It’s Valentine’s week. Even though H and I are not too big on celebrating these “days”, we aren’t immune to them either. So, while we ‘go out celebrating it in a big way, we do give each other a small-little something as a V-day gift. This time, I got mine a little earlier. A good thing, you’d say. I thought so too. And so this happened on a fine evening.
H: I got you a surprise gift.
Me: (suitably surprised) really? What’s it?
H: It’s a little different. You have to take a guess.
Me: uhmm..Ok. (How difficult can that be, I thought)
H: So, what do you think it is?
Me: A book? (or even better, books :-))?
Me: Flowers? cards? A dress?
H: No, no and NO!
Me: Ok, give me a hint..
H: It’s good to keep it with you, but bad to use it!!
Me: (confused) What kind of a show piece is that? That I can only keep it? and NOT use it!
Ok, Can I give it to a friend? And can she use it?
H: No, it’s kinda harmful for everyone.
Me: What kind of a gift is that? (By this time, I was thoroughly miffed)
H: Ok, I ll give you one more hint.
Me: Sure. Go ahead
H: You will need to carry it with you all the time
Me: (Aghast)A pepper spray?
H: U got it babes!
And with that, H fished out a can of pepper spray from his bag and explained to me in detail, how it was to be used in a “situation”.
I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. I mean, it’s a good thing when your husband/boyfriend/friend/parents worry about your safety, but really? A pepper spray? Cynics would say that is a bad gift to give a woman on V-day. It kind of gives you a sinking feeling about your own well being But now, are we still living in that age when we actually celebrate anything/any day, or for that matter, even go out of our houses feeling safe about it?
Not only the incidence of rape cases is going higher by the day, their brutality too is lurking around a dangerous bend. The brutal rape of the Delhi medico student Nirbhaya jolted everyone out of their wits, but so what? The Govt. says the “juvenile” cannot be punished. I do not understand the logic behind this. If he was adult enough to plan and execute a rape in the most grotesque manner, how come he is not adult enough to be punished? And even if the entire nation showed their anger, and disapproval against this by coming out on the streets in full strength for almost a week and demanding a strong anti-rape law, things have hardly changed in our country. And in fact, if you have been reading the newspapers, the rapists have taken the December case as a benchmark, and brutalizing a woman while raping her is becoming a trend now.
A 19-year old girl was recently raped in the Lajpat Nagar area of New Delhi, and the rapist inserted an iron rod in her mouth. You can read about it here
Another minor gang raped in Jalandhar (details)
This trend seems to be catching on worldwide. Recently, there was a brutal rape case reported in South Africa. You may want to read the details at your own risk.
Gifting a pepper spray to your woman on V-day might not be the most romantic idea ever, but it does show that our men are as scared of our safety as we are. He might tell me sometimes that I act paranoid, but deep down I guess, he understands. He knows he cannot be with me 24*7. There will be so many times in a single day that I will be alone in the house, or alone on the streets. Words of caution and advice are no longer a woman’s shield. It’s sad that humanity has stooped down to such a level. Women ventured out of the house to become independent, and take the society and nation forward in terms of development. Little did she know, certain men looked at it in a completely opportunistic way.
As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. I think we are living in those desperate times. Where women, apart from looking after a household, working alongside men in MNCs, bearing children for them, will also have to learn self-defense to be able to defend her honor. Until then, maybe the gifting trends on Valentine’s day will change. The next thing you know, your luxurious spa voucher will be replaced by a form enrolling you in martial arts. But so what, isn’t it all, still about Love?
*All images sourced from Google