‘I look for those who flashed me’

India Today - - EXPERIENCE - As told to Prachi Sibal

Deepika ar­winD, Ban­Ga­LOre, 30 Play­wright, Direc­tor & Per­former

once, I was driv­ing back home after re­hearsal and my car stopped on a road that is full of shops sell­ing au­to­mo­bile spare parts. There was no woman on the road ex­cept the ones pass­ing through. I started to make some phone calls but was soon sur­rounded by a crowd of men try­ing to help me out. I asked them to leave, in­stead they stood on the other side of the road, wait­ing to see what I would do. In front of me there was heaps of garbage, which also served as a makeshift uri­nal. Many men stopped by at this spot, and some of them thought it okay to flash me be­fore they left. My friend soon ar­rived and took me home on his bike. We sat in his four-bed­room apart­ment sip­ping wine when he said that I could have avoided the sit­u­a­tion by look­ing at my phone and not en­gag­ing with the men flash­ing me. I am a nasty woman be­cause I had a fu­ri­ous row with the friend who brought me back home that night. I went back to the draw­ing board to ex­plain the ba­sics of the fem­i­nist move­ment. I am a nasty woman be­cause ev­ery time I drive on that road, I look for those who flashed me so I can give them a free ticket to my play and say, “This is on me”. I am a nasty woman be­cause I let th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences make their way into my work No Rest in the

King­dom, pro­duced by Sand­box Col­lec­tive, sup­ported by Shoonya Cen­tre for Art and So­matic Prac­tices. In this work, I choose to speak about th­ese ex­peri-ences with hu­mour, satire and gen­eral light­ness. I am a nasty woman be­cause ev­ery time you don’t see a gen­dered prob­lem, I will cre­ate some­thing that will make you see it. I play two male char­ac­ters in the piece and what is said about my pe­tite, fe­male body cer­tainly makes me a nasty woman: “You know what the prob­lem with th­ese new wave fem­i­nists is—they broke away from the left and never came back. It was a very bad break-up.” “One way­ward look, one lin­ger­ing hug and you women put a case on me. I don’t know how to look at you women any­more (mum­bles un­der his breath) Vishaka Vishaka (guide­lines)!”

Pho­to­graph by richa bha­vanaM

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