Waving back at her friend, she began to briskly walk up to the metro station. Walking always made her happy. She loved to observe her surroundings, the street, trees, flowers, houses, busy city life and people too sometimes.
Suddenly her eyes fell on a moving car with guys in it on the opposite side if the one way road. They were looking at her. Ignoring, she continued to walk. It was all fine until she found the same car to be following her around.
Subtly, she kept an eye on the movements of the car, while continuing to walk. She dialed up her sister to tell her about this episode. All of a sudden, the car sped up and disappeared, only to reappear very close to her through an intersection on the road, but they missed coming face to face with her by a second.
Alarmed, she hurried her steps now for she knew the car planned to come from up front that would have brought it right next to her. So she rushed and reached her destination just in time when they nearly passed her on the street.
She was walking towards the bus stop with three of her friends. It was all pleasant. College, friends, gossip, cribbing and happiness, plus a healthy walk.
Suddenly, something solid hit one of her jeans clad leg. Screaming she turned around to find a speeding car not fast enough to hide a curly haired guy, winking after having successfully thrown eggs at them in the name of a festival.
It was a busy and crowded route with people of all age around but the guy didn’t bother anyone else and drove away with a smug expression. The spot where the egg had hit her had turned into a well sized purple hued wound that had hurt for days.
It was 45 degrees with humidity at all time high, it seemed. She had a class in two hours which meant, more battles with the heat. “Can’t I just go in a dress?” She asked herself.
“Sure honey if you could stand lecherous stares?” Fired her conscious. “Suffocation it is!” she replied even before her mind could stop smirking.
“I can never take the local bus. The crowd just freaks me out. They look at you as if they haven’t seen a woman,” said one girl.
“Yeah, same with metro, when you walk down from general side of the platform to that of ladies’. Though the crowd is sometimes better, it does feel like a staring competition,“ added another.
“Oh and how about the auto ride, the damn auto wala can’t ever keep his eyes on the road.”
“And when you walk out of some place, all happy and feeling sophisticated and then someone passes a lewd comment?”
“Oh yeaaah,” they all replied in unison.
She was doing good in life and in her career. Recognition, success and happiness came her way. It was a good day that day until she reached home to be greeted by some relatives and family friends. Asking her what she was doing and getting quite blown away because prejudice, set the tone for the night.
After a while, the kids went to other room to enjoy a chit chat. In between came a news on the television, the grown up guy from the lot decided to test her knowledge out of everyone else sitting there including other guys. She answered successfully, while he simply said,”that was an easy one.”
My point being, she was minding her business, was well dressed and trying to live her life happily just like men, but it didn’t set right with some delinquents who take pleasure in intimidating, bothering, torturing or condescending women or far worse in a lot of cases. Something is seriously wrong with them for they can’t see a woman as a human.
While many men are not like the ones I described above and believe me we are so glad and thankful for that. We can’t express it in words.
But what I’m trying to say here is we as a country go on and on, talking about development all the time when in reality we haven’t even been able to keep our women safe. I’m not even talking about advance stages of feminism like equal pay etc. This is basic!
My mom literally can’t relax until I’m back and I feel her pain. If I ever have a daughter in this society, I would perennially lose sleep.
But I also believe that only bashing authorities in every situation isn’t the solution though it is needed in this one because the grown up men who commit these crimes can’t be made to think right in one day so just by saying “change your perspective” isn’t going to do anything.
A strict judiciary, law and order with focus on better security is the need of the hour to prevent crimes against women. Perhaps then it would also be easier for the government to focus on their emancipation.
So yes in this situation, we should keep asking the government as to whatever on earth are they “actually” doing to safeguard women?
But otherwise at a personal level, as was the reason I wrote this article, we can initiate a change by teaching our little boys at homes and around to respect women and see them like a human being just like a man. Only then would it reach grassroot level. Authorities can only do so much but we have to have some responsibility too. Don’t you agree?
So next time you’re trying to be sympathetic to this cause, I request you to also press on these two solutions because greater the pressure on the government the faster they’d act. And the other thing, we have to do it ourselves only.