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My response to 'My choice' Deepika Padukone's video

 Transcript: My body, my mind, my choice To wear the clothes I like; even if my spirit roams naked My choice; to be a size 0 or a size 15 They don’t have a size for my spirit, and never will To use cotton and silk to trap my soul is to believe that you can halt the expansion of the universe Or capture sunlight in the palm of your hand Your mind is caged, let it free My body is not Let it be My choice To marry, or not to marry To have sex before marriage, to have sex out of marriage, or to not have sex My choice To love temporarily, or to lust forever. My choice To love a man, or a woman, or both Remember; you are my choice, I’m not your privilege The bindi on my forehead, the ring on my finger, adding your surname to mine, they’re all ornaments and can be replaced-- My love for you cannot, so treasure that My choice; to come home when I want. Don’t be upset if I come home at 4am . Don’t be fooled if I come home at 6pm, My choice; to have your baby or not To pick you from 7 billion choices or not. So don’t get cocky My pleasure might be your pain My songs, your noise My order, your anarchy Your sins, my virtues. My choices are like my fingerprints They make me unique. I am the tree of the forest I am the snowflake not the snowfall You are the snowflake. Wake up Get out of the shit storm. I choose to empathise. Or to be indifferent I choose to be different I am the universe Infinite in every direction. This is my choice.

The above video has not only gone viral, it has stirred up a hornet's nest and created a tsunami of opinions. My Facebook feed is still reeling under the assault and my Twitter feed is full of questions asking what I think of it. So I thought I would blog about it. (It's my choice :) )

Most people seem to be outraged because they have a problem with three things
1. The sex outside marriage bit. (Sex outside marriage isn't empowering women.)
2. The fact that a magazine like Vogue has taken an initiative
3.It addresses only Elite women

There is even a guy who has gone ahead and made a video which is the  male response to it.
And another guy who has quoted a comment from a woman  that says if he wants to ask for a dowry, it is his choice. He goes on to diss Deepika's movie Cocktail and also says that it was TOI's choice to click snaps of her cleavage. (Please!!)

Here is what I think.

I totally support the video and the statement it makes. And no--it isn't just for 'elite'--it is speaking up for every Indian woman, especially the ones who have the least freedom.
Whether a woman has sex outside her marriage or not,  is between her and her husband. It is not for the world to judge and point fingers. Nowhere does the video say that in order to be liberated you have to have sex outside marriage nor does it endorse adultery.

The fact that most men seemed to have picked just that point to respond to, says a lot. The male response to the video ends with 'We do not support cheating or adultery'. The male response was fine and had me nodding in agreement, till it showed a woman shouting and raving, holding her guy by the collar for supposedly having an affair. Again stereotypical humour and gender typecasting.

It missed the point completely. For most married Indian women, what they wear depends a lot on what their husbands say and what their in-laws want. I know so many women who dress in a certain way to please their in-laws and husbands. After a woman gets married, there is a sense of 'ownership' that creeps in---like she 'belongs' to her husband. And the husband has a say in what she chooses to wear, where she goes and the male friends she meets. You might argue that it is the same for a Indian married male. But it isn't. He somehow isn't as accountable as a  married woman is. (Think about it.)

Nowhere does the video shame all men. It is merely asserting that a woman has a right to make choices. As much as a man does.

The thing is in our country, a girl definitely has lesser choices compared to a guy. And after marriage, the choices that a Indian woman has, definitely reduces further. She has to live 'within the lines'.
 My book 'The Secret Wishlist' deals with just this. The life of an Indian woman, after her marriage, and the choices that she makes. Yes, it deals with adultery/extra-marital affair. I got mails from thousands of Indian women who wrote to me after reading the novel, telling me that it felt as though I had got inside their heads and written out their stories. Many many  men wrote to me saying that my book was a wake-up call for them to not take their wives for granted.

