– a 55 word story
“You can read in your room”
“I want to sit here and read. It’s cooler here…”
“Some boys are loitering outside.”
“They are staring at you…”
She didn’t see the slap coming.
“Go inside, now!”
She went in quietly.
She learnt: When boys ogled her, it was somehow her fault.
****** ******* ******
The above is a 55-word expression of one aspect of a commonly heard phrase,
“Chee keri podi akathu!”
These words are used by fathers, brothers and especially mothers to the girls of the household. It means ‘go inside’ said in the most obnoxious manner. The first word Chee itself is said with such force that it can, all by itself, start a cyclone. If you have some free time and were to collect data from Mallu movies you will find that THE phrase used by almost all writers with such regularity to be said to the character who plays the sister (mostly sister, sometimes it can be the wife or daughter) of the hero, whether she is a dumb and silent one or a sensible one who dares open her mouth to voice her opinion, is this:
“Chee, keri podi akathu!”
One can almost guess the exact moment some character is going to mouth it to the hapless girl/woman. I am sure other regions have their own versions of what to say to put the girl child/woman in her place pronto.
I guess what is shown in the movies is but a reflection of what is happening for ‘real’ in the society, for you do hear the phrase being used frequently and in the same obnoxious tones in daily life too, differences in class or education not with standing. Just goes to show where most still think, the place of a girl-child/woman barring a lucky few is: ‘akathu’ (inside)!!
A related post:
Udated to add:
This post is the runner-up in the 55-word story category at the Avant Garde Bloggies Award.
i hope these sentences are stopped with our generatiion, Shail! I have gone through all these things. We were asked to ‘go inside’ when any ‘male’, caome to our house, esp. till my grandmother was alive. Thank god, times have changed.
Me: That is our hope Sandhya, but reality doesn’t seem to corroborate that things have changed, except for a few people. The majority still face the same situation.
i so hope that daughters of the next generation dont have to hear any of this
and i think we are the ones who can change that
good post as usual 🙂
Me: Thanks Monika. ‘We are the ones who can make a difference‘ Yes, …and I do hope all those who can will put their mind to it.
Bob Hoff said:
I like your story “Her Fault.” Good one. For now boys will ogle her. If in the future she grows up to be famous, perhaps they will google her.
How old is this girl?
I want to try a 55-word story story, but last time I checked I only knew 23 words. Can words be repeated within story?
Me: Bob, you funny man, you had me laughing out loud at your comment. Google her indeed!! ROFL. And what’s this, you know only 23 words?? Come on, learn a few more and make it 55 and then you can write one about Jimi!
Thanks Bob. The girl is perhaps 12 or 13.
Me: Makes you sigh, doesn’t it?? 😦
Thank you Sakhi.
Bob Hoff said:
If the boys are troublesome or threatening, let them be sent away and let the females enjoy the outside. Do not females spend much or their lives inside as it is?
Who do I think I am, an advice columnist?
Me: Ahh, you have hit the nail on the head. Seems the obvious solution, doesn’t it?? But sadly enough this doesn’t seem to penetrate the skulls of the average person. They think the girl should oblige by staying indoors and not show herself to ogling boys rather than the ogling boys asked to move away. I am not even talking of a scenario where the boys are threatening or troublesome other than just enjoying the view, merely ‘looking’! Doesn’t make sense, does it??
Hmmm you sure would make a good advice columnist! Haha.
Not these days.. anyway!!
Me: Please read Sraboney’s comment below. This does not happen only to a very tiny minority. What prevails elsewhere is what I have outlined.
Sandhya – have times really changed? It may have changed for us but we are a minority…The vast majority of women in India are still asked to go inside because for some reason, they are the ones who cause all the problems in the world…
Me: I agree totally with you Sraboney. Times haven’t really changed except for a minority. The vast majority, including adult females are still asked to ‘go inside’! And oh yes, I liked the way you put it : “…because for some reason, they are the ones who cause all the problems in the world…”
That was a very good 55-er, Shail. This is so commonplace that we don’t even realise how we mould ourselves and the future generations into being so regressive! And I agree with Bones…times haven’t changed that much. Sigh!
Me: Yes Pal, subtle (and not so subtle) messages end up molding generations into being regressive in outlook. Thank you.
