I am a regular S.B.S.T.C bus traveller and I shuffle to and fro between two places, twice or more in a week. A lot of people have depended their livelihoods on these buses. 54 people, with a sleepy journey ahead of them are often more liable to purchase newspapers and magazines, amchur and whatnot. There are dozens of children who beg and mothers who cry. The stand is dirty, with a strong stench of urine and is laden with fruit leftovers, cigarette butts, strewn papers and every other kind of waste that the human kind has invented.
Anyway, what irked me enough, out of all of the above, on this fine day is this: an old man, possibly in his 50s, is a regular newspaper peddler in this area. He is the only one who sells all the English dailies, apart from the regular vernaculars. I never read newspapers on the bus (or elsewhere, unless something catches my fancy), call it the smart phone blessing in disguise. I merely know the man by face and his typical shout out to his buyers.
The man sitting behind me, in the bus today, purchased some newspaper. So, the paperwallah rested his huge stash of mewspapers on the seat beside me, which then, was vacant. As a reflex, I read the headlines in some bengali newspaper. He saw my interest and in order to sell me something the question he asked me was ridiculous.
“Should I hand over a Femina to you? Or maybe interest you in a Stardust or Filmfare?”
I was infuriated. Moments ago he sold newspapaers to men and asked them if the want magazines like TechTalk or something.
“Why? Does my face remind you of the cover of Femina or is it because I’m a girl? Can I also not be interested in the news? Non-gender centric news?”
I don’t blame him for this prejudice. We have created this belief system. Girls are the ones who are conscious of their looks and boys will play sports. Our ancestors have made the difference between the pinks and the blues. What is the old man to do, if majority of his female buyers ask for Beauty Magazines? I am educated, hence I know better. I am not condoning the women who read such magazines, they’re very informative. I, for one, read, Cosmo long ago but that’s a whole other blog-post. What we have to make men like him realise, is that, the world has progressed. A woman who reads a Femina can also be the CEO of a company and shake men to the core. There has to be a balance. There has to be a scale by which the balance will be measured. I felt immensely sad.
What is the skin around the vagina called, you ask me? Why, rest of the body!
The change begins with you being comfortable reading the word Vagina and penis as any other ordinary word..