After Rhea Chakraborty sported a T-shirt to the NCB interrogation that began a movement. The actress wore a tee with the inscription, “Roses are red, violets are blue, let’s smash the patriarchy, me and you.” When the actress was arrested this week in connection to drugs in Sushant Singh Rajput’s death probe, several Bollywood stars stood in solidarity to “smash the patriarchy”. Now, Tahira Kashyap penned an open letter for Mid-Day where she showed her support to the movement.
She said that the chatter in the media led her to lose her poise. “Why would I choose to write about this much-trodden topic now? Perhaps my threshold of tolerance has been tested in the last week, jolted by this new wave of anger against patriarchy. All of the talk in the media, the chatter on twitter, the footage on my tv screen, re-awakened something in me,” she wrote. “In the last week when I had my usual share of experiences – the usual experiences that happen to every woman, every single day – I lost my poise,” she added. The director shared personal anecdotes from her life to emphasize the need to call out patriarchy. Tahira, who is with her family in Chandigarh, recalled an incident where a relative made a snide remark about her husband, Ayushmann Khurrana. She said the family member asked her “look after your husband, feed him more greens.”
Appalled and angered by the comment, Tahira informed the relative that Ayushmann was making her some salad and she would ask him to make an extra serving for himself before she stormed off. “I was tempted to crush his toes as I made the speech, but held myself back and simply stomped out of the living room. After all, who wants to deal with name-calling? I mean with ‘vishkanya’, ‘gold digger’ and ‘Bengali women’ doing the rounds I don’t want ‘khoon ki piyaasi’, ‘toes crushing’ ‘Punjabi women’ to start another wave,” she wrote, referring to the names Rhea has been called on social media lately.
She revealed being schooled for her behaviour. “I agree I was being harsh but was amazed by the offence taken. Perhaps every time a woman is called ‘haramkhor’, ‘fucking m#$@#chod’ on live feed, we should go out protesting too…oh but aren’t we already?” she pointed out before adding that their stand against these statements has led to trolls sending rape and murder threats.
Tahira also opened up about gender inequality by sharing an example of how hard female trainers need to hustle to remain in the game while many male trainers sport unfit frames. “There is something drastically wrong with the general outlook towards women. The expectations are unreal. “How is ignoring a lame comment by a roadside Romeo unreal?” You may ask. It is unreal. Keeping quiet, enduring is unreal,” she said. She also recalled the multiple eve-teasing episodes and being pinched in the bottom on multiple occasions.
“Be it standing in queues outside a single screen theatre or lining up outside a mandir waiting for a chance to pour milk over shiv-ling and see the linga ‘drink’ it. Somehow I never got to experience the latter as I opted out of the line after getting groped. And I was all of 12 at that time. And that too at a pious place. If someone had called out these filthy minds for what they are, perhaps I wouldn’t have to experience what I did,” she wrote.
She concludes her letter by suggesting that every time a remark is made against women, attempt changing the preposition and place a man in the perspective. “For instance, “both the Khurana sons will want an exclusive space to cook ” or “did madam allow you to shoot while the kids go to school?” I can add an entire list of questions and this is from a place of privilege. I can’t begin to fathom (but don’t want to ignore) what must be happening to the rest of us across different strata of the same patriarchal society. So until the equation becomes equal, “roses are red, violets are blue, let’s smash the patriarchy, me and you”, Tahira concludes.