Updated: Dec 22, 2020
Yesterday night we saw the movie Thappad. It's a very simple, realistic story about one woman. Actually, it's a story about many women, interwoven beautifully to talk about a very contemporary issue (No spoilers, I'll make sure). It's a movie about a simple lady, who lives in a very loving and caring family. Well to do husband, loving in laws. Great parents, loving brother. Had choices in life that perhaps many women still don't have today. And that's what makes it more interesting when she says the thought provoking dialogue "Sirf ek Thappad, par nahi mar sakta" (Just one slap, but he can't even do that). It's not a story of revenge, of setting the score. It's not even about fighting against the unfair society. It shows so many nuances of what women go through every day of their lives....and more importantly what women normalize. But when questions are asked....in very subtle causal manner, it makes you think.
So on the occasion of the upcoming women's day, I want to make us all think. In this series, I would like to ask some questions, questions that perhaps we don't ask, questions that perhaps we should ask. Some people may say argue that this is not LinkedIn material. Well, you are very welcome to your opinions. But I would differ. As I was watching the movie, I was reminded of me, my mother, my grandmother, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, my cousins, my friends, my colleagues. I felt like I was watching the story that I have heard so many times before. Spoken in that same casual, normalized manner. And that's why it's important to talk about it in this forum. Because it needs to be said, loud and clear. It's not okay. There are many things, subtle ways in which the decisions that you take, the comments that you hear, the perspective about yourself that you have are driven by patriarchy and are disrespectful and unfair to you and IT IS NOT OKAY.
Let's start with the idea of physical violence, abuse. What constitutes as abuse? What if the slap happened in the heat of the moment, not something that you had to deal with everyday. Would you go back to being with the person or leave? Perhaps you fume and give him a piece of your mind. Perhaps you stop talking to him till he tries to charm his way into your good books. Perhaps you cry in the night but not do anything about it. After all this hasn't happened before. It's not like you are living in abuse, have a husband who drinks and beats you every night. You get along well with your in-laws, not like those saas bahu serial families....so shouldn't you count your blessings. Perhaps you have children to think about, why spoil their life over a slap? Your parents may or may not support your decision to leave so why get into all of that for just a slap? Is it abuse if it happened for the first time?
So my question for today is this: is just one slap okay? Where do you, as a woman, draw the line? Secondly, have you ever had a personal experience (doesn't have to be with you, could be with a neighbor, family or friend) where someone is living with violence. Do share your thoughts and comments. Tomorrow I will have another question for you.