Nyla14 Mar 2019
A mixed bag of people sitting together and communicating beyond the constructs of gender, nationality and religion, sharing thoughts, beliefs, opinions, alongside music, art & culture. Or so I thought anyway, until disappointment came knocking as it often, inadvertently does.
I met a well respected young man – he would’ve been no more than 34 years of age. We had all been invited to a friend’s for dinner, she’d cooked up a storm and brought together a wide array of people – all her friends, old and new. I fell in the category of new; she and I had met only recently yet she’d been kind and warm, so I had been happy to show up despite knowing no one but her there.
The dinner kicked off well, with good food, merry drinking & fervent chatter. A mixed bag of people sitting together and communicating beyond the constructs of gender, nationality and religion, sharing thoughts, beliefs, opinions, alongside music, art & culture. Or so I thought anyway, until disappointment came knocking as it often, inadvertently does.
In the group was a well respected man with a fancy job at an MNC in the thriving economy of a foreign country. He an old friend of my new friend, the host. He seemed to open up in vulnerable candor, sharing some ugly wounds he’d received through the course of his life, most inflicted by women he’d known. These seemed to have hardened him and thickened his skin a bit much – or so he was proud to declare anyway. He talked like someone who was aware of what he called ‘his damage’ and seemed almost keen to unleash the ‘ugly’ that he’d had to hide underneath.
Somehow we bounded onto the ever hurtful subject of the Delhi gang rape from 2012, the one we all remember as the demolition of innocence, one we know as the (ill) fate of Nirbhaya – a name that ironically means ‘fearless’. Someone of the party went on to call Delhi the most dangerous city for women – the most dangerous city in the world, for women – and suddenly this well respected man found the seat of his pants to be on fire.
He doesn’t live in Delhi anymore, young well respected man, he dwells in a flourishing high rise in some concrete jungle with long-legged female friends by a dozen and an ebbing foreign-currency income – all of which he had illustrated animatedly for us in the stories all night – along with how he hated India in comparison. He was taking the comment quite personally, despite expressing unending resentment dressed in detachment for his roots.
Suddenly raging mad, he was a couple of drinks in and his well respected face turning a brighter shade of red with every fact he pulled out from his big fat archive of ‘facts for defence’ that he clearly kept handy. He barked at everyone and anyone, saying how it wasn’t true and that girls were in fact “safe enough” because Delhi was a great city, etc.
I told him that wasn’t true, about how how I felt unsafe every single day when I stepped out, be it in broad daylight or late at night. Another man in attendance, who came from another state, a smaller town and different culture, said that when he went out with his female friends back home, they never expressed such a fear.
To which our now very red faced, very well respected man, very respectfully responded – “Well bro, have you seen the girls in your city, who would want to rape them?”