Saturday, 10 October 2015

Aesthetic Ugliness of the Title of my book #IAm16ICanRape


I have often been questioned, sometimes in very rude words why I choose this particular title for my book. One day a person on FB dropped me a message asking, "How vulgar are you as a person to name your book like this?"
During first few days of the release of the my book, I used to defend the title and get in arguments. Now, I don't react.
The very simple reason why I choose this title for the book is because I believe everything in the life DOESN'T have to be aesthetic. I know that the title feels abusive, almost like a SLAP. It elicits uncomfortable emotion in a person who reads the title. But that is the point!
When six people rape a woman on a moving bus in the capital of a country for 40 minutes and then throw her on the road in a winter night buck naked, and yet one of the culprit gets almost negligible punishment from the state for his crimes- there is nothing aesthetic about this situation.
One major defense mechanism, DENIAL, is employed by Indian society when we try and find aesthetics in everything.
There is a joke I have used in the book in Pihu’s point of view in the book‪#‎IAm16ICanRape‬.
“When he will rape me, my bangles will break. But I don’t wear bangles. Okay, my watch will break.”
Why the poor girl has this misconception about rape is because in Indian movies rape has been either garb with “Bangle breaking aesthetics” or portrayed in most titillating ways almost as if the film makers were provoking the viewers.
There are very few Indian movies that come in my mind in which rape is NOT portrayed in titillating manner.
In the movie Aakrosh (1980) the protagonist shouts his lungs out outside the cottage in which his wife is being raped- and that conveyed the brutality of the rape. The wails of this woman and the howls of this man was enough to project the gruesome nature of this violent crime. But these movies are very few.
The “unaesthetic” fact of Indian society and its legal system is that when we take out garb of political correctness aside, no one stops a 16 years old from thinking-
“If I have to commit a crime, let me commit it NOW. If I commit it after I turn 18 I will have to face much severe consequences.”
One thing that I plan to do with the title of my book is that I plan to add a tag line in future editions. This was the suggestion made to me first by my brilliant cover designer Manoj Vijayan. Later suggested again by Jayapriya Vasudevan andRitesh Kala.
I respect them for their suggestion and the goodwill they have for the book.
I plan to incorporate a tagline not because I have lost trust in the intelligence of my readers to understand the sarcasm of the title, but now the book is going to be launched in overseas market.
Many people outside India are not aware of the law the book addresses.
They cringe away from the title not because of their excessive love for aesthetics but, because they are not in context.
I plan to add the tagline
War against Rape Culture in India.
But I will never change the title BECAUSE it elicits negative emotions in the reader.

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