How A Regular Work Interaction Between A Man And A Woman Became A Big Deal

Shashi Tharoor Supriya Sule
Among many things Bollywood has taught us is “ek ladka aur ek ladki kabhi aache dost nahi ho sakte.” And alas, every time we look at a heterosexual duo engrossed in a discussion we cannot think otherwise, even if the interaction is taking place in the Parliament of the country. 

Yes, you have guessed it right- we are referring to the viral video in which MP Shashi Tharoor and Supriya Sule are seen chatting in Lok Sabha while another Member of the Parliament Farooq Abdullah was addressing the house as it discussed the Russia-Ukraine war. The picture has sparked a meme fest on Twitter and people are running wild with speculations over what were the two MPs discussing when the video was taken.

Shashi Tharoor Supriya Sule Viral Video: It’s not always “romantic”

 The Congress leader is not new to courting controversy and because of his quick repartees, he also has a huge following on social media, especially on Twitter. Earlier Dr Tharoor was trolled for sharing a picture with a group of women parliamentarians with the caption, “Who says the Lok Sabha isn’t an attractive place to work?” Netizens took offence and slammed him for using the word ‘attractive’. He however defended himself saying the tweet was part of workplace camaraderie. Read more about it here

This recent explosion of memes and jokes at his expense didn’t escape his attention and Dr Tharoor tweeted, “For all those who’ve been enjoying themselves at @supriyaSule’s &my expense over our brief exchange in the Lok Sabha, she was asking me a policy question because she was about to speak next. She was speaking softly so as not to disturb FarooqSahib, so i leaned over to hear her.”

Then he went on to share another tweet quoting a popular Hindi song, “Kuch to log kahenge, logoon ka kaam hai kehna,” featuring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore and sung by Kishore Kumar. It is interesting here to note that among the lines that were quoted there is this couplet, “Tu kaun hai tera naam hai kya Sita bhi yahaan badnaam huyi.” Well that line sums up our age-old views on the gendered system and the interaction between sexes. No one is spared from our polluted gaze as society feels it is its business to speculate and badmouth others.

Suggested Reading: Shashi Tharoor Talks About How His Mother Influenced His Views On Feminism And More

So, why is it that we have such a narrow viewpoint when we see men and women interacting? Dr Tharoor and Supriya Sule are elected members of the house, present in the house in a professional capacity, the house is engaged in a serious topic plaguing the world, then why would we need to make unnecessary conjectures about two leaders interacting in the parliament? 

Why are we following such stifling gender codes even in this day and age? Isn’t it time for us to introspect?

We need to free conversations, be it for work or leisure from constraints of gender and stereotypes. A man and a woman can interact in a professional capacity, they can be friends, they can be rivals, and they can also be merely people interested in the same set of things. It shouldn’t mean that something is brewing between them or that there is a “romantic” angle to their interaction.

The views expressed are the author’s own.