I was out with a female friend at 11.30 P.M on this New Year’s Eve. As we proceeded to walk towards after car after a leisurely dinner, there was a huge crowd milling about. 90% of the people were aimlessly loafing around consisted of groups of men. We hurriedly walked towards our car and that’s when we heard a slap. We turned around to witness a girl screaming at a boy for misbehaving with her, taking advantage of the crowd.
He started to deny but she kept shouting at him. We didn’t stop to see because we realized, we were two girls alone and it would be better if we headed to our car.
I remember someone whipping out a cell phone and taking pictures of us while we sat in the car and backed out of the parking lot. With our backs turned to the person, and his pictures a complete waste, we quickly made out way out of the lot. And that’s when we saw so many men dancing on the streets, drinking, parking their cars anywhere on the road.
Everyone stared in our car. It looked like we were two animals in a zoo to be looked and photographed. In spite of the fact we were ‘fully covered’ and conservatively dressed in overcoats and jackets.
We reached home in about 15 minutes and ringed in the New Year in the safety of our apartment promising we would never go on New Year’s Eve and thanking God that nothing untoward had happened to us.
Next morning’s newspaper headlines has made our resolve stronger. As I read the paper there was a feeling of disgust, then anger and the aftermath of it all left a bitter taste in my mouth.
It was repulsive and there was a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. I fail to understand how can men turn into animals? Or worse than animals. I don’t think even 80 animals will pounce on a female like that.
The sick b******s should be stoned or hanged or castrated. An incident like this in a civilized, democratic state is very shameful.
The men need to be taught since a young age to respect women. Somebody needs to tell them we are not a piece of meat to be hungrily pounced upon.
As for all those people who say that women should not go out at night, dress ‘provocatively’, they need to take a hike because it’s not the women who are at fault, its men who need to control their urges.
I remember missing my school bus, taking public transport for the first time alone. The bus stop near my school where the near empty bus started from, the conductor asking me to sit next to him, stoking my hair and undressing me with his eyes, me terrified, unable to comprehend what to do, suddenly losing my nerve, then regaining it and going to sit in the first empty seat.
Another time, in college, thinking I am much wiser by now, standing, I feel a hand near my crotch and I look up to see a young man in his twenties staring down at me rapaciously. I extricate his hand but say nothing. Just go and stand elsewhere. I have lost my tongue as a feeling of being dirty sweeps over me.
And this another time, I am trapped on the foot board of a bus, an African man decides to massage his penis against my back. Since that day I carry a rucksack with me.
I remember walking down a street near CP wearing a salwar kameez and jeered at by men whistling and singing.
By this time I have learned a bit of karate and I know my basic blocks and punches.
I remember shopping in a south Delhi market, both hands full of bags. A young boy grabbing my waist thinking I won’t react. I remember kicking him with my foot, then dropping my shopping bag to hit him and he telling me ‘sorry sister’.
Another market place, an older man grabbing my breast, me raising my hand to slap him, my mother realizing what has happened, running towards me and screaming at him at the same time, he saying ‘ sorry beta, galti say ho gaya’.
The last time I stepped in a bus I remember a beautiful Delhi, lush green with monsoon rain across my cheeks. Then I remember a man sitting behind me, groping my back. A feeling of disgust, of violation enveloping me. The anger of all these years spilling over, I grab him by his hair and slap him as hard as I can. I haven’t stepped in a bus since that day. I probably would only if my life depended on it. I wrote about it here.
I remember each incident in horrific detail and sadly I know almost every ‘city girl’ has gone through this. Robbed of innocence at a young age, probably scarred for life for no fault of theirs. I don’t think I was asking for it. Neither were those women in Mumbai.
As for the police commissioner who was so insensitive to say this was a small incident, may he be born as a women in his next life.
Read here for another blog reaction of the incident.