The social media feeds have been alarmingly inundated with the hashtag #MeToo as more women recounted their alleged accounts of sexual harassment and assault in workplaces. The latest instance is that of a former newspaper staffer, who accused film actor Piyush Mishra of inappropriate behaviour during a party in 2004. Mishra, however, has apologised to the lady, saying he was probably a "few drinks down" and felt sorry if he made her "uncomfortable".
The former journalist, named Ketki Joshi, took to her Facebook account and narrated her ordeal of being sexually harassed at a party where Mishra was the main guest in 2014
"In 2014, in a private party organized by my friends, he was the main guest. I was a fan of his work and was elated to listen to him so closely. He saw me standing in a corner of the terrace, listening to him and asked my name and what I did. Then, he asked me to come n sit next to him. I did, it was my fan moment. I praised him for his work and said I was a fan. He then started light flirting in front of approximately 20-25 people. Sang a song looking right into my eyes," Joshi said.
"Everything was pleasant till then. I took it as a harmless flirting. He was drinking all through the party and was too drunk by the time of wrap up. Everyone was leaving. I came with a close friend, so I was supposed to go back home with him. I was waiting for my friend to get free so we can head home. He was sitting in a chair and as soon as I passed near him, he grabbed my hand and started rubbing his hands against mine," the 540-word-long Facebook post read.
"I pleaded to the host with my eyes to do something. She understood and told, "Ketki, come and help me bring the things from the terrace." I quickly took away my hand and went to the terrace to bring things to the kitchen. Unfortunately, he was sitting between the kitchen and the terrace of the penthouse. As I was making another round to terrace, he again grabbed my hand and started rubbing it. I stood there waiting for someone to come n take him to his car. He suddenly stood up and took a step towards me. I sensed he was coming to hug me or grope me. I told in an authoritative raised voice, "Aap please baith jaaiye"," Ketki went on to claim further.
"The others listened to it and quickly came there and took me away. I didn't make much fuss about it because he was a celebrity guest in someone's home and I didn't want to be ungrateful to the hosts who graciously invited me. I am not putting out names or location of the incident, except Piyush Mishra, is because I don't want to drag them unnecessarily in this. They did what they could to help me out and I am thankful to them. He was drunk but he had all the intentions of coming close to me since he set his eyes on me," she added.
"I am putting this because he might have done this to other women in absence of anyone else. I want to give them the courage to speak up. I don't care if he files a defamation case against me for this. If it needs to be said, I must say it," Joshi asserted.
Ketki, however, is not ready to speak to the media about it as of now and said she will contact media persons if she wants to. "I have said whatever I want to in this post. I don't want to share anything beyond that. Kindly respect my privacy," she urged.
Responding to the allegations, levelled by former journalist Ketki Joshi, Mishra said, “I do not remember the stated incident as I was probably a few drinks down. But nevertheless, I would like to extend my apology for making the lady uncomfortable either with my words or actions".