IHM’s post on ‘izzat’ hit close to home for me . On second thoughts, I’m sure any Indian girl would find resonance with the all-too-pervasive idea of her ‘repuation’. Actually, on third thoughts (I’ve decided that’s be a valid enough term), I guess there are very few women on this earth who have not had this concept of their ‘honour’ drummed into them.
The first story in IHM’s post was especially familiar.
I too had a classmate, R, who went out in a car with another friend G, whom she was dating.They were ‘caught’ in a compromising position by a busybody cop, who made a big fuss about wanting to take them to the police station. The matter resolved with G calling up some other friends from our college, who drove over and managed to fob the cop off with 5k in cash.
Unfortunately for R, the matter spread like wildfire through the campus- through the guys who had gone over to ‘help’ them – and the rumours got worse and worse. In the girl’s hostel, she was practically shunned. In the boy’s hostel , she was the subject of intense discussion. People took delight in pulling her down- especially since she was better looking and more intelligent than most people who maligned her.
Not long afterwards, I was in a car with this guy G ( an okayish friend) who had , by now, earned quite the opposite kind of reputation. The car ran low on fuel in a deserted area and we had to stop. Soon enough, a man walked by , saw us and threatened to call the cops- I suppose it’s a quick way to make money off college kids these days.
I remember being frantic about what they would think and make of the situation- instead of of thinking about my own safety or being practical about how to arrange for fuel.I was on-the-fence about calling my own girlfriends- they had been especially judgemental about the other girl. Eventually, he called his friends to get us, and the man stopped banging on the car and went away.
Instead of being angry about being threatened by a random stranger , I was anxious about known people would think. I was so worried about my ‘reputation’ after that , that I stopped talking to G.Even before the few (but inevitable) rumours
Stupid, I know. In my defence, I was too young to know better.
Luckily for me I soon learned to NOT give a damn . Still, I sometimes cringe at the thought of the silly things I’ve done, in a misguided attempt to preserve my ‘izzat’.