I travelled by bus after a long time, it was not by choice, the health camp I had to go was too far from the city and I was warned the roads were too bad to risk a bike ride. I got on one of those colourful buses with comfortable seats till Poonamalee. After observing several foot board-full buses from a distance I somehow managed to get into a bus to Sriperambudur where i actually got a seat. The bus was soon crowded, with all sorts of people, with many industries in that stretch, there were many office goers too.
I watched a fairly good looking young women get on the bus, she was wearing some sort of uniform with her company name stitched on her shalwar's arms. The conductor kept walking around the bus issuing tickets and asking people to move 'inside' the bus. A group of five young men came and stood next to me and the young woman, it was obvious those fellows were good for nothing. I could either look outside the window or watch just this crowd around me, which I did for a major part of the journey.
First, they started making indirect references to the girl in their loud conversation making jokes among themselves. I didn't know at that time if the girl didn't understand or if she was ignoring them. After a while as I gaped in surprise the bunch of perverts started started falling against her and brushing against her and groping her quite obviously. The woman would once in a while turn back and stare for a few seconds, I kept hoping she would do something, slap those guys maybe but she didn't even open her mouth. At least 3 from the group took turns in gaining some sort of perverted pleasure from the girl. I kept hoping that maybe she was some sort of plain clothes police woman who would have her gang of waiting cops when one of the the bus stop came...
Nothing of that sort happened... she just gave a silent stare once in a while. It seemed to me she was used to it but wasn't bold enough to react in public, the guys were obviously not newbies to this. I was frustrated hoping the woman would do something and hoped some sort of justice would be done on the spot. But nothing happened my thoughts started running like a train.
I wondered how Prathiba Patil becoming the President of India would not make a difference to this woman, yet all those politicians claimed that singular act was the crowning glory of women empowerment. She's just a symbol, she would make no difference, no one would look up to her, no one would be inspired by her, she would be confined to the history books and faded memories the moment she walks out office like the many before Dr. Abdul Kalam. The office of head of the state is only symbolic, yet the symbol seems to have so many skeletons in her cupboard that no non-political Indian citizen is ever going to look up to her... she's probably the most undeserving President of India ever, then what good is the symbol? What's the point?
I thought of Sonia Gandhi, arguably the most powerful person in this country, what has she done for this woman, what could she do this woman... I thought of Blank Noise, maybe a a group of elite women who don't get on a bus often... maybe not... but they couldn't help this woman today. So what difference does their existence make to her? It has been programmed into my mind that education and employment empower woman, all that crashed, it couldn't give the woman enough power to stand up... The bus stopped at the gates of some company, she got down, there were no policemen waiting, nothing happened, the guys vanished before I got down.
Should I've done something? I kept thinking, I knew what I wanted to do, I only waited for her to just utter one word in protest or a tight slap. Does a person who can't stand up for oneself deserve help from others around?
Look at the other sides of the issue - the woman makes a noise and no one comes to her rescue, then what? To avoid all this, she drives a two wheeler. Then too, some men deliberately insult such women brazenly by driving criss-cross and making lewd comments/gestures. Fighting back requires a lot of brute strength too. May be we look issues only from a man's point of view.
Maybe you're right, maybe I am... it's hard for me to think like a woman though.
Hopped from your flower blog.I enjoyed your pictures.Thanks a