Trust me, when you act to become an Action hero, you look like a heroine on a bollywood locale. Also take my word: when in this country you are being sexually harassed and want to fight back, NO ONE will ever help. So it is you who needs to decide and act or else sit back and be a source of sadistic sexual pleasure to an unknown bastard. Me decides to revert most of the times.

Today is International Women's Day, and as promised, I have my Action Hero story to narrate.


I was traveling in a state transport bus from Sonipat to Delhi. A nodding uncle on my next seat decided to use my shoulder to lean on, every time the driver decided to break. Occasionally I wud feel his arm trying to rest on me on all the wrong places. Any smart woman can identify a ‘touch’. I just pumped up my strength and waited for the next jerk, “thud” went the brake and there went the uncle’s head on my shoulder. I was all set and there I went “uncle mein yahaan aapko sulane ke liye nahi baithi hoon” (I am no sitting here to make you sleep). Now this appears to be a normal story…lemme bring in the spice.

The uncle, too embarrassed by my high-pitch complaint, decided to revert in the same tone “ek to itni der se haath peir maar rahi ho, ab chilla ke neend kharaab kar di”(After repeatedly trying to touch me, why have you now disturbed my sleep with your scream). Now that was a little too much to bear. I took a deep breath to think and plan and act: I called up 100, informed the cops and requested them to help me when I reach ISBT. All sounds in the bus died out and what followed were murmurs and turning heads. I looked at the uncle who had started panting as he heard me on the mobile, maybe wishing that it just turns out to be an empty threat…it wasn’t. The moment the bus stopped at ISBT, two cops who had just then emerged from a PCR gypsy got into the bus and called my name. I didn’t have to say much, the cops were decent and pulled the guy out from the bus, signaled me to follow.

The uncle was too shocked to say, the only words that I cud hear were “didi kya baat ho gayi”. He was all red in face, partly with the knock and rest with embarrassment. Picture me standing there, right in the middle of some hundred people, many trying to just get a glimpse of the Beauty and the Beast. Some were even trying to play hero: “arey didi jaane do na inko, achhi family se lagte hain” (let him go, he looks to be from a decent family). Delhi Police was at its best that day, the cops were shooing away the tamasha loving janta. This was a situation hard enough on the strength that a woman usually wears, I don’t know where that extra dose came from and how I just didn’t break down. An FRI would have become tedious, so I decided to let the uncle go. The cops did make him touch my feet and say sorry…another deeply embarrassing situation. The crowd sure was making me feel naked, but I am happy I was able to fight out and stand tall. Did i inspire the women folk (I maintain that I am not a fanatic feminist). Hey prowling guys (am I sounding feminist?) watch out...the next Action Hero may just hit you on the face.

Posted 22nd March 2007