Thursday, September 22, 2011

In the land of gropers, gawkers and lechers part 1

Scandalous or lewd as the title might be, this is definitely a voyeuristic post. I think there's something pleasurable in reading about the abuses of another. I have often seen people relentlessly and unstintingly reading and discussing on every sex scandal and rape in paper. Same goes with every hyped scandal. There is something mystifying about the word 'expose' that makes half of us want to associate the word 'skin' to it.These series of candid confessions bear similar overtones. It is about my experiences, experiences of others I know and will definitely provide unnerving pleasure to exhibitionists. They are not tales of woes, they are tales many fail to accept, understand and empathise. But they are tales worth sharing or exploring through the medium of language. Very often I fail to express what those moments of agony or embarassment meant to me.And very often I have seen people greedily ask me to narrate them over and leave their seats saying " was that all".

I have been always conscious of my body. Though my grandmother claims her prodigies have been blessed in abundance with contours others would die for, I have found it disturbing. This makes me very perceptive toward gropers, lechers and gawkers. I am not sure in what order I hate them. I am not confident enough to say I am the best so please go ahead scan me with your eyes but I have friends who say so. But what I hate most is the fact that I could never slap a guy who hurt me through his offensive comments or looks.

Some weeks ago I was on a grocery shopping trip all alone. I could see that people were watching me on the streets and at the bus stop. At first I thought it was my clothes. I wore a Tshirt and Jeans. These people are workers and maybe they still can't digest a woman without a piece of cloth around her chest I said to myself. I got onto the bus and then it all began. I just had to get down a stop ahead so I did not bother standing next to the foot hold. My hand rested on a pole. And I realised someone was cupping my palm. I tried releasing my hand and moved it further down. But he cupped my palm again. I still wanted to beleive its a mistake so I continued shifting my hands as if it was an experiment testing the validity and reliability. He continued thinking it was a game. And then in a flash came out these words for the first time in my life " Kya kar raha hai madherchod" ( what are you doing , mother fucker). I felt elated , because the guy left my hand immediately. But the expression of amusement on his face changed to that of disgust. I looked around hoping someone would smile or nod as an approval of what I had just accomplished. But all I could see was people staring at me for having broken some unwritten code ' I used profane words' how unfeminine? I often wonder why women don't stand up for their own lot.

Sometime ago, I guess 4 years ago, I got into a bus for my field trip and the journey was a long one and I required to stop and change buses at different places. In one of those buses I had to share my seat with two men. One of them constantly spoke about some film distrubtion and production and the profit he had made recently with the newly released movie. I found his chattering amusing but the fact that he traveled in an ordinary bus made me confused if he was kidding. I dozed off and woke up after an hour. One of the men had left and the distributor sat next to me , he maintained a distance though. I started enjoying the scenery outside the bus when I well my seat shaking. As I turned to look around I saw this man next to me masturbating in broad day light sharing the same seat with me. He did not touch me , but grinned throughout and it then hit me it gave him great pleasure showing off in front of a woman. My heart ached when I thought of how aroused he would have been all the while watching me while I dozed off casually. I could not scream and as we were nearing the bus stand the bus hardly had few passenger. I called the conductor but he was dozing off ahead. I could not muster courage to ask this man what he was doing. I was scared he would state the obvious that he was having a 'gala time' and besides he had not laid a finger on me. I suddenly realized how violated I felt without him laying a finger on me.

This guy followed me grinning at me till I boarded my third bus.His face still is etched in my mind. My friends often ask me why these incidents happen to me alone, but these days I hear a lot more stories from my friends at the department which makes me believe it is not me alone. I don't know what this means, if women should not use public transportation anymore or what special scuba diving suits need to be made for our safety. I am sure some would label this a feminist post.

But then again " Tell me something I don't know".


Anonymous said...

Cant believe that such things would be a reality :(

anna said...

oh u r not alone!! :P
i cn write a post of my experiences too.. but it would be ditto except the sequence of events maybe... sigh!!!

Anonymous said...

You are not alone.
This is the number One reason I left India 15 years ago and dont feel comfortable travelling there even today. Back in the mid nineties when I lived in Kerala, I cannot tell you how many people I have yelled @. I have had a guy masturbated in the bus when I was 16 and I did not have courage but fast forward a few years later and I was walking in cochin with my sister who does not speak malayalam and somebody groped her and she hit him with her bag and he came towards her yelling and I stepped up and told him in broken malayalam I was going to beat the shit out of him and he walked away.
They are cowards and more women need to take a stand.