Friday, March 03, 2006

Blog-a-thon 2006

Prescript: A pretty lengthy post. I promise I will make it worth your time. Thanks.

All same, two eyes, two hands, two legs, perhaps a better brain, unfortunately an additional pair of breasts.

I feel very proud about how I have come so far. Every time I feel that whatever I was so happy about until then have become just nothing in comparison to whatever I was happy about at that point of time. Where should I start? It goes a long way back. I have to start at some point. As this is all about my job, let me start from the day I joined here. Well, how can I not include how did I get this job. It was miracle in itself. It was my celebration day. I still can’t believe that I got this job. G told me that now she can believe that she can get a job too, if not today, oneday, she says. It was the day we all got some hope in our lives. Everyone in my class was happy, not just for me, for themselves too. It gave them hope. S was worried about me. He said it was not good for me to go that far. He said men are not that good. What does he know. Being ugly helps me. I laughed and told him that I can go anywhere anytime. I am not scared about men. Before he said anything, I stopped him. “No, it is not what you think. I am not talking about my will power, women liberation whatever nonsense I usually talk. I am not scared, because, I don’t think anyone would want to rape me. That is the advantage of being ugly”. I laughed. Ph took efforts to come and see me, especially to advise me, rather put some sense into my head that I should not make a mistake of accepting this job. what? it is the best place in the country. No. 1 organisation in the country. How could he be so narrow minded to tell me that I should not go that far? Ri was supportive. He came with me wherever I went. He wanted to spend his time for the last time with me as we don’t know we are going to meet ever again. OK, ok, let come back to track. Forigve me if I go offtrack, sidetrack and all tracks other than the main track. I am just on the top of the world. Will tell you all about it.

I have to get ready. I took the sandal colour salwar kurtha. I think it will suit me. It will go with my washed hair looking pure and fresh. I can’t stop thinking about what RS told. He is one of the big cheeses in our HQ you know. I was stunned and speechless when he said “P..., mm, it rings a bell”, when I introduced myself to him, “Sir, I am P, workin..”. Wow. Wow, means a big wow you stupid. He is a bigcheese. He knows my name? wow. It rings a bell? Wow. I still remember the day I first met RC. I didn’t know who he was at that time. It was a conference. It was in my hometown, well kind of, it was in my college, where I studied. So, I started helping my friends in the reception. I didn’t look/feel like a delegate. It was just a year ago I was a student here. Nothing looks/feels different. I still feel like a student. People are same. RN Sir came running asking me to sing a song in Sanskrit to start the conference, as the player didn’t work. I don’t know any Sanskrit. I sang Maasil veenaiyum. This is what brought RC to me. He came looking for me during tea time. He introduced himself. He was surprised that I was working and not a student anymore. A self absorbed a** I am, I was all proud and started telling my stories, didn’t ask who he was. He is head of a division in A-branch. Wow. He asks for me whenever he comes to our office. We go for lunch together. He prefers spending time with me rather than with big heads whenever he is in our office. He doesn’t like silly politics. He is a gem of a person. I got to know him a lot during our lunch hours. I am very proud. Not because he is big cheese, well that too, but mainly because he is a great human being. And he prefers to be with me. Wow.

I am asked to co-ordinate the presentations Director is going to do in our institute. It means that I will be his assistant whilst he is here. Director has remarked a few times that I am very good. “Sharp” is the word he used. Wow. All marks and ranks I have got before in my entire life go simply nothing in comparison to his remarks. He asked me to read those articles and explain them to him the next day, as he doesn’t have time to read them himself. He trusts my understanding abilities to that level? Wow. I did brief him about those articles in the morning when he was taking breakfast. He is so active and workaholic. It was yesterday. Yesterday went so busy. I was involved in few meetings as well. It felt so great to participate in the discussions. I did get a few appreciations for my inputs. Lifetime opportunities. Should be very sharp and crisp in these occasions you know. I made most of it, I believe. It is not just the appreciation you get is important. The experience itself is so great, so great. Observing others points, remembering everyone’s agenda, well the secret ones as well, remembering the politics and playing by it and playing so safe so sharp and so crisp… It is an experience you can not get by paying and doing a course. Wow.

