What do you do, when your intelligence, reasoning, values, and principles inculcated from years of experiences, especially now that as an author your views may influence public opinion, are challenged by a friend demanding your loyalty for what he considers the innocence of his friend!
This was the latest dilemma that threw itself at me, as something or other often does, after my previous posts.
An old and dear friend, an ex-colleague from one of my earliest assignments, now in Bollywood, charged me abruptly quite late at night, with a steady stream of analysis on the innocence of his celebrity friend Anurag Kashyap versus Payal Ghosh. He claimed — I’m quoting him from a series of messages:
“Just for your info. This payal ghosh is a gold digger. And she throws herself at producers to get work…’
‘She is a small time tv artist who wanted to get into films. And that rarely happens because tv and cinema cater to different audiences and consumer behaviour.’
‘Anurag is a ladies man. But he is not a molester. That i know. Even I am a ladies man, but not a molester…’
‘So tomorrow if someone says I (uses his name) am a rapist, you all will say that’s true too!’
‘In that case shu, I must remove you from my friends as someday you will turn around and support people who may say any cock and bull about me. For me, men and women are equal and both genders have criminals.See you.”
After a series of defences amid the above (only parts) messages, I replied: “If a man gets up tomorrow and says a woman molested me I will believe him too. I have NOT called anyone guilty anywhere, and I categorically announced I do not know either parties. I will not say No he’s not a rapist…I would not say that about my father, husband or any man for that matter.
As a woman I know one thing, that each woman’s experiences are her own. And I have not claimed to know either parties or to make a point on them personally, but to narrate a story that people can take as they please…
His response to this, was, “Then I am sorry, intelligence is not one of your strongest suit.”
“Well I’m judicious where to use my intelligence,” I firmly replied.
Then he blocked me on Whatsapp…
I realised this only after two more messages didn’t go through. It was rather hurtful, but I have known for long now that taking a firm but truthful stance however difficult —- keeps your soul free of the debris of guilt, negativity and hypocrisy, thus keeping it alive and daring even if everyone else deserts you.
However if I can narrate personal experiences to justify a person’s innocence, as I have done before, I will not hesitate to put forth my explanations very firmly, without declaring a person is innocent, even if a dozen people try to prove otherwise. Whether or not, the recipient of this sacrificial and risky loyalty has the integrity to return it!
Then, as a writer I can always share my thoughts, sprinkle them out in the world…perhaps it will nourish a young sapling/mind who would be able to grow strong from it, without bearing as much of the pain that is required for real mental and emotional growth, just as resistance builds physical strength.
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” — Abraham Lincoln
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
— Marcus Aurelius
PS: This post is with reference to the news clips below and an illustrative excerpt from my novel Entwined Lives that I shared on my facebook author page Across Borders: https://www.indiatoday.in/amp/movies/celebrities/story/actress-files-rape-complaint-against-anurag-kashyap-1724335-2020-09-22
Click on the link for video clipping of Payal Ghosh’s comments that inspired my post: https://youtu.be/bfcdCFrIrVw
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