Do wander over and check it out if you have a minute.
Previous Rape Rick Posts Here
So nice at Christmas to have a horrible gang rape in Delhi.
I read all morning till I felt sick.
Had an impassioned debate with the ex about it because one of the ex’s friends posted a Facebook message that had the right sentiment but said stuff like “She’ll never have a normal married life now”, which wound me up immediately.
1. So much importance on marriage post-rape. Not: she’s been subjected to awful violence, why is this now so common? What about justice?,
But: What about her marriage? It’s part of the problem because there is a huge percentage of women who probably won’t step forward because people might whisper and say
“Who will marry her now?”
So then fewer women step forward, more rapists can get away with it and we have a neat addition to this cyclical problem (In my opinion anyway). I’m sure I’m expressing myself terribly badly.
2. Even though in this case the violence was so extreme it may possibly be true in a medical sense, this is still a massive assumption and deeply patronising.
3. The word ‘normal’ annoys me. Some Delhi shee-shee type with her Gucci armpit bag on one arm, her rich husband on the other, her lipstick just so, talking about a ‘normal’ married life.
I really wanted the ex to contest these points on this lady’s message but the ex doesn’t get sucked into online debates as easily as I do.
Which is probably very sensible.
Now I’m also angry about every time I’ve said I feel anxious, and I’ve had Bombay people tell me,
“Dude stop being paranoid. Just get over it.”
“Don’t listen to her, she doesn’t even live there anymore. Bombay is really safe.”
It’s true. I don’t live there anymore. The contrast now is far clearer. When I lived there the day-to-day occasional molestation was blocked out. It has to be. Besides you just get immune to it. I’ve had only about 4-5 such incidents. Pretty small number I think. Only one or 2 really unnerved me, but you brush them off.
“Bombay isn’t like Delhi. Delhi has rapemobiles.”
“You should go to Delhi if you think Bombay is bad.”
Like that comparison somehow makes it better. You won’t get AS molested in Bombay as in Delhi.
“Bombay is sooooo safe man. You’re being SUCH a foreigner.”
The little bubble Bombay people live in. Each time there is a terrible rape or some ganging up and stripping of a girl in public (NYE, twice), there is a brief, fleeting hoo-hah then it’s all forgotten.
Even though one of these hoo-hahs was about a teenager being raped by a policeman at a Bandra chowki.
But far more first hand experiences exist (Not that you need first-hand experiences, because there are plenty of dismal stats, but because “first hand experiences” seems to be part of the debate for pro-Bombay safety put forward by many of my friends, Leo included.):
One of my friends was held at gun point outside her house and car jacked, another girl told me how she leapt from a cab after he leaned back while driving, groped her breasts then started veering wildly down the road as she fought him, another leaped out of a moving rick and legged it after the driver took her and a teenage friend speeding down some random alley, a friend’s friend was raped while coming home at night.
But hey, Bombay is so safe man. I should SERIOUSLY get over it.
“Dude, I take a rick late at night everyday and I haven’t got raped…”
I always want to respond with the correct ending to that sentence.
I’m also acknowledging that I’m angry about having to feeling anxious in the first place. I don’t know how that gets fixed. I don’t think it can be.
I can only hope this hoo-hah, this time, isn’t brief and fleeting.
Well the Indie Art Sale launch seems to have gone really well.
I sold 5 prints!
2 x Enthu Cutlets
1 x High Tea
Enthu Cutlet is a surprisingly popular print. Yet my beloved Rape Rick frightens off my buyers. Tsk tsk.
According to inside source (A4), Rape Rick provoked one of 3 reactions: Laughter, Shock, or Not even the blink of an eye.
Motel selling was a little surprising. I don’t know why. It’s a quiet drawing I’ve always thought, compared to the other louder ones.
I also harassed my poor parents to run all over Bombay looking for a fine art printer and after one or 2 false starts managed to find one that is just what I’ve been looking for.
He can print nearly any size required, on heavyweight Somerset Satin using archival inks (they last 100 years). (Pricey but worth it.)
So on the suggestion of the launch curator Namrata, might plan to do some A1 limited edition prints the next time I go to Bombay.
