When I saw the blogathon for “Action Heroes” at the Blank Noise Project , I immediately signed up in a moment of (over) enthusiasm.

I had no clue what to write and spent a whole lot of hours trying to remember even the slightest heroic act I had done. Having exhausted my “thinking” quota, I asked a friend of mine for help.

Before I share my story, let me share a little bit about myself. I’ve led the average Indian girl life - very innocent and sheltered protected from most harsh realities by my parents and then my husband - and most of my experiences with heroism are thru reading books or watching movies

But as I was strolling down memory lane with my friend, a long forgotten incident came up to the surface.

Most evenings, when me and my building friends used to go for a walk, we used to pass a group of guys just hanging out , sitting on the building walls and wasting away their time. As soon as we used to get close, they used to start whistling loudly. It was irritating and annoying but we tried to ignore it. Most days, we used to try to walk as fast as possible with our heads down hoping that if we didn’t acknowledge them, they would get fed up at some point eventually and stop troubling us.

But one day, I was in a bad mood - I don’t remember what set it off…I may have fought with my sister or argued with my parents.

As we were walking down the road, we heard the inevitable whistling. I was just so mad I didn’t even think before I said “Don’t you guys know how to talk? Is that why you whistle everytime?” . This took everyone by surprise. My friends started laughing and a passing neighborhood aunty started pontificating about how boys are ruffians and are always ready to harass any girl. As she was talking some of our other neighbors passed by, and of course they got the entire scene by scene replay with commentary from this aunty with fingers pointing at the now embarrased boys.

After that day, the tables had turned . Whenever those boys saw either me or any of my friends they used to put just put their heads down and ignore us.

Luckily for me, even though we were all a bit worried and scared after this incident wondering if the harrasment would increase , it was just a minor episode in our lives with a classic happy filmi ending and the “villians” didn’t bother us again. But unlike most movies, I didn’t need a knight in shining armor to ride to my rescue. I was my own hero and could take care of myself.

Most eve-teasers are just scared cowards who are taken aback when someone shows a bit of resistance. It doesn’t take much to bring a eve teaser down - just simple words can also do it.

It taught me that a problem cannot be solved by simply ignoring it. Ignoring something is also a form of acknowledgment - it is a implicit acceptance of defeat.

If I can be a hero- anybody can. You don’t need to be physically strong or have any special heroic magic powers. Just your voice - speak up - and be a hero !

Posted 21st March 2007 by J