Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When I hit an eve-teaser

As much strong as I want to be, I'm a wuss. Even after growing up, I used to cover my face and shout for my mom, when my sister harassed me. I am a kind of person who'll probably take a turn and walk away if you slap me for no reason. I am really really not proud of it, though.

One evening, my sister and I went for grocery shopping at our market in my hometown. It's a typical Indian vegetable market; dark and Mumbai-local crowded with women yelling names of vegetables and their value, people with two-wheelers trying to drive their vehicle with feet on the ground, path all muddy and soft and you really have to shove your face into someone to talk to them. We only had to pick up a couple of things so I asked my sister (the shopping enthusiast) to grab them, while I (the lazy shopper) take a u-turn on my Street-smart bike. That way we don't have to park and can easily drive away.

I took a u-turn and was waiting for her near a Khaman shop, when a man walked passed by me with his hands swaying on his side. When he reached me, he swayed his hand on my thighs and kept walking. I blamed the crowded place. After few seconds, he returned from the opposite side and swayed on my thighs again. This time I was sure he did it deliberately, but before I could react, he turned immediately, repeated the same action and walked away hastily. He mingled in the crowd and I wasn't able to spot him.

I decided to not tell my sister when she came back. She sat behind and we started to ride our bike in the crowd. We were going at the pace of a bullock-cart when the same man came from behind and touched my thighs again. I have never felt so angry, ever. I felt my blood boiling and I wanted to shout, but instead I did something amazing. Because of the crowd he couldn't walk fast, so I drove a little faster to reach him and hit him SUPER HARD on his back. Yes.
Something like this

My sister was horrified.
She yelled, "What are you doing? Are you crazy? Drive fast or the crowd will attack us for doing that."
The man escaped like a chicken because he knew he'll be broken in to pieces if I shout for help from the market crowd.
I had to explain my sister the backstory. For days she couldn't stop laughing. She was utterly surprised by my aggressive gesture.

So was I.

We agreed to not tell our parents about it. I've never laid my hand on anyone, but this will remain as one of the proudest moment of my life. This incident proved how horribly disgusted I was, by people like him.

This happened years ago when news of rapes, eve-teasing and molestation were not constantly blinking in the newspaper. Maybe it was the absence of this same kind of news that kept me fearless during this incident. Because a similar incident happened few years later, where I was not able to react as bravely. I hardly remember this incident. It has not managed to be a part of my life because I never felt like a victim. Not when it happened, not right now. In fact, it amuses me when I think about it. Whereas, the Ahmedabad incident still terrifies me. Maybe the fear that arises from listening similar stories have crippled our strength. Maybe all  of us are very strong from inside. Maybe the real way to rediscover this strength, lies in not feeling like victims, but feeling like the Protector. Maybe we all have the ability to say, "That's enough!"

All I can remember right now is his scared, sorry face when this wuss managed to gather the strength to hit him.

Dhara