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This is to address a recent accusation of sexual misconduct leveled against me by Anuja Jaiman.

At the
outset I want to make it clear that I strongly support the #MeToo movement and believe that voices of
survivors, and in particular women, need to be heard and their accounts believed. I hold myself to the
same standards.

Having said that, when a certain version of facts have been put out in the public domain concerning me,
I do need to respond.

My book was launched on 8th September in Delhi. I had invited a number of friends to dinner after the
book launch. I invited some more people from the launch to come for dinner and Anuja was one of
them. After dinner about 10 of my friends accompanied me home at about 2 am for a spontaneous
gathering of friends. Anuja was among the people who came home. Of the several women in the group,
there were at least 2 who Anuja knows. Anuja was fairly emotional that night – her cat had been killed
some time back. The last friend (who is among the two) left at 4 am, by which time we had all had a
significant amount to drink. Before the last friend left, Anuja had thrown up in my kitchen and the friend
had helped me clean up. This friend asked Anuja what she wanted to do at that point and Anuja said
that she wanted to sleep it off in my apartment and then go home. I offered Anuja a clean T shirt but she
declined. I asked the friend if she wanted to stay as well but she preferred to go home. Anuja meanwhile
had passed out on my bed. I live in a one bedroom apartment. I went into my room, sat down on the
bed, stroked her hair and asked her if she was alright. She said no. Since she had held me and cried a lot
that night on account of losing her cat and I had consoled her, at this point, I asked if I could hug her and
she said yes. Up until then I was sitting on her side of the bed. Thereafter I lay down and cuddled her.
The contact was physical and suggestive. However, after a few minutes she mumbled something to the
effect that she had a boyfriend. I immediately stopped. Not because she “belonged” to another man but
because I interpreted that statement as a No.

I lay on my side. After about 10 minutes she mumbled something again and I reached over to her. I
hugged her again - once. In a bit she repeated her statement of having a boyfriend. Again I stopped.
After this I got up and sat on the other side of the bed and stayed awake until she woke up as I wanted
her to sleep undisturbed. The door was partially open and remained so throughout. My house help
came in about 8 am and set about his chores. When Anuja woke up I asked if she wanted tea/ breakfast.
She asked for tea and toast, which my house help prepared. Thereafter we had breakfast during which
she said that she didn’t know I had the hots for her. I told her that when she said she had a boyfriend I
stopped. After some time she called a cab and left, hugging me on the way out and telling me to not get
all weird about this. I messaged her after sometime, asking her if she was okay. The screenshot of her
and my whatsapp conversations over the 9th to the 13th is below:
As is evident from the messages above, I repeatedly asked to speak to her but she refused, making it
clear that her refusal to talk to me was not in relation to the incident but for a variety of other unrelated
reasons. She asked for time and in my last message on the 13th of September, I told her to take her time.
However, since one of her messages had used the word “queasy” to describe how she felt, it was
weighing heavily on my mind and I wanted to apologise. I was very disturbed by the fact that a woman
friend stayed the night at my house in a drunken state and felt uncomfortable or “queasy” because of
my conduct. Since she was not responding to my direct effort to speak, I reached out to two close
women friends of hers who are also friends of mine, came clean about what happened and requested
their intervention to get me to talk to her and also let her know that I was sorry. These friends met her
(one of them on more than one occasion) and told her how I felt and why I was trying to reach her. She
told both of them clearly that she did not feel unsafe or threatened that night but felt uncomfortable.
She, however, added that she needed time to speak to me because she was in the midst of a messy
situation at home, etc. These friends asked me to respect her need for time and space and not try to
communicate with her.

In her first post on Twitter, on 5th October Anuja confirmed that she did not feel threatened but
uncomfortable. The narrative has, grown over time, so much so that the word that she uses in her post
today is ‘violent’ which is not only far from what our brief encounter and my behavior can be
categorised as, but is also known to her to be untrue.

Even before she identified my name on Twitter, I drafted the email below, to send to her yesterday
which I refrained from sending on the advice of the same common friends who felt that she should not
be disturbed before her session at a lit fest. I saved the email in my drafts to send it out Sunday night.
The screenshot with a time stamp is below:

Despite my own contrary personal knowledge about Anuja’s claim as to the repeated nature of my
reaching out to hug or touch her (8 times, allegedly), I will stop for a moment to reflect on the facts as
they have been narrated by her and use this public statement to tell her,

I believe you, Anuja. I am sorry I made you uncomfortable. Nobody, not one of my friends has
undermined your feelings in their interaction with you – they only tried to tell you I was sorry when you
wouldn’t let me say so myself. I repeat what I wrote in my email to you yesterday, I am unconditionally
sorry.

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