OPINION | AS A published writer, opening myself to public commentary and judgement is par for the course. It’s something I signed up for when I committed my life to my craft: To live my purpose as a conscious writer.
I know I’m not here to win points. I’m here to create awareness through my writing by sharing candid and authentic stories of hope and redemption, based on what I experienced.
This is the only reason I reference my past - not to focus on negativity, but to provide relatable stories that anyone can resonate with and be inspired enough to believe that life can change and get better.
Recently, I spoke about my journey with depression.
I shared my story openly and received amazing feedback from so many wonderful men and women, who felt inspired and hopeful about overcoming their experiences.
I’ve had a few people - men and women alike - tell me that I saved them from suicide which, for me, was the biggest affirmation that I’m living my essence and my soul’s calling.
That opened itself to lots of interaction with a lot of diverse people.
I received messages from broken Indian women who were held captive by depression because they were in abusive relationships with Indian men.
The stories shared with me filled me with horror - stories of violence, degradation, humiliation and emotional abuse of the worst kind.
It left me emotionally and physically depleted because I am ill-equipped to deal with this, and all I could do was lend a comforting ear.
Above that, the brevity within which Indian men slid into every social media platform that they could find me, to strike up random non-related conversations ranging from complimenting my looks to asking for my number or pretending to need writing work done then asking for my number - culminated in this post.
I realised that I might not be able to do anything for the women who are beaten down, but I can use my voice through the written word.
Indian men, many of you were raised in homes that predefined the role of a man.
You were led to believe that being a man meant negating your feelings and emotions and ruling with an iron fist. You were raised in a society that promoted “manliness” over sensitivity, relegating the latter to a solely female trait.
You were taught to believe that you had to have a partner who was submissive and you had to be respected because you were born a male.
Many of you were told that men don’t cry. And as a result, your emotions were suppressed and you became hardened. Suppressed sorrow can turn only into rage. Rage that gets taken out on those you love.
Indian men, many of you were raised as misogynists, considering women as second-class citizens, people of lesser intellect and strength who are there for your glorification.
This is why you continue to objectify women instead of seeing us in God-form and equal.
This is why some of you can confront a woman through social media, commenting on what she looks like, rather than what she’s looking at or trying to achieve. Many of you violate women based on your internal deficiencies and illnesses.
The way a woman looks, dresses or carries herself isn’t an invitation for you to proceed with that - violently or otherwise.
And, “single” doesn’t mean “available”.
Indian men, many of you perpetuated the cycle of dysfunction that you were raised with, modelling the role of your own father who was absent or conditioned from his experiences and childhood.
Indian men, this is the cycle you will continue with your children - sons who become hardened and angry and girls who learn how to become doormats.
But, Indian men, cycles can be broken. A new reference point can begin. It starts with you. It starts with talking openly and honestly about stuff that men are told never to speak about - feelings and emotions.
I’ve witnessed first-hand the amazing transformations of so many Indian men who were once plagued by cyclical dysfunction, but who were brave enough to transcend it and pave a new way for themselves, their children and the generations that follow.
We need to shift into a new way of thinking and being in this world. We cannot operate as the generations that came before us.
It’s self-evident they messed it up. We have to begin afresh and create a shift in consciousness by returning to innocence and purity.
Indian men, my invitation to you is this: Change how you view the world and yourself in it. Let go of preconceived ideas and ways of conditioned thinking and indoctrination.
Stop regarding men and women as being separate. Instead, consider all of us to be the same thread stemming from the same tapestry.
Teach your sons and daughters that gender-specific roles are an illusion - anyone can do anything at any time.
Indian men, start believing that a house is made a home by both parties and that domesticity isn’t confined to a woman, neither is raising kids nor cooking.
Understand that women can be the fiercest opponents in business and are capable of running our own finances and getting things done.
Indian men, understand that violence of any kind is an explosion of the pain that is internal. Deal with the pain and not the trigger of what set you off.
Indian men, the time for restoration is now. The world needs more comforters, nurturers, peacemakers, truth-tellers and game-changers.
Indian men, it begins and ends with you. What you do today can alter the course of generations that follow, which collectively is the change we need to see in the world.
It’s time to step up and be about something.
DISCLAIMER: This post was previously published on my blog and garnered enough attention to warrant publishing it again on an even bigger platform. My sentiment remains and it has been proved that the article is guaranteed to offend someone. In that event, I invite you to take a long, hard look at yourself and consider why you find it offensive. Perhaps there’s some truth to what I’ve said? If so, that’s the first step in changing patterns of behaviour that are harmful. While this is directed at Indian men, solely from the standpoint of being an Indian woman, this does not preclude men from other races who adopt the same attitudes.
* Moodley is the owner of Writer’s Block and a specialist business writer and copy editor.