Well, I am getting late. I should stop this day dreaming habit. That is one thing I should do immediately if I want to take this experience any further, and make anything useful out of it. I should grow better. I should develop those qualities. I should become thick skinned, observant, and what not. I am not greedy, but who knows, I might become a big cheese myself one day? Why not? Stop, stop for godsake. Where is that comb. Urghhh.. that key!. “Aunty, could you please use your key to lock my room? Thanks”. Leaving a key with the house owner, who lives just by the other side of the house, comes very handy you know.

Haaaa. It was a long day too. Very busy. Very busy. Running all over the place, when projector was not working when the coffee didn’t come in time, when Director wanted few books (your selection of books are so sweet, sugar. I have not seen this book before. Who is the author? Can I take it? Oh, do you use this normally. Wow that explains where you got your brainy answers from). Anyway, it went well, as the Englishmen say. :-) It did go well. It was good in fact, it felt so good. I have to go back. Director has asked me to come for another discussion. He is staying here tonight. He doesn’t waste time. He is going to discuss about that project until, well, he sleeps I suppose. RJ is coming too. RJ is everyone’s pet. He is loaded with this type of work by all these bigheads. It is coming to me now. RJ doesn’t do subject oriented discussions. He has forgotten all about it. He left college ten years ago. (He studied in my collge too). He is long absorbed into administration these days. I don’t know anything about administration. It is an art by itself. I have to learn that. I have a lot to learn. RJ is very good. I have to learn those things from him. Now I have to go. It is getting late. Director does things very quick. I have to go.

“Come in”. I smile. “Sit down”. I take the chair and sit down. “No, no, come here. Sit here. We are going to read that book. I want you to read that book for me. I want you to explain as you go along. I want you to show the book as well. It has some good pictures that go with the explanations. I want to see them; I am a physicist you know. I am a scientist”. He laughs. “Wait, should we use the laptop to work in the mean time as well? Ya, we should. You know what P, I am not as techi as you young brains are. I am an old man. I have asked RJ to come and teach me computer. He will be coming now”. I start the system. I start the software. I open a worddoc to type. “wait wait, what are you doin? Slow, slow. I want to learn. Didn’t I say I want to learn. What did you do?”, “Sir it was ctrl, and C to copy and ctrl and V to paste”.. what, ctrl, and C… no sir, press ctrl, I mean that button, yes, yes, that one. Don’t leave. Press the button C. yes this is to copy. Where did it copy? It hasn’t copied yet sir. Why? We haven’t selected anything sir. You said ctrl and C copies. Yes, sir, but we have to select it using our mouse sir… you young people, go slow, go step by step, tell me what is the first thing I have to do. Do not tell me something and then ask me to go back and forth… ok sir. Use your mouse, select the text…. Knock knock…. RJ comes in. Ah, you don’t need me anymore. You have P. No no. come in. sit. She is teaching me to select, copy and what is next? Paste sir. Where? Wherever you want sir. Where do I want? I don’t know sir…you should know. He smiles. RJ laughs. I smile too.
RJ leaves after some discussion. It was something politics. I don’t understand much of it. Anyway. We have to finish this document today. I have to walk home and come back in the morning. There will be the article briefing session in the morning during his breakfast time…He is grinnig differently. Did he ask anything I didn’t notice? I should stop this day dreaming slipping into my own thought process thingy.. Why is he grinning? He is holding my hand.. Doesn’t look like it is to do with the mouse. He is holding my hand close to by elbow. We are sitting far away from the system. I am sitting in front of his desk. We have moved away to the desk a long time ago. He is sitting opposite to me. I am holding the book. I am having papers and papers all around me I have been using to explain things to him. He found sitting opposite to each other convenient as we needed to look at each other during our discussions. He is holding my hand and grinning at me. Did he put an argument which I didn’t get? Why is he grinning at me? “I am very influential you know”. I know. He is THE Director. He is THE BOSS. The tube light inside me eventually lit and lit bright. I start shaking. My hearbeat goes faster. Still confused. He advances his hand. I freeze. Damn freeze.

