Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Streets, stories, strategies

I had my doubts about blogging this - writing about street harassment. After all, it's as common-place as paan stains, as ubiquitous as spit.... Will my saying 'NO' to harrassment prevent it? How does telling my stories serve any purpose?

But while discussing the Blank Noise Project with a male friend (who has never maaro-ed seeti, never chhedo-fied, never sung lewd songs, never felt up, pinched, grabbed any part of any woman), he told me: "How do you know? Some teenaged boy somewhere reads this and decides not to molest women... you never know." For men like him, I write this.

Some things, you learn to expect, growing up a girl.

You expect to confront harrassment as surely as the sun in May and the fog in a Delhi December.

When you leave the house, an invisible snake of alert suspicion will wind down from your shoulders down your back and become a clenched fist in all public spaces, through all journeys.

How optimistic you're feeling about man-kind, on any given day, determines whether you take a bus home, or just hop into an auto, or a cab, knowing you cannot really afford it. If you really cannot afford an auto some day, you will not take the bus at rush-hour.
You'll let bus after bus after bus go past. Waiting is tiresome. But waiting is easier than bristling.

You didn't always expect to do this, of course. One learns these things, by and by.

I began learning in Bombay. Yes, that delightfully sprawling city that is so kind to its women.
My first lesson was delivered atop the railway bridge at Andheri station when I was 13 years old. My first visit to this city by the sea. The first brush with the overspilling local trains. The first time someone grabbed my 13-year old breast.

After all these years, I cannot forget - his face pudgy, more fair than dark, moustache, white shirt, briefcase in hand, big belly, must have been about 40. Old enough to be my father. I remember he had walked into me - or pretended to - and while I struggled with the shock of what he'd been doing under the guise of walking into me, he calmly walked away... Just a regular uncle-ji hurrying home after a hard day at work.

What did I do?

Nothing. I kept walking, alongside my brother.... My 17-year old brother who might have picked a fight if I'd told him.... What could I have told him?... 

It was too late anyway. The crowds had swallowed all of us so completely.

Some things, you learn to expect (though relief is always unexpected).

Therefore, you will be very pleasantly surprised when a man takes the seat next to you, and actually leaves two inches breathing space between you, instead of pushing so close that the windowpane leaves marks on your forearm.... All the same, old habits die hard, and you will spend the journey with a clenched fist balled up somewhere in your shoulderblades, because, you never know when he'll start acting up, do you?

You will also feel miserable when the well-behaved one gets down two stops before yours - it's too much to expect two well-behaved men sitting next to you on a single trip.

But no matter how much you steel yourself to it, sometimes, you will still get reduced to tears.

Seven years later, again in Bombay, after swearing to travel only in the ladies compartment of the local train, I learnt yet another lesson: some 'ladies' compartments turn into a free-for-all feel-up-jam-session after nine o'clock at night.

Suddenly, there were men's crotches pressing into my face, my knees and my shoulders. I stood up and fought my way to the door. Only to be surrounded by half a dozen men offering to 'get me out safely'. As the train stopped, half a dozen men got on, half a dozen got off. Trapped between them for a few seconds, I lost count of how many hands felt me up.

I cried tears of rage - if only that train hadn't moved away. I wanted badly to drag at least one of them off that train and smash his skull on the nearest railway track.

Some things, you get used to. Like rage.
Your ears will be whispered into, your behind will be touched. Songs will be sung...

You will learn to laugh. Humour is a great self-defence tool.

For instance, when a boy calls out 'good morning, madam' on a busy street crossing, I laugh it off.

When a boy follows me from my office everyday, offering to marry me, I laugh it off.

When silly men accost me on the streets and demand to 'make friendship', refusing to take 'no' for an answer, offer me lifts, I laugh it off.

When somebody calls me 'taazaa malaai', 'mirchi', 'badhiya maal', 'chhammak-chhallo', 'lassun-pyaaz' (yes, even that!), I shake my head and laugh it off.

Over the years, I even learnt to focus on the merits of the songs being sung/whistled, thinking about the musical tastes of the modern roadside romeo, instead of the intent behind the singing or whistling.

But when I am walking home at night and a car full of drunk men slows down, I cannot laugh. I can only seek relief in the other car coming down the road. If that car also turns out to be full of drunk men who also slow down near me... it is hard to keep up a sense of humour all the time.

Five years ago, once again in Bombay, I lost my humour and learnt not to NOT do anything. At Andheri station, again, for the first time, I used violence.

A man asked me 'how much?'.
I tried to walk past quickly.
He asked me a second time. 'How much?'
I took a step forward, then stepped backward, swung around, and threw a punch.
He looked very surprised and asked 'what did I do?'
I didn't stay to explain. That night, my fist was swollen. I'd never seriously hit anyone before.

