I am Noopur Raval. I have two instances where i was able to fight back. I still wonder why on the other occasions i was silent.

I was 8 years old. Right next to my house, another house was being built. A watchman had been hired for it. A friend of mine who was 11 used to come to my place to play. We both decided to go to the construction place to play since there was a lot of sand there. We were trying to climb on to a wall and jump from there. We had both worn frocks till knees. It was afternoon. The watchman returned and saw us playing. So we started to go for the fear that he might scold us. But he said it was okay for us to play. He also joined telling us that he wanted to play. We took it as a joke and returned to our play. Then he came and held my friend by her waist and slid his other hand to her thigh. She said she wanted to play alone but he wouldn't listen. So she was bearing up with "An uncle who was overfriendly and overhelpful". After "helping her climb the wall" he offered to help me. Out of sheer stubbornness and instinct i said no and ran to my house. I told my mom that there was a man who was holding us and pulling us and not letting us play. My mom understood what he was upto and ran along. By the time we came, my friend was sitting there crying and the man had vanished.She told us that he slapped her for letting me run home and he also ran away. We immediately called her mom and our neighbors and went looking for him. He was not the real watchman. We don't know where he went. All we remember is that evening and its horrible experience.

A year ago i used to study in Ahmedabad in Mount Carmel School. In the evening i used to go for French classes and return by a city bus. One day i got my results

of the french exam. I stood first and i was very happy. So i was generally smiling to myself and without much attention to who was around, i boarded a bus. It was around 6 in the evening and it was not dark as yet. i sat on a seat near the door. Suddenly after 5 minutes i realised that there was a man of around 20 who was staring at me. It is quite common to experience such thing so i didnt pay much attention but he gradually slid into a seat near mine. The bus being empty in the rear part, no one noticed him. I gave him real glaring looks and tried to show him i was getting annoyed. He had this sick long thumb nail and kept on flashing it. The picture is still fresh in my mind. I endured this drama for some 15 minutes and resolved to slap him before i got down. But he happened to get off at a stand before mine. I saw the opportunity going away and so i got up along with him. He was ahead of me in the line. I caught him by the collar. My heart was beating so fast as if caught somewhere in my throat. He turned and i slapped him. Then i don't know how but words came out of my mouth saying the usual stuff, " What on earth do you think i am? How can you treat me as an object like this? You think i am weak or something?" But to my horror he retorted by trying to hit me. That long nail of his brushed my neck and left a mark. Fortunately i wasn't hurt. Meanwhile, only one old gentleman stood up and pushed the guy away from me.He started yelling at him and supported me. But all others just sat there, some smiling, some muttering but no one really bothered. The conductor threw him off the bus literally. We carried on. That moment i was extremely happy and satisfied with myself but the moment i got off, i was haunted by the fear that if i met that chap again somewhere i wouldn't know how to deal with him the next day. This was probable because he had gotten off just one stand ahead of me. I changed my route for a few days. I never saw him again. 

Posted 15th May 2008