Normally a humorist piece of writing( as the one I had written on bong girls) is to be taken just as it is written with a dash of humour. However in a country where the happiness quotient hovers below border line, you cannot expect smileys and backslapping and winks as reaction. But the intensity of the reaction which went starkly to the other end shocked me. Especially one long tirade which turned against tattoos which had found mention in my post. And said how they reject such upstart girls who endorse such deviation from accepted norms. I took the attack personally because I sport tattoos. As an expression of my fascination with symbology. Without being what the critic referred to as upstart. Or available. Or vacuous. But in our country people have been quick to compartmentalize women. The good, docile ones who toe the lines. The upstart, character less ones who make their own choices. Especially ones pertaining to their own body. Because still in several parts of the world, the woman’s body is an object owned by the superior males. That have to be covered, exposed, mutilated or adorned as they ordain. So little girls are still mutilated in Africa. A police officer in developed North America warns women against behaving like sluts. Women are publicly lashed if a n inch of their skin distracts the male gaze. A Kuwaiti student I met in London justified beating up his wife saying a woman is stupid and the beating is for her own good. A lawyer says he would burn his daughter alive if she had pre-marital sex. In a men’s world, women are ordained to toe the line. A tattoo or a piercing in such a world is an extreme expression of liberty. And that deserves such harsh criticism to preserve the collective sanity and order of the society. I have never looked at my tattoos as signs of rebellion- but maybe now I would. As the silent symbols of our liberty to express. without earning labels from a claustrophobic society.