High is the New Low

This year's Time Person of the year was, not a person, or a couple, or a group, or an inanimate object, but a campaign. #MeToo was a campaign that went viral on all social media platforms. This campaign encouraged people to break their silence and talk about their horrific sexual harassment incidents to give each other support and give an idea to the rest of the world so as to how big of an issue sexual harassment really is. The campaign was very well received, garnering the support of everybody around the globe and unifying people to fight back.

One of the secrets that were revealed was of the infamous and crowd favorite bar High Spirits in Pune. Twitter went into a frenzy when Sheena Dabholkar shed light on the misconduct of women at High Spirits. In a series of tweets, she explained how uncomfortable she had been made there and had been openly shamed on the club’s Facebook page. Khodu Irani, the owner of the bar along with other prominent people at High Spirits has been known to behave inappropriately on several occasions.

Most of the people who were regular visitors were shocked and taken aback but quite a few women came forward to support the said claims. The owner, Khodu Irani, was accused of sending lewd messages, fat shaming, and objectifying people. Awards like ‘best breasts’ and ‘best rear ends’ have been awarded to women there. However, all of this was brought down to his ‘weird sense of humor’ and his ‘Parsi eccentricity.’

If only all things could be justified with one’s background.

Several female artists and stand-up comedians spoke about the same, sharing their experiences and incidents of assaults at High Spirits. A number of performers like Kanan Gill, Tanmay Bhatt, Rohan Joshi etc. condemned the same and refused to perform there again.

High Spirits lost its customers for a while but here they are, back again as if nothing ever happened. What's more is that the club never even sent out an official apology or an explanation on their part accepting what has happened and their corrective measures, even when Faye D’Souza condemned them. That is heights of ignorance and obstinacy.

If things worked this way, then despite the allegations on Harvey Weinstein by over seventy women, he would still have been producing films and bullying and traumatizing women like he did. What is the point of fighting so much on social media when no one is ready to deal with the consequences?

A woman plucked up the courage to write down her woes on social media, putting allegations on a highly influential person in the society. She was supported by some and shamed by many. It was a harrowing experience, what she went through and this is how we treat it now- an insignificant thing of the past.

On one hand, we are having lengthy discussions on equal rights and gender equality, and on the other, we disregard it all for the sake of convenience and frivolous fun. It’s easy to sit behind a screen and raise our voices, but actual implementation is something which we just can’t seem to do.

For a big chunk of people who claim to be progressive and feminists, proving that the collective moral ideals of us all are weaker than tendrils sure didn’t take a lot of time. If the idea of booze and meaningless socializing can be so luring then we sure can’t complain about our ancestors ruining the social systems and the planet for us. It is sickening to see various educational institutions and programs approaching High Spirits for sponsors. It just highlights how there are no morals in the line of business. Everyone gets seduced by money.

Even our own college fest chooses to host parties there in the wake of everything that has happened. An indirect association of our college with a place where people are violated and made to feel unsafe is not something to be proud of. This could have been a moment where everyone chose to take a stand against something so blatantly wrong, but instead, we succumbed to social pressures like the weaklings that we truly are. While those in charge could have put an end to it in a matter of minutes, they chose to remain in blissful oblivion.

It is actions like these which weaken the foundations of communities, lack of empathy to such an extent. Maybe it’s not even that, maybe all we are waiting for is one of us to be groped and grabbed or more so see our friends/girlfriends get assaulted and then finally speak out.

All of us here have revoked ourselves from the right to raise our voices against anything ever again, we denied a number of people their due justice by acting as bystanders amidst all this and by supporting the businesses of people whose next victim could easily be you or someone you care about.

We are in 2018 now, it’s like we have stepped into the future. The conditions of the world aren’t exactly ideal at the moment but we sure are getting there...or so would one think.

When everybody around the world is fighting injustice, here we are partying blindfolded right into the den of misogynistic malefactors.

It’s funny how we live among supposedly the most aware and well-informed people in the country. All dynamic young citizens, the best lot of the country some say. On our way to conquer the world but we all failed on our judgment day.

#highspirits #metoo #sexualharassment

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