Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Eve-teasing at the doorsteps

An interesting initiative happened in the blog-o-sphere when I was busy packing my stuff back at the institute. A movement called ‘Blank Noise Project’ had started, the sole point of which was to condemn eve-teasing. By the time I found it out – which was like a week back – the movement has spread its wings, and about 200 people have contributed to the project.

I never really thought about eve-teasing until one day when my mother narrated her own experiences of being a judge/mediator in eve-teasing related cases in her company. On the equal rights argument, she also keeps telling me often how bad it is to be at the top management as a woman – the glass ceiling, in HR terminology. Those were poignant moments that set me thinking.

Coming to the topic, since I was late and didn’t have any topic ready at hand I couldn’t add my contribution. But I got the chance two days back when I visited my alma mater – Government College of Technology – for I was told there was an inter-college cultural program in progress.

It was about 6 pm when I reached the auditorium inside my college. The building was built decades ago, which naturally meant that it was ill-equipped to hold an audience of a thousand people. As I was nearing, I could feel the all-too-familiar scene inside - more than a thousand people squeezing hard into every inch of space, lit by a feeble light, reeling under sweltering heat, lacking flow of natural air, with the occasional streaks of lights a la the types in discotheques. The audi was packed as I expected, and that meant I had to be a part of the standing crowd in the last rows.

Although I had been a part of both the organizing teams and the audience on different occasions, I had never been a part of the crowd in the fag back-end. But I knew what was in store – an unruly crowd, who would wait with bated breath for a moment of silence to do the nastiest thing possible. I had to stay there for lack of a choice.

The ‘noise’ pattern was clear. There would typically be a gang of guys and everyone would wait for one moment of silence – between song/dance/skit sequences, and would all burst out in unison giving as much noise or abuses as possible. What wasn’t surprising was the way they didn’t allow any incompetent performer (in their opinion) to continue beyond a point, whether it was a skit or a song or a dance number. They listened to the first few lines and then they pounced right after. I thought it wasn’t abnormal given a huge crowd.

What followed later was surprising. The treatment for guys was consistent - they waited till a point and made a cry if they felt the performance was below par. But when it came to performances by girls, it was different - while the gang was absolutely silent in case of dance performances, they didn’t even allow songs to start. One girl gave up after half trying half a song since what she was singing was hopelessly lost in the commotion from the back. I thought it was rather cheap – watching a girl dance is ok, but listening to a girl sing isn’t? Although I’ve seen such instances in intra-college events before, I used to think they were more of personal issues than anything else. But this time around, the participants turned out to be from other institutes.

Now, what I really wonder is if anything could ever be changed. Will starting projects such as Blank Noise stop such guys from doing it? I guess women would be bold to come out, but will the problem stop at its root? I personally don’t see anyway of changing the guys in my own narration. As far as I know, the more you say it’s wrong, the more they would pursue it for want of kicks or to prove a point. So, is there a way to change at all?


At Thursday, March 23, 2006 4:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tough..Really tough. They do it just because they get more fun on such off stage doings at that time and after than the real thing whats going on the stage. Most of the time they might not even know the person whome they are abusing also.Basically the mindset has to be changed......:-)

BTW, whats that func da? Inter college festival in GCT? They started it again or what?

At Thursday, March 23, 2006 7:44:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

@Kanagu: True da... its tough to change. Thats what I too think.

Anyway, Technotryst has split into two.. and prod guys are conducting their own event called Praxis. For the culturals in the evening, other college participants are invited these days. Cool na?


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