By Mira Swaminathan & Aditya Venkatraman
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, free from the trouble of most two, three and four wheelers the Bangalore Traffic Police has tried in its usual charming manner to warn you of possibly the most serious threat to your safety on roads.
No. It isn’t the ISIS. It’s something far more sinister, because it takes the form of something vaguely human. Something that only recently acquired ‘rights’ (sniff) and has been spotted straying from its ‘natural’ habitat – the kitchen.
Yes, women, we’re referring to you. In most ads you are portrayed with glamour that is everyone’s envy. Surrounded or drooling over Prestige cookers, Fair & Lovely creams, Shakti masalas, Josalukkas Jewelry; better yet wondering how you’d marry off your insolent daughters in matrimonial and insurance ads. Clearly, you’re living the life on the big and small screen. And, you don’t even know it.
Look at you above. Do you even know what driving is? Couldn’t you use your ‘womanly intuition’? Why? Why did you call your husband and ask him to pick up groceries for HIS dinner? Did you ever think that your misplaced priorities could one day make your husband and his car an urban landfill?
Look at your understanding of technology too. All you’ve got is surprise as blood comes splattering out of your phone? You’re not even worth the Modular Kitchen sponsoring this poster.
This poster (like so many) is out there for a reason. Several women have come out in hordes, seemingly hijacking automobiles to get to their irrelevant destinations. And as you can see, it’s keeping these honorable and dedicated traffic authorities up at night. While they’re collecting spot fines anyway!
As this next poster shows – confirming what your grandparents had to say, all along. The new generation is no different; you’re all talk, no sass. All you ever had to do was go to college in your sanskaari patialas, somehow steal a degree despite your naturally inferior intellectual capacities and spend all your spare time losing weight.
You know what I mean, first impressions are all that matters. Why have your perfectly manicured fingers fiddle with these ‘alien’ gears?
Just look at the woman in the picture. Your scar may be shaped like a crescent moon, but oh you poor little thing! With that, there’s no honeymoons coming anytime soon. Screw first aid, we need to get some foundation for that bruise. And keep her off Facebook/ Snapchat for a while. At least, until she has a working knowledge of Photoshop and gets ‘airbrushing’. Hey, maybe there’s an artistic lining to that cut!
Look at this next one: Seen here eagerly turning around to pamper her children. This woman still remains blissfully unaware of the threat she poses. We all know that call couldn’t have been ‘business’. Why? Because, she’s a woman for crying out loud. She had absolutely no part in creating this family, as they individually exited her. She thinks she creates lives. What conceit! She ends them.
Don’t think the Bangalore Police hasn’t tried helping you ungrateful wretches earlier. Remember ‘eve teasing’? We created that term for you. Forget that, it still continues. Recognition is what matters.
Remember groping, cat calling and what you call ‘harassment’? That’s just appreciation of your only asset: Beauty. Be grateful for that time you spend in the eye of the beholder. And sometimes his hands as well.
Also remember chain snatching? You know that cliché thing that happens to 40 year old aunties? They’ve got a solution for that too.
You heard it – stay at home. Maybe watch yourself on CCTV, you self-obsessed twat. If anyone still enters – ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’. You probably left the door unlocked.
The only reason this keeps happening to you foolish women is because you ‘expose’ yourselves. You trust too easily. You dare to feel ‘safe’ at home, work, bus stands, beaches, parks, pubs and most of all, on roads. You choose to be the victim. And now you direct your murderous glances at men in their own domain. Why do you want to watch the world burn?
You’d think road safety was simple. Stop at red, go at green. Any pothead knows it right? But our traffic police knows better. They know that posters are an important source of propaganda. They know a million people pass these scarcely noticing because they have the same judgments in their own minds.
Lest you think that the traffic police are too short sighted about these issues. They take you by surprise almost completely. With a promise to save us for centuries hence in the spirit of true public service, they go for the fetus.
Because your destiny in this world is merely a reproductive apparatus. Like any other device that’s bought off the counter and used. Only a girl child can produce human beings – that’s solely what makes ‘it’ worth saving. Let a girl child live long enough to reach ‘its useful age’; only so long. With however horrible, lonely and misunderstood an existence.
It isn’t enough that you get reminded by men of your place. Time and time again they come in many forms; it may be a subjugating glance; it may be an intolerant phrase; it may be acid thrown at you while you wait for a bus; it may be a foot high poster draped in the sky for all to see.
A public shaming of you, if at all you could feel shame. Clearly, if you still didn’t get the intended message, you truly are the better half of humanity. Of course. I meant you, men.
Authors Mira Swaminathan & Aditya Venkatraman are students of law and ardent feminists. This article is an on-field piece of investigative reporting they undertook into the Bangalore Traffic Police’s recent ‘Road Safety Week’ initiative. Herein, they found extremely misogynistic messages being passed off as advice on ‘safety’. All the images belong to the authors.