From a distance I could see the gang huddled up, intently looking at something and giving each other occasional wide-eyed uncomfortable glances. As I got closer, I could hear them whispering, disagreeing and discussing, all at once, in an underplayed mocking tone. Curiosity kills the cat, and since I believe I have a long way to go, I hurriedly ventured in their direction to find out what was going on.
This gang, per se, is a group of us mothers who are our kids’ ride home everyday from school. Earlier, we simply interacted with each other to kill some boring waiting time, criticising someone or something (not surprised, right?) or sharing our kids’ daily habits and activities. However, over time, after bonding with each other over cups of coffee, visiting each others’ homes for birthdays and festivals, etc we’ve all become good friends.
Now, coming back to the story in the first paragraph, I simply dug my head between two of them and demanded to know what was so interesting that I was being kept from. The answer, which I got without any deliberation but continued misplaced trepidation and disapproval, shocked and amazed me, equally.
They were all looking at some couple’s wedding reception pictures and also some intimate ones from their honeymoon. A bit too intimate I would say, assuming that you’ll understand. The pictures were shared on Whatsapp in one of the lady’s Ladies Group, so she told us. She was quite forthcoming in informing us that this picture girl loved taking selfies and willingly shared these intimate selfies taken with her husband (Authenticity of this information is highly questionable though!).
I was simply at a loss of words, owing to many things. First, while it is possible that it was intentionally done, I would like to give the picture girl some benefit of doubt and believe that they somehow got leaked by mistake. Second, while these women went on and on about her shamelessness in taking such objectionable pictures with her partner, they did look at them more than once.
Third, and worst of all, the lady who had these pictures and quite passionately and vociferously dissected the picture girl’s character, didn’t delete a single picture from her phone, at least for a week according to my knowledge. Interestingly, she also insisted that her 8yo son has access to her phone, she likes to keep her phone ‘clean’ and these pictures are kept in some hidden folder.
As much as I tried to make sense of what these women were saying, I wasn’t able to process any of this properly.
I guess these women reacted in the most common and accepted way, but the point is, is it just because it seems like the right thing to do?
What right did they have in tarnishing a girl’s image when they didn’t have the slightest idea of who she was?
If it really bothered them, why did they look at the pictures in the first place?
Why do women feel at unease when some woman uninhibitedly embraces or displays her sexuality?
Or, does everyone have some hidden fantasies which when played out by someone else are extremely unacceptable and reason enough to garner such unsavoury remarks from them?
With this blatant invasion of privacy, can (or should) we pass judgement on someone only on face-value?