Friday, 14 July 2017

Short Story 3 : The Indecent Girl.


Story Theme : Stereotyping 

A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image of a particular type of person or thing. 

In social pathology, a stereotype is any thought widely adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of behaviour, intended to represent the entire group of those individuals or behaviours as a whole.

Stereotypes reflect expectations and beliefs about the characteristics of members of groups perceived as different from one’s own. They are a cognitive component and often occurs without conscious awareness.

In literature and art, stereotypes are clich├ęd or predictable characters or situations. 

Storytellers have drawn from stereotypical characters and situations to immediately connect the audience with new tales, throughout history.

This short story is an attempt to base a work of fiction on a few typical gender stereotypes that plague our society.

*****

The Indecent Girl

‘Look at that skirt! Oh God...Just look at it! I can’t believe this!’ Shashi’s voice held shocked disbelief. ‘And that top is too tight! She looks so…’ He was at a loss for words.

Suman tugged her tight outfit a little lower over her exposed thighs, as she turned to smile up at the guy next to her. Her long silver earrings twinkled like stars, as they reflected light from the neon bulbs of the wide corridor. She said something that made the guy wink at her and let out a guffaw. She threw back her head to laugh and her thick mane glistened, swirling in velvet waves around the pale, bare skin of her petite shoulders.

‘Cheap da…she looks cheap and slutty.’ Rakesh completed Shashi’s sentence for him. ‘And look at the way she’s flirting with him…he is thoroughly enjoying the view she’s offering him through that plunging neckline…’ he added for good measure.

They followed Suman and her companion from a discreet distance & saw them head towards the elevator. Just as she was about to get onto it, she seemed to trip on her heels and the tall guy snaked his arm around her waist to steady her. Her tight skirt rode a couple of inches higher as the elevator made its languid ascent to the top-most floor of Garuda mall.

‘I can’t believe this!’ The loquacious Shashi seemed to have lost his usually extensive vocabulary. ‘I just can’t believe this, da!’ he repeated for the umpteenth time in the past half hour.

They got on to the elevator and turned in the opposite direction when they reached the top floor, to avoid being seen by Suman, while they still scrutinized their targets in subtle detail. Suman now stood with him in the short queue at the ticketing counter of the multiplex.

Shashi didn’t miss the lecherous looks from the numerous males and the envious glances from the females, that Suman invited as she walked with slow grace towards the arched gate of Screen 2. She slipped her hand casually into the hook of the guy’s elbow, chatting animatedly with him, as they passed through the entrance. Shashi seethed as he noticed a firm breast within the taut fabric of her halter, grace his arm as the lanky fellow turned to let her precede him…

***

‘I always knew she is that kind of girl, bro!’ Rakesh smirked.’ Didn’t I tell you? All these north Indian girls are like that only da!

‘I can’t believe she did this yaar!’ Shashi tried to control his sobs. ‘I love her!’

They were now seated at the booze joint on the third floor, nursing icy Kingfishers.

‘Haha…I always told you she was not the right girl for you! Do you know she even tried to hook me too in the beginning? I never told you how much she used to flirt with me, because you liked her so much...’ Rakesh tried to induce a piousness that he did not feel, into his tone. ‘Of course, I ignored her completely until she tied the rakhi, you know…’

‘How could she have done this to me, yaar? How?’

‘Dump her da, just dump her…’ Rakesh replied. ‘Such girls don’t deserve love from guys like us…’

‘She even agreed that we could get married after we completed our degree da!’

‘Yeah, and you believed her? Such girls will roam around with all the other rascals and then marry good fellows like us when they want to settle down da…they want all these rich fellows to enjoy and loaf around with and then get married to seedha-saadha types like you..’

‘How could she have gone to watch such a movie with that…that fellow yaar. It seems it is a blue film with all kinds of lousy scenes you know…and she never told me she drinks! Imagine yaar, she was aaraamse boozing with that fellow…’

‘Yaar, I’m telling you such girls will do everything before they get married…you can’t trust such females to be loyal to you after marriage also…’

‘I thought she was a good, decent girl da!’ Shashi’s voice began to break.

‘Then why did she wear a dress like that and go with some random fellow to watch a movie like ‘50 shades of Grey’? God knows what all they both did, sitting inside that dark theatre, da! Do good girls do such things, tell me?’

