Ankita Mishra, an emerging artist based in New Jersey, recently took to social media to share a rather uncommon experience.
A month ago, while she was out with her friends, Ankita entered a strangely decorated VIP washroom inside House of Yes, a nightclub in in Bushwick, New York.
Why is it being referred to as “strangely decorated” you ask?
Well, the walls of the bathroom were papered with bejewelled images of Hindu Gods like Ganesha, Saraswati, Kali, and Shiva! To Mishra, keeping quiet about it did not feel like the right thing to do. She picked up her phone and sent a strongly worded letter to the venue’s official email.
"I was not proud on Saturday night. I was there with a group that had ordered a bottle service table to the side of the bar and because of the high price they were paying, I had the privilege of accessing the private bathroom behind the DJ booth by the stage. You know the one. At first when I reached for toilet paper from the dispenser, it did not register that I was looking at Mahadev. Slowly I raised my eyes to take in the room and noticed all of them– Ganesha, Saraswati, Brahma, Shiva, Radha and Krishna, Lakshmi, and inexplicably right above the toilet, Kali. I was inside a temple but it was all wrong– I was wearing shoes, I was peeing." - Ankita Mishra, as quoted in browngirl
The cultural insensitivity immediately led Ankita to voice her opinions.
"I am going to go home to my parents house in November to celebrate Diwali, a holiday commemorating each deity featured in your bathroom. This is an active religion, practiced today. My true desire is to see the bathroom taken down. My parents would not have had the courage to stand up for what is right, but I as their daughter, do. Your mission statement is one that touts inclusivity, positivity and safety. Please don’t make me lose faith in the ability we all have to right some wrongs and truly hear each other out." - Ankita Mishra, as quoted in browngirl
Then, something unexpected happened. The venue responded to her mail.
" I am fully responsible for making the tone-deaf and completely ignorant decor choice. I am sorry for not taking the time to fully understand and research the deep history of the culture I was inspired by before using it to decorate. I feel awful that you had to experience this type of cultural disrespect at House of Yes of all places.I hear you loud and clear and the tone-deaf appropriative/offensive bathroom will be dismantled and redesigned ASAP. " - Kae Burke, as quoted in browngirl
Ankita had managed to break her silence and be heard.
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