Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Friday, March 10, 2006


Dedicated to the Blank Noise Project. I know I'm late, but I found out about it pretty late too..

"A young girl, 11 years old, all excited about a singing competition..
Travelling in a moderately crowded bus with her group of friends..
Is all smiling, until...
The conductor's hand moves over her chest (the breasts haven't even developed yet)..
Now she's confused. Did he really do that?
He looks alright, he's not of the villain types, he's middle-aged..
'Maybe I got it wrong" she thinks..
He does it again the next time he passes by..
She stops smiling...
Thats the end of her trust in strangers.."

My story, your story, every girl's story. I've read so many such stories in the past 2 days that it has left me reeling. Do I feel embarrassed to write this post? Yes, I do. Because thats the way I have been brought up. Thats the way it has been taught to women. You have to be embarassed for things you are not responsible for. For things done by perverted men!

After that day, I used to dislike travelling in buses. Even if I would, I would try to be in the women crowd in the front of the bus, way away from the men crowd. But the conductor gets to move in the women crowd too. So I'd watch him like a hawk and make sure that I'd not be groped in any way. Most of the times, I would ride my bicycle to school and avoid buses anywhere I could. But sadly this case is not only with the buses..

"Years later, a young woman, 20 years old, would travel to college daily..
On her 2-wheeler..
On a residential road, almost every day, she'd encounter..
A thin man riding in the opposite direction on a luna ..
In the beginning the guy would just whistle looking at her..
She would mutter some scoldings and go on her way..
Then it started becoming obscene words and winks..
She tried ignoring him, thinking then he'd stop..
Later he drove the luna almost as if he'd crash into her vehicle from the opposite direction...
But whenever he would ride with a woman, he would pretend..
Pretend that he was a decent man...
One day, she lost her temper..
She was determined to do something if today the guy came any nearer..
He did and she kicked his vehicle with all her might..
Not caring if she fell off her two-wheeler; And she didnt...
Turning back she saw the guy almost fall..
The smile was back in her face..
After a long time..."

You could ask me why I didn't tell my dad about it. I dunno why. Maybe because I felt embarassed again. Surely dad would come with me one day, the next, but could he do it the 4 years of college study every day? After the incident, I was scared, scared that the guy may bring a gang or something. But I was determined to make a big hue and cry if anything such happened and there was a police station nearby anyways. But from that day on, I never saw even saw the guy whenever I travelled on that road. Looks like he changed his timings or direction :-D.

As for the conductor, I remember his face clearly. I saw him again in another of my bus travels. And this time, I was determined to take all sorts of revenge on him, would he even put a finger on me. But he didn't. He looked suprisingly sober and was treating all the women with respect. Wonder which woman took that revenge for me! Whoever she was, good that she changed atleast one man..

The luna-kicking incident was the only incident where I was brave enough to retaliate. And that retaliation gave me a strange confidence. Thats when I realized that retaliation was better than acceptance in silence. After that, I was a bit more confident in dealing with strange men. Rabble-rousing was/is always better..

Fortunately, I've been one of the women who didn't face more of this kind of harassment. In fact I can recollect only about 3-4 incidents, thats all. Maybe as one of the women say, I had learnt the ways of the world, avoiding all things that would lead to such incidents. After reading all the stories from Mumbai women who travel in trains, wonder how I'd have been, had I been in Mumbai!! Maybe tougher, maybe more cynical, maybe more untrusting..

Surprisingly, I've never faced any kind of harassment in school or colleges by any of the co-students. Most of the times, the-stalking-when-I'm-walking, the-racing-and-slowing-down-when-I'm-on-my-two-wheeler have all been by middle-aged men. These people have daughters, have sisters, have wives, but still behave like this. Is this an educational deficiency or the way they have been brought up? What? I really don't understand the reason. And these are the people who pick up the cudgels when something similar happens to their women. Why do the terms change in case of other women? Why?

Some people have the nerve to say its because of the way a woman dresses. I feel enraged at such ignorant people. Oh really? What do you call the conductor incident then? He must have imagined a 11 year old girl to be a woman in short skirt? Eve-teasing is the only thing that is caste no bar, colour no bar, clothes no bar and looks no bar. Its pure gender biased. And what do you call the Katrina rape incidents? The women and men were in put in a superdome as a rescue mission. Which woman had the strength to dress up in small clothes then? As I mentioned in my Katrina post then, a man is in a life and death situation and all he can think of raping a woman who is in the same situation as him? Just whats the logic behind such despicable behaviour?