Walk back home was very cold. “Sharp” is the word he used. My sharp brain worked eventually. My polite “I will ask RJ to come hereafterwards Sir” taking his hands off me putting in its place feels like something I did in one of my day-dreams. It was a cold walk back home.
PS: give me a title please.
PPS: this did not get lost in silence. there is a big story after this episode.
PPS: RS and RC did not do anything ever wrong. They are good men. Just wanted to give a glimpse of good men as well in the post. They were/are indeed good men. Great human beings. I still adore RC.


டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Premalatha: I read this and am wondering what should I write here in this comment section. How cheap a few people can be????? Perhaps such incidents would haunt one throughout her life, wouldn't it??

Premalatha said...

it changed my personality for ever. I do not want to go to the top at all. It has changed my attitude towards life. i do not want anything from life anymore at all. i contradict myself all the time. i cannot stay consistant at all. counselling is another one big thing I can talk about on how our society behaves towards that.

This has left me as a "no good" for anything anymore.

It brought shame for me, i was branded, i was demeaned etc. etc.... several things happened after this. In whole ISRO remote sensing group they know me by name. ask, if you know anyone. they will tell you that "she has a reputation".

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

//i was branded, i was demeaned//
It is a shame on us. Why should the victim be convicted????

//This has left me as a "no good" for anything anymore//
Perhaps thats their perception. Or else you wouldnt be in the UK doing what you are doing....

// men, if they have "weakness for women", it is just one of those things..for women, this decides their fate/life/personality, even if it is that man who has weakness,//
I think I have seen some Prof's who take advantage of their students (girls). It was a ctach 22 situation. They lose "reputation" either by going through the hell or even if they decide tp put up a fight. Now, I pitythem even more than I used to...

Premalatha said...

I continued to handle him several times after that. BLD continued to approach me. he could never believe/admit he was rejected and denied. I continued to be his "article briefing young brain". Me as his pet continued for sometime, which fuelled others doubts.

There were few men who helped me get through the situation. My immediate boss, Mr. Govil, who knew everything from day 1. He acted like my father and protected me in every inch. he was an abusive kind of father in someother sense (not sexual), but that is a different story. but, he protected me during my worst phase.

V. Jeyaraman, Head of Earth Observations, second hand to Chairman ISRO helped me get out the whole thing by approving my study leave application when I was not even eligible for it (I hadn't completed enough years in service). He still considers me as "his girl", as I did my Mtech dissertation in his office. He knew I will not come back to India. he smiled at me when someone said that to him when he was holding the pen to sign the approval. He smiled at me and signed. Hegde, a bigcheese in ISRO HQ told me to run away from there and marry a white man. he scolded me for leaving the country "married". He was my strong supporter always.
J.Krishnamoorthy in ISRO HQ, another bigcheese, considers me as one of his best friends and did everything he could (finding out where the files were, finding out who is dealing with my case....) to get me out of there. they all knew I will not come back. they helped me.

I did go back and join the office after my PHD. I was too patriotic silly girl. Silly politics harrassed me again. I left the country after that.

(btw, Department of Sapce is sarcastically called as Department of South, which is very true. Most of the big cheeses are Tamilians. :-))

PS: my "reputation" is more as a "Jagdewali" rather than the other thing. I managed to get that label.:-)

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

mmm..It is nice that you found a way out of the whole mess. It must have been a great relief for you when the whole thing was over..

Premalatha said...

No Draj, relief is something, yes I am happy about that. but I still cannot come out of the hurt that it stopped me from where I was going. my only fault was my gender. if i were a man, i might have been a head of some division by now. all my colleagues who joined at the same time as me are all head of divisions now. they did not do anything to get there. soon they will be directors and charimans.. will be getting few awards... they don't do anything to get there.
i didn't do anything to be where i am now. my only fault was i am a female. i know there are some females in ISRO who have achieved as well. i won't say they might have given in. nope. i won't do that to my fellow woman. she might have been lucky. she might not have come across the situation i did. i was just unlucky. that is all.