‘I had planned to watch it with her on our honeymoon da! Now my life is over…just over…’ Shashi began to sob.

‘Just imagine what would have happened if you had taken her to your parents! Your Amma would have freaked out if she came to know that her future daughter-in-law wears such indecent clothes and goes to watch sex movies with paraaiah men!’ Rakesh’s voice held suppressed elation that Shashi didn’t notice in his state of melancholy.

Rakesh tried hard to mask the glee he felt at his friend’s misfortune. He reveled in bliss as his words added fuel to the flame raging in Shashi’s mind.

After all, it had taken herculean strength for Rakesh to watch the girl of his dreams fall in love with his best friend. It had taken immense self-control to watch the love blossom and grow between them for the last two years, while his heart ached for her. 

It had taken Rakesh daily Google counseling for a month, to deal with the shock of having the only beauty among the five females in Mechanical Engineering class of BMT Engineering college, call him Bhaiyya and tie a rakhi on his wrist on that fateful day last year.

And now, all of that had come to a fitting end. This evening, they had watched Suman slip into the gleaming silver Audi outside her PG, when they had gone to meet her as usual. It was customary for Rakesh to accompany Shashi in the evenings on the pretext of dropping his friend to her PG. That way, he could get a glimpse of Suman, sometimes even a smile and a wave from her, before he took off to his place.

Today, however, had been different. Shashi had called Suman to tell her that he wouldn’t be coming over. He’d wanted to surprise her with a bouquet of her favourite roses and Swiss chocolates, before he broke the good news to her. He’d expected her to swoon at his feet when he told her that he'd finally cleared all the arrears from the first two years of B.E. and had only three more subjects left to pass. 

Everything had turned topsy-turvy though, when they saw the docile girl who only wore only churidaars to college, emerge from her PG building, clad in a short black skirt, a bright red halter top and 3-inch black stilettos. The same girl who wore flat slippers coupled with two oily braids to college, had let her hair down, and how!

They had followed her into the mall and watched the tall guy joke with her as they proceeded to watch the biggest blue movie of the year. They had waited in the mall till the movie was over, when a fretting Shashi nursed his broken heart, while Rakesh secretly rejoiced in his friend’s misfortune. They had then followed the couple surreptitiously to the restaurant in the food-court and watched them order a Mojito each.


And now, 26 hours later, they sat on the stone bench on the terrace of his rented room, trying to discuss the future course of events.


Just then, Shashi’s blackberry began to buzz.

He switched on the speaker phone and Rakesh watched his face rearrange itself in the appropriate expression of indignant anger, before answering ‘Yes, Suman? What is it?’


‘Hey Shashi, why are you avoiding me? You haven’t picked up my calls since last evening. You know I wanted to tell you, I had gone out with my cousin brother yesterday…u remember I told you he is coming from the US, na?


You won’t believe, he had bought a new dress as a gift for me and convinced me to try it out. I wore a skirt for the first time in my life, Rakesh…I think you will love me more in western outfits…he was teasing me endlessly for being so self-conscious…’ her voice took on a shy overture while she said this, before she continued, ‘And you know, he didn’t know that I don’t drink and bought me something that I thought was juice and then wondered why it tasted so funny…


Suman paused to catch her breath, before she went on, ‘The worst part was, we didn’t get tickets to the Hindi movie we’d planned to watch, so we ended up with some horribly cheap English one…’ Suman’s voice trailed off, in what seemed to be embarrassment.


‘Cousin Brother? Did u say Brother? I love you, baby,’ Shashi exhaled in a rush of emotion as he wiped tears of joy, while a gobsmacked Rakesh looked on, in intense disappointment.



*****


Women have been the targets of innumerable stereotypes from times immemorial, ranging from the usual victimizing to the incredibly weird. Some of the common stereotypes I’ve tried to inculcate in the story are:
  • Girls who wear short dresses and/or drink alcohol have a questionable character.
  • Boys don’t cry.
  • Close friends always want the best for their buddies. They would gladly give up their love-mates for friendship. (Bollywood influence, perhaps?)
  • People who are from a different place, with a different culture cannot be trusted.
  • If a girl watches an adult movie with a guy, she is of questionable character and unworthy of trust.
  • If a girl hangs out with a guy who isn’t related to her by blood or marriage, she is in a questionable relationship with him.
*****

2 comments:

  1. An excellent piece of writing I've read in the recent time!

    ReplyDelete