Have you ever been in a situation where you and another person are
physically present at the same place at the same time, but he is fine while you
feel hunted and stalked ... ?!?!
The other day, I found a man following and trying to stand very close, under
the pretext of examining items on display at a store. There was tons of space
so knowing what was coming next, i wandered away each time he came too close
for comfort. After 10-15 min of "dodge-the-creep", I got fedup and hoping he
would go away on seeing me with another man, I returned to stand next to AP who
was busy enjoying the antics of a kid playing with a weighing machine.
Even so the creep was audacious enough to saunter next to us (near me actually)
and listen in to our conversation. Irritated, i strode up to the weighing
machine, banged my fist on it and looking at AP said, "Yeh dhai kilo ka haath
jabde se connect hoga toh bahut darrd hoga kya? - Will it hurt a lot if this
2.5 kg fist connected to a jaw?"
Prone to exaggerate quite well, AP went on about how i broke his shoulder
the other day, hand-two months ago, blah, blah.... I didnt choose to correct
him that the last time he had fractured his hand was as a kid, rather, i
enjoyed his exaggerated claims as the creep standing next to him was putting as
much distance between us as possible. I don't find anything wrong in
re-claiming my private space. On our way home I told him the whole story. So
even if two people are physically present, each one is poles apart in terms of
what we experience.
Back in Bombay, M and me were climbing down the stairs to the platform one
day, when a train pulled in at the station. A wave of men rushed up the stairs
from the arriving train. Now overcrowded places are perfect spots for men to
misbehave and blame it on the crowds. Usually i use a blocking technique we had
learnt in karate but yet this creep got an opportunity. In a flash i turned
after him and wove my way up the stairs (i was going down) through the milling
crowds, with one mojri on my feet (the other one having slipped off in the
bustling crowd). After a few hundred yards when few people were around us, i
(barefoot, silent) reached him and was amused to see the shock on his face on
facing me. As he crawled away I turned and the crowd around me had frozen in
time for a moment, then it was life as usual....all this in less than two
If ever a victim musters up the courage to question her attacker, the first
question (accompanied with an insolent leer) will be "batao, maine kya kiya?
(describe what i did?)". Now which woman would want to describe the horrible
creepiness she has been through, just so that the perpetrator can embarass the
victim even more in public... most women i know prefer to curse a few bad words
and walk away, with the assailants laughter or snigger or taunts echoing in her
It would be impossible to pen each incident as i know its not the last and
moreso I didnt experience anything different from what every woman in India
whether she is from a city, town or village has at one time or the other in the
course of her life experienced..... molestation, harassment in public or verbal
taunting. Defined by Indian laws as "eve-teasing", each Indian woman is
expected to tolerate and not retaliate. If a creep thinks he can physically
assault me in public he should be prepared to take a fist to his face peppered
with some very colourful language. In public, most men will not help because
many guys think it happens to other women and never one's own....which is
farthest from the truth.
Try this, ask each woman in your life about her experience and she will have
a story to tell. Most women are embarassed to talk about it and have come to
accept it as a part and parcel of daily life and frankly when one is groped,
pinched, brushed by, verbally abused or commented upon almost on a daily basis,
women tend to get stoic and desensitised to the reality of violation of the
individual's private space in public spaces.
As for taking legal recourse, its an absolute waste of time, money and
energy to approach the police or courts for eve-teasing and harassment
complaints. Absolutely nothing positive will result from that. When I heard of
the blanknoise project (IMHO, they propagate and advocate passive tactics which
very few Indian men will understand) in Bangalore, I thought why does Bangalore
need it ... its more spacious than Bombay (and less crowded) so with space
available men will forget to accidentally bump, grope, brush against women.
Err.. i was/am wrong.