Today was a really bad day for me.
I was walking back home from work. I reach a cross roads, one corner of which is also a bus stop. As is very common in Bangalore and I am sure in most other places in India, the foot path is blocked by vehicles, construction materials, street side shops, or what men make to be as open urinals. So I am walking on the side of the road and a bus reaches the bus stop... I move further in on to the foot path where a man is beginning to walk in the opposite direction. I try to move to make space for both of us to walk without hitting each other... he uses the proximity to extend his elbows and try to hit my breasts. Since I am used to such attacks, I was observing him carefully and as soon I see the attack coming through, I am prepared and I use both my hands to push him away. He just lowers his eyes and head and walks away. Obviously I am totally mad. Not wanting to get home in such a terrible mood, I walk up to the nearest juice shop to drink my favourite Butter Fruit Milk shake... which is back in the shop after a hiatus of about 3 months.
I try and forget the incident and continue walking home. In one corner near a park, there is a milk store and a lot of vehicles are trying to take a left and I had to cross the road. I patiently wait at the corner, letting them all go by before I cross the road. The last of those vehicle had these two boys who were on a motorbike and had the whole huge road to take a wide turn. But no, they get as close to the corner as possible and again the pillion rider extends his hand to grab/hit etc towards my chest. Yet again I gauge it, move back before he gets any closer. I turn back and give him a stare and all I get in return is a sheepish smile.
I move on as we all have to... And one street away from home, there is this guy walking in the opposite direction and towards me, as soon as he sees me, he opens his flap and displays his 'thing' for my benefit. I ignore and walk on past him. At this point I feel like he has turned and is following me. I was sure I was mistaken but I turn back to check and sure enough he was right there walking two steps behind me. At this point I freaked out a little. I start walking faster and try thinking hard on what my options would be if this guy continues to get more aggressive. Unfortunately there was no one home and I couldn't have outrun him anyways. I was counting on the fact that being a residential area, if I shouted for help a few people would come out and actually help. Luckily after a while, I could no longer hear his steps behind me and I reached home.
This has got to be a record of some sorts... in my life at least. Three separate instances of sexual harassment in 15 minutes. All this at what is peak time 7 PM where most roads are crowded. This at what is an area of old Bangalore filled with 'respectable' residents and shop keepers who have lived here for a long time. This in a city like Bangalore that claims to be safe for women.
I cannot anymore forget or get out of my bad mood. I cannot anymore not be angry. But be angry at who? Have hope on what? A friend of mine always asks me to look at the silver lining every time I don't like something. I am trying hard to find one here...
I guess there had to be something drastic like this that would make me write again after a long long gap. May be writing will help coz I do not want to go to sleep hating the whole world.
Time: 7 pm
Age at time of experience: 27
Current age: 27
experienced Anger, insult, humiliation, loss of hope
Posted 26th May 2008