Must we bury uneasy truths?

17
246
Illustration: Mayanglambam Dinesh

I ALWAYS thought of myself as a fearless feminist. With a man like my father, it was inevitable to be brave about who I am. But I soon realised that the world does not give you your due if you’re a woman. I was only 17 when I made my debut. As an actress, I never had any qualms talking about my personal life, my relationships, or the fact that I was sexually active. The lowest phase came when I found myself in a relationship with an alcoholic (Ranvir Shorey) and was beaten up by him. I had these notions, that something like this happens to women who are different from me, from a different background or from small towns. How could it happen to someone like me? The story of the physical abuse was splashed on the front pages of all newspapers and I found that instead of the man being judged for his behaviour, I was put under scrutiny. People felt that I must have asked for it somehow, that I was at fault for picking the wrong man, and should not wash my dirty linen in public. My personal life was dissected and I felt violated, cold and alone.

Fortunately, I found the strength to fight back the first time it occurred. Isn’t once enough? Most women don’t think so and it eventually transforms into a mindset where we are expected to deal with a certain degree of domestic violence at some stage of our lives. I felt it was important to speak out in order to remind women that if it could happen to me, it could very well happen to them too, and when it does, you cannot take it lying down. Do not wrap yourself in a guilt-fuelled silence where the only question that shrieks itself hoarse in your head is: did I deserve this?

Those who knew me — people from my fraternity — turned against me. It was at that time that the kindness of a stranger and the story of someone so far away, someone I did not know, helped me overcome this phase. Jane Campion is an Australian filmmaker, who was visiting India at the time. My father introduced us, she took one look at me and said, “You look like you’re going through a bad phase.” When I told her, she in turn told me what happened to Meg Ryan (whom she had just directed), who was seen as a ‘homebreaker’ after her affair with Russell Crowe while she was married to Dennis Quaid. Meg was at the lobby of Hotel Rochester in London and she felt every person’s gaze was fixed on her, looking for a hint of guilt, and all she wanted was to scurry into the elevator. When the elevator came, Meg did not get in, instead she stood in the lobby, looked everyone in the eye, till they all looked away, as if to say, “This is my life, and yes, I’m bleeding, but so what?”

After hearing this, I found that I could get up the next morning, face people, go about my work. People don’t expect you to talk about these things, they’d rather you gloss over them. They freak out if you’re upfront, but there is a need to talk about it. If someone hits me, I hit right back. Why should I cover up for someone else? No matter how strong you are, what you achieve or don’t achieve, the life of a woman is summed up by some basic parameters. After this incident, I realised I could be bigger than any relationship, bigger than a man, bigger than even this truth (that I was physically abused). I feel that it’s important to hold to light that uncomfortable chapter of my life, not bury it, the way women are expected to bury uncomfortable truths, put it away somewhere so that no one can access it, not even you. Whatever our truths and however uncomfortable, they should not hold us to ransom.

[email protected]

17 COMMENTS

  1. feminism has failed in america…the place where it began….as for ranvir beating you….that is strictly YOUR side of the story..maybe you harassed him to that point where he had to backhand you…i mean come on woman…the kind of movies you make,the kind of dyke attitude we see on your face…it really deserves a beating xD

      • just name the time and place …if you are a female i will forgive you coz women in gerenral are stupid (now don’t reply with a pathetic shaming comment like”is your mom stupid” kind of spiralling bullshiterry) in the case you are a MALE i will rape you in a moving bus and shove a rod up your ass and then i will throw you of the moving bus….. that is,IF you are a male….read it again 😀 …..

        • DOREMON- OMG. YOU ARE SUCH A FUCKING IDIOT! ONLY AN IDIOTIC MISOGYNISTIC .. I AM THE MEN.. BRAG ON OF AN ASS LIKE YOURSELF WOULD SAY THAT “WOMEN IN GENERAL ARE STUPID”. CLEARLY, YOU HAVE BEEN LOCKED UP IN A ROOM FULL OF MEN TO SAY SUCH THING. AND, YES RAPE IS A HEINOUS CRIME. AND, LET ME BE CLEAR TO YOU- A RAPE IS A RAPE, REGARDLESS OF THE GENDER OF THE VICTIM. SO, IF YOU RAPE A MEN AND DO ALL THE CRIME THAT YOU CLAIMED IT, YOU ARE AND WILL STILL BE A CRIMINAL DESPITE THE VICTIM NOT BEING A WOMEN.

