This specific example of flying feathered rats common to urban areas reminds me strongly of male leads found commonly in South Indian movies. He is a stalker and a hustler with infinitely inflated ego and self-confidence about being a charmer of opposite sex. He patrols couple of architectural projections in the vicinity of my home, oozing what he thinks is charm (and what I think is low quality guano) and chasing every female pigeon in sight.

His method of wooing females is really intriguing. If a female makes a mistake of alighting on the ledge he is gracing, he immediately becomes extremely excited. He marches up to the lady with inflated neck, bobbing his head and gyrating while muttering sweet nothings in a guttural voice. While his vigorous wooing efforts always lead to females flying away to sit on another ledge, he seems to consider it to be an invite for an encore, so he flies after them to perform.

Apparently, Ms. Pigeons of my area are not watching enough South Indian movies, hence they fail to recognise intrusive and forced wooing of our local Casanova as God’s gift to them. So, the script changes at this point.

Instead of chasing them till they succumb, our pigeon hero quietly returns to my window sill and wait for the next connoisseur of his art. As our Don Juan has returned to the roost and is busy preening himself, I am stuck by an interesting thought.

When a male pigeon, a dumb bird compared to Homo sapiens understands that a No from a female is a No, why do human, especially Indian males think that they are a God’s gift bestowed upon women with no right to refuse policy?

There is no doubt that male-female courtship has been one of the worst cases of stereotyping that we Indians have achieved, especially in the name of art and entertainment. And the possible reason behind it is that our entertainment industry is of the men, for the men and by the men.

A typical entertainment product made for Indian audience is all about male fantasy. This allows absolutely absurd courtship behaviour to hit the screen and become celebrated. Even well-educated Indian males find it entertaining to watch a hero forcing himself upon a female till she succumbs.

As movies are made by males, there is no surprise that they have females falling for the acts ranging from inappropriate comments to stalking to outright physical sexual harassment, and audience lapping it up in the name of entertainment.

Unfortunately, what is sold under the garb of entertainment is not as innocent as it appears because entertainment industry has become a prime mover. While the developed world moves towards a more balanced male-female courtship behaviour, both off and on the screen, our movies even now retain their male-domination female-submission theme.

As movies depicting such behaviour still sell, it is unlikely that market forces will correct the situation; so, if we (especially women) want a change, it has to come from outside.

India needs a dramatic increase in female communicators. We need more thinking women in entertainment industry who are able to depict what women want in male-female relationships.

Women of India need voices that talk about them. Male dominance of entertainment and communication industry needs to end if Indian women want to be free birds. If Ms. Pigeons can have a choice, Ms. Human should not be afraid to claim it.

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