This is what I had said in one of my newspaper columns

"In a country where the female infanticide rate is amongst the highest in the world, where we lose 3 million girls in infanticide in a span of a decade, the need of the hour is to stop treating a woman as a mere sex object. Our society needs to recognise that a woman is far more than her body. Our bawdy song lyrics objectify women, comparing them to a ‘tandoori chicken’ among other things. At family weddings lyrics that celebrate the posterior of a woman are played loudly, stating that ‘all the boys go crazy when I shake my ……’.  Our country sees nothing wrong in that and anyone protesting is told to lighten up---it is only a joke and to take it in the lighter vein.
But as long as the attitude of hypocrisy prevails, and as long as women are still expected to be ‘good girls’ suppressing their sexual needs, putting everyone else before them, this treatment of women will continue. If we need to truly progress, we need to look at women differently, and respect their needs. A truly liberated woman is one who is comfortable enough with her sexuality and who doesn’t have to shake any body part to prove that she is sexy. "

All that the above video does is assert the right of women to choose whatever makes them happy.

 The very fact that it makes so many men uncomfortable (and so many women too) is something to think about.

Make your choices wisely. (And of course there are consequences to the choices you make.) You need to think about what you want and how it will affect the people who you truly care about. You need to take care of yourself first. Because only if you are happy can you make others happy.
You need to choose.
You need to live in a manner that suits you.
And in the end, a truly empowered person--whether a man or a woman--is one who is at peace with the choices that he/she makes.

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  1. Anonymous11:04 AM

    I totally agree with what you've written!! This video wasn't to tell men that we're superior to them but was to tell them that we're now equal to them!! And raising equality is nowhere wrong!

  2. Well said quite well some people are just being hypocrits grow up guys grow up

  3. Well said quite well some people are just being hypocrits grow up guys grow up

  4. Very well said quite agree with you some people are taking it to another level of hypocrisy which is not right seriously grow up guys

  5. Hello Ma'am
    I have read almost all the books of your's except "Any thing happen for a reason" . My personal favorite one is"The Secret wish list" and "The one you can not have".
    About your blog I do have the same opinion but I don't understand that why the boys(!All) make these things to their ego point.

    I have also written something related to this please read if you have a time and give me your opinion on this .


  6. Anonymous11:57 AM

    we all have rights to make choices and we need additional support of parents and soul mate to appreciate our choices.thank god i am much lucky in this case and i have support from my family i am with deepika's voice she is too brave and beautiful.This interview will impact on all of men and women's life who are stuck in their typical married life :) your response is very much good god bless to both of you :)

  7. Well said ma'm. I am totally agree with the video & also with your blog. Its the right time to change our mindset & our society.

  8. Very very well said. It is definitely the best response of the video that I have come across.

  9. Mindset is changing with new generation ushering in and old vanishing slowly.Yes, it wont happen overnight but with time i am sure we will see the change. Fingers Crossed !!

  10. Last line of your post was super Awesome.. Empowered person is who is at peace with his/her choices. And regarding the video it only expresses about women's choices and it has nothing that states Men should not do this.. I do not understand such responses from them!!

  11. Your post makes more sense than Deepika's video.
    Thanks for clearing the confusion I had

  12. Yes, Preeti you noted down it so well. The statement of " He (Indian Man) somehow isn't as accountable as a married woman is! is just perfect. We really need to think over it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  13. I agree with your every word, Mam. You have certainly made some valuable points. But in the Indian society, when it comes to women empowerment, it's always "easier said than done". Though the theoretical concept of empowerment sounds highly appreciating, yet it's actual application is like a distant dream.

  14. I agree, Preeti. Most Indian women suffer the indignity of having to seek permission and approval for what they wear, both before and after marriage. Our deep-rooted cultural connotations need a sea-change before women in our country can boast about 'empowerment'.

  15. Preeti, while I agree to most of what you have said, I still don't agree to the sex outside marriage bit in the video or your explanation for it. At the foremost, I will say I am a women and I love the video, it makes a strong statement and I think it's wonderful.
    Having said that, I still don't agree to the 'sex outside marriage' bit... not for the women or for the men. If you are committed to someone because you want to be with that person, there should be no need to prove your empowerment by having sex outside marriage. And I would reiterate that this goes for both men and women. Secondly, if we were to consider your justification that 'it is between her and her husband' then there was no need to state it in THIS video for women empowerment. That makes it a 'private choice' for a married couple and I am glad they are happy with their choice. To me, this video does a great job in touching several issues that thrive in our society. However, whether or not 'someone' has the choice to have sex outside marriage does not qualify to be a common issue that women face on a day to day basis. It also makes me sad how the inclusion of this one choice cast so much shadow on an otherwise wonderful message.

