21 Intrusive Questions One Woman Should Never Ask Another

Have you been at the receiving end of a question which has no answer? Have you been been stung by a question which is not a question but a statement in itself? Have you been asked a question so powerful that it has taken the wind out your lungs and almost choked you? Have you been hit so hard by a question, that you recoiled at how mere words can have the effect of a physical blow?

Of course we all have and I am not talking or a viva voce of a 12th standard exam where the examiner grills you about the laws of quantum physics or the anatomy of a frog brain.

This is the viva of day-to-day life, where we women interact with other women – women who are our ‘friends’, women who are acquaintances, women we meet socially or just random women who flit in and out of our lives, who just ask, ask , ask – without waiting for an answer, without wanting a response, without knowing us, without a thought.

Since we women speak mostly to other women and love to talk among other things, we ask a lot of questions – all playfully, unintentionally of course!

In an attempt to make small talk we women and men too, ask questions – as fillers, as conversation starters, as ice breakers … heart-breakers?

In 12th standard exams, we used to have a booklet called ’21 questions’- questions likely to be asked in the exams.

Here is my list of 21 questions women ask each other; questions that are questioning, investigating, probing, scrutinising. Questions that do not end with a question mark, but actually with a few exclamation marks. Questions that are statements. Questions that end in tears. Private tears!

Here is my list of 21 questions that one woman should not ask another.

“When is the good news?”
‘Good news’ as in “when are you getting married?” or ” When are you getting pregnant?” The most prying, inquisitive question of all. Is there an answer? I don’t know. A few days down the line, you recover from it and think of clever answers you could have given that woman who hurled it at you. Too late!

The ‘good news’ question is designed to make the toughest among us tongue-tied and speechless as we cower guiltily at our failure in delivering the ‘good news’. We glower in shame at not being able to give the ‘good news’ that is expected of us. Nope, that new job you started doesn’t count as ‘good news’, neither does that degree you acquired last year after months of hard toil.

“Have you put on weight?”
Why oh why does anyone need to know this? You may have put on a few milligrams or a few kilograms. How does it concern the questioner?

Wish you could counter this question with positive questions such as “Are you going to buy me a new wardrobe darling?” Or “Are you just admiring my new curves?” However, you squirm shamefully, hopelessly pulling in that tummy fat, pinching those love handles, sucking in the armpit fat as if that is possible and rue the last time you ate a gulab-jamun, swearing never to go near a dessert again.

The question haunts you as you struggle with your post-delivery hormones or menopause hormones or for that matter any womanly hormones that misbehave and no diet fads help either. The question destroys the self esteem that took a recent beating and just got back on track. Why couldn’t the questioner admire your well-filled out glowing cheeks and say you looked happy? Or just say nothing. You promise yourself to go running tomorrow, eat one chapati less and hope that Ms. Question Queen will be pleased with your weight loss. As if she is going to notice the 200 grams you have lost, but you will try. Oh yes you will. You will do what it takes….with tears in your eyes.

“Have you lost weight?”
Now surely this is a harmless question? Losing weight is great, isn’t it? We are all on that losing weight bandwagon. We all want to lose, lose, lose until we get into those impossibly stitched skinny jeans that make our thighs look like sausages and need scissors to take off . But that is another story!

So ‘Have you lost weight?” is a great question. Or is it? Hmmmm, why is it that this question is always asked to someone who is already slender and a little underweight anyway? Rubbing it in, tormenting- “haha you look thinner” is what it implies. Ask anyone who has problems gaining weight – believe it or not there are plenty of us grappling with weight issues on the other side of scale.

Putting on weight is not as easy as stuffing a samosa in the mouth. It takes years to pile on a few micrograms, but in those few seconds the questioner thinks nothing of it and rebukes you with a reminder of how thin you are, how imperfect, how inadequate.