The image of the father,( sitting in his balcony on an old wooden rocking chair, who is reading his newspaper, looks at the boys, playing out side his house and then frowns at his young daughter through the thick glasses that he is wearing, before giving her a tight slap), just flashed before my eyes.
55 words ?? :-))
Me: Hmm… so you got the visuals 🙂
BTW why the question mark after 55?? Didn’t get you.
Oh Shail, did’t you notice that even my comment also make 55 words , so just wanted endorsement from you, hence, the question marks :-))
Me: Oh cool! That never struck me!!! 😀
I still remember my ammumma’s “thazhe nokki nadakku” and “kaalu thazhe veykku” basically when we walk along on the roads, to look down and walk and whenever we put up our feet in abandon, to keep them down close together, more demurely!
Me: Lol, they all sound such familiar orders, Ganga. “Penkuttykalaayal kurachu adakkavum othukkavum venam!” is another common one. Mind you, I never had to hear it as I was quiet and a recluse anyway! But when I hear it told to others, it makes me mad. If aankuttikal had (or were taught) a wee bit of adakkam and othukkam, penkuttikal could have lived a far better life!
Superb. *standing ovation*. These admonitions are so ingrained that we barely bother to protest against them. You are so right, if all the time and energy wasted on keeping the penkuttikal akathu, were focussed on bringing up the annkuttikal to be, well just plain decent, things would have been much better. Instead we have the “aankuttikalaayal anganeyokke aayrikkum, penkuttikal venam sookshikkan” *sigh*
Me: So right Dreamer. If parents and society invested half the effort on making aankuttikal decent, it would have given penkuttikal some space to breathe.
Happens everywhere, the South, the North …. Pan Indian phenomenon I gues … sigh!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: Yeah I guess so! Sigh!!!!
A great 55-er. Its sad indeed that the onus always falls on the girl.
You know that famous chollu((saying)),dont u,Shail: ‘Ela mullil veenaalum,mullu elayil veenalum kuttam elayude tanne’…dont remember it verbatim but its something on those lines. Meaning: a leaf falls on a thorn or the thorn falls on the leaf, the leaf will always have to take the blame.
Me: Thanks Deeps. I mentioned about the ila and mullu chollu here. 🙂 Like hell it is ilaykku dosham!
Hmmm…have seen this happen couple of times when me and friends used to loiter after school in and around vellayambalam / kaudiar…and many times we never had noticed the gal ! Even used to happen on weekends in the school ground when families not related to the school in anyway used to have children play and the minute we guys came, the families (of course with their girl kids) scrambled away as if we were thugs…was really funny…
Me: Hello Monu, long time no see 🙂 I can well imagine the scene you described! Lol, yeah for some people with daughters, any boy is akin to a thug! 😛
good story ,it was true in rural areas in our time( i lived in a village)..but now hopefully times are changing.MY father stopped me from wearing a frock when I was 8 years old,I was supposed to wear churidar to cover the legs. But my daughter wore even minis if she wanted.
Me: Thanks Renu. Looks like you are one of the lucky few because this definitely didn’t just happen in rural areas even during our times. I am of course assuming we belong to the same times. And of course this happens even today, region and class notwithstanding.
Unfortunately it’s always the girl’s fault.
No matter how a man abuses her it’s always and always she who has to take the blame. The 55 word story is very articulately written. Nice! 🙂
Me: Thank you Niveditha. Yes I feel the same. Its always ends up as the woman’s fault and the sad part is even other women make you feel so.
Oh Yes! I have heard this and retorted “Of course they are staring, they have eyes” and of course, I lost feeling on one cheek :), but it was just for a while.. and I vowed “if I ever have a daughter, she will never hear this from me and if I ever have a son, he will never use his eyes in a manner that is unbecoming of humanity”
Enjoyed this Shailji. Maybe I should write my take on this..some day.
Me: Your vow is uncannily similar to mine. But then I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised about it!! 🙂 Waiting for your take on this Rashmi.
What a brilliant thought provoking 55er Shail!! And when you hear it enough you start thinking this is ‘the way’… those who have never faced it, or have no fear of facing it, would never realise why it isn’t such a small thing…
And I agree we can put an end to this starting with our daughters.
