No country for young women

Rahul da CunhaMy goddaughter, Ayesha is 17 years old- ravishing, radiant and raring to go. It’s three in the afternoon and she saunters into my study, dressed to the gills. Bling, blang and all thingsshining.

“Hey, godfather, what up, yo?”, she asks, her heavily made-up eyes flashing. “Bit overdressed, wouldn’t you say, Ayshu? Where you headed, at this hour looking like Amy Winehouse meets Marilyn Manson”, I enquire, astonished.

“Ossum day party to go to, dude, ossum day party.” “Why a day party? Don’t you have college, tuitions, karate class, football practice or one of the 1000 things you kids do? Why not go to night parties like all normal people?”

Illustration/ Amit Bandre

“But then, you’ll have to come with me. You up for that, bro?” “Why me?” “A local politician has advised that girls shouldn’t be out after dusk. And if they are to step out at night, it should only be with relatives - brothers or fathers. So, what d’you think?”

“But I’m not a relative, only your poor godfather,” I resisted. “Good enough. I have six places to go to. There’s a high-end watch launch at the Trident, a fashion show at the Taj, plus four really happening parties. Come with me.”

“But I don’t have the clothes for these dos.” “I’m not asking you to come with me to the parties. Just take me there, you could wait in the car.” I swallowed my pride. “Why are you going to six events in one night, why not space them out over the week?”

“Problem is, if I don’t maximise partying in my teen years, I will run out of time. I will then get married, and my contract will state that my role as a wife is limited to household chores.” “Who said this?”

“Another politician, who wears shorts.” “I’m sorry, but I cannot allow you to go out dressed like this. There are too many maniacs out there. You have to change.”

So Ayesha went back to her room, sulking, and emerged an hour with a new outfit. “Ayshu, why are you now fully clothed, head to toe? I didn’t ask you to wear a salwar kameez. We are in India, not Afghanistan.”

“Sorry, godfather dude, we are not in India, we are in Bharat,”she corrected me. Change of plans, no more Western parties” I looked at her handbag. “ Can you tell me, what is the protection you are carrying in your bag, pepper spray, a mace, a knuckle duster, what…?”

“None of those. I’m carrying the ultimate protection against any male attacker.” “What is that?” “A rakhi.”

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62

The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.

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