Here's a little something I had to write for my Language and Literature Course with the IB while in India.
This written task relates to my study of identity, gender, in particular, the evaluation of how language molds the tone and mood of a text bringing out certain feelings in the reader.
In addition, my written task originates from studying sex slavery, rape, and human trafficking in India. This part of the course, was considering the cultural impacts and its affects on society through studying ranges of contexts where identity and gender roles were questioned. Being it that India is known for such events, I have learned that they are brushed aside by society thus adding to the circulation of bribes within authority.
Consequently, I understand that everyone has a voice that cannot be ignored for it finds its way through people, literature, media, etc., until it affects society with its cultural values and even economic life.
Determined to set my work apart from the repeated perspective of women/victims, instead, I prioritized me undertaking a challenge that would test my creative capacity in creating a plot tackling a fresh perspective: that of the man. To do so, I evaluated social and cultural structures described in Patricia McCormick’s work Sold, a novel that adopts the perspective of young, Nepali girl who becomes a victim of sex slavery told through vignettes. The chapter called An Accidental Kindness, allowed me to question the unspoken perspective of the man. Keeping in mind that this perspective is rare to come across due to the lack of sympathy towards people that participate in these horrendous acts. The structure of short stories allows for a descriptive plot that can challenge gender roles where characterization was used to portray how the personage felt and dealt with society’s expectations. My goal with this written task was to create a situation where the reader could sympathize with the man.
Go On Mr.
Shantanu’s breathing remained steady even though he sensed the air grow thick and heavy. Still, he could not ignore the sensation that his consciousness was drawing with his every breath. Yet, his face remained intact, not letting the slightest twitch take place on his lower lip. Shantanu, now in his late fifties, has had a lifetime of training that made him always control himself. From the day he was born, the nest in which God chose him to hatch only had room for the maintenance of the family’s highly spoken of reputation.
In front of Shantanu’s large, hand-carved, imported, Amazonian wooden desk, stood the puny, bald, shrimp-looking man who just so happened to be a new member of the board, Mr. Armadán. Staring at this fool who dared say such to him, Shantanu reclined himself into such a comfortable position in his, also hand-carved, sandalwood chair –more like a throne- that it even came off as threatening. Seeming at ease, Shantanu’s large fingers lingered on his regal mustache while staring, with a defiantly questionable glance at this frail Mr. Armadán with his awkward eyeglasses that had now dripped to the bridge of his nose and tugged at his color where a red polka dotted bow tie seemed to be strangling him.
“Fired am I?” said Shantanu. “Go on Mr.,” taking a further glance at the man’s face, “Armadán.”
Sweat trickled down Mr. Armadán’s brow. Hustling through his shirt for his handkerchief he went on to say, trying to control the shake in his voice, “Well, Mr. Kakkar…” Taking out a brown, stained piece of cloth from his jacket’s inner pocket, Mr. Armadán finally wiped the droplet dangling from his nose and used to opportunity to wipe his glasses for they had become foggy already from his body’s temperature rise. Now, Shantanu had begun tapping his long strong fingers on the desk waiting for the rest of this futile explanation. The rhythmic beat of the fingers upon the desk only escalated Mr. Armadán’s nerves.
Drawing in a deep breath, the gibberish words began to tumble out of this puny man’s mouth. “Rumors, Mr. Kakkar, have reached the ears of the other members of the board. Bad rumors and I’m afraid that the company’s charter clearly states that-“ suddenly the pounding sound of Shantanu’s fist upon the desk shocked Mr. Armadán into silence.
Now sitting upright and firm on his chair, Shantanu went on to say, “Rumors. Ha! What may I say are these rumors in regards to?” Caught off guard, Mr. Armadán found himself to be completely unprepared for his chairman’s reaction but found that the demanding gaze that was shooting at him demanded an answer.
“Pictures have been taken of you entering and participating in the brothels of the red light district. Eyewitnesses have shared what they have seen. People are talking…talking a lot. Even the company’s value has seemed to drop because of…well sir, your reputation. Also, seven years have passed and you have not seemed to cope with the passing of your wife’s death. Your state has become unhealthy for the company and the responsibilities of being chairman have seemed to take a large toll on your health as well. Taking this in mind, the charter states that if the chairman has been seen as unfit to lead the company, then his removal is necessary. I’m sorry.” These last few words seemed to have gagged Mr. Armadán.
Calmly seated, Shantanu reached for a small picture frame that seemed to be the only personal artifact present on this large, wide desk. He held the frame that contained a picture of his beautiful, deceased wife, and let one hand slide through his scalp and latter ruffled his patch of full, thick, black locks. He then removes his gaze from the picture and directs it towards the silent Mr. Armadán.
Hands on the wheel of his BMW, Shantanu’s conscience is steaming with effort as he tries to overcome his sorrow and understand how he keeps giving into temptation. He had once been a happy man before Abha died, yet the memories that they shared were not enough to keep him away from his carnal desires. Shacking his head as if to ward off the memories, Shantanu brings himself to consider how he has been blind. Even if the facts were only considered rumors, he had still disgraced his family’s good name. He had let years of effort and studies build his reputation and quickly let it crumble at a simple whim of temptation.
Droplets of rain began to fall from the sky and the annoyingly rhythmic “swish-swash” of the window wiper did not affect his thoughts. Shantanu considered the fact that maybe he was in search of Abda’s face, of her smooth body and kind, comforting words. Maybe, unconsciously he was driven to brothels in search of a resembling spirit that could be present amongst the glamoured girls. Trying to revive the memories of so many years ago.
Suddenly, his peripheral view caught the view of a red light district. He thought, “This will be the last time. Maybe, just maybe she could be found there. What more have I to loose? My job is done for and my name is shamed. Why deny myself the pleasures of which I’m already accused of.”