      • btw that was a joke……rape is a heinous crime but people like YOU encourage it because you consider women as the weaker sex….you won’t even consider the other aspect of the story…..you sir are a sexist…shame on you…I atleast consider women strong enough to harass men….

    • Hey Doremon,

      You sound as good as an MCP, who blames the woman for all wrong she has to undergo. Ek haath se taali nai bajti. and man has this notion that he can overpower a woman because of his strength; No Woman deserves to be beaten up. If you beat a woman (gf, wife, daughter) you are as good as beating up your own mom. Please dont stoop down such lows. You ignored the fact that, that man was an alcoholic or an abuser, instead you point the finger at the woman who endured. Being alcoholic and abusive is an accepted behavior is it? Shame on you. find give your spine a new definition of what it actually is.

      • yea right…..i have to put every fucking woman at the same pedestal as my mom….and why???because women are divine creatures who cannot tell a lie…right….LOL tell me you fucking sanitary pad…..do you put ALL men at the same pedestal as your DAD??? tell me this first then we will discuss further….otherwise dont bother replying

        • I look at all men as equal. infact everybody as equal. unlike you mr.pencil, who seem to blame the victim who has undergone a harrowing experience for not being the ‘traditional’ and ‘modest’ but is free-willed, just as you are. and have you ever asked your mom how does it feel to be groped? go ask her that, lift up that little pencil of yours; let your backbone have half the strength it has.

          too fragile to take criticism too, ai? What an idiot.

          and hello, free speech, free will. you dont want to read the replies, close your effing eyes. all that abusive slang you used, use it at your home. charity begins right there. 🙂

    • Doremon, I agree that every story has two sides. What your perspective is on a certain subject will depend on which views you choose to view it from. But, I have to say that POOJA BHATT is a person and a woman. She is NOT a movie. So, neither you nor I for that matter.. have whatsoever fucking right to judge her or to decide whether she was abused or not.. just simply by looking at her face or watching her movie. ONLY A FUCKING MORON IDIOTIC MISOGYNISTIC MEN LIKE YOURSELF WILL SAY SUCH THING. 🙂

    • Doremon, have you watched the movies that Pooja did to deserve cowardly behaviour from her man?If you did, did you shut up abruptly not to be infected by the disease that Pooja’s role was spreading?Or did you enjoy it?If you enjoyed , how to you feel the right to blame Pooja for that?If you claim not to have seen the movie at all, where from have you come to know about the indecency of the film?

      Hinduism was born in India and died here.It has remained a few metres of orange colored clothes in India.Does that mean Hinduism is lost?Same way your comment about feminism having died in its birth place is just ridiculous

  2. if you can be beaten up, then what about the women in rural india? we are unvivilised people. we dont have respect towards women. we neef to change our feudal mentality.

  3. can someone explain to me why it’s wrong to shame a woman for committing adultery? Is this really oppressing a woman’s sexuality, or is it just holding a person accountable for their shitty behaviour? Giving women a free pass is not ’empowering’ it’s treating them like they don’t know any better, which is just as infantilizing.

    • Because the same society which shames women don’t shame men for the same immoral behaviour and gives them a free pass. Why is it every time adultery is brought up its always the woman who should be shamed? Because the cheating man is accepted. If u can accept one you might as well accept the other. If u want to demonize one then you should demonized the other. Also adultery is a problem between the married couple and their family, we as outsiders have no right to judge the situation. Only the couple knows what brought the marriage to that point.

  4. Let it go. Thats their life. They are enemy one day and friends again another day. Why we waste our time for them. What happened to her is sad but she can and has managed her life well.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.