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Lavanya Bahuguna


How The Kickass Kalki Koechlin Handled Sexist Jaipur Journalists

  • JWB Post
  •  April 28, 2016


Every time Kalki Koechlin comes to Jaipur, we make sure to meet her. We cannot afford to miss the radiance and confidence she oozes that never fail to inspire us.

Yesterday for the FICCI FLO Jaipur chapter’s first event under the Chairmanship of Preeti Saboo, artist Kalki flew to the Pink City to perform her famous monologue called The Truths of Womanhood.

She seated herself at the center of the stage in a dim-lighted hall with more than 200 people in attendance. She began with saying:

“God made man in his own image.

And then that’s was it. ‘Man’kind, hu’man’ity, wo’man.

Man, man, man.

What chance in hell did we ever have?

We were sidelined from the Big Bang.

You remember Draupadi?

Draupadi married off to all five Pandavas.

She garlanded only Arjun

But they told her you got to marry all of us.

Five husbands! That can’t be fun.

God know I have enough trouble with one.”

Everyone burst into laughter, whilst understanding the pain she was trying to bring into our focus.

Her monologue had us listen to the tales of brave women like Ayesha, one of the wives of Prophet Mohammad who challenged the men around her for power after her husband’s demise. Kalki narrated:

“It created quite a ruckus,

It led to war, in fact,

All because of one woman’s fuss,

And so was born the tradition Islamic

That women should not engage in anything politic.”Kalki Koechlin

She continued telling a few more stories, making sure nobody feels THAT bad when the truth pricks them:

“The Queen of Sheba, Empress Theodora, Rabia al’ Basra,

Cleopatra, The Victorian Era, The Mona Lisa

The Suffragettes, Marilyn Monroe, The sixties and burning bras,

The unpopular Thatcher and our own Indira

Et cetra et cetra and now here we are.

Here we are,

We’ve survived this far,

Thanks to seduction, perhaps some manipulation,

But mostly thanks to Mother Nature and ovulation.”

However, some lines from her performance documented how the women have forgotten to live for themselves in order to please the society:

“Apply, line, smack, seal, pout,

And you’re ready to go out.


Sometimes I just want an oversized T shirt, boxer shorts, unkempt hair and unibrows.

I want armpit hair long enough to plait,

I want a clean face without a trace of make up

I want to look the way I do when I wake up.

I want to scratch my head,

Dig my nose,

Lick my fingers,

Stretch my legs

And spread my toes.”

So much so, that sometimes they starve themselves…to death:

“God I’m so hungry.

There’s nothing to eat.

No food except some frozen bits of fish

On a silver platter

I eat one. I’m still hungry.

I eat another and I’m stared at by the waiter.

No matter. I take the whole platter

Totter off to my little corner

Next to an old and and eat from my platter.

I’m stared at by the latter.

No matter. I continue to eat from my platter.

I wipe clean the crumbs from my platter.

I lick clean the whole platter.

What? What are you looking at?

Stop. Stop looking at me like that.

What? I was hungry.

Haven’t you ever seen somebody eat before.”

During her performance, she highlighted other major social issues like domestic violence, sexual abuse, honor killing, female foeticide, child molestation and child marriage. Too much to handle, eh? Kalki’s motive wasn’t to drive us crazy analyzing how much our Indian society has imprisoned women, but to encourage us change our inner-self and hence, bring about the revolution.

“To change a nation’s mentality

It’s hard work to go unnoticed,

Change the roots and the minds

Of a people who have been too long deprived

Of education and basic rights

Who are steering towards intolerance and misanthropy

Because of shameless inequality.”

Where on one hand, she requested men to not judge women who choose to live their dreams, she also urged women to be there for one another.

“Dear auntie,

Will you stop gawking at me?

Dear Didi,

Will you stop telling me to shut up?

Dear women,

Will you, at least, stand up for me?

Enough of a woman who has become viscous from her environment.”

Her message was:

“I am a Hindu a Muslim a Christian a Buddhist and an atheist.

I am twenty, thirty, forty and fifty.

