Can I get some fire?

So on Saturday night, I was at the New Friends colony market. Its a really good market actually, with loads of good restaurants without the snobby air of it.

I was with this other person (henceforth referred to as 'Uncle') and this another person (henceforth referred to as 'Ann').
We were waiting for our juice and I looked around aimlessly. There were food stalls and magazine vendors, as I checked out their titles.
Then Uncle pointed to us, a group of three girls. Look at them, he said. They're smoking, his voice more patronizing than usual.
I resisted the urge to say "So?"
Ann looked mostly unconcerned.
Uncle looked at them, disdain clearly visible on his face.
"Do y'know, smoking is prohibited in public places?", he told us in a matter-of-factly tone.
And then I realized something-
He wouldn't have given them a second glance, if instead of those girls, there were a bunch of guys standing there and smoking.

Which they do all the time. But does anyone bat an eyelid? No.

He still had an expression of distaste on his face, as if he'd swallowed a particularly juicy fly, and I half-expected him to go over there, snatch the cigarettes out of their hands, stump them beneath his feet and yell, "Batameez!"
I didn't want to say anything or I'd be chastised for Not Knowing Anything and Speaking Without Thinking.

I was a little confused; as far as i had seen, he was a man with modern views.
Then why this prejudice?

This question is not directed at him, but to all people in general who have a problem with ONLY girls smoking in public. Or smoking at all (or anything else, for that matter).

Is this how its supposed to be, then? Even though smoking in public places is banned, when guys do it, thats alright, but when girls do it, its not? Is that it? Now smoking is a guy's domain? Isn't that sexist?

In this day and age, when we pride ourselves on having a female President, when the gap between girls and guys is fast getting bridged, where does a prejudice of this sort fit?

Merely allocating a third of seats in the Legislature to women isn't gonna do the trick. Sexual prejudice is deep-seated, and needs to be combated in our everyday lives. The very mindset of people has to change. Handing out political power doesn't necessarily mean change. Its little things like these that matter.
Now I'm no smoker, nor do I think that its a very good habit. I mostly dodge the fumes, as I know that passive smoking is equally harmful. But I don't believe in this kinda prejudice.

In 10th, in Political Science, we had a chapter- Gender, Caste and Religion. It taught how discrimination takes place in each of these three.
We study about it so much, we make notes, we get marks and sometimes even straight A's. But when it comes to practical application, we fail miserably. Then we go back to our rigid, old-age, dead beliefs (not implying that these are ALWAYS bad), wholly convinced we are right.
Theory is BASED on practical application. If after reading about all kinds of biases, being explained how they are wrong in a thoughtful, logical way, we still cannot apply it in our lives, then its safe to consider our entire year absolutely wasted.

On a completely different note, I'M GOING TO CAMP!!!
Youreka, thank you, thank you, thank you for existing! 11th June, I board the train for Chakrata, or Room on the Roof. My major will be watercraft. I shall learn all about rafting, reading water currents, paddling and all that. I haven't yet decided on my minor.
Maybe I'll be awesome at my major. Maybe that one week will be the best week of my life. Maybe I'll meet the love of my life.
Who knows? Anything can happen.



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12 Reflections:

The Blue Periwinkle said...

I TOTALLY agree!!!
Gender discrimination is deep-rooted and now it is necessary to look into this matter!
I still fail to understand such kind of prejudice in well-educated societies!! :X
'Merely allocating a third of seats in the Legislature to women isn't gonna do the trick.'< totally agree!!!!

About the camp,that is soooooooooooo cool!! :)
Can i also be a part of it,by any chance? Can You provide me with some info?

soin said...

if not for gender fight life would be as exiting as a organic chem class. and the female president and chariperson of the lok sabha,they simply suck.incompetent for that highly limited role of theirs.that meira kumar has no ounce of control over the house.
and rafting and all? omg planning one such trip this summer.hopefully i make it.depends on job joining date.enjoy.btw those girls-how stylish was their smoking style? girls tend to smoke more stylishly than

Clezevra said...

I remember that civics chapter. Unfortunetely, people seem to have overlooked the fact that teaching it is not a mere matter of rote memorization!
Oh, and enjoy camp!

Srishti said...

@The Blue Periwinkle: Hey!! You're so right.

Aahh, camp, thanks. :) Err, you can be a part of it if you're of 17 years of age or less...are you? If you are, then I'll be happy to provide you with rest of the information. Otherwise there's always Rishikesh for rafting with friends. :)

@Soin: Thats true, don't u think gender differences is what makes the whole thing fun? :)
Hehe, cool! I hope you go on ur trip too! :) Wow! There are different styles of smoking too? I had NO idea. I didn't notice the way they were smoking... :\ but I'll be sure to next time...woww, this sounds so interesting. Different Ways of Smoking. I MUST know about it!

@Clezevra: Very true. Haha, you sound straight out of 3 Idiots. :P
Thank you! :)

HaRy!! said...

whoa... the whole gender thing more of a gimmick! all stupid fights... but like soin says.. funny sure!and if not there...we will never hav all the chaos! rafting! wow! wonder whn i get to do that!..cyu around!

Clezevra said...

Whoa, I really like your blog!
Your writing is sort of compulsive and I just spent a LOT of time combing through your posts!
PS: Our taste in books, as far as I can see, is completely separate. But I still liked the reviews.

Urv said...

You will have an awesome time with the water sports.. We had been to an Outbound learning camp.. Made our own rafts n stuff.. was great fun :)

Srishti said...

@Hary: Gimmick? I don't understand.

@Clezevra: Thanks! :) Err, yeah, my taste in books IS kinda embarassing :\ I live for chick-lit...oh well.

@Urv: I hope so! Thanks for dropping by. :)

Neetzi D said...

Srisha, people have their point of view based on how they've been brought up. As for your uncle he's been there in the time when they thing women are inferior. No matter how modern they become, they'll always have that ideology cuz it's a part of em'. 'Tis not his fault but the flaw in the gender discrimination that's been part of the society for "ages". Yes, but we can fight against it with a silent chaos.

@camp WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, it's easy to get that rafting part, trust me it is, and well ALL THE BEST! HAVE FUN! =D

Priyanka Suresh Mehta said...

The bias is never gonna die, I'm afraid.

Have fun at the camp :)

Bikram said...

wow calm down girl... :) The thing is its about our culture I THINK.. girls are sophisticated and all.. its seems to be a taboo for them to be drinking or smoking .. so that may be the reason ... that girls are looked down upon on smiking in public.. Anyway thats just my view.. I dont have any qualms with who smokes or drinks .. Its there life they want to poison themselves , UPTO them :)

Regarding the subject you are talking of then I must say India and Indians , WE are the most racist people and yet we talk of how others treat us , I dont want to carry on but I do feel we as indians are worst.

and hey YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY a Camp wow.. ALL THe best , I bet you are gonna have some fun there and learn all the things you have mentioned... and hey yeah true All the best in meeting the Love of ur life.. yeah anything can happen thats what is LIFE...
have fun and enjoyyyyyyyy FIRST i would say and then think of the Love of ur life :)

Srishti said...

@Neetu: My post wasn't directed at JUST the was directed at society in general. I'm sure many people WON'T be okay with women smoking in public. the question is, why not?
Hehe...thanks for the camp thing! Fun? Will do. ;)

@Priyanka: I wish it wasn't like that. And thanks! =]

@Bikram: I don't excatly get you- so anybody who is NOT sophisticated can smoke in public? But yeah, it is a culture thing. Hope that changes soon.
And hey, thanks, about the camp. I can't wait! :D Haha, love of my life...who knows? ;)