Yup, you will go stuff yourself even if it makes you sick, you will gorge on ghee, wear a few extra layers, wear padding, maybe even go underground and hibernate… until the day you put on a few kilograms to appease Ms Perfect who is prowling around with a magnifying glass with a built-in weighing scale that weighs even the smallest of bacteria and advises them to put on more weight… aiming for perfection.

Is Ms. Perfect inviting you around to hers for breakfast, lunch or dinner, so she can feed you? Fat chance! Does it ever occur to Ms Perfect that there could be a medical reason for weight loss? If it does, you will get a free lecture on her hypothesis of the investigations,treatment, medication etc you should be on. Never mind that she has zero medical knowledge and even is she did, it matters little that it is unsolicited advice that she is freely and publicly doling out. Your medical history is up for public consumption, so get ready for being held up like an exhibit. This question makes you feel like a diseased liver specimen sitting in a formalin bottle in some smelly lab, watched in awe and disgust by medical students.

“Why are you looking tired?”
Another dreaded one. You just got ready, washed your hair, used new deo, fresh talcum powder. You put on that new dress. You make an effort. You step out for a breath of fresh air.You run into the lady in the lift. And then BOOM. “Why are you looking tired?” says one woman to another.

Whoah! Didn’t expect that! “Tired?” You ask. She clucks with glee in disapproval. “Yes, you have dark circles” Oops yes. You think of explanations, excuses, apologies. Your child’s viral fever last week – sleepless nights of worrying and placing damp cloths on a hot feverish forehead has obviously taken it’s toll. No, maybe it was that heavy period you had last month. Tired, tired, tired!

“Yes I look like a panda.” You try to joke weakly while Ms Question smirks and watches you crumble to pieces. Is she going to make you a cup of coffee to destress you? Is she going to give you a free massage coupon? Think not. Yet that one minute in the lift is all it took to make you dizzy and want to go back home, dark circles, under-eye bags in tow, while Ms Question exits the lift without looking back at you. By the way, does she even know your name?

“No brother? Only sisters?”
Whew! Who knew you would have pay for your parents’ inability to have that coveted male-offspring, 40 plus years after you were born? You feel sorry for your mother for the taunts she must have endured in her days and realise that the dinosaurs who taunted her are very much alive and kicking, asking those very same questions.

Ah! what a relief it must be to have a brother! Alas! you will never know what privileges it brings… But you do know the question, and the answer is usually is a simple yes. An apology for something that didn’t happen those many years ago. An admittance of what you missed in life, a life incomplete without a male sibling. (??!!)

“No son? Only daughter?”
This is similar to the above question except that this time you owe a better explanation for having no son. Are you able to provide an excuse? How could you stop at a daughter? Why didn’t you keep going until you produced a son?

You have to keep ‘trying’ whatever that means. Different positions? Certain days of the year more productive for male offspring, perhaps? A scientific discovery waiting to be made by you? Some magic potion that the begetters of sons know of and somehow you weren’t told of it?

And then what better way of reminding you that you have nobody in your old age to look after poor you and your husband, who obviously does not have anything to do with the male-female offspring equation!

“Has your daughter started her periods?”
Shocking! But true. Subtlety is extinct, manners were never there. Imagine being asked this question by educated women in a concerned tone, as if something terrible has happened – a calamity to be dealt with calm.

You think to yourself – how clever these women are. Diagnosing puberty just like that and then having the audacity to actually ask details. They would never ask if your daughter started algebra in school or if she plays badminton in the evenings. But then none of it is as interesting as starting periods, is it? You reel from the shock of that question and then a few days later, think of clever retorts. You plan revenge – you will ask about her daughter too, then admonish yourself for stooping so low. You plan vendetta- you will ask if her son has reached puberty… in a few years. That is revolting – you tell yourself. You sigh in resignation. Life has become an open book – whether you like it or not. If you don’t want questions, migrate to the moon, or to Mars.

