I am 25 years old and have been born and brought up in Mumbai. I have experienced various different forms of ‘eve teasing’ throughout childhood, when I had not clue what was being done to me, and through adolescence, and later, womanhood where I felt pure anger and sometimes, helplessness. Like scores of other women like me in India, it’s not something that I am particularly fond of and may have even been a better person without these horrible memories. But the good part is I have learnt certain tactics to minimize risk from such occurrences. Most times, it works for me, it may not for others. Inspite of my ‘experience’, it still scares the shit out of me every time I’m confronted with one more of these ‘eve-teasing’ incidents.
There are several instances where I have taken action against molestation, groping, name calling, staring, and leering etc against me and my friends.
One time 2 female friends and I were walking through the crowded gullies of Bhendi Bazaar. This was at about 7:30 pm and all of us were in jeans and t-shirts. We were about 19 yrs old then. A guy on a cycle suddenly came past us and brushed by a friend. It hurt her as he pushed against her chest pretty hard. We passed it off as an accident. It was a crowded street anyway. A minute later, the guy came back and brushed against my arm. By this age, my reflexes were pretty sharp and I pushed him with my elbow to prevent contact with my chest. By now I knew it was not a mistake. This time I decided to take action if he comes once again.
The third time, he tried brushing his hand past my chest again, when I caught him by the collar and took off his cap. I had managed to get him off his cycle and make him lose balance by now. His reaction totally freaked me out. He hit me hard on my nose. Although my nose didn’t break, it hurt like crazy. The glasses I was wearing bent under the pressure. The glass was shattered pretty badly and I was thankful nothing went in my eye. Ofcourse he had begun to abuse by this time. He was about to hit me a second time when I kicked him hard on the shin. I was trying really really hard to aim for his crotch. I just wasn’t positioned well enough.
All this while my 2 female friends were mute spectators. They didn’t help me nor did they call for any. The guy was pretty much livid by now and was about to strike me again when a man walking nearby shouted ‘aye…ladki log ko chhedta hai?’ and that was my cue to handover. Suddenly a mob of people pounced on the guy and started hitting him. I ran from the place shivering out of anger and pain.
Another time I was traveling by local bus. It was fairly empty. There was a girl by the window in the double-seat in front of me. There was nobody sitting next to her. She was wearing a loose salwar kurta and dupatta. Later, a man, easily about 55-60 yrs old, came and sat next to her. I felt rightaway that he was sitting way too close. The girl cringed and moved further in toward the window. The guy moved in even more. I felt strange and disgusted. But I was unsure whether I should step in.
A moment later he nudged even closer to her. His elbow was almost into the side of her breast now. I bent forward and asked the man ‘itni nazdeek kyun baith rahey ho aap?’ and he said ‘haan? Kya?’. I repeated ‘Is ladki ke itni nazdeek kyun baith rahey ho?’ and then to the girl ‘is he with you?’ She replied in the negative.
The guy by this time had the ‘this is none of your business’ kind of look on his face. I knew I was not getting thru to him. I then said ‘please wahan woh khaali seat hai na, udhar please baith jayein. Poori bus khaali hai. Aapko bas yehi seat mili kya baithne ke liye??’. The whole bus was looking at the scene now including the conductor. He looked around, and then meekly got up and sat somewhere else. The girl turned around and thanked me. I asked her to revolt the next time and not toleratesuch BS. It pissed me off that she took it all this while.
Another time I was waiting at a bus stop when I noticed a man staring at me. I was wearing a loose shirt and jeans. I knew I should be wary of him and avoided eye contact. He got on the same bus as me and was clearly making an effort to be as physically close to me as possible. I managed to avoid contact till I got into the bus. There was no seat so I was standing, when he suddenly came and stood very close to me. I moved a little away. The next moment from the side of my vision, I could see fingers reaching toward my breast. I grabbed his hand hard and twisted it as hard as I could. He let go with force and was clearly scared. He had a long beard and I pulled it as hard as I could. The whole bus had noticed by now and the conductor was shouting now.
The bus was in full speed by now. The guy got so scared that he ran toward the exit and got off the running bus! I looked back and hoped a car would run over his peanut sized penis and crush his balls. It didn’t… he only fell really badly.
For all the times I did something about eve teasing / molestation with me or others, I regret all the times I didn’t.
Time: evening and day
Age at the time of experience: 19/20 years
Current Age: 25 years
Sabera experienced :Anger, disgust, triumph, pride
Posted 15th August 2008