Numerous are the times when one has had to deal with
lewd behaviour from men. On occasion, you are caught
unawares and can't do anything; at other times you

One such occasion was at a bus stand. As I walked
past a group of boys, I heard them say something about
looking "sexy." On the spur of the moment, I just
turned around and went back to the group and asked who
had said it. Each one kept passing the buck, as I
kept up a tirade of "Don't you have mothers and
sisters at home," type of questions. Finally, they
apologised and I walked away, a little shaken from the
effort but nevertheless happy that I had finally

On another occasion, in a BMTC bus, a chap with a long
caste mark on his forehead kept falling on me each
time the bus jerked. At first, I gave him the benefit
of the doubt until I realised that the bus was quite
empty and there was ample place for him to stand
elsewhere. Once I was sure of this, I asked the guy
to stand elsewhere. He ignored me and continued until
I raised my voice a little louder so that others in
the bus could hear. When this happened, he moved away
telling me something about "imagining things" and
"unnecessarily troubling decent people". When the bus
reached its final stop, I went up to him and told him
that had he been a decent guy, he would not have come
to stand in the ladies' section in the first place.
For good measure I added, "There is no point in
leaving your house after saying a prayer and applying
'vibhuti' all over your forehead if this is how you
are going to behave on your journey!" He had the
grace to look ashamed and I felt a sense of
satisfaction despite knowing that my comment may have
bordered on the personal.

On several occasions when walking down lonely roads in
the day or at dusk, there have been two and four
wheelers with men at the wheel who have stopped their
vehicles and waited for me to catch up. At times like
this, I make an exaggerated gesture of opening my
purse, taking out pen and paper and then very
deliberately writing down the registration number of
the parked vehicle. The moment the owner realises
what I am up to, he revs up his engine and is off like
a shot! I owe this method of "tackling" to my spouse
who gave me this brilliant idea. I have shared it
with many.

I have also come to the rescue of harassed women/girls
in buses and other public spaces by loudly asking the
guys what they were up to. My experience is that when
you question such behaviour loudly in a public area,
the person is almost always shamed and invariably
tries to run away.

Women should just have the courage to speak up. Those
who harass normally presume that there will be no
opposition or protest.

Keep up the good fight.

Posted 6th March 2007