroud. Remember, even a hint of a bra strap is conclusive evidence you have breasts. And once it's open knowledge, you have no control over the outcome. If your admirer doesn't get deterred by this, you can always tell him you have a boyfriend. For double security, add a husband as well. If you want to erect an invincible firewall, tell him you have a brother who works as a bouncer at a pub in Gurgaon.
You also have the option of following the advice of the great As(s)aram jee and can start calling all your colleagues including the female ones bhaiya. In this age of gay love, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Don't forget to keep a vaginal swab inside your purse. Nobody will believe you were assaulted till you present them with conclusive proof or are found dead.
But you never know. After all Senorita, bade bade companies mein aisi chhoti chhoti batein hoti rehti hai. Keep a camera handy to record assault, preferably stuck in between your cleavage. Don't forget to keep a vaginal swab inside your purse. Nobody will believe you were assaulted till you present them with conclusive proof or are found dead.
Have I made you angry enough? Good.
Now listen up. Women who know who and what they want terrify a certain section of men and women. Why? Because they cannot be controlled by diktats, threats, fear of shame and lectures on morality. So when we go ahead and voice our dislikes, discomfort and fight for our self-worth, it is taken as a sign of rebellion.
Oh my god, you're a feminist. Hahahaha. You must be so lonely, ugly and desperate to get laid.
So, it's up to you. Do you want to continue being free to do what others want or do you want to live life on your own terms?
Nobody but you gets to decide that for you.
Your always concerned Aunty
This post was originally published here.