Premalatha said...

it has damaged my personality. it has left me with psychological side effects. any sign of gender discrimination in a man will throw him as my enemy in my eyes. i would want to take all the revenge I can on any man who shows any sign of gender discrimination for his comforts and selfishenss. it may be my psychological side effects that I might have overreacted sometimes, but nevertheless, none of my reactions were unreasonable and none of those men's actions are acceptable otherwise also. I am sure you know what I am talking about.

San said...

gosh that had me frightened, i'm just glad you're okay.

just remember don't blame yourself, your not to blame for some perverted men who think power gives them the right to take advantage.

Anonymous said...

I am really surprised as to why you did not log a complaint yet?

It is a case of sexual harrassment and that too this is a Government organization. But then, I understand Justice is very slow in India and sometimes it is blind.

Hope you don't have to go through such situations again.

shub said...

oh my god...I sure hope u reported the incident?

shobana said...

Such a morally corrupt idiot can never be a great man. And anyone like him is no great person according to me. Any man/woman who does that to another person is a sick bloody butthead, and should always be ashamed of their lowly selves.

Anonymous said...

Premalatha, your story was extraordinarily well told. I'm really moved. I hope it didnt compromise your professional advancement.

Mangs said...

really powerful post... what happened after that?

Swathi said...

of all the posts i have read so far on Blank Noise, urz has come across as the most powerful one..

i dunno wat to say, short of words...
i hope the culprits have brought to book!

Dubukku said...

dumbfounded is all I can say. yes agree its sometimes/manytimes mens world..shame. but am happy atleast things are changing or the awareness -the least

Premalatha said...

Hi all,

I am sorry I didn't reply to your comments before. I was little occupied.


@anon and shub,
I did report to my bosses. We handled it differently, rather than going through the legal route. It saved me from further damage. :-)

@Shobana, you are right. :-)

It did damage that. But, I don't regret (well, not my fault, was it?), not anymore. I do feel the pain when I look at my jobless state, and do not have the drive to prove/excel anymore.. but, I have my husband, so, no worry about food. I would be happy to settle as a housewife, it is just that I am very lousy at that, couldn't pull on. So, the job hunt is on again. :-)

@Mangs, I have said the "after" story in this comment section.


i hope the culprits have brought to book!
No, they were not. He lives happily ever after.

thanks for comment mate.

Anonymous said...


my views may sound very rude to you. In our society attitude of men towards women is a shame. But that can not change overnight. Women have to accept this fact that they are vunerable and take care. When such incidents happens, we are sad since we thought it might not be this way, women can live life without any limitations etc. But sadly it is not!!! We accept many things in life which we dont want. And that acceptance makes life less painful.

Premalatha said...

Hi anon,

I don't find your views rude, rather I find it very true. :-)

thanks. you could have left your name, if I know you by your name, I could have added this (+ve) to your profile in my head. you have missed it. :-)

Premalatha said...

But onething you have forgotten. accepting makes them go paranoid, and all sort of different psychological set up than men. Men, not knowing, not accepting this process, continue to do what they do, and even blame girls who are just cautious, not even paranoid, and it is a vicious cycle. who is at loss? the world, the society as a whole loses some good brains, instead they end up having creatures with breasts. This post was not for me, for those who are not aware of the above mentioned process. I do accept what I am. Touch of a man doesn't give a shock, not anger, not even uncomfortability. I feel pity at them.

well, I have observed in the recent days that some of the loud feminists in the blogspere are perpetrators themselves (not all of them just few of those I happened to notice), they may not be interested in putting their hands through a girl's skirt, nevertheless they are equally perpetrators themselves. what can I say, the world is not safe, not just for me. accept it, know it, look for symptoms, keep yourself safe, physically and mentally, live your life. :-)

Arunima said...

I had another friend who was victimised by her boss. He did not touch her as such but I think you can understand it. Calling her unnecessarily to his cabin on the pretext of dictating something, always asking her to be around and even asking her to work on week-ends and top of that some colleagues who did not understand her and labeled her. Reading you I remember the sleepless nights she had and the dread for work.

She was not that educated, had no one to fall back on, even family and was surviving on a small salary. All of us helped her find another job within a month and it was such a relieve to all of us.

Premalatha said...

Hi arunima,

I am glad she is fine now. She is lucky to have you to help her.

thanks for dropping by.