“Why are you not wearing your mangalsutra or bindi or dupatta or whatever?”
Nothing puts you on the defensive like this one. Who ever thought that in this day and age, women younger than you could pull you up for not wearing the symbols of wedlock. You can understand older, traditional women asking those questions. But when modern women check you out and ask why your Indian outfit is not paired with a bindi, you wonder who makes these rules of what goes with what. I think of it as a decorative sticker not a symbol of anything. Anyone who wishes to wear it should and anyone who doesn’t, why should anyone care?

But hey, this question comes out of the blue, just when you are glowing from compliments of how pretty you look in a new salwar kameez, someone goes really green and spots that blank patch on your forehead and reminds you that you are incomplete. Point taken. Something is missing… Dot, dot dot, dot…

“Are you pregnant?”
Now this is different from the first question. This is when someone looks straight at your tummy before you have a chance to suck it in and fires that salvo. Hello, you want to say – Just think. I’ve had this tummy fat for at least two years or more. Is pregnancy the only thing a rotund tummy can be?

You swear to get rid of the tight T-shirt you are wearing and start wearing long tent-like baggy shirts. But you never know- Ms Question will still diagnose a pregnancy through and through it. You just cannot win. You have to live with the glory of being omni-pregnant for the rest of your life or at least until you figure out a way to avoid Ms Question and her X-ray eyes.

“Have you done planning?”
“Yes I have planned our next vacation”.
“No, no, ‘planning’”
“Yes, I have planned lunch-box menus for the whole week”.
“No, no ‘planning”‘.

Then you figure that ‘planning’ is planning the map of your life as in ‘planning’ your reproductive life. C’mon, how can you get this answer wrong? Planning is family planning and there is no hush-hush secret way to go about it. You need to reveal the micro details – pill or copper coil, tubes tied or something else. Other women have a right to know what your plans are and you can stop stammering and just get on with it matter-of-factly! Your gynaec history is up for scrutiny and there are several women out there who want the juicy details.

“You have made only ______ for dinner?”
Oh no, now the secret is out. You made Maggi for dinner and that will just not do. How can you? Aren’t you supposed to dish out four-course meals, year after year after year, through sickness and all? Didn’t you order a takeaway the other night? Is that what you are feeding your husband?

Oh, this question is loaded, demanding a full blown explanation and it better be good. Wait till they find out you buy ready-made chapatis and are too lazy to make your own dahi. You can almost hear the sniggers. Who cares if you juggle a family and career? Round, soft chapatis are a must, not the papads that you pass off as chapatis!

“Why are you not breastfeeding?”
Now, this is a really private activity not for public discussion. But some women love to play lactation counsellor and what better way than to make enquiries into whether you are breastfeeding or not?

Much as we would like to believe that breastfeeding is and can be done by all women, it remains a fact that there are medical reasons as to why some women just cannot even if they want to. But let other women get a whiff of the fact that you cannot breastfeed and you are in for some real bashing.

So instead of putting aside the trauma of not being able to breastfeed and looking at the alternatives, you force-feed yourself some milk-inducing fenugreek seeds, pull out the torturous contraption called breast pump in the vain hope of it extracting a few drops of dried breastmilk from your tired body and hope it shuts up the woman who questions your ability as a good mother to feed her baby. Several painful, fruitless attempts later, you go back to the powdered milk, dry your eyes and get back to nourishing your baby – all the while envying the women who have free flow milk in excess and secretly make plans to steal the bottles that they fill effortlessly every hour. So low does your spirit go when another of your ilk asks this question and actually wants to know the gory details of all that nature deprived you of!

“When are you taking another chance?”
“I am not into gambling, you know.”
“Arey ‘chance’ yaar.”

You still don’t understand.

Not one to give up, Ms Q persists with- “You know, ‘chance’ – when are you having another issue?”
“Issue with what?”
Ms Q gets to the point – “When are you giving the next good news?”
“Oh, but didn’t I give the good news 10 months ago?”
“Yes, but you have only one child and that too a daughter!”

If someone could monitor your blood pressure at this point, it has reached an epic high. Chances are the B.P. machine will explode as you work out this new ‘chance’ you must take in your life in the near future so that Ms Q and others like her are happy. The question is, is Ms. Q going to help you out with your pregnancy, delivery or in bringing up your ‘issue’? Not a chance.