(Apparently limited edition works like this. Original work = £100, then 10 limited edition prints = £10 each or 5 limited edition prints = £20. I am such a noob I didn’t know any of this.)
I just need to work out the tricky business of pricing and double-check that the scans I made are correctly aligned.
Thanks to anyone who went and bought my prints. Shame I wasn’t there. But I did enjoy looking through the launch photos, pilfered from the Visual Disobedience website.
My works continue to be on sale and available for view by appt. Anyone interested can call this number (0091) 9930044191.
A new curated online art platform that is being launched in Bombay, and which was featured in yesterdays Sunday Midday (Yay! And my drawing was on the cover! See above)
There will be a launch party and art exhibition sometime at the end of September.
I’ve sent some digital prints to sell for the launch exhibition by post. I only hope it gets there in time.
(Crossed finger and toes)
Lots of interesting, young, desi artists who aren’t all total fuddy-duddies. (Is that bad? To say fuddy-duddies. Should I be more politically correct and say traditional artists? My observation of the bigger Indian painters is a tad limited but is as follows: Use shades of browns, be abstract, chuck in a indian woman with a pot. If in doubt, always stick an Indian woman holding pot in your painting. If you object to the pot, replace with child. Indian woman holding child.)
I especially love the street murals of Jas Charanjiva, who was also featured above. Bandra has never looked so interesting as it does now. (Lots of street art, murals, hidden gems. Riddhi took me on a rickshaw street art tour a couple of years ago. Someone should organise those regularly.)
I really never know how to answer these Q&A’s in a proper arty-farty way.
I went to the postoffice to post a couple of drawings I had printed out.
One of them was this one. (Rape Rick).
The postoffice lady is a broken toothed (as far as I could tell she only had 3 upper front teeth), little Gujarati woman, who also hails from Bombay. (Andheri)
She looked at the print and said
“Oh is that a painting?”
“No no, it’s just a print.”
I nod in that indeterminate Indian way. No no, nod nod.
“Oh. Can I see it?”
I’m wary. I hold the drawing facing my chest. I suspect this little woman can’t handle my particular brand of in-your-face drawing.
I decide I’d better warn her.
“Well… this drawing is a bit offensive, you know. Are you sure you want to see it?”
She also nods in that indeterminate indian way.
I can tell she hasn’t really digested my warning.
Well, I did my best.
I show her the drawing, passing it through the counter window
She looks at it,
There was no need to say more.
Here is a sketch book illustration, the figure turned out a bit dark.
When I was young I used to read all my books sitting in this tiny wicker chair in a corner of my room, under the window and near the cabinet filled with the joint collection of my brother’s and my GI Joe and He-Man toys.
I sat in this little wicker chair until it groaned under my weight. I knew it was time to give it up when I got up and it got up with me, attached to my teenage behind.
In the daytime, reading in this chair was glorious. The 2 windows on my right let in ample light and although my room door wouldn’t lock (and the parents insisted it be left open) one of the window curtains hung in a most obliging way on my left, providing privacy from that offensively wide open door.
At night I would sit there still, somethings smuggling pudding in a bowl or tomatoes under my t-shirt (The cook complained I ate all her cooking tomatoes. Which are delicious with a book, like an apple, but tangy-er and somehow richer in taste). There was unfortunately very little light in that corner at night. The obliging privacy curtain was now blocking the light from the lamp above, which was in any case, like all Indian lights some tawdry 60 watts.
Slowly but surely I started to notice that I couldn’t see the blackboard at school very well from the back of the class (no self-respecting person sits in the front of the class.)
I didn’t tell my mother because I knew she would be deeply disapproving of such a defect. She had never said anything to me precisely but something in me knew that resenting this physical fault, she would blame me.
I kept it hidden for a long time, managing by copying notes from better sighted desk partners, who grew annoyed with my inability to make my own notes.
Eventually I confessed to my parents that I couldn’t see. It was at the dinner table. My parents had asked me what I’d done in school or some such thing. There was a pause and I decided to just jump right in there.
“…I can’t see the blackboard.”
“OH NO! WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T SEE IT?? OH NO! You’re going to need glasses now!”