The next time two times I punched men, it was at railway stations in Bombay. In both instances, I didn't hit out immediately. It was only when they persisted a second or third time, despite my obvious disinterest.

The third time was in Kathmandu, outside a movie hall. The man touched me three times before I finally lost it. He began by protesting - 'I didn't do anything' - and ended by saying 'sorry, sister'.
(Bless his poor sister, if he has one; I wouldn't want to be in her shoes.)

Some things, you learn. Some things are shaken and scolded into you. For example:

When walking, don't think. If you get lost in your own internal world, somebody or the other might misinterpret this as an invitation to grab some piece of you.

You stay alert. Not glaring at every passerby suspiciously can be interpreated as an invitation.

When walking, don't take quieter, narrower lanes which are more picturesque and less polluted. Those are pretty much reserved for the goonda-types and 'eve-teasers' of the city.

When walking past a parked car with the engine idling and man/men sitting inside it, step aside and put at least four feet between you and the car's doors ... don't you read the newspapers?

When lost, don't roll down the car windows all the way while asking for directions. Ask women and chowkidaars for directions, preferably.

Try not to park in basement parkings zone, if alone.

When in public - don't sing, don't smile, don't swing your arms, or your hips. It is better to wear a frown on the streets, along with mouth that looks like it can chew your head off, spewing some rather choice invective, if bothered.

Learn filthy abuse; use it.

When something is lost/stolen, don't go to the police station alone.

If propositioned in a dark, lonely spot, do not slap or insult. In a low, pleasant voice, say you're already engaged. If cornered in a really dark, really lonely spot, give him a fake name, fake phone number.

When accosted by a cop, tell him your dad/grandad/uncle is a senior cop.

If there are less than six people in a bus, don't get on. From Churchgate, at night, don't travel in Ladies first class. From Andheri, early in the morning, don't take the Ladies first class.

Don't hitchhike.

Don't sit alone by the sea for more than ten minutes.

Stop thinking about watching the sun rise over a field, all by yourself.

Stop thinking about long, leafy walks that lead nowhere.

Stop wondering how the streets looks at midnight, after a drizzle.

Stop... I don't know where, if, and how, this will stop. But I hope it does.

There is another aspect to this that I can't help thinking about: it creates a never-ending trap of dependence that many men resent equally.

We women depend - are taught to depend, are left with no option but to depend - on men for our safety and survival.

We can go out, but with 'ghar ke ladke' to take care of us. The brother, husband, father, cousin or boys known to the family will escort us - to a movie, to a mall, to a party. At best, you might be able to manage if you're a big group of girls. But how many times can you walk around as girl-gangs?

We learn, consciously and sub-consciously, that we cannot do anything alone. And if we do, we're going to have wage war every inch of the way.

That lesson is etched in so deep that conceiving of 'life' alone is...

No wonder you need men. No wonder you need marriage. No wonder you cling to the man, because how will you manage alone?


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Anonymous said...

Hey this is amazing...I never thought anyone could put in words all those feelings that probably every girl has, so well.
I think you have spoken the language of every woman in this world...I hope guys read this and do something to change

- Jyoti

Anonymous said...

good effort

Megamind said...

I am numbed into silence. Speechless!

I don't know anything can be written so good...

Anonymous said...

thanks for the great post. It was an eye opener. I am guy driven more by brain than by hormones but I never realized that how bad the girls were being treated and humiliated. The root cause is the society. As kids we are taught history, geography, maths etc in school but the main subject they are missing is "How to be a human being"? If kids are taught to respect opposite sex, how to behave with them although such incidents wont die out completely but they will reduce drastically. Even if schools dont teach this it should be responsibilty of parents instead of telling girls "beware of guys" teach guys to respect gals.
Hopefully with the initiative taken by Annie & ppl from BLANK NOISE PROJECT, the society will evolve into one which treats girls as human beings and not as sex objects.

Until then girls keep your guns ready and shoot anybody who even dares to stare at you.

Once again hats off to Annie and all the ppl commenting on this post.


Anonymous said...

Its not commenting on the post only...Its to implement to save ur friends,wife,sisters and mother. I think each one of us not only ammend ourselves but should also take responsibilty of atleast one person...In this way only the very motive of this post"AWAKENING INDIA" will work.

Aditya mahajan said...

I really hate those miserable morons who harass girls in public, I have never in my life looked a girl in the eye for none of the purpose of mine.
Your post and its comments make me believe that , maybe I m not the only one who thinks like this.
I think slow death should be given to people who dont know how to respect the creature they were born from.
Take my word , all those go to HELL.