“You are only a housewiiiiiiiiiiiiife?”
Said like a question, but a statement in itself. Implying that all you do all day long is sweat in the kitchen, pack tiffins, watch TV serials, gossip and sleep in the afternoon. A sad life indeed!

You try to defend yourself, you tell her it’s your choice, you tell her you enjoy it – Nope, you have to justify all those hours you are at home to this stranger you just met at a party who demands to know exactly what you’ve achieved by staying at home and wasting your time all these years. “Being a housewife is not a job, you know” – she is probably thinking and you just want to scream and tell her “Yes it is. It is a full-time, year round duty!”

Anyone who has a house has to keep it tidy and running for people to live in it. It is your job looking after your house and you work hard at keeping it the way it is. And you love it. Do you think Ms Q wants to know? She has made her statement and is now glazing over, gloating over her own ‘achievements’ while you figure why you gave up your paying 9 to 5 job to become a ‘housewife’ and be answerable to random ladies who are free to punch you with it from time to time. You swear to go home and start looking for part-time jobs even if it means going to the other end of town to do it.

“You don’t do dusting everyday?”
“Well, I have a shower everyday.”

Hmmmm…in the ‘good housewife manual’, it says ‘She’ must dust her house – shelves, corners, behind furniture, undersides of tables, between fan blades, on tops of cupboards – every single day. Oops, you’ve never known such places existed! Do you dare tell the questioning lady that you don’t bother dusting the vents of the air-conditioner, ever? That would be sacrilege – you would be banished from their club.

You want to tell them that a little dust is a good thing and even dust mites take time to adjust to new dusty surroundings before they do their nasty jobs. You hope they don’t find out that you didn’t change the bedsheets twice a week as they expect you to. So you just lie. “Yes, yes, I dust every day, even after the maid has done it – just to be sure that every evil speck of dust is removed. I have a spotless house”

(“Just warn me before you come home – in, fact tell me two days in advance and I will call the cleaning company before you inspect my house!”)

“What happened to your hair?”
This smacks you in the face and makes you want to pull your hair out, just that there isn’t much left of it.

It true, it’s sad. There is nothing like hair loss to make you feel down and out. When you see your precious hair go down the drain and that patch of untanned scalp starts showing through, you just want to hide from humanity.

Just when you shake off that fear, someone notices the thinning of your hair and BAM! ‘She’ wants to know what happened to your hair. You want the earth to swallow you up, you want to be reborn with a head full of hair, you start envying anyone with a thick mane of hair, even a hairy man, you look at girls with plaits the thickness of heavy-duty ropes and feel like cutting them off (Yes, it brings out the devil in you), you look at your hair on the floor and wonder if anyone tried making wigs with fallen hair, you feel like transplanting hair from your legs onto your head, you obsess about hair so much that you end up with more hair loss. More pain. That is what this question does…

“Are you going through menopause?”
Just when you thought you’d heard everything the cruel world had to say to you, this question starts hitting you in your 40s. You are sweating (it is a 40 degrees C summer, after all) and someone puts two and two together and makes it 40. Yes, these are hot flushes.

“Definitely”. They pronounce. “Are you going through menopause?” Without waiting for a response, they expertly pick that one symptom and the verdict is ‘menopause’. A gynaecologist would learn a thing or two from these ladies. “Your youth is over, lady”- that is the message and hope you are listening. Your pleas of “Oh but I have regular periods” or some such weak evidence is rubbished aside. Hot flushes it is. 40 equals middle age. Stop wearing those jeans and behave like an aunty at least now!

Finally, you resign to your fate. Bring on the menopause.

“Why isn’t your daughter married?”
It is nobody’s business asking you a private question such as this. Yet, how many times women ask this outright, demanding question to know the exact reasons? As if it is their right to ask as custodians of our perfect society which lays down the age at which a woman should be married, for she must be married at any cost.

