Thursday, May 17, 2007

ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si

Was stuck to her cell phone outside a small 'mart' while it poured in sheets more solid than water can be.
Was cursing her decision to carry cloth bags, cursing the monopoly of white shalwaars in her wardrobe.
Was buying shampoo to the tune of a hundred drops melded into one mechanical drone melded into the drrrr of a sewing machine.
Was leaning into the whip of the wind.

ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si
Was trying to flag down auto, mini-bus, anything. No cycle-rickshaws in this part of town.
Was cursing the government and its urban transport policies.
Was looking in the bus that had stopped beside her. The conductor saying, get on, we'll take you as far as the bend.
Was debating whether or not to - less than six people on the bus and she cannot tell whether they are passengers or friends of the driver.
Was thinking of what she'd read about buses and being the only girl on board.

ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si
Was warned, 'bheeg rahe ho, madam, log kuch kuch keh ke jayenge'.
Was struggling between wanting to accept the polite offer of bus-drivers in the rain, and the fears that lurk within that bus.
Was finally standing in the bus, near the door, ready to get off in an instant.
Was told to sit inside. Was ignoring the request.
Was sitting on the conductor's seat, right near the door, because it had been vacated for her.

ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si
Was waiting, pointlessly. The rain would not let up and the bus would not move. Traffic snarling half a kilometre ahead.
Was hopping off, without an umbrella, cloth jhola bleeding its handloom truth onto her white shalwaar.
Was rolling up her shalwaar, which would slip down and unravel. Rolled up again, unravelled again.

ek ladki bhegi bhaagi si
Was listening to 'aaye-hai' and 'oye madam' and 'madam ji ko bhi bhithaa le'.
Was turning about to glare at the comment-passer. It was a khaki uniform. A cop, on a bike, riding pillion behind another cop.
Was turning to a wolf-whistle, at her elbow. A face in the car window. The car ramming into the jeep ahead. Headlights crunching and smashing and glass silently falling into the gushing gutter water, rising, rising.
Was wading through rising gutter water.

ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si
Was rushing up a dark stairway, to a dark house and for once, wasn't missing the electricity.
Was listening to 'your room is practically air-conditioned!'. Wind-conditioned. Rain-conditioned.
Was no longer bheegi bhaagi si.


kala kavva said...

tan bheega hai... sar geela hai
iska koi pench bhi dheela hai

I am serious here. I work in NY city and even here, whenever it is past 11:00 P.M., my Gora (old guy) boss will ask me to drop this other firang kudi to her house on my way home. This despite we all are entitled to company paid taxi. Once in 1999, during massive rains, the city offices and transportation were closed around 12:30 P.M., and I had to escort her to her home!!

Kabhi Kabhi kisi collegue/friend/relative ki madad lene mein koi boorai nahi hoti hai.

the mad momma said...

annie... why? i know you can take care of yourself.. but someday it might be more than you can handle.. on that motherly note let me confess i have done all this and worse... God be with you when you're out alone..

Shantanu said...

Good post!

G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
G said...

So G was told, but never believed that the situation is so bad for women in the capital.
What can G say? It's a pity, yes!

Holy Growl said...

interesting...through n through!

. said...

hi annie...what a way to describe a true incident..tremendous post!!
Well we can't blame the passerby's for their comments, they were enjoying what they were seeing and after all they gave a damn about how u felt about their comments..well we can't always try to change the mentality of other as arun said even i think that its better to take the help of someone who is trustworthy in such cases....

Annie Zaidi said...

arun: i commute by bus. and asking to be escorted just because it is raining is silly. and it wasn't yet night.

mad momma: you know why.

shantanu: thanks

g: it is as bad anywhere else. i actually didn't suffer much, on this particular evening.

holy growl: er. hmmm.

niraj: the comments didn't bother me as much as the flooded lanes and filth and overflowing gutters did. but i put everything down here for the record. to document, for my own sake, how a rainy evening can be. and i do try to change the mentality of other idiots. there is no other way.

1conoclast said...

achcha hua saalon ka accident ho gaya...!!!

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