Abhinav said...

I'm a man n I'm srry!

Anonymous said...

December 31st 2005 I spent New Years Eve in Mumbai with my husband and was walking from a hotel to a car when I was groped twice by two different groups of men. Once my breast and once my crotch. My husband was by my side so I could not believe that this could have happened. I wonder how many other women were molested in some way just that night! I wonder how many are molested every day. This is one of the few reasons that I am thankful to live in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

I'm ashamed. To be Indian. To be male.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at how much I like to be just out and walking alone in New York. I loved to do the same back home in India too but the incidences quoted in what you wrote bring back more than one memory of some unpleasent event.

Its just sickening how our life as women get controlled by these outside factors like some fuckin cheap assed nutcase on the road. I am angry, very angry. Why do they have the right to hang out and make our lives hell? Because they are men with obnoxious and sick brains? If I carry a gun or a knife and slit every junkies throat who dares to pass a lewd comment or touch me, will I be safer then? Is this what the country has come to?

I plan never to raise my kids back there especially a daughter. i dont want her to be covered head to toe when the temperatures sore high. I dont want her to think of the streets of the country the way I think of them now.

Anonymous said...

I empathize with every statement of urs....it is sad but true.....

at this point i wud also like to bring up the issue of wife/gf bashing which is equally disturbing...
i have known quite a few "WELL EDUCATED" girls being subjected to all this.it is ridiculous that girls are just not take it to be a serious problem.a few words of love mould dem all over again...
i wish we cud do sumthin about this too.

Anonymous said...

HI... this was very touching. I am no saint to say I have never looked with lust upon a woman or never felt a womans body without her consent. But they mostly happened while I was with raging haromones and was muhc younger. I have regretted what i did, but atleast thank god.. Ive not grown into a sex craving monster, looking for sex in every woman, like the guys in these situations seem.

I remember even now, my best friend ,a girl sharing one of her deepest secrets that she was molested by a family member while she was eight years old, and that incident made me almost cry...

I do admire beauty in women, but admiration is certainly different from ogling and appcreciation is much more different than abusing.. Hope most men realise this. Lust is actually in its peak, when you fulfill it with a loved one.


saint nothing! said...

serious stuff.. i was not exactly unaware of it.. but still, good work.. the days ahead i hope will see a much better place for all to live together.. i will do all i can to make sure as many people as possible i know will get to read this and think about it.. its more of a need than anything else now with one half of our population being harrassed, molested, insulted and disrespected.. we cant let this go on.. we cant let them live in fear and anxiety and pain.. its plain injustice and violation of rites..

Anonymous said...

I have to narrate this incident..it's not just women/girls who are travelling et al ALONE who are targetted..
the other day..9 of us women..walked gayly to our car parked on the street behind our college..LSR..a women's institution where we pride ourselves at fighting for our own space..
2 men passed us on a motorbike..using all the words that could be mistaken for describing a scrumptuous meal..they went back and forth..squealing and singing..looking as pleased as punch..we wanted to just get together and throw stones at them..which i realise in retrospect we should have..9 of us argued about whether we should just ignore them and drive away or abuse them..we even contemplated calling the police..then when we challenged them to come closer to us and talk instead of talking shit from the safety of their bike..they ran way..
that wasnt all..
some 5 minutes later..a bunch of kids..literally ..spanning the ages 12-14..went up and down the street on a scooter..singing, hooting and whistling at us..one didnt know whether to laugh or beat them up..its sad that they think that just coz they have a penis they ahve a license to tease and molest every woman..age no bar..
2 of my friends also told us about how a man stopped in front of them on that very street and masturbated..
It was also ironical..that all this should happen right behind a women's college..which should be under stringent police patrol more than other places..
i sometimes wish i could explain the anger, rather the extreme rage, that rushes through me everytime i get felt up, whistled at, or hve a lewd comment passed at me..the anger is accompanied by the intense desire to walk around with a gun..and shoot down every man on the street..better still..castrate them..
I am usually a non-violent person..its just that at times like these..it seems totally justified..

Varun Verma said...

I cant quite imagine what it would be like to be a woman, especially in India.

We indians are absolute hypocrites, we worship gods and godesses, call our wealth- Lakshmi, emphasize on the importance of women as family-builders, but at the same time, do not mind groping a woman's posterior in a bus or a train.

I like to consider myself as a moral person, however, there have been times at parties where I have seen myself lose absolute control under the influence of alcohol, and be very 'touchy' with women. But under no circumstances have I groped someone. I just feel that is very shameful.