Only a parent can feel the pain that such a question inflicts. Why? Why? Why? The world wants to know. Not because they can set it ‘right’ but because they want new fodder for gossip at a kitty party. A question such as this deserves no excuse, no apology, no explanation – no answer. It is nobody’s business. Period.

“Why is your child so thin?”
This ones makes you sad and angry at the same time. Sad because you try your best to fatten your child to reach the ‘ideal’ chubby body weight that society lays down as the gold standard of perfection. Never mind what the paediatrician says.

Ms Q throws a cursory glance at your child and pronounces her/him less than perfect. It is all your fault – you don’t cook right, feed right or do anything right. It is all your mother’s fault for not teaching you. You fume and froth at the mouth because this woman cannot see anything else in your child and compliment it. What is wrong with being thin anyway? You see, when it come to children, thin is unacceptable, fat, sorry ‘healthy’ is great. Touch wood! People like roly-poly kids. Now go force-feed your thin child…

“Hey, what have you got on your chin? HAIR?”
Ladies of a certain vintage will know exactly what I’m talking about. At a certain age, the hair on your head starts falling and as you wonder what happened to it (other than falling in the drain and on the floor), you realise that the naughty hormones decided to transplant this hair onto your chin! As if this whole process of chin hair sprouting by the dozens is not heart-wrenching enough, someone actually spots the hair and rubs it in with this nasty question.

Okay, you admit, it is there, it is only hair and it really hurts to have it threaded or plucked. But it really hurts even more when someone keeps looking at your chin as you as they talk to you and pops this question which is far from tongue-in-cheek!

“Why don’t you colour your hair?”
You don’t realise your roots are showing until someone shoots this at you. How did you forget that you are expected to be at your perfect best at all times? Grey roots showing are a no-no and flaunting them is blasphemy! You go on the back foot, start blabbering excuses – no time, couldn’t get the right shade, it’s not your fault, it is premature greying – defective genes, you know.

Too late- you’ve been caught out and even if you have a cold, you go buy some hair colour and slap it on those hideous roots.

Why oh why do women hurl these ‘harmless’ darts at other women? Do men ask women these questions? Doubt it.

Don’t we women belong to a sisterhood? Then why are such ‘harmless’ questions which have no answers floating around so freely and ‘innocently’?

 

 

First published on womensweb:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/09/21-intrusive-questions-nosy-women-ask/

 

 

Advertisements

EATING SOLO- WHAT STOPS WOMEN FROM DOING IT?

EATING SOLO- what stops women from doing it?