  16. Shes promoting adultery..nowhere in the video it is mentioned that its both her and her husbands choice to hav sex outside says its her choice whether her partner likes it or not..yes it can b her choice to have sex but she cant do that by hurting and cheating on her partner and he cant even question that..imagine a man saying all these proudly in a video then he wil b screwed by evry feminine person..this video is female chauvinism..from when does feminism mean jus sexual independencies??what about gender equality at independency and education for all women?jus going around at night and doing all kind f filthy stuffs doesnt empower women

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. This is a big bullishit video....non sense...don't go behind sayings of this spoils your life only

    3. So what is your definition of "slut" then, Ms. Kashish?

  17. well choices have repercussions because we do not live in isolation. now where exactly you went wrong. This video is definitely not for all women. simply saying it speaks for all indian women would be wrong. at least present a case. for i can say it does not speak for me or my friends. secondly it is for the elite. it uses english as the medium which is not even the language of masses and given the situation of education of females in this country i assure you it is only reaching the elite who speak english and have access to internet.
    it surely creates a class divide.

    it nowhere presses on the issues of education or work. or even making household duties count as work. thats a pressing issue. even today we do not recognise household work as "job" because it does not generate direct revenue. more over the onset of technology has made it worse for women. now you have a mixer and food processor so whats the delay or effort in cooking. washing machine helps you wash clothes! everything given to women. they are expected to do so! but no it does not takl about inequality in terms of work. revenue generation seems the only way to make it count as work!
    the whole debate about clothing. how much you wear is under scrutiny, but they don't show a woman wearing hijab only because wearing more clothes can't possibly be her choice !! whereas wearing shorter clothes is definitely her choice. best example is bollywood. because women who wear all those skimpy clothes according to their choice and their choice is to be objectified by the male audience!
    apart from the question of adultery, the video talks about choice of having your baby or not! that certainly needs scrutiny, as it brings in the whole debate of questioning the survival of an unborn life! according to your choice you have sex>> the consuquence?? >> you become a mother>> It was not the choice of the unborn in the womb to be brought into existence, but the very chance of its survival depends on your mere "choice" to give birth to it! it is no doubt that survival is the basic instinct of human beings, then why is the unborn not given that choice to survive! its not ok when its female feoticide, but if the mother chooses she can kill the baby because its her "choice"? i just can't wrap my head around this.
    the issue of adultery is another pressing problem. your choice will have consequences because like she says we live with 7 billion people all of whom not are same, thus u can expect various responses. if you choose to have sex outside marriage, great go ahead. don't be too wary if someone calls you an adulterer because thats the word we use for anyone who has sex outside marriage. no connotation attached but its the word we use. the moral obligation to not cheat on your partner makes the word a taboo. so moral without moral connotation, you will be branded as an adulterer, and well it was your choice in first place to be one. (for both men and women)!
    using your gender identity to express and claim freedom is false consciousness and in turn it makes you a slave to a certain ideology. it is the time you live in where this debate may be useful. it was redundant in the past and will be in future (as also it lacks merit in itself).

    My choice (stimulus)>>> consequences (response) ! basic logic! now go ahead make a choice but don't be too wary if the response is negative!

  18. also, the copywriter needs a lesson in english! the statement" I am the universe Infinite in every direction" is wrong for reasons as it is reflexive.
    now infinite means immeasurable and vast in expanse, limitless. so when you say infinite like universe it makes sense, but adding in every direction?? infinite means every direction. good god! abuse of english by someone who wrutes scripts for a living?? attention, we have people in this business who don't use dictionaries or logic! how can you expect them to make sense!

    1. *writes (forgive the spelling error)

    2. a road that does not end is infinite in only one directio :)

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. your case of infinite is a ray. which has a starting point, meaning one end and extends to infinity. a road with no end, would be a line infinite, extending both ways.
      but the universe is neither a road, nor a ray. saying infinite like universe means every direction! that's the point! these people don't know science, logic or even english!

