So in India women smokers and drinkers are kind of like a different specie altogether. Men nor women know what to make of them. They are treated like social outcast mostly and a very convenient branding of "loose woman" is given to them. But me being me don't really care about any of this and like my smoke a plenty and my beers chilled. The stereotyping that follows is my own to deal with as the choices I have made are my own. I smoke and drink for that's my choice, not peer pressure. If I quite that shall be my choice too.
A couple of days back I had a long bogus day at work with too much to do in too little time. That too on a Monday. You can imagine the depression I'm sure. Post work I teamed up with a female colleague of mine and dragged our lazy souls to the wine shop just across our office for a pint each before we headed home. It wasn't too late. Just about 6.30 pm so. Once we had made our purchase the wine shop guy told us we could sip away behind the shop. There was a nice big empty place where groups of man had already started the celebration. We picked out corner and joined in.
As expected the men present where quite wide eyed with their new company. Being women in India we both were quite used to the idea of men looking at us with wonder in their eyes. It's like when you stare at something which you are not really sure exists!
But there was this one man. He was not drinking. He was a little far away from the opening meant for drinking. He was 'trying' to buy smokes. When I say trying to buy smokes I mean he was being able to do it. He had been at it for a good amount of 10 minutes. He just couldn't focus on his enterprise because he decided looking at us girls was more important that smoking. Fair enough! But there are stares which just makes a vein pop in your head.
I started observing him. When he didn't stop looking our way after every 2 minute interval, I stared with angry eyes at him. I don't know why that freak thought it would be a good idea to give me an unsure half smile but that's when I lost it. I just bluntly asked him what his problem was and why he kept staring at us. He couldn't believe I had asked him something like that he gave me a blank look and then said slowly - what... no... I was looking at the guys behind you. So I replied - am I transparent? You are looking at them through me? Get the **** out of here.
Well he did. Good. But what wasn't was that everyone present there thought the entire incident was damn funny!
That's the fight. Women can dare to be independent in India. Women can dare to step out at night. Women can dare to smoke and drink and fight for their own choices. But the men of this nation think it's amusing for a woman to be anything but demure and gharelu!