I am studying in Canada, and I have seen a multitude of Desis behaving so abominably, that it is absolutely unimaginable. Words and phrases such as "Bachi Phadna" and "Laudi Set Hai" and other completely disgusting things are used as a part of daily lingo amongst my friends. Everyone continues to coerce me into just using women to satisfy myself, basically 'doing them' and leaving them, as that is how the world works. I completely disagree, but at the same time, I cant quite diminish what people are saying. I think part of the reason also is women themselves.

They go to a club, and grind up random guys, and then when somebody gropes, they make an issue about it? Wearing skimpy outfits, (believe me, Canadian Desis are a lot worse then Indian Desis) dancing like absolute whores, consuming drinks that sex-maniacs buy them, and then puking and sitting on their own vomit. IS that not disgraceful?

I goto a club, and just hope that my girlfriend and future wife don't do the same thing when I am not around.

While I do not discount the absolute filth that exhumes the minds of males my age, and especially old men. They should all be beaten up and taught a lesson, not to grope, and to not let their perversion take control of their mind. At the same time, girls, you gota take it easy sometimes. Videos such as the DPS video where the guy caught a girl on tape giving him 'head'? Is that surprising that she allowed him to video-record her? Of course!! Although Sex at 16,17,18,19 is not bad at all, its quite natural, girls, please dont trust random guys. Also, please do keep in mind, that your reputation is everything especially in Indian society.

Thats all I had to say..
But to the blogger of this blog, your comments are very touching, and really, my emotions overwhelmed me for a bit. You have a lot of substance, and of course, are a wonderful, wonderful writer. Keep on bloggin!

Anonymous said...

hey annie-

sudipta_wants_to_talk said...

The one thing that touched me a lot ... was the dependency that women are forced to feel on men ... I really hate that part in our society ... I wish I can buy a whole city to myself and let my girlfriend walk it's streets all by herself in the middle of the night and let her savour and understand what freedom actually means ...till then I feel no woman on earth will ever know what being free means , without the forced dependence on men and till then men will never know what women are actually made of , their true self , I guess , I mean their true satisfied , unbridled self , free of the filthy tensions in life , till then I don't think we(men) will ever have the chance of enjoying free women ... ever ... or ever have a chance of looking at how women would have looked like in the world outside , had they felt safe in it ... I cry when I think what I have missed in this world for the crooked things that infest it and make life often a living hell to most of it's female inhabitants ... BUT I DON'T WANT THEM DEAD EITHER , I JUST WISH THEY GET REFORMED SOMEDAY AND UNDERSTAND WHAT HARM THEY HAD BEEN DOINGTO THIS SOCIETY AS A WHOLE ...

brahmachari107 said...

I apologize for all the ill-treatment given by we men to women

Anonymous said...

I am sure most girls/women in India share your story.

Sexual abuse is not only just an issue for girls/women. I remember when I was a child, my sister and I would be groped and touched not just by strangers but somtimes by people who are part of our extended family/friends/neighbours circle as well. There were incidents when even male children were abused in a similar way. It did not occur to me that I could tell my parents about it. I was sort of scared to even talk about it. I was ashamed and guilty and somehow felt it was my fault.

As I grew older, I fought back. Most people who do this kind of thing are cowards. They'd back down with the first sign of agression on the victim's part. It felt good to finally fight back. I'd hit back or simply pick a fight and bring attention to the pervert.

Now I am older, and a mother of two daughters. I tell them what is appropriate touching and what is inappropriate touching. And I constantly tell them that I am there to listen and protect them if they are ever in this kind of trouble. And if anything of this sort happens, no matter who it is, to always come and tell me. I am watchful over them at public places and during large gatherings.

Parents who have daughters should talk to them about sexual abuse at an early age. They should be aware of whats going on with their kids and should be easily approachable by their kids. As parents they should not place blind trust in others when it comes to their children.
At the same time parents who have sons should teach them to respect girls and women at an early age. They should watch out for inappropriate behaviour in their children and curb it at an early age.

As an adult, if you see abuse taking place, take action. Don't just ignore it and think it's not your business. The same thing could be happening to your child somewhere else. If you get burnt trying to interfere, so what! you only lose face. But if you actually help even one little girl out there, you have made a difference in that girl's life.

KT said...

well I am really speechless at this time. Had to post my comment... but I think I may be able to post a real one after some thinking though... I have to think about it....

Sonia said...

the common emotion all the girls seem to go through is shame, embarrassment. they do not know how to explain. they are too ashamed. so they shut up. just like you and i, and so many others.

Libran Lover said...

Related post that may be of interest: Root Cause of Eve Teasing in India

Anonymous said...

