Since Friday, several Indian women from various fields have taken to Twitter to speak up about the sexual harassment that they have faced. Allegations have been made against many prominent men, including standup comedians, senior journalists and editors.
Journalist Sheena has been compiling these allegations on her Twitter page, including screenshots of conversations shared anonymously. One of these conversations is between author Chetan Bhagat and an unidentified woman. In the screenshot posted on Twitter, Chetan Bhagat says he's decided to "woo" the woman since she's "sweet and cute and funny and a nice human being". When the woman points out that the author is married, he persists with the clearly unwelcome attention as she tries to discourage him.
Confirming that the screenshots are genuine, Chetan Bhagat wrote a post on his Facebook page apologising to the woman and his wife, Anusha. Admitting that he had indeed felt a certain "connection" to the woman, whom he'd met a few times, the author goes on to say that perhaps he'd felt at the time that she too had felt the same way (although in the screenshot posted, the woman is unambiguously uninterested).
Calling it a "misreading" of "friendliness", Chetan claimed that he'd been working on a book about "wooing" and relationships at the time and that this was the "context" for the conversation. He further claimed that there hadn't been anything physical or lewd in their exchange.
Over the past two days, several accounts of sexual harassment have been posted on social media. While some have named the perpetrators, others have shared their experiences without taking names. The allegations come days after actor Tanushree Dutta spoke up again about how Nana Patekar had attempted to molest her on the sets of a film she was shooting a decade ago.