I gritted my teeth, thinking of the many times, I had to be disgusted in the crowded
KSRTC buses enroute Coimbatore to Kerala, as I went for classes, as perverted sons-of-guns brushed, touched, nudged or felt whatever area of skin available closest to them
About the many times, I have killed their intentions with fiery stares. Some girls leave an impression on guys. Stare hard enough; they know if they mess up with the lass, she won’t suffer in silence.
Then my thoughts lingered on my PG buss-mate who sat with a funny look on her face in the aisle seat of a totally uncrowded bus with just one guy standing next to the conductor behind our seat. I prattled mindlessly about R.P.R professor and the sadistic Nalini madam, not grasping her absent silence. Suddenly it stuck me, this loner behind our seats.
I glared and asked "Is he?” She stifled a sob and said, "Yes yaa, from the time we sat here. I thought he will go, he is not."
I turned to the conductor who sat just behind us and shouted almost," Ask this dumbo to take a stupid back seat, he’s bothering my friend". This puny bozo just got down at the very next stop, I am sure to date his tickets was for a longer trip. But I pity Smitha for not reacting and spending a dull 45 mins straight in silent denial.
Another time, a freaks fingers almost broke from the load of thud from my 2000 page thick F.E.A text as he tried to inconspicuously touch my nape while holding the handle bar of the seat. (I really hope he had to see a doctor to mend his fingers….Hhmmmph!). He too got down in an incomplete transit.
The only time, I hassled a senior citizen runs to my mind. It was again in a public line bus in Chennai traveling somewhere from Nungambakkam to TNagar. I still wonder what got into me that day, whether I would still do things like that. I was tired of being tensed every time; I had to get into buses trying to be free of all the numerous insinuations.
I always move miles away from suspicious looking gentlemen. Yet some one pinched my legs, through the side slits of my churidhar. I do not know what snapped within, but somehow when you are really outraged and terribly angry, lithe bodies assume inhuman strength. I grabbed the pinching hand with my one hand, turned and slapped his face with the other, despite carrying a file and a backpack myself. In front of a crowded bus in full view of PUBLIC.
Only after slapping, I saw the freaks face. He must have been above 60, bald with little sweet white hair remnants and looked like a real sweet Grandpa with snow-white moustache and black rimmed specs. Had his hand not been in mine still, I would have panicked about hitting an old sweet man. Reality hit me too hard. I shouted "Stupid" on his face and got down in my bus stop.
Every single time, I travel alone in public, in taxis, buses, trains, planes, I still feel
drained by stress, as to this time what will the trespass be, with slimy smiles, nauseating passes, or body revolting touches. And mind you, I am no Aishwarya Rai, just another ordinary pretty face, nothing significant. I rarely wear anything other than oversized sleeve-full churidhars (pun intended…in lieu with Nargis’ hillarious blouseless sleeves) with 3 meters long duppattas.
Many times, my tension was flooded with relief, as mostly its bogus bomb scares. But never-the-less it makes me go bonkers. I shudder to think of greater victims.
I have lost count of the number of times, I pretend I don’t know the language the taxi driver or auto driver speaks. The look of DUMB CHICKS who can’t even tell a pass from a real joke. Yeah! Yeah! The greasy pudgy language of sickening sex.
And every single time, I dare to talk to my friends, men and women, I get at least one instance of victimization, small or large on streets, in buses, in malls, in taxis...etc.
I am yet to come across one female friend, who does not have at least one tale to tell.
Which means, if 99% women complain, then 90% of the men are involved in this I-don’t-know-what-name-to-give-game? I perceive the sweeping calculation may not be all too correct, but it’s not all too wrong too...
And every single male friend I talk to, kind off shrugs shoulders, they do not know who the funny minded people are. I wonder, it really can not be the same 10% attacking the 99%.
It got to be a higher proportion and probability. And I am not accusing anyone.
Sigh, I guess, the only way out, is to tell them, let them know, that we are not available for abuse. Even if we do not look all that dangerous, we CAN be. (I know, I know, the word Dangerous has double meaning)
* Stares shoos off a handful
* Hit the rest with bags, umbrellas, safety pins, files, whatever available. The safety pin is a mighty tool and fun too, to watch them bear and squirm in silence.
* Learn Karate, Kungfu, Martial arts, Kalaripayattu, whatever to defend yourself.
* DO ANYTHING, BUT DONT JUST TAKE IT.
Posted 22nd March 2007 by J
"One of the first times I felt empowered this way was while walking down a crowded Brigade Road with my parents in 2003. A man pinched me and started walking away. Totally unrehearsed, I turned and grabbed his collar. Just a few minutes later - yes, fair Bangalore has its fair share of roadside romeos who all seem to be on this road - there came along another guy. I communicated some pretty unflattering things to him too. But what I remember most is being drunk on the knowledge, for hours after, that I had done something. The exhilaration heightened since this had happened in front of my parents, who had possibly never before seen - whom I had possibly never before allowed to see - me as a sexual being - being harassed, giving it back."
Posted 22nd March 2007