I love food and one of the things I absolutely love doing is sitting in a public place- a café or an eatery, munching on my food leisurely and watch the world go by. I do not always find company- either my husband or my friends are not available or I just find myself in a place where I don’t know people and need to grab a bite. So I just go solo, find a table, get myself something to eat and enjoy my own company happily- ruminating, alone with my thoughts or simply enjoying the food and looking around, taking in the sights.
This sounds idyllic, but it is hasn’t always been this way and even now, it isn’t always this easy.
Eating out alone in a public space was not something I could do this effortlessly.
In fact, through my college days, although I travelled alone, lived in a hostel and was fiercely independent, I do not remember a single instance of sitting alone in a canteen and having a meal or even a tumbler of tea on my own. As a girl, there was safety and comfort in numbers. Had I been a boy, would I have been bothered about something as simple as sitting and sipping a beverage alone? Would anyone have given me a second look, had I been a solitary male sitting for hours in the college canteen, enjoying a full meal wholeheartedly in a relaxed manner?
But there is just something about being a girl that did not even allow me to consider the thought of doing something like this.
What would people think? Would they think I was waiting for someone, when I wasn’t? Would they make fun of me? Would I get ‘eve teased’? Would someone come and approach me or sit down next to me? Eating solo was simply unthinkable. If one was hungry, one just waited for friends or if desperate, bought something easy to eat and gobbled it on the go or in a ‘safe’ place away from glaring eyes and judgemental faces. This was going back 20 years and when I lived in India.
On moving to the UK, in my early days I found myself in desperate need of a cup of warm beverage to stave off the cold. Entering a doughnut shop I began to harbour ‘bold’ thoughts of sitting inside the cozy café by myself to enjoy a cup of coffee and a doughnut.
So far I had not encountered any ‘eve teasing’ in the UK and hence my bold stance. I still remember being absolutely petrified and thinking all eyes were on me. I was the only Indian face in the place and felt terribly conscious of doing something as basic as feeding myself. With all my bravery, I ordered an exotic coffee that I had never tried before and willed myself to sit down. No one looked and no one really cared, but I was so uncomfortable with what I was doing that I just gulped down the scathing hot coffee, wrapped up the doughnut in a paper napkin to be eaten later and hurried out as fast as I could.
A few such experiences and I got bolder and bolder- trying out new places, sitting sometimes in pavement cafes and more crowded places. Perhaps it was because I knew that there was no threat of eve teasing. Perhaps it was because it is considered normal in western society for a woman to be eating alone- it helped me shed my phobia of eating alone in a public place.
It can still be hard sometimes- I do have to clutch on to my mobile phone and pretend to be busy. I do sometimes have to avoid looking around in case someone gets the wrong message, when all I am doing is casually admiring the décor, how people are dressed, what they are eating, wondering when my order is coming and so on. Some women I’ve seen eating alone, use a book or newspaper as companion and that makes it easy to avoid looking at people and simply look busy. Some just resort to mindless texting or games on their cellphones.
Would a man need any of these aids to eat alone? Why does a women feel the need to have a comforting accessory when all she wants is to enjoy the food and view? Like a man would do…….
Eating alone as a woman can be a challenge anywhere in the world as I recently discovered. Sitting in a fast food restaurant in Singapore on my own I found to my horror a man sitting across from me pointing his camera phone in my direction and taking pictures! I wish I had confronted him but instead chose the easy option which was to wolf my food down with a downward gaze and rush out speedily.
On another recent occasion, I was on my own in Malaysia and ordered a fruit juice at a restaurant that had a bar too. I could just feel the eyes of the male waiters on me as I sipped the drink. Was it because I was a woman? Was it because I was an Indian woman sitting alone in a restaurant? I just felt very cautious and the need to be alert. It just goes to show that as a woman wherever in the world you go it can be hard to fully relax and dine or drink alone the way a man would do.
One day I wish to eat alone in a public space in India. One day I wish I can unabashedly and uninhibitedly dig into a dosa and slurp a masala chai on my own anywhere in India. Not because I won’t find company because purely because I have not done it before. Without fear of being judged, without embarrassment, minus guilt and without being pressured to pretend that I am waiting for someone.
One day, I wish I can eat alone anywhere in the world the way a man can- without gulping, without swallowing large bites and without causing myself heartburn or indigestion. One day I wish I don’t have to think twice before indulging in this solitary pleasure of dining alone because I am a woman. Eating solo is just one of the many male bastions that needs to be stormed before I think I have become free of the shackles that come with being a woman.

FIRST PUBLISHED IN WOMENSWEB

WHY IS THERE NO ‘MEN’S DAY’?

UnknownTry finding ‘Eve teasing’ in the dictionary. Growing up as a female in India, it is a terrifying familiarity ingrained in one’s mind.A derogatory term associated with disrespect and contempt for women.The Oxford English dictionary states ‘Eve teasing ‘ as being a term having its origin in India!

Wikipedia states the meaning of ‘eve teasing’ as a euphemism used in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan for public sexual harassment or molestation of women by men.

Isn’t it shocking that this term which is so familiar to us in India is only limited to a few countries and unheard of in other countries?

From an early age, every Indian woman learns to be on guard and on high alert to this menace.

Whistles, rude remarks, obscene gestures, lewd songs, touching, pinching, groping in crowded places .If you are a female in India, you have seen or experienced this countless times.

