I was browsing through Instagram while waiting for my train when I came across the photo of a girl I know wearing a top with plunging neckline and an A-line skirt with its hem just above her knees. One of my train-mates snatched it out of my hands and gawked at the attire. She passed it around, after all a girl from rural Kerala was wearing such an outfit and shame O shame!! posting those photos on Insta!!
Mouths began spewing abuses:
“Her skirt could have been a bit shorter”, accompanied by a snicker.
“That neck!! She is out there to bare her body to men”, outright derision here!!
“Saturday night- Yeah, she’s up to one hell of a Saturday night” – referring to the title of photo- SATURDAY NIGHT – with a titter suggesting that she seems to be out there for sex on Saturday night with random strangers.
I tried to put in my “She looks good in that” which was promptly waved away- after all, if you eat chicken in an area that strictly enforces chicken ban, your chances of survival are slight to none. Although I wouldn’t call them my friends, necessity or daily travel has brought us together and I could feel my BIKINI dreams being accepted by them fly out the window. Moreover, I can safely say that these people will label me a slut and not lose one night’s sleep.
Then, there’s the other kind of talks going around. Here, the crime is not ‘TOO MUCH BODY’, rather, it’s showing too little. Those ladies wearing abayas – the targets now!! The judgements now vary from “Isn’t it hot enough as it is??” to “Do they have air conditioners fitted inside?”
The truth is these kind of exchanges are quite common in my society. But, when I was privy to these conversations, the talkers were people over 40 and I attributed this narrow-mindedness to their upbringing back in the 70s and 80s!!
But, this exchange at the station struck a nerve!! These kids, a part of the most literate state in India are the upcoming moral police of Indian society. They are a force to reckon with- from performing the arduous task of making sure that none violates the societal limits- not even when the offenders are in another country where they are following the norm- to making sure that the proper penance is extracted if such a crime is committed, they have quite a chore indeed!!