It used to take me an hour and a half to commute from my home in Mangalore to my college in Udupi District. That usually meant traveling in buses bursting with students, tourists and locals, with barely any space to breathe. Finding a place to sit was very rare, a luxury during peak hours. It was on one such evening when I was returning home very exhausted, that I sighed with relief when I got a vacated seat.

Next to me was a decent-looking man who I assumed to be in his early 40s. He kept talking loudly on his mobile phone to a subordinate to make it evident that he was someone very important in his company. After hanging up, he kept glancing at me furtively and then started fidgeting with his mobile phone. I was completely put off by his attitude and kept my gaze outside the window and switched on my iPod to shut him off. The man was not only sly and sneaky but to my disgust was an attention-seeking psycho too. He asked me from which place I was and I didn’t deem it necessary to answer him and so I continued looking outside the window. He pretended to be fast asleep and kept falling on me every time the bus swerved or halted. Initially I gave it a margin, assuming that it was by accident. But when he started being ‘accidental’ with his hands falling carelessly on my knees and his head, which kept hitting my shoulder every now and then, I decided it was time the pervert deserved a piece of my mind. I tapped his shoulder firmly with someone’s ruler and woke him up from his fake slumber. He stared at me in mock puzzlement and I asked him so loudly that everybody in the bus sat up and took notice- ‘Nimma kai nimma hatthira ittkolthiro illandre muridu kodbeko?’ (which means ‘Do you prefer keeping your hands to yourself or would you rather have them broken?’) There was an awkward silence as 50 pairs of eyes of the passengers in the bus stared at the man with disgust. He gulped and managed to muster up a measly ‘Sorry Madam’. Before the conductor arrived to inspect the ruckus, he slinked away and sat at a safe distance from me. That day I was so hopping mad that a man could behave so cheaply whenever he had an opportunity. At the same time I was glad I didn’t let him off the hook so easily. Too bad he tried to mess with the wrong girl- maybe he didn’t know chance pe dance sickos are always made to pay up!

Location: Mangalore
Age at the time of experience: 20
Current age: 22
Experienced disgust.

Posted 26th May 2008