For many years, I understood rape to be a kind of oilseed, like mustard, til or soya. I had of course heard of the Rape of Good Hope and was familiar with “As you sow, so shall you rape.”
Of late though, the R-word has acquired a dark new meaning with guys leaping out of bushes onto hapless maidens. Gangs perform gang-rape and film-stars perform off-camera roles with maids. “Enough already,” cry women everywhere. “We're not taking this lying down. Oops!”
They've begun examining various forms of self-defence. A pepper gun squirts out the black spice normally associated with bacon and eggs. It’s guaranteed to affect the nasty fellow’s viewpoint. Mace is another handy spray that incapacitates membranes and things (ugh!). The tazer (affectionately called the stun gun) shoots out 50,000 electric volts to induce second thoughts about Romeos’ evening plans. The disadvantage with all these gizmos is that they are expensive, and need constant vigilance to ensure that the kids don’t get their hands on them.
Asian unarmed combat includes judo, karate and cuss-words in ancient Korean. But these techniques require hard practice and long hours away from the kitchen.
A new fast-spreading protective technique is ‘salsa’, in which the lady invites the marauder to dance. Men are lousy dancers, and he will soon trip over his two left feet. She then imparts a hooked knee to his rear and, in time to the music, leaves with a triumphant cha-cha-cha.
Yet another defensive strategy is the burkha. Advan-tage: a girl won’t have to worry that her lipstick doesn’t match her evening gown. Disadvantage: It presents problems when a lady wishes to blow her nose.
Apologists for sex crimes blame women for dressing provocatively. Fed up, women are seriously contemplating dropping clothes altogether. This may initially create stampedes and traffic jams, but things will soon settle down since males will also be required to appear ‘au naturel’. The makings of a good idea here; how much eve-teasing do we hear of in a nudist colony? The only catch is that men may refuse to parade down Marine Drive looking the way God created them, ashamed of the way things turned out. Besides, a seamless society will upset powerful interest groups like the fashion industry, textile corporations, export cartels and — oh dear — Bollywood. Says a renowned film director, “Titillation is better than totalitation.”
And finally, where’d be the fun if a lady can’t catch a gent stealing an admiring glance at her plunging neckline? Face it. We enjoy sexual promise, even if it can’t be fulfilled.
Sylvester da Cunha is one of India's pioneering admen whose agency creates the widely-loved Amul ads