  19. Also one last thing, madam please do not homogenize women as a single category. leave space for other identities to creep in! we are not a homogeneous group. a woman who lives in rural/tribal india is not as same as me. for her maybe her tribal identity is more important. also have you even bothered to look at matriarchal societies. they exist in India in the north east! but since its the north east we people can clearly ignore them! the marginalised section of the indian society. there women have greater rights. so yes do not say or treat women as a homogeneous group. like she says i am different. everyone is different, and since they are, she can't possibly speak for everyone!

  20. Loved your blog! Its very similar to my interpretation of the video and its message. Hope your blog goes as viral as Dippy's video. Cheers!

  21. u r correct. and i totally accord to it. though i had trouble dealing with it in the first place but soon i came over it.

  22. There's something called as OPEN MARRIAGE!!! wherein both partners agree to engage in extramarital sexual relationships without it being regarded as infidelity..the video just speaks bout it really so difficult to understand?

    1. So you would be okay if your father slept with his colleague woman and your mother slept with your neighbor uncle, while both your parents consent to each other???

      Think about what kind of impact does these kind of OPEN MARRIAGEs do on the poor kids whose parents are involved in it. Think of the impact of it on the society on the bigger picture!!

  23. Appreciated the point you mentioned "And of course there are consequences to the choices you make." at end of the article. End of the day, the consequences matters for both "I" (in the video) and "Us" as a family and impacts hardly in their life and their children life. But this point is not portrayed in the video.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. Ok someone talks about OPEN does she perceive every indian woman live like that??yes some cn make choices but stil it sounds dirty..only .1-.2% ppl live like that and even in the west its something which is seen as filthy..marriage is a holy thing so dont contaminate it by spreading slutty messages like this deepika..dnt inspite other slutty women and affect the innocent minds in the country..if anybody gets offended by me calling her slutty then i dnt have an issue bcz its my choice u see..and in one part the video says "my pleasure is your pain" this a rapist monologue??there is a difference between feminism and adultery..the video made a mockery about feminism and women empowerment

    1. Agreed to the above! In any society, east or west, adultery is considered immoral and filthy. No one in their right minds says it is okay and promotes the same!

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. महिलाये अगर सहमत भी तो भी कृपया अपने माता पिता ,गुरुजन के सामने ऐसी बाते मत कीजियेगा ! जो पश्चिम में रहते है उनको पश्चिम सभ्यताए तो अच्छी लगती ही है बस अपने देश की सभ्यता अच्छी नहीं लगती !इस देश ने इस समाज ने कितने परिवारों को बांध रखा है वरना पश्चिम में तो बच्चे अपने माँ बाप ही गिनते रह जाते है ! एक पिता जिसने आप पर अपनी आधी जिन्दगी समर्पित कर दी है वो ऐसा कभी नहीं चाहेगा भले ऐसी सोच लड़के की हो या लड़की की ! कुछ लोग है जो अपनी मेह्नत से अपने संगर्ष से देश का नाम उच्चा कर रहे है और वही कुछ लोग सोचते है की १० लोगो के साथ शारीरिक सम्बन्ध बनाने से वो कुछ बेहतर कर रहे है !

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. mam your thought is right i also agree with u woman has same right as must need for the progress of our country but mam the massage of this video is not related to woman empowerment.women throughout the world are not empowering by having SEX or by wearing short clothes OR flaunting their BRAS....feminism is reflected by inner beauty..woman empowerment is related to the education and freedom given to the all woman to fulfill their wishes ( whatever they want)..some of the line of this video is good but must of the line can not be accepted according to our culture..The video has been especially criticized for one particular thing that Deepika Padukone said. "It is my choice to have sex outside of marriage." Yes. Admittedly, it is wrong; because well, adultery is wrong.this line even can not be accepted in western culture..i thinks deepika herself disgracing her name by spreading like this massage..according to me your choice should be in favor of your morality or degnity..does not make the choice that disgraced your name..your choice can be unique like your fingerprint but it should be in right wey not in wrong way..

  31. If the choice choice goes wild wide consequences will await one because bitter upshots hamper the calm of mind.'My Choice' differs when one passes through years.So I think repentance will not be there in 'My Choice' if one chooses things wisely.Your view has its weight also.

  32. absolutely!!well said


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