For starters, I presume that you all have your sun glasses on while reading this? You see, I am bathing in the reflected glory of reading in a back dated issue of a National Daily, that an old college girl pal of mine, now in the Foreign Service of our country, is swanning around the CPSA ( Chauvinist Paradise of Saudi Ahbria), rubbing shoulders with the rich & powerful, without even the semblance of a top-to-toe burqa! Said classmate has been officially chaperoning the nation’s leading political leader’s wife, who has also, reports this Daily, been accorded a similar rare privilege. In CPSA country, with their ultra repressive regulations for women, these ladies may as well be running around like two Empresses with New Clothes! This, while the economically erudite politician husband was squeaking his way through innumerable, groveling public speeches, shuffling around, wooden faced & sotto voiced, gracing every planned social engagement, in his bid to woo for his Homeland, monetary largesse and benefits from the oil rich CPSA. This rare no burqa ‘honour, ‘ wasn’t even accorded to Laura Bush or Hillary Clinton in earlier times, I continued to read in the National Daily. Hmmm! Now, that set me wondering whether the citizens of our country should be cock-a-hoop about this last mentioned observation! Do you think that the CPSA powers-that-be are implying that while the two white American women might get inappropriately treated on account of their beauty & sexuality, our own dusky skinned female citizens wouldn’t appeal to the oily (pun intended) Sheikhs? I think that that our Fourth Estate should take up this comment and start a Diplomatic Discussion, at the very least, on Twitter!
Talking about certain foreign States and their condescending views about the frailities of the female sex, let us not fool ourselves. Men in certain pockets of our own ancient civilization are not very far behind in supporting the views of the CPSA. A few years ago, I needed to visit my country seat, as I fondly refer to my home town in the hills. I was accompanied by my son, and we had certain matters to discuss with our Advocates regarding a forthcoming court matter, of which I was to be (not self appointed) the Main Protagonist. Son and I walked into our lawyer’s office. He waved us in to the inner chamber of his office, since he was in discussions with another chicken-to-pluck, in the outer chambers. In the Sanctum Sanctorum, sat our noble & respected, Lawyer Senior. Most good Brahmin Hindus worth their salt, especially venerate their fathers. Lawyer Sr.(LS) was busy punching the hell out of a trusty old typewriter. A desk top computer, largely ignored, adorned the table, placed amidst scattered heavy legal tomes. I think it might have actually been doubling up as a paper weight, so little used did it look. In sign language, LS indicated that we should seat ourselves. Thereafter, Muhammed Ali continued his punches & jabs as if we didn’t exist. In the meanwhile our Lawyer Jr., Mr.Eyes Closed, having finished with his meeting, indicated that we should repair to the outer chamber which we did. Did I forget to mention that son of LS, Mr.Eyes Closed (EC), got that handy name because of the manner in which he conducted his conversations with me? Well then, EC sat opposite us, looking expectantly at Son to launch into the reasons for the visit. I, meanwhile, lowered my bulk gingerly, into one of the few old cane chairs opposite him, doubting the said chair’s ability to bear my weight! Son sat next to me, and began his politely worded, previously rehearsed, discussions with EC. And EC very politely answered ALL son’s questions! The very same questions which I had asked him a week previously, to which he declined enlightenment! Instead, EC, frothing down the phone lines, had curtly informed me then, that if I wished for further explanations and answers from him, why then, I could choose to Take My Case Elsewhere! Howzzat? To add insult to injury…when Son tried telling EC that I was understandably nervous about the forthcoming Court Hearing, where I was being thrown to the Opposition’s legal Roman Lions’ den, as in the district’s Civil Court , he all but guffawed (with eyes closed) and asked Son, “Why should your mother be nervous? Tell her that she has to just truthfully answer any questions put to her in the Court. She has given only true facts, so she has nothing to fear.” You might have noticed, in all EC’s conversations, I was referred to in the Third Person–as if I were an insignificant part of the decrepit seating in the room. Why, not even present there! EC’s Phantom Client. To give Son his due, he did try to, a bit feebly, as I protested later to him, draw EC’s hallowed attention to my presence, in order for EC to converse directly with me. But EC would have none of it, he was made of sterner, pure Dravidian Brahmin genes. His eyes remained firmly closed, probably wishing this mere female away from his presence. Anyway, we had been earlier advised, that LS & EC were canny lawyers, and knew their iddlis, and we should stick with them, allowing them their foibles, as long as they were committed. So we left, having done just that, remaining their clients. I tell you, folks, EC was like a purring feline with Son, again naturally, as he was the male of the species. Females be damned!
The mystery was later revealed to us, just as I was beginning to wonder, that with EC’s strong apathy to me, where our case would stand. An acquaintance of our’s told us that LS, EC & Sons had a reputation of being known MCPs & misogynists, for reasons best known to themselves. They were unable to deal directly with women, all women, not just this Phantom Client. In Small Towns, in true orthodox tradition, women are worthy only to cook, feed, and housekeep for their menfolk. Not to unusually, think for themselves, leave alone stand up in witness boxes to be cross-examined! If only I had known earlier how dismayed our Advocate’s were to see a mere female representing the case they were handling at court. And that their spotless and well publicized reputation might well be hanging by a thread, resigned to losing their carefully built up image. I might have switched to another member of the Legal Fraternity. Alas! Anyway, I stuck it out, so did they, and we came up trumps. We triumphed. Was it their brains or my feminine chutzpah, I leave that to you to decide……..