Hi Annie
Although I do not fail to see the reality of your experiences I cannot generalize it to common experiences. Again I agree that a majority of women do share similar perceptions, it is still not a total reality since many don't.
I have been one of the lucky people who as an only child was raised to be independent. Although cars with drunken men do not humor me, I have been fortunate not to be accousted by any.
The piece was moving and I share the same hope as others that we see a change in years to come. HOW?
I don't really know.

uv said...

GAwd.. i feel like cryin now.. all the pain of that 1st has come back to me.. i really wanted to die then..
Though i hav nw my own defence rules towards it, i die so many deaths even now..day after day.. everyday.. though it pains less(or may be i pretend so)..

i'll go thru ur this post again whn i've more time n then give sth more on the defence ideas..

Hats off to u for deciding to write about what all of us dared not discuss!! regards..

uv said...

GAwd.. i feel like cryin now.. all the pain of that 1st has come back to me.. i really wanted to die then..
Though i hav nw my own defence rules towards it, i die so many deaths even now..day after day.. everyday.. though it pains less(or may be i pretend so)..

i'll go thru ur this post again whn i've more time n then give sth more on the defence ideas..

Hats off to u for deciding to write about what all of us dared not discuss!! regards..

Anonymous said...

Powerful expression. Very much indeed.

This is a tragic situation for the city-kids in general.
I am a male, and had my share in the very 2nd month I got introduced to Madras (Chennai) after having been protectively raised in a little southern town. Once I took a stranger's offer for a bike-ride while I was walking towards the bus-stop. He took no time to drag my hands between his legs when the bike was racing on. Too frightened to scream, and too scared to throw fits, I violently held on to that devil's shirt, until he gave up and dropped me off.
I almost passed out on the street side.

BridalBeer said...

I'm now beginning to realize that the Indian woman's need for marriage (at any cost=dorwy; to any one=suitable stranger) probably has strong links to her experience navigating public space.

Anonymous said...

Kudos. Your post speaks volumes of how things need to change. We should start a revolution. Lets give them hell.


siddharthgovila said...

Why are some men better behaved than the others?? Even the others belong to the same society that we live in.

navneet said...

amm.. feeling like am falling short on my vocab.

ppl hav alrdy written so much n so constructively. I still rmmbr how I use to pursue my friends n my sister.

one more suggestion(I know am bad at this.. kya kar sakte hain) U are good at putting things in word ...do giv freelancing a try.. tht way you wud be able to rch out more ppl.

And thanks a lot tht you donn genaralized the behaviour ...thts a relief...I know thr are few bas***ds arnd.. thy may always be.. need not worry you ahv good ppl arnd too.


Since my school days I nvr hesitated to mess up with lads.. Once thy stole few moments frm my friend.. n I dare if thy try it agn with neone whn am arnd.

"If it was meant to Give Up, God wud not have givn it to us"

Anonymous said...

So true !!!

Anonymous said...

so true...
tears wont stop rolling as I recall the first time a man tried to grope me wen i was 15...I think men are anyway pretty much the same evevrywhere....its a universal louse I guess!

Vikas Yadav said...

all that i read here, is will withing anybody's imagination. nothing revleaving is written. We all know very well the injustice faced by women, which in some sense amount to raping their personality/emotions. Worst part is that even cops are not a solution. we all know this. we all know this problem in Indian society.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? You are half of the India and suffering? Common, it is you, who have to revolt and stop accepting and crying. Try to change the society, if not for you at least for your daughters.

Some men will always be there with you, that is for sure.

Now, please call for some action. Move people. Do something.

Anonymous said...

Your problem is manifested in social behavior to varying extents in all societies, both in the developed world and developing countrties and I can tell having lived both in India and abroad. At the fundamental level, this is one of the great tragedies of human life over millennia, that of the broken relationship between the sexes. Reforming our laws to have speedy and strict sentences with shielding for victims and publicising the judgements will deter a percentage of the population indulging in such behavior. For true transformation within the men prone to such behavior, discovering the Oneness of life is critical. When you see the other person as part of you, when you can see plants and animals and nature as a part of you and not a separate entity, that kind of brain cannot indulge in such behavior. Such a 'new brain' restructuring should hopefully occur in most of humanity as we near the beginning of the Golden Age in the next 5-6 years. On a small scale, amazing changes have been seen in hundreds of people and like the internet, this phenomenon will just 'happen' and bring forth better relationships between the sexes, between man and nature and the way he perceives life.

Revs said...

wow!!an amazing and totaly beautiful piece of writing!!u might as well have been talking abt me!!moved me to tears...and i hope after reading this men understand y we cant retaliate but have to suffer in silence!!
amazing piece of writing!!
way to go!! :)

Krishna Iyengar said...

