In the desert called feminism, coming across humans with similar sensibilities and whom you can identify with is a very rare occurrence.
You feel ecstatic when you do meet such a person.
When the TVF controversy entered our personal spaces and shook us by its relatability, we made it ‘our own’. We made the characters household names because we had decided to break the shackles of patriarchy and its handy stereotypes together. Or at least, so it seemed…
I’m 20 and I was born and brought up in the national capital region (NCR).
The concepts of sexual harassment, molestation and assault aren’t alien to me. Being ogled at is a part of the lives of us – women – which we wish to get rid of. However, due to its frequent occurrence, it seems as if we have made our peace with it.
However, I am sure that we will never make peace with the eye-opening instances of hypocrisy that we are exposed to, now and then.
A man in power sexually harassing his subordinate is nothing new. It has happened ever since women have made their presences felt in the professional world. In fact, I know that my mother was asked to change her appearance and ‘up her make-up game’, whenever she went to meet a certain influential man. However, I have also seen my mother refuse to do any of these impositions.
So, for me, coming to terms with what happened wasn’t appalling at all.
What has dismayed me is the fact that the accused is someone I had held in high regard for a long time. This does not infuriate me. On the other hand, it saddens me to think that all this while Arunabh Kumar was pitching the ideas of feminism and fighting misogyny and selling them to a section of the society that readily bought it.
We bought the ideas because we have been waiting for someone to deliver them too eagerly and for too long. We didn’t even realise that the seller personally had little regard for mutual consent and respect. We walked down the aisle without understanding how deceptive it could be.
I feel cheated for not understanding that Arunabh Kumar’s sketches, which resonated with me, were just a facade of the man being fashionable and aware of driving profits by catering to the urban youth.
I thought we were improving the spaces we are living in – with TVF’s refreshing content, AIB’s obvious sarcasm, Anushka Sharma taking on men in “NH10” and being rooted for, Amitabh Bachchan agreeably explaining consent in “Pink” and artists coming up and questioning religious sentiments.
Instead now, we have gone two steps back.
I feel disappointed for having looked up to you – more so, because I thought that as a person and public figure, you were larger than the path-breaking content you presented to our generation.
I am disappointed that I aspired to write for you, someday. I wanted to work for TVF, but these allegations have only made me fearful of entering the industry I was once so confident about.
I promised my parents that I would be safe when I went for TVF’s premiere of “Humorously Yours” even though I knew it would end after midnight. Even though I was far away from my home, I told my parents that I was in the company of like-minded people.
Well, I did meet you and bragged to everyone about it for the next 20 days. However, recalling that one encounter is more heartbreaking today than I ever thought it could be. The trust your work had instilled in me is ruined for the days to come.
After all, you proved patriarchy right, yet again.
You contradicted your efforts, once and for all.
But, thanks to you, we now know that even feminism can be put on the shelves for salesmen to sell.
Indefinitely, you’re the ‘salesman of the year’!