I am now 21 years old.
A citizen of Beautiful Bombay.
I came across the concept of eve teasing when I was around 11 years old. I saw it happen to a friend when I was maybe around 12. All of us were too scared and shaken by the incident, and none of us spoke about it. It was only later that we “children” decided to call the incident what the world calls, “eve-teasing”.
We hated it. We hated the fact that we grew up so soon.
One of the incidents I clearly remember was when I was 18. I was on my way to college. I had some exam that day and I had a writing pad in my hand to which were clipped sheets of paper, which I was studying from. It was a desperate situation I am sure. Who studies while walking on the road?
The street was crowded with office goers, hawkers, vehicles jostling for space. As a voice in my head was memorizing the notes, I heard another voice. I do not remember what the voice was telling me, but I know I heard a few words that I was not “supposed” to hear. I was enraged and I was terrified. I slowed down and made him over take me. He was looking at me from the corner of his eye as he was over taking me. I knew he was guilty of a crime, which I had not noticed until then. He began speeding up. Literally trying to run. However, I did not give up. I continued walking after him. I wanted to ram his head with my writing pad.
But I didn’t.
I just walked.
I let him go.
I don’t know what happened to the voice memorizing answers, but now there was another voice in my head.
I shouldn’t have let him get away with it. I tried to justify saying that I was too scared to function.
I just could not forgive myself.
If I could not stand up for myself, what more could I expect from myself?
I wanted to see him once again. I knew it was impossible, I knew that life does not really give anyone a second chance.
But there is an exception to every rule.
I saw him on the railway platform. He walked behind me doing to another woman what he did to me. I heard the words. I was enraged.
After he finished his daily dose of harassing I guess, he decided to take the train.
He stood at the edge of the platform waiting for the train to arrive among numerous other men. I walked up to him and I asked him in a loud voice to jump off the platform. He looked at me bewildered.
All the men around looked at the two of us.
This person looked around and just went away.
I felt foolish about having waited for so long. I should have done something on the road itself not waited.
But i still feel glad when i think about what i did.
Not necessarily as oppressive or heroic, I know there was something more that I could do and at the right time.
However, pride has replaced shame.
Posted 22nd March 2007