Speechless; and enraged that a lot of men lack basic courtesy and decency. If you don't mind, I will link your post to my blog.

Known Stranger said...

beautiful message on the board. words to think.

Anonymous said...

"if only that train hadn't moved away... I wanted badly to drag at least one of them off that train and smash his skull on the nearest railway track."....
I think this is the best tratment for such people.

happysuchafeeling said...

Good job!! I am glad at least someone brought important issue to focus on. I have gone through similar situation or may be worst situation long back, when I was mere 6 yrs old and my parents left me to my own uncle's house and came back to US and due to some passport problem I had to stay back in India for 6 months, and every night was a nightmare since I was treated like a object to satisfy the hunger of a man I hated most. When my parents went back to get me I didn't tell them anything because I knew that it will make things worst, still no ones knows anything. Whenever I go India and see this guy, I feel like killing him but every time I have to pretend that nothing have happened to me or I don’t remember, since I want to see my parents happy, joint family united and more important if i would tell this to people out there do you think my life would be same and as normal as now? I cried days and night alone seeking help from god and looking for someone whom I could share things, endured pain, many yrs of my life in pain, agony and in fear. I lost my childhood and was used like a woman at age of 6 not once but every night for six months, and believe me there are lots of girls in India like me who fear that if they tell this anyone, people won’t accept them, feel sorry, and society will never let them to forget the dark side of life, therefore we need changes in society by making laws harder so that people will think twice doing anything wrong with any girls.

Anonymous said...

Sorrry to hear that you u have experienced
such a thing ,such things should be protested and persons should be punished without any compassion so others stop by looking the punished ones


Anonymous said...

It is certainly NOT a blank noise my friend, it is powerful, from deep within, it is a scream that one day the morans will have to wake up to because it will ring so loud in their heads that they will bleed to death.



Anonymous said...

Hi all

Very disturbed and moved reading the realities faced by our women in this society.
All of a sudden felt a feeling of insecurity, looking at the world around me.
God, please give the knowledge and heart to feel the pain of the women, for those men who torture gals like this and feel happy abt it.


Richard Edward Noble said...

I read this blog, but I must admit I was somewhat serprised. I am male and in my sixties and in all of my life I know of no man or boy who had ever done such a thing. And I was raised in a pretty tough neighborhood.
I told my wife about what was said on this blog and I asked her if any such thing ever happened to her. She said "no"... then added, maybe it depends on how pretty you are.
I find that difficult to believe also.

Anonymous said...

feels sad to be a male. and i know i have no justification to say this maybe but dont give up on men as a blanket case... punch them yes... but dont give up. some good ones around too :)

Anonymous said...

I think the solution is 3 fold:

1. Raise our MALE kids to respect women. I got my values from my father, who always spoke very highly of his mother. He also treated my mother with respect.

2. Raise our MALE children to NOT tolerate other men eve-teasing a girl. You may come home with a bloody nose, but in-tolerance is a deterrant

3. Raise our FEMALE children to be in-tolerant of eve teasing.

Lastly, lets not make this a battle of the sexes issue.

I have NEVER groped a girl. Never eve-teased a girl. I cannot imagine my father having done something like that in his younger years. I have NEVER ragged a junior in college (male or female).

I was not a wimp, I have had plenty of fist fights with my male peers all through my childhood. Boys will be boys, but they CAN grow into gentlemen.


Jaideep said...

I was absoluetly stunned into silence and didn't speak a wrod for nearly a full day after reading this...

maybe i'll drop by later to express my self more lucidly...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for articulating what all of us feel - I guess every woman in India can identify with what you have said!
Great job!

Henish said...

It's really unfortunate that in a free country where men and women have allegedely equal rights that you have to give advice like, "don't sing, don't smile, don't swing your arms, or your hips. It is better to wear a frown." That sucks. If you have to walk around not being able to express your happiness of being alive - is that really living? I just wrote a similar article in my blog(www.henishpulickal.blogspot.com) but it stresses how western women seem to be targeted more than Indians. I don't know this as a fact, just from experiences I've witnessed as a non molesting male friend!

Annie Zaidi said...

for all those who went on reading this much beyond the day, the month, the year... thanks again. And we are doing something about it. The blank noise blog and my own are witness to that.
Time for all of you to blog again. See 'http://blanknoiseproject.blogspot.com'

Unmana said...

Thank you.

Inkblot said...

well said. and its all chillingly familiar..

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

i personally feel that no one is going to change by ur post, though i appreciate ur article. u felt the pain n expressed, but they vnt yet, they wont understand....