Replied my mother on cue. She tutted and sighed, and was disappointed. She reacted, I recall thinking even then, just as I had predicted.
I can’t remember visiting the eye doctor, but I remember my father taking me to get my first ever pair of spectacles. The owlish kind, huge rims in brown plastic, like the ones back in vogue now with the hipster crowd.
My mother installed a reading light above the little wicker chair in the corner of the room. When the fan was on, the obliging curtain would sometimes still obscure it.
My prescription over the years steadily increased. Last week it was a stunning -9.5. I only ever wore my glasses in the house. Outside it was always contacts. The high number distorted my eyes out of shape, the glasses made me feel ugly, like walking around with goggles. My eyes occasionally catching blurred glimpses outside the border of the frames.
Recently I decided that after 20 years or more of wearing glasses it was time to get my eye sight corrected. I actually only decided this because there was a LivingSocial deal for 50% off Lasik eye surgery in London, in what looked like a good clinic. Indians love a good deal.
Spending thousands on eye surgery is rather terrifying. My stomach lurched palpably as I click the ‘Confirm Buy’ button and I had the sickening sensation of having spent what seemed like an astronomical amount of money.
Naturally all the Indians I know promptly said
“Aaare!! Are you crazy? You should do the surgery in Bombay – It’s so much cheaper!”
Which considering that I’m in Bombay for 3 weeks out of 52 weeks in a year was advice that annoyed me. Besides, I don’t feel like I’d like to do some kunjoosy (be cheap) over my eyes. I need them, and Vasant Dhoble vicarious living aside, I’m not actually resident in Bombay anymore. If anything (forbid the thought) should go wrong, I’d like to know my clinic is not an 8 hour flight away.
After the pre-op consult they told me to wear my glasses for 2 weeks, which I grudgingly did.
People frequently stared.
A2, one of the bosses stopped mid-sentence to look at my huge prescription.
No that isn’t a euphemism.
A stupid girl with curly, black hair and thick black, bushy eyebrows who works in the Falafal place I regularly buy lunch from, saw me and shrieked.
“OH MY GOD! WHAT HAPPEN TO YOUR EYES?”
I told her I was just wearing glasses. I was going to have eye surgery.
She said. She didn’t look convinced that any eye surgery could possibly help me.
While making my falafal she looked up at me repeatedly, staring at my glasses and occasionally sighing melancholically.
Like I had just told her I had AIDS or some malignant tumor.
I repressed a growing urge to grab her by her curly head and smash it straight onto the falafal counter.
The freshly made falfals would go flying, bouncing around the shop, the bowls of sauce would tip over and drip all over the counter.
It would be joyous.
So it’s been nearly a week after my surgery. Sometimes my eyes feel tired and dry but otherwise everything is fine. My number is gone as are my glasses.
I must confess, the moment of revelation hasn’t yet hit me. I don’t really notice the difference much. I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel any sense of elation or excitement.
Sure, I notice the small things. The time shaved off in the morning fiddling about with contacts, waking and being able to see. But that hasn’t really struck any deep chord.
I remember wearing my glasses for the first time. The memory is distinct and clear.
I had just walked out of the spectacle shop on the road that leads to Parla station. My father had taken me. I was wearing my first pair of glasses ever.
I suppose I ought to have resented the glasses. I would probably be teased, and be called four-eyes. I’d be ugly. Although a few of those things may have flitted through my mind they didn’t seem to matter.
I put them on, and it was instant. The relief. There it was, the revelation – I could see!
The closest I’ve come to a revelation now is when I tried to take off a set of phantom glasses when I got into bed. It took a puzzled second or two to realise I wasn’t wearing any.
Maybe it’s because I’m an adult now. Revelations are so scarce when you are an adult.
Vasant Dhoble’s head is unstoppable!
He makes his way from party to sharty, gyrating, grinding, drinking tiger blood and all the while dispensing valuable moral advice.
Use the cut out head of Vasant Dhoble below to create your very own Vasant Dhoble moment!
To quote a friend
“Who the hell is this Vasant Dhoble?”
