This morning, I woke up to two beep sounds of my instagram notification the vibration felt like a thunderbolt ringing my lousy brain cells in bleak mid-dawn. I immediately unlocked my phone, the notification panel was all jammed with posts on a trending campaign #notallmen. By the time I flipped my quilt, partially hanging on the edge of my bed and carelessly fiddling my phone I realised was running late for my college society practices. Frantically went round the room, trying to fit in the pair of my only college ribbed denims.
Huh! Finally managed to board the metro on time. The stretch from my hostel to the metro station has never been a walk, I am always in a rush challenging the summer loo to make it on time . Today was no different, my thoughts proliferated faster than busy commuters in average office hours. Went back to scrolling my social media feed again, came across the morning posts. Hinged on the fact that is it legitimate for men to justify their stance on women given their history of exploits? Reiterating it to fellow companions that they unlike other men uphold higher morale by allowing their partners enough freedom? Are all men the same? What about the men I look up to? And why the #notallmen campaign is relevant for discourse. Also since here are rigid patriarchal establishments ingrained in our society it is no cakewalk to break free from the dominant power structures. Of all these revelations and travelling simultaneously, I got through the passage of time it takes me to reach the college terminal.
“Resuming practice sessions in five “announced the club President. Today was indeed eventful in the college debating club for the IG campaign sake. Minutes into a heated discussion on male privilege I personally got introduced to the idea of manufactured consent. As in how manufactured consent is ideally rooted to the divinity of a male centric sanctorum. It is a strategy by which our thoughts have been influenced through ages. Everyone has obsessively followed these obsolete beliefs, idealised by the dominant class since history. Categorising all men under the same umbrella is not questioning the good conduct of a few but reminding them how by the virtue of sexuality they have been entitled to all privileges exclusively reserved for men. Manufactured consent in feminism helps us understand as to how our education and upbringing is a structured by whims of a man, what duties our role entail, even if the society had progressed so far the superstructure is still rooted on patriarchy and the centre has always been men. It is indeed surprising how our generation is staying woke to the slightest of changes despite of an education system which deserves no credits for this since all it does is imposing traditional standards evolved in the colonial culture and behavioural constructs determined by the Victorian morality. On my way back, I was hung over from the discussion we had and went on questioning the roots of my nurture.
I felt helpless, channelling my thoughts to the evening sky. The discussion kept me upright for the day of doubts like, have I been nurtured on grounds of biological discrimination? But it is also no less than any privilege to be conditioned by the struggles of generations.
I usually have an obsession of hoarding my stash of notes wherever I go and smuggling bits and pieces of those from my society practices and seminar, from my college rearranging them into a file. Further helping me to recall my beliefs occasionally. Also weirdly fetishizing my hobby. Left on a call at around 7:00p.m hanging out with campus friends, across the lush green pedestrian , sipping on cutting chai was a regular escape to coping up in blues and loneliness. Yellow streetlights casting my other side, shadows walking past ourselves we went down the alley for longer turns and dwelt on the university lawns. Soon it was 9:00, they asked me to pull back but I didn’t have a choice. Did I? We had to mark our attendance sharp at half past 9, everyday in the hostel. The reporting time kept me on guard, all the while I sought to be on the run. This is so unfair, the university men’s hostel has no restrictions on keeping outside when desired, but the relatively tokenistic freedom for us is conditional. Recently, the Pinjra Tod protests have gained momentum young women demanding equal hostel privilege as the men. But subdued. Taming women, curtailing their access and rights for the misconduct of a few men is absolute abhorrence. Independence is a hoax. Women are being forcefully disciplined to obligate on lines of moral behaviour. Our choices are being shaped by relative factors, not syncing in with our desirability but closest to a compromise. Earlier rebuking the slightest of fallacy which goes unnoticed in conversations but now, not anymore. Have I also mistaken growing numb to any provocation, I know being indifferent too is a sham. Strolling by these, it was supper time already. Not again! Fried okra drenched in litres of oil and black lentils for meal had toppled my digestion. I cannot afford to keep oscillating in between my bed and the washroom. Starving myself appeared more promising than force feeding that bowl of mismatch. Nevermind, yet again a compromise. Lying on my bed, underneath the warmth of cotton sheets , dank odour of the room seeping in and the roads across screamingly silent is a lullaby deafening the unrest in my mind. I turned on to my otherside for the night. Unlike yesterday I distanced myself from binge watching shows, crawled to my corner away from the sight of mobile illumination. Sleep.
Hence, a new day.Jotted down notes of my core semester paper- Feminist Literature, usually I prefer writing my notes but since I need to hoard these concepts for a lifetime, drafted it on e-notes. After doing this for 3 hours straight, I felt like storming out of the room staging myself into a monologue. But failed to cut off slack and laid indifferent against the wall, frozen limbs. The chapters I went through in the book bothered me but not much for I knew folks embracing their sexuality have always been prejudiced. I have been trying hard to put myself into writing a piece about it since the last few days, but do I deserve to write a piece on something I’ve grown numb towards? Spiralled down the gyre of overwhelming angst, incapable of putting forth any substantial change through means of thought. Will we be able to carry forward the legacy feminist struggles? Have we failed our education?
Ignorance is not solitude, we do not question the bias but grace it in our lives. Like I did the last time, I planned on a trip with my friends but backed off ruining the plan for all since I couldn’t manage my mom’s consent to the journey, she was sceptical of hostile patriarchal virility that could possibly endanger my existence. No matter how futile I consider these motherly instincts to be, but again it is understandable of the situations she fears. Tormenting her to assume the worst that could risk her daughter for the callous insensitivity of fellow beings, ripping off lives by sexually violating helpless individuals. Lanes narrowing down to nothingness is hauntingly scary. The woman succumbs to her vulnerability. Hence, we just give in assuming the risks of potential threats in learning incidents. Stern patriarchal ideologies are being fed on generations with hardly any possibility for navigating feminine concepts.
I have been trailing on the same track in my string of thoughts and this would probably remain for a while now until an overpowering distraction would come by tumbling my way down. Time flew by, and I am still slouching furiously at how stipulated certain things are. Yet another day, the usual grumpiness buffered in me like a vintage, broken tape recorder.
Daibee Das is a graduate in English literature from IPCW,DU