Doodley said...

I dont know how I stumbled upon this blog, am reading it almost 2 years after being written.
And sadly, we have witnessed another patheitic incident regarding this on the New Year's Day. And as the newspapers flashed the news, it always had a disclaimer about Mumbai i.e. considered to be a safe place for woman.
Always had my doubts about this, I have a friend in Mumbai who has already complained about the haraasments before and she travels in the general compartment at night too, despite of having first class pass. Not saying that its a Mumbai problems, but media should stop using disclaimers, and I would urge to the women to speak up at that moment itself, I dont know how about you have to do that. You should have told your brother at that moment itself, could have saved some other girl from the beast at least.

Anonymous said...

I don't even read blogs really. Think I might just start now. Moving, eye opening stuff !

chrissynb said...

I loved the post...I dont think there is one woman in Mumbai city who cannot relate too it...I for one have been harrassed very little probably because I dont really travel very late alone or never get into crowded buses or empty train compartments...the usual rules ....Mumbai women learn this like how we learn abcd's ...the fact that you always have to be alert on the streets....I am going to pass this write up to all my friends...please keep writing like this... it gives us a voice...

Anonymous said...

Hey this is so interesting. Being a girl myself I often wonder whether anything would change this world. Sometimes I feel that one must teach these bad guys a lesson. Then, why not start with the good guys ? Why not molest the school goind student boy ? Why not pich the butt of the old man who needs sone help to walk ? Becoz those 2 (the school going boy and the old man) are the bad guys or were bad guys or will be bad guys.

So my plea to all females who read this ... to rub their body parts, genitals et al against all the men that are around.. maybe in a bus or sitting on a railway bench.

Let's dee whether this could change things ?

Anonymous said...

Hey this is so interesting. Being a girl myself I often wonder whether anything would change this world. Sometimes I feel that one must teach these bad guys a lesson. Then, why not start with the good guys ? Why not molest the school going student boy ? Why not pinch the butt of the old man who needs sone help to walk ? Becoz those 2 (the school going boy and the old man) are the bad guys or were bad guys or will be bad guys.

So my plea to all females who read this ... to rub your body parts, genitals et al against all the boys/men that are around.. maybe in a bus or sitting on a railway bench. Pinch their butts, press their meat pieces, squeeze their bodies... only then will the men learn...

Let's see whether this could change things ?


Priyavathy Chodutharai

Anonymous said...

hi.. as someone already said, i hate forwards too, checked this out thanks to my belief in the sensibility of the friend who forwarded it to me..
As someone, who lived outside india for a big part of my grown-up life, i was exposed to the seamy side of "my beautiful home" not too late after we settled back here.. it was a shock and to this day, i regret the fact that the guy was on a bike, i could do nothing more than shout all the abusive language i knew at his back.. for some time,i couldn't wear that kurta again, not that i feel even remotely ashamed of myself(why should i? he's the pervert), but because i felt nauseated every time i saw it. anyways, thanks for a brilliant post that echoes all our horrid, nauseating, spine-chilling experiences..

Anonymous said...

I was very young then. It was my birth day. Both my mom and dad went to Necklace road in Hyderabad. Dad had some work and left. So it was me and my mom at around 9 pm happily chatting away with cool breeze. Then some guy comes and asked," How much?", to my mom. My mom shouted at him and grabbed me to her saying that I was her son and my dad will come there soon. I was so scared then. Now I feel guilty for not doing any thing.

Its a sad state of affairs. Personally I would like to feel that nothing will happen to my sister or my mother if they go somewhere alone. But it never happened. I do not take any pride in accompanying them.

Unknown said...

i din't get u.

California Dui

wiz said...

"...manzilley aor bhi hai sunna fitrat na baney...
chod do humpar hum rahey bhi ab chunengey....
Maanga nahi hai kuch,haq ley rahey hai hum....
Mitaney pey na sooncho,ki zidd hai ik -ab hum na mitengey..."

Sometime long ago i had heard"A journey of thousand Miles begins with a single step"
.....since then i had been searching for that single step:)....The flagship is this blog!!

Anonymous said...

I'll first say sorry for all that I could have avoided and also add that people learn better someday, and this society changes.
Now let me tell you something. I grew up seeing our filmi heroes getting praise and everthing inbetween for their rowdy ways and they also got the girl, the same girl they teased and prodded and whatever. I didnt really have a father figurs and those mawali heroes became my examples.