Me: Thanks IHM. It is not a small thing at all, I agree. This is where it starts, even before this in fact. And some ignorant people(may I call them fools??) ask why women cannot stand up or fight for their rights as if its something too easy for words. When you are oppressed, suppresed, brainwashed so young (by everyone around you), fighting and standing up for oneself becomes all the more difficult. Not all are capable of breaking out. And yes what we can do is start with our daughters, teach them self respect and not to blame themselves for anything and everything.
I have always wondered one thing that all the boys who eye the girls in bad way:)….are also the sons of some women..what these women are doing as mothers..how do they feel? why they dodnt teach their children to behave……when my brother was in college, he even refused to walk with those boys who commented on the girls..because he didnt like it.
Me: If the boys and girls were taught good behaviour alike iot would certainly have been a better world for girls. Thanks for the comment Renu.
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a wonderful post…brings us back to the perennial conundrum of femme. I sincerely believe it’s not the woman’s fault.
may sanity prevail!
Me: Indeed may sanity prevail. Thanks for the visit and comment.
Congratulations for the award, Shail! This post of yours deserves it! I am happy that you got this award!
Me: Thank you so much Sandhya. 🙂
Don’t think this line will go away anytime soon.Even in this day and age the old rigid legacy continues with Genx or y. It is so surprising to see educated ,literate well to do families still have a archaic mode of functioning within the family.
Thoughtful reality, shouldn’t be categorized under 55 fiction. !
Me: It is still a sad reality and yes among urban or rural, educated or illiterate, well off or economically backward…. it happens everywhere. Thank you for the visit and comment.
Congratulations on the Blogadda pick,Shail. This post deserved it 🙂
Me: Thank you so much Deeps. 🙂
Congrats on the blogadda pick 😀
Me: Thank you Dreamer 🙂
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Sigh! So true 😦
Yes Swaram, so true.
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The real story in many homes still…quite sad !!!
And congrats to you for the Avant Garde Bloggies Award (Runner up) !!!
Welcome to Shail’s Nest Uma and thank you! Yes, still the story in many households.
Congrats for a very subtle but meaningful post.
Thank you Gyanban 🙂
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G Vishwanath said:
One link leads to another.
Seeing Anita Menon’s comment on “Unclean” I visited that post and then landed here.
This is going to be never ending.
I had better stop!
Glad to know you got the award.
Yes, this story is so familiar.
I have been a boy and am familiar with this behaviour among those of us with more libido than is good for them and less maturity and education than is needed for them.
I was a shy fellow and would move away from girls.
But I knew boys who ogled and were proud of it.
As a hosteler, we had fellows who used to whistle in a special way to signal to fellow oglers when a pretty lass passed by the hostel.
Fortunately their disgusting behaviour stopped with ogling. They didn’t have the guts to go further.
The most satisfaying scene I remember was a resounding slap given to one ogler who over reached himself and in a moment of over confidence, passed a lewd comment. This girl had spunk which caught him by surprise. He didn’t have the sympathy of his friends and the warden threatened him with dismissal if he followed up with a complaint against the girl. He also congratulated the girl. The boy was licking his wounds for days after that experience.
But most girls suffer in silence in our cities.
What is it about humans? Male Animals don’t behave this way!
To tell you the truth, it is not the boys who ogle who are at fault here, it is the society and the parents who with so much regularity send the signal loud and clear that when the boys ogle, it is the girl who is at fault. You must have observed too, how women of the household and the men shout at young girls if there are boys loitering anywhere near. WHAT is the fault of the girl in this?? Her gender?? Did she have a say in it?? Her existence?? Did she have a say in that??
Each one I feel, should examine their own selves and their conscience to find, just WHY a girl/woman is scolded for what boys/men do.
Thank you for the appreciation 🙂
oooo! Beautiful! Came here from IHM as I liked most of your comments there. I was reading some of your posts, and you write beautifully, both on social matters and humorous stuff. A wonderful point made in only 55 words.
I have always been the one person who would have to drop other friends to their homes before going home myself when I was a teenager. For some reason, most mothers felt their daughters are safe with me. Why not simply make their daughters learn to be safe on their own?
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