I spent the last weekend shopping with a girlfriend. We took an auto through one of the hipper suburbs of Mumbai at 8 in the evening. Till that time I hadn’t been conscious of the spaghetti strap-top I was wearing. I couldn’t keep my mind on what my friend was saying because the driver kept staring in the rear-view mirror (why do they have those inside the rick anyway?) Not for the first time in my life I was conscious of feeling violated, being cheapened just by a stare but for the first time I just stared back. My friend noticed and told me to just put on one of the shirts I had brought. I silenced her and continued staring back. He did too, all the while driving down a crowded road. Then I just told him to stop the auto and let us off. He had the gal to ask “Why?” and then “If you had told me you only wanted to come down the road, I wouldn’t have taken you.” My friend said I should forget it and not make an issue. Then she must have seen the look on my face and she started making excuses to the driver, that we had some urgent work. I felt let down. It was horrible.

I wish I had the guts to do what this lady did.

I can intellectualise and educate and have a voice. But one ordinary man can rip my dignity apart in a moment. What’s more, if I take a stand, even my fellow victims will not stand by me.

This is why I hate being a woman.

7 thoughts on “Shattered By A Look”
  1. Ideas- Mangs stood upto it and as she so rightly points out, the system doesnt want to waste time with a “frivolous” complaint that will never get to the courts except for an FIR filled as Mangs will never show up at the court when she is summoned and that Bihar guy will not show up either. However if one woman on each train who is harrased thus files, within a year, no man will have the guts to “stretch”. I remember the bus rides and station “jostlings” that ended up with them getting kicked in their balls! Hopefully they ought to have learnt a lesson for life!

  2. Its a Catch-22. There really aint a crime in staring. But then, pro-longed stares are morally wrong.
    I have had this topic discussed N no. of times. People stare even when women are in a saree to when women come out in a bikini. The most important part is to realize what you wanna do, what you are comfortable with. The rest is insignificant.
    Tho’ I still understand your situation and personally I feel you should have given the driver a piece of your mind!

  3. This must have happened a million times and even though your friend obviously empathises she probabaly did not want to create a ruckus and get away without creating a scene.

  4. Hmmm. Ok, I am saying this for ‘saying’ sake.

    Look into Buddisht principles of Non-violence; How stuff doesn’t affect you if you don’t acknowledge it?

    And in your shoes, I guess, you should have confronted the rickshaw driver! “Aageh dekh keh chalaa nahin saktaa hei kya?”

  5. I do agree with Apoo and Brad (men do say something sensible once in a while). Dont care about what people will do or say. Its rightly said, be comfortable with what you are.

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