Well can't explain better. But I'll have to tell youthat when I fell in love and wanted to talk to the girl, the way that I grew up , the idiot filmy hero type talking and teasing irritated the hell out of the girl and well I had to bounce off the fall and try to understand what had gone wrong. By the time I had done enough to be guilty more than once. Now i live in fear of myself, if i'm still a pervert, and people say 'he's such a shy guy, always afraid to say a wrong word'. Only if they had known better!!.

I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

Hydrabadchik again.

In the US there was a similar movie driven issue of 'perception'.
Movies in the 70s sometimes portrayed 'the moment of romantic submission" wherein a woman 'said no but so-called meant yes'. The guy and the girl he won would then kiss and embrace against the backdrop of her 'waning protests'.

For a long time rape was excused by the 'confusion' among males because women gave off 'mixed signals'. A lot of public education and censure against these types of story lines has led to something of a change. Those types of scenes seem to occur less in US movies. In highschools, community orgs and public annoucements the message has been "No means NO".

The Unreasonable Man said...

Perhaps the only thing that makes me hate being born a man!
Well written...

Anonymous said...

Ive had a similar experience in Gurgaon, and have always found Mumbai a lot more safer. However, ur story was an eye-opener.

In the Gurgaon incident, this guy had the audacity to stand up and tell me that he'd said sorry after causing me to trip. That got me completely ticked off and I had slapped him. However, surprisingly, the police or the building security (this happened in our office complex) did nothing abt it!

Ady.. said...

Iam sorry to hear all this...
I knw tht this wnt change...
Being a guy i knw tht its men who shud raise their hands first to sort out this problem......
I was once taking a night bus to kanchpuram.....i had this assol trng to touch a small gals body...i couldnt stop myself n i ended up wit a really bad fight wit him...but wen the people around asked me for th reason...i cudnt tell a word...cause i too hav sisters n i wudnt hav reveald wat had happnd if it was one of them....so u cud imagine wat had happnd nxt....
But ther r a few more stuation to luk upto....
it was a crowded bus...wen th stop came peopl behind me strtd to push me n ther was a girl standng jus infrnt of me...guess wat happnd...??i cud not resist th huge force frm behind n dashed to th girl...she gav me a awkard luk n left....like i did it intentionally....i felt so bad for th entire day...i knw wat tht lady wud hav thght... !!
So i want to tel u tht ther r guys like me who unknwngly fall for this... n they cant bear it wen u insult him for wat he hadnt done...
Iam really confused to wat i shud say....like to leav him or hit him...bcause sumtmes u dnt knw if he did it intionally...
Hope it wud end one day....
here,in america its different...th boys seems to b gud...n gals r bad..iam saying ths wit my experience....i hav cum across several gals who tried to flirt wit boys...n 2 in my case who asked me to kiss emm in th public..they wer totall strangers..
n sum in th pubs aftr they get drunk they invite people for sex..(these arnt prostitutes..if u call em like tht thn u will hav to call almost 90% americans like tht..!!)...
India s tryng to b western...hope tht this wnt get into our culture.....
this s not curable but wats happening in india can be cured...if all th guys in our counry tak up th decision to...
If all th gud guys has this in mind to stop these abusers n teasers...thn no bad guy will cum up to exploit our female population....I knw tht iam bad in organising wat i say...but i hope tht all got my msg...
Let my hopes cum true...

Prachi said...

See .. The Best available solution to this problem right now is to fight it out in the face of it! Pepper sprays, Wooden Sticks, Shockers, Bricks, Your Voice Box....!! And all the jazz were invented to wage a war.... use them!!
Ofcourse a 13-year old with her first ugly experience is caught unawares ... but that is her lesson in this country! From then on .. She has to bruise her fists, maybe sprain her arm in a sudden heavy swing of a brick thrown at a biker uttering lewd comments on the road, or get a sore throat by publicly humiliating the passenger who gives her the first brush in a DTC bus ...!! She HAS to pay these costs for assuaging her self-esteem!

So Problem recognition being step 1, is achieved by these very worthy blogs, now step 2 for god's sake is NOT lamenting it, or following a restricted lifestyle but going out in a DTC bus at whichevewr hour is the most convenient for you, or walking down a path if you have to, but FULLY EQUIPPED and prepared to bust the hell out of VIOLATERS!! publicly humiliate them, grab hold of bus conductors, or traffic police who aint doing there jobs in being supportive of females... spray on the pepper spray, kick the nuts, use the shocker ... and hit ur bed at night tired and glowing with the pride of self-protection at night! You have the responsibility of cleaning up the world with this war you wage! HYou'll start enjoying it trust me!

Sosha said...

Sadly, every word of what you have written is true.

MadCat said...

This is a fabulous piece.. Can not even begin to count the number of instances you recount that I empathise with.. It sad that we eventually grow these instincts about the people around us.

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