I am single, married, divorced and half the country.

I am a mother, a daughter, a wife and a prostitute.

I am a stereotype, a trophy and a prisoner or patriarchy.

I am a woman in Indian society and I am not yet free.

But forget about all that for a moment and just look at me.”

The room was echoing with loud claps.

Alas, not everyone was happy about the power-packed performance. Maybe, it was too harsh for some to accept (their) reality! So they asked, “Kalki, aren’t you ashamed of using words that are not acceptable in our society?” To which, she said, “Do you mean words like FUCK?”


Kalki Koechlin

Another one yakkety-yaked, “Why are you against men? And, has this anger increased after you got divorced?”

Utterly senseless.

But Kalki knows how to shut them up. She said, “I am not a man-hater. If you think Feminism is about hating men, you need to Google your facts.”

Later, Preeti Saboo took the session forward and asked Kalki questions related to all sorts of gender discriminations she has faced so far.

Preeti: Tabloids say that Bollywood is a patriarchal place. How true is that?

Kalki: You are right. Neither women actors are paid well, nor are they trusted enough to single-handedly carry a film on their shoulders. For them, a male superstar is a key to blockbusters. I remember meeting this Director who enquired about my age during a movie audition, and when I said ‘I am thirty,’ he replied, “Oh, you still have a five-year long career left with you.’

Preeti: This is hilarious.

Kalki: Another time, I was asked to use Botox because my face shows wrinkles when I laugh. They suggested me to either use Botox or laugh with my mouth shut.

Preeti:  According to you, is there any way to change the mindsets?

Kalki: Bring the change at home! While we were emphasizing upon girl-child education, we totally forgot about the boy-child! We’ve to teach him to believe in equality, to respect women and trust their abilities. Let our homes become their first schools. Also, don’t tell the girls to do things ‘like girls.’ There is no girl/boy way of doing tasks. This is silly.

Panel member: I am a working mother, and my family expects me to do my best at home, too. They tell me to be a Superwoman. I don’t know if I am one!

Kalki Koechlin in Jaipur

Kalki: Nobody is. And it is okay to be imperfect. As working women, we must encourage the men in our families to apply for Paternity leaves. They are as much of a parent as the mother is to the child.

JWB: When women celebs walk on the red carpet, media ask them about the designer they are wearing. We’re totally against it and support the cool hashtag #AskHerMore. Kalki, what do you want us to question you about?

Kalki: My craft. I love talking about theater and my acts, not who designed my clothes. (giggles)

JWB: Women feel sorry about so many things. What have you stopped feeling sorry about?

Kalki: I no more feel sorry about being myself, the way I look, the way I eat or the way I speak.

After the Q & A, Preeti invited Kalki for a challenging rapid fire round. Read about the fun session:

Preeti: What is a man’s idea of a romantic date?

Kalki: No talking.Kalki Koechlin in Jaipur

Preeti: When do men lose their hearing ability?

Kalki: When they watch cricket.

Preeti: What does it mean when a man says he helped his wife at home?

Kalki: He replaced the fused bulb with a new one.


Of course, not all men are like what they joked about. Buy hey; we are not debating over the film ‘Pyaar ka Panchnama’, either! Relax.



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2 thoughts on “How The Kickass Kalki Koechlin Handled Sexist Jaipur Journalists

  1. 'Neha Choudhary

    This was not the question that was asked in the session.
    1 Why do you hate men? – It was one question.
    2 Why are you vocal about women issues after divorce and not before that? – this was another question.
    Please report things correctly and then call Jaipur Journalists as sexist. I have the whole session in recording and that’s the reason why I am writing this to you Lavanya.

    1. admin

      Dear Neha,

      Thank you for writing to us. Unfortunately, the phrasing and order of these questions do not change the sexist attitude of the journalists concerned. You and I both cannot deny the pure sexism expressed through these questions. Merely rephrasing them doesn’t alter the bitter sense of them.
      Though, thanks a lot for pointing at the accuracy of our content. We will take it into consideration.


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