This is set in 1950's when my mom was a teenager.

My grandpa was an engineer and he was traveling all over India, with my grandma, she was cooking and making babies with him. I have a total of 8 aunts and uncles. My mom and my first uncle were left behind with my great-grandma in Chennai for education. There were few cousins around and they all were living together in the old-fashioned house.

There were 4 girls including my mom, who were learning tailoring one of the must-have skills for a girl back in those days.

Everyday they will sit in the front yard of the house and learn to sew.

There was a cyclist who used to go up and down to check out these young beauties, whistle and all. After a week or so he got a nerve to stop his cycle in front of the yard and show these girls his private part...long enough for these girls to look. His way of showing off his manliness, I suppose. These girls obviously embarrassed and humiliated in a way, went running inside and told my great grandma what had happened.

So the next day, great grand ma had a trick up her sleeve. My great grandma too sat with these girls. The guy came, and parked his cycle and lifted to show...and the grandma yelled to one of these girls, "Bring the Hand Pounder, then he will have something to show, when I squish them!" The girls all shocked, surprised and giggled and one actually got to up to get the pounder!

That guy was never seen again there.

(Pounder, I think I am calling it what they use to make spice powder, which is about 3 feet tall, they pound the spices).

We have been told this story and other anecdotes million times by my mom, grandma, aunts and cousins. My mom has stories of eve teasing in early 1960's when she was going to college. They are fun to listen too. It is a way of educating us, to be aware of undesired behavior by men. The thing is nothing has changed from 1950s. Whenever I see a pervert flashing, I can't help remembering the pounder...

And the only solution is to stand up, if not get help.

Well, with all these insights too, I have been 'blank' in a crisis situation, too humiliated to raise my voice. I get all shaky and tears flow. All I could do is mumble an 'ass&*$#" and move on. I think only once I have yelled back at a guy...who said some nasty thing or brushed or touched or pinched. I used to fantasize about slapping a rogue though.

Growing up with anecdotes (posted in sulekha.

Posted 8th March 2007