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Orthodox mindset prevails

In college, I used to hang out with two of my classmates, both boys. But the fact that I was spending a lot of time with them was not taken in a good way by my other classmates. I heard people saying (behind my back) that ‘She’s double dating.’

There was much more to this. I got to know that someone said I was in a  ‘threesome’ with them. All this was said only because I was friends with them. And like any friend would, I used to even stay at their places. This was somewhat seen as if I was nothing but a ‘slut’ – who is into both the men.

I never differentiated by gender – if I can stay at a girl’s place at night, why can’t the same be valid for a boy? But society’s mentality is rotten! Even one of my aunts, once asked, “How can you stay at his place?” As if it’s some sin I was committing. I felt this was not even an issue to be bothered about.

Some girls used to roll their eyes when they used to see me with the boys. And then, one of my friends even asked me, “Who are you dating?” When I cleared the air, that I am dating neither, she had the audacity to come back with: “So, are you just sleeping with both?”

Had these two friends been girls, no such speculation would have taken place. Being a woman, I feel no matter how educated our society gets, there’s still the orthodox mindset that rules among the majority. Here, a woman has to think twice before choosing her friends — let alone her career, her partner, her dress and other things.

Rittika Das is a student

As told to Shruti Das

‘I suffered in silence’

I recently shifted to Delhi after growing up in Vijayawada.  There, women are still not allowed to live freely – in most of the city. There, when a girl gets intimate with a man, it is a big deal for society! Many people have cautioned me, “Do not lose your virginity before marriage!” Yes, I had to hear this sentence  —  and that too several times  —  in this day and age!

I remember in college, when I got intimate with my boyfriend, it became the talk of the town. Somehow, people came to know about it. One day, after class, a group of boys (who were my classmates) started ‘teasing’ me – at least, that is how they described it. One of them asked, ‘Did you really sleep with him? How can you do it before marriage?’ I boldly replied, “Why? you don’t sleep with girls?” He laughed. Then there were comments like “How was he?” “Did he satisfy you?”

At that time, I was too naïve to take it seriously. I answered back, but now I feel I should have taught them a lesson! No one should dare talk about my personal life or question me. Physical intimacy is still a taboo subject in our society, especially when it comes to women. And this incident proves it!

After a year, another incident happened. I got a tattoo done near my collarbone. This made some people question my ‘character.’ One of my uncles asked, ‘Was it a man who did your tattoo?’ I was taken aback. I know why he was asking such a question – because of the positioning of the tattoo!

That day also I did not protest. Instead, I lied to him and said, ‘No, it was a girl.’ Now, I regret having lacked the courage to speak my mind, to fight back for something as basic as my right to get a tattoo or to get intimate with a guy. I chose to suffer in silence, and I believe many women out there are doing the same. Not all women have got the courage to be themselves – unabashedly and unapologetically.

As told to Shruti Das

‘Women are targeted easily’

I started dating my college professor in 3rd year. This became a huge subject of gossip among my classmates. Many people used to talk behind my back, and raised questions about my character. I did not see any wrong in dating someone who was just seven years older than me.

Another professor of our college – who was also the head of our department – used to mock me often. In front of the whole class, she used to say things like, ‘Yes you will surely like to attend his (the professor I was dating) class.’ Then she’d laugh and wink. That was really unlikely behaviour, coming from a professor.

After a few months, I joined Sarahah – which is a social networking service for providing anonymous feedback. There someone called me a slut. That person wrote: ‘How can you date your professor? Such a slut you are!’ It was really disheartening. And I am quite sure it came from someone I knew, perhaps someone from my class.

That was what people used to think of me, just because I was dating my professor. And what was shocking was that those same people never said a word to the professor. He was never questioned or shamed, it was only me who had to face the wrath! Of course, women are at fault always – that is what society believes. And thus, we are easy targets.

As told to Shruti Das