I really didn't know whether I'd like to blog about eve-teasing when I read the first few posts. Its difficult to speak about embarassing things and I was not sure that I would want to. But after reading so many posts by women writing their heart out, I felt I had to. Blogging about eve-teasing may not make it go away. After all, all men are not like that. And the men who are like that may never know that a thing like blogging exists. So where's the question of them changing their ways after reading a post? But the many women who are the silent types, might read these posts and if it gives them even a small bit of confidence to face such harrassment with more strength, then the blogathon's purpose is accomplished. If you are speaking about it, then you are doing something about it...

I know I cannot go out and kill such men. All I can do, as many women have said in their blogs, is hope that a time comes when a girl/woman can walk free, without a book protecting her bosom, without a man by her side, head held high and a smile on her face at whatever time, in whatever place, without any concerns whatsoever. For now, I'm going to make sure that if I have a daughter, she's trained in martial arts, she knows the difference between a bad and a good touch and that she's not embarassed about speaking on it. If she ever faces eve-teasing then I'll also be sure never to blame her saying "Its because you wore such clothes" or "Its because you took that particular road" or "Thats why you are not allowed to stay out after 7PM in the night".

On second thoughts, I'll do the same if I have a son. These days, what with sex-changes and same-sex relationships, you never know when the perversion may turn against a young boy...


biju retorted...

it's a sad thing. like u sad, you cannot/shouldn't blame the woman for something that she's not responsible for. Ofcourse, not all men are like that but from what I know a huge section are.

I also agree that clothes don't have to do with eve-teasing, always. But (call me sexist if u like), I still wonder why women have to wear skimpy clothes. what motivates them to do that? All i can come up with is that they want the attention. I might be wrong though.

I am a guy and I avoid certain roads when i am out late. I sometimes even take a deviation if i see a rowdy gang of people ahead. Yes, you might call it cowardice but I, for one, don't underestimate the importance of prevention.

I am proud that you kicked that sob on the luna. :) Way to go!

Deeps retorted...

>> Biju >>

See, men go out on the streets in their buniyans and shorts. Nobody makes a hullagulla about that. Whereas a woman seen in a sleeveless top is subjected to lot of speculation. Why? Why are there different norms?

Believe me when I say, even I'd look at a skimpily dressed woman and roll my eyes when I was in India. But in US, everyone is dressed like that. If you go to parks like Disney land, every woman is in shorts, tank tops and bikinis. No man ogles/whistles/makes obscene comments at them. Because for the men here thats the norm. I know there are rapes here, but in my 10 months here I've never seen any eve-teasing as such.

Now I strictly believe dress is a matter of comfort to the woman. I was never comfortable even in tops and jeans in India, I was too conscious. Here in US, I don't have to be (doesn't mean I wear skimpy clothes ;-) :-D)..

Thanks, I'm proud that I was able to kick the guy's vehicle, but I wish I had taken a stricter stand in many other situations...

Vanditha retorted...

I agree with you Deeps when you say that skimpy clothes are not the only reason for eve teasing. Its all about perception. Even a saree could be tantalizing for people.

I really appreciate you for being so brave and facing situations. Way to go!!

I think girls should use presence of mind and ready wit to overcome such situations rather than cry for help as portrayed in the Bollywood movies.

Usha retorted...

So sad. All of us have been subjected to some kind of teasing at some time or other - best is to teach teh girl child to handle it and be equipped with skills like Karate or at least a pepper spray ( wonder where one can get it!)
Nice post Deepti.

vani retorted...

hi deep, the other day black noise project person was speaking on the FM. She told that it not only guy to girl problem but its the other way round also at late nights. She herself was surprised to see more men volunteering for this project than women. On the whole i think this "eve teasing " should be taken and dealt seriously.
nice post anyway.

Deeps retorted...

>> Vandu >>

Hmm movies are also in some way worseing the condition. The ragging and raping are shown so blatantly that maybe the normal men get ideas :-p. We can't ban movies, but people have to learn that movies are not real!!

>> Usha >>

Yeah, thats the best. Lets make no differentiation and teach both gender children. Children are hurt the most, because usually they have no idea whats happening..

>> Vani >>

Hmmm. A man can lose a few belongings like money, but for a woman the situation is more serious. And there have to be stricter laws and people who implement the laws is all I can say..

vani retorted...

hi deep, its not the matter of losing something,.... its a mental trauma, who ever it may be....they need not tease only for money, hope u get the sensitive side of it.

Deeps retorted...

>> Vani >>

I do understand it can be a mental trauma for men. But I do feel its much more for women. If its death we are dealing about, women and men are in the same situation. But if its something like rape and she's not killed afterwards, a women faces so so so much more. Its not only herself she has to face, but the stupid society to, who'll immediately say "she asked for it" and blame her for everything.

My brother and his friends roam around the streets till 11:30 PM etc (he knows it can become dangerous and he is careful). But can a girl like you and me even imagine doing that? Nope, because we have other consequences to think about..

The Smiling Girl retorted...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.