It is not just the ‘roadside Romeo’ or the vagrant ‘mavali ‘ sitting aimlessly by the side of the road who indulges in this activity.

I have seen and experienced on innumerable occasions, seemingly normal college going youngsters give vent to their frustrations by participating in this loathsome misdemeanor. Usually in groups or in pairs! Rarely alone!

Safety in numbers, perhaps!

Herds of boys or men huddled together who start whispering and hissing out profanities at the sight of a woman. All too common. Almost accepted practice!

I know of a certain lecturer in my college who brazenly used lecherous signals and made indecent noises to the women’s compartment of the local train opposite to his! Not once, but often. Unabashedly, in full view of the girls from our college.

So, what is it that gives an Indian man the preposterous idea that he can impose on a woman and her dignity? What makes him think that it is his birthright to inflict his absurd beliefs of romance on a woman? What gives him pleasure in joining in such a revolting act?

I used to think that wearing western clothes like skirts and jeans was an invitation to be harassed. No, not even the most conservative, loose salwar kameez clad woman is spared. Whether one is young or old, single or not, pretty or plain, rich or poor, if you are an Indian woman in India, you have seen it all.

What makes a monster out of some Indian men when in certain situations?

Do they behave in the same manner when they are with their family? Do they behave similarly on foreign soil?

Can we blame our society for this? Is it not our society which places women inferior to men? Telling us time and again that women have a lower status on the social ladder.

Or shall we blame our Bollywood films where the hero, a demi-god, boldly and shamelessly pursues an initially reluctant heroine relentlessly .He teases her, stalks her and serenades her with explicit lyrics until she finally gives in. Numerous films have been based entirely on this theme, glorifying it and glamourizing it.

All in good fun they say.

Well, ask any woman who has been at the receiving end of catcalls, hoots, whistles, jeering comments, humiliating songs and she will tell you that a person who does this is not a hero by any stroke of imagination.

A coward, yes!

Some Indian men use a convenient excuse. It’s all a pastime, a form of entertainment. Didn’t some of our gods in mythology indulge in flirtatious playfulness with their women?

Well, yes. But this is real life. If you have to emulate the gods why not their virtuous deeds.

Our mythology and legends deify women, worship women as ‘devis’. Why is this not remembered?

Is ‘eve teasing’ a sign of pent up frustrations and a repressive society where boys and girls, men and women, do not socialize freely? Perhaps, it’s the hormones playing up. Maybe.

But justification for this offence, absolutely not!

The 8th of March is celebrated as Women’s day all around the world.

So, like every year we see plenty of programmes to improve the lot of women, empowering women and other such clichés.

But is anything going to change as far as the ‘eve teasing’ scene is concerned. I doubt it.

Why do we women need alteration, improvement, upgrading and change?

Social media has come up with a day to celebrate just about everything.

Why is there no ‘Men’s day’?

It’s time we had one. To celebrate the men who respect women,

who have the maturity to accept a woman’s right to her dignity, her right to accept or decline, her freedom to dress and travel as she desires, her right to live without fear of being derided and degraded all because she is a woman.

And, of course, we need to use ‘Men’s day’ for those men who need to be educated, advised, counselled, cautioned, reprimanded, admonished or thrashed as required.

It’s not an easy task. But to all those Indian men out there who have or will involve themselves in this hideous misdeed, I advise that the next time they feel the urge to

prove their masculinity in this way, they should think twice.

Why not use all that surging testosterone to do something productive? Go win a medal for India in the Olympics. Take on some one in a fair fight in full public view.

Why not use all your energy to pick up a broom and clean your street.

You will win adulation and the love of many a woman’s heart.

If you have so much pent up frustration and anger, why not turn it into something positive? Go join the armed forces, the police, defend the country, show your courage and you will win the praise and respect of the entire nation.

There are many ways to show you are macho. Flexing your muscles is fine, but assert your virility by revering women, proclaim your manliness by valuing women.

As any woman will tell you, the most attractive part of a man’s body is his brain.