Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
It’s an unearthly hour of the night. The woman, a practical night gown clad figure has a strong, decisive face. You know she means business. Hastily she enters the loo and you hear her hyperventilating on the phone ‘Kya? No protection? Pregnant ho gayi to? Achha, don’t worry’.
A few seconds later, you have the answer to all your problems. The magical I Pill..so incredibly revolutionary and powerful, it wouldn’t be surprising if lesser mortals sometimes wondered if it was a heavenly creation.
Had life been that easy, I’m pretty sure there’d be no wars, tsunamis or bomb blasts. People would live forever, in perfect health and spirit. Mobile companies would offer schemes compatible with all our needs. Budget airlines would offer food and spa treatments. Guys would finally get what girls mean and Alice in Wonderland would find human embodiments.
Not that I’m saying this life is any less perfect. We have our stresses and worries but deep down, we all know that it’s part and parcel of a normal, healthy life. We just need to look beyond that I Pill packet sometimes. I think Wikipedia would do a better job than me of listing its side effects. Apart from skin and hormonal disturbances, my gynaecologist friend tells me it leads to thrombosis in extreme cases, which refers to the coagulation of blood in vessels. To keep it brief, you probably can do nothing worse to your body than feeding it those pills.
I’m not here on a propaganda mission against the pills, though. What however, I do think is important is to recognise how our world seems to be perceiving ideas of liberty and individuality. A liberated sexual union comes with its share of conscious responsibility. It should bring together two people who are bound by a sense of friendship, affection, genuine fondness and above all, sensitivity and sensibility. Nothing probably gets more clichéd than saying a sexual act is linked inextricably with age and ideas of maturity. But it’s as true as it can possibly get. It needs to come from the heart. And that, I think as a generation that believes in standing up for itself, we have the right to demand.
You’re both in it together. How can you ever explain why the woman must bear the entire responsibility of the consequences of the act by popping a pill you rush out and buy from the nearest store and endangering her health and psyche for probably all her life?
Then, control is one thing, responsibility is another, and sensibility is yet another. The heat of the moment is all fine. But there’s a life you need to lead. And the worth of no life can, or should ever be dwarfed by the passionate impulsiveness of one moment. Which is why the tried and tested contraceptive stands truer to its ground than anything else even today.
I, or the Saltlisters do not endorse anything. But we do believe in leading lives that are equal and respected. Liberation does not come from endangering your health. It does not come from having a partner whose pathetic need for pleasure and despicable lack of humanness, you would weep over all your life for not having been struck by in the first place.
We talk of Women’s Day and the fact that a woman today can go out there and do what she wants to with her life. But it is in these very ‘liberating’ aspects of our progressive lifestyle that we realise how objectified a woman can be even today.
The ad has stayed with me. The image of a ‘thinking’ woman adopting such a regressive approach to life still shakes me up. Somewhere, women have short changed themselves. We prefer the easy way out. From letting the chivalrous man carry our suitcases to following his lead when there’s a crisis, I think even the biggest control freaks amongst us have taken the back seat. Which is why the dichotomy that women’s issues face in our country needs to be resolved before we fight for our rights.
We need to be proud of our sexuality. And responsible for it too. It’s sacred. And it’s liberating only when we command respect for it.
This is not about the I Pill or contraceptives or about what we, as a generation should truly believe in and fight for. All of it has been done and said way too much. But it’s important to realise that gender empowerment is not exclusive. It shouldn’t be. A just society would want both men and women to know what’s wrong with the way they’re both perceived. And the initiative has to come from us.
I’m not the kind who lives by quotes but I do swear by Eleanor Roosevelt’s ‘With freedom comes responsibility’.
I don’t think we’re victims. We never were. Somewhere down the line, I think we just learnt to let things be. We took the easy way out. We allowed ourselves to be short changed. Forever.