As I walked from my PG acco to the bus stop, another reason to hate this city got added to my list. This was a road I have taken twice daily for the past 2 months. On my first day at office my boss had told me to leave work early because this area is “deserted and not very safe”. After Som Mittal being held responsible for the HP BPO staffer’s death no-one in my office takes chances with female employees security.
Coming back to today. It was 12 noon, I was jet lagged having just landed and quarreled with an autowallah who wasn’t satisfied charging me twice the meter; the damn sun was beating down on the head and the road was raising dust. As I walked through the road nearing a turn where some construction work was happening, this bike came from the opposite direction.
Years of living in women-unfriendly cities like Delhi and Cochin, I instinctively walk as if trying to blend into the surrounding. If men/bikes get close you instinctively protect yourself. Yet today as I ambled along on the familiar road lost in my thoughts, I dint notice the bike had come to close for comfort and the bastard had reached out his hand and groped as hard as it was possible.
I think I was shocked and I took a minute to realise where the pain was coming from and that it was actually happening to me. By then the m****f**** was away at a comfortable distance.
And I lowered my head and walked. I did nothing. I didnt know what I could do. It was not the first time and I am sure with the certainty of a realist it wont be the last. But as I walked instead of anger, I felt tears prickle my eyes. I thought about the laborers who would have witnessed my invasion and felt ashamed. I was the victim and I felt ashamed. I do not know why…
I was going to office, I was modestly dressed. Or was I? I was wearing a sleeveless kurta. Did my bare arms cause the f***** to get all excited?
I walked to the bus stop and stood there and cried. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t frustrated…I just cried. In that one moment that SOB on the bike reduced me to an object on the street. I am highly educated. I live my life the way I want. I travel a lot and am disconcertingly independent. I feel the opportunities for me are endless. I have a father who makes up for his inability to follow me around the country by calling me a million times a day each time as worried about my security, a mother who loves me more than her life, a BF who cant stand to see the ends of my mouth turned downwards. And by that one act, none of that mattered. For the SOB, I wasn’t a daughter, sister or GF, I was a piece of ass walking on the road. And because he knew nothing could happen to him, he can as well “lele some mazze”. In that one moment he made me realise I am woman and we cant be equal. Whatever I do.
You know what surprises me the most. My own behavior, I cried. I came to office, sat in my cubicle, cleared the day’s mails. And once near the close of work, I opened my anonymous blog, not the ones my friends read and posted this. In between I played it out in my mind a 100 million times.
I do not know who the bigger c***** is.