Vasant Dhoble is a police man who seems to have a stranglehold on the Mumbai nightlife. He disapproves of women drinking, cavorting and fun in general. The youngsters need to be protected he says. (Or so I gather. I summarise. He says a great deal more I’m sure)
Although I’m not really in Bombay anymore, I like to live vicariously.
Besides this man has a head that was designed to be photoshopped.
Use the cut out head of Vasant Dhoble below to create your very own Vasant Dhoble moment!
Was featured on Mumbai Boss! Yay
How sweet is that?
Speaking of sweet there is a free worldwide shipping offer on at Society6.
Go buy some Kala Khatta Stuff now.
While in Bombay, which seems like an age ago, my mother and I are walking down Juhu market.
Every inch of it is dug up. They dig up the road every single fucking year. It’s a government tradition. Like corruption (See? I can be political.)
Cars are honking constantly and ricks are driven by lunatics. It’s a chaotic, noisy, pot-hole filled, obstacle course.
My mother is not looking up as we are trying to cross the road, and is furiously texting some bum-chum.
“Mom, must we do this now? You can text who-ever when we get home or are off the road.”
“Haan, but it’s urgent! I need to reply to Vivek about our milonga!”
(Apparently a milonga is some dancing get-together thingummy. My mother has grown addicted to Salsa and Tango classes.)
For her birthday my mother wore some deadly off-shoulder, tight, lace mini (see above), while I was fully covered up to the neck.
She was dancing away, while I was at the bar drinking.
Chatting to my folks these days is like have a conversation with teenagers.
Mom’s tango class teacher (who is 30 years her junior) is sulking.
People have left his class and have gone to someone else’s class, then have being saying all these bitchy things about him behind his back, so he’s upset and is now saying he won’t come to Mom’s milonga and if he doesn’t come, Mom won’t enjoy the milonga because he’s her favourite and so she’s trying to convince him to come to the milonga.
Who knew you could say milonga so many times in one sentence?
She’s such a dedicated student that she became class assistant. That’s my Mom – class apple polisher.
All this milonga drama and dance class back stabbing made me have vivid school flashbacks.
“Oh my god! Have you heard?? Karishma said that Shipali said that she had a pakoda-nose-pimply-face! No one is going to talk to her ever again!”
That actually happened. Then it turned out that the person who said that the other person said that thing about their nose was lying, so no one talked to her after that. (A garbled business, I know) It brought her crashing down from position of social queen to social leper (for a little while anyway).
It was perfect example of social politics (I love school politics, don’t you?). Instead of taking part I documented it in detail in my diary back then like a huge nerd.
I told my mother that I recommended a nice tight slap for Sulky.
“Aare how can you say that? Poor fellow. These people are being damn mean. But there’s so much politics in this small tango community of ours.”
I love how my father says that. Like he’s experienced dance politics for eons.
“Yes, of course. Didn’t you watch Black Swan?”
I’ve learned a lot from Black Swan. That and watching ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ religiously.
“I thought I had resolved and smoothed out issues but then today he’s sulking all over again.”
“You should just leave it. What is this? High school?”
Seriously. I feel old listening to this.
“Just tell mom to slap him. Slap him hard.”
Man I really want my mother to slap someone.
“Mom says how can you talk like that? Poor chap. These people are making his life a misery. They say they don’t like his dancing. How can expect him not too sulk?”
Oh.my.god. So much drrrrrama!
“But if they don’t like it, they don’t like it! Loads of people tell me they don’t like my drawings. I’m not so lame that I would sulk. He needs to grow up.”
“Mom says she will bash up these people who say this to you.”
You see – This is what happens when you get a tattoo. You’ll start trying to ‘bash up’ people for no reason.
“Then she needs to bash – Munt, My boss, The ex, and various other sentimental types. Tell this guy to sort it out and go to the milonga.”
The ex and Monty think I need to be more ‘commercial’. They don’t approve of my dark material. Kittens and ponies, that’s what I need to draw. Preferably kittens riding ponies. You just can’t go wrong with material like that.
“Mom says she can kick ass. She works out at the gym. She says tell them that when she comes she’ll kick their ass.”
Aw. Mom is gonna fight people.
FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
She’s gotten another tattoo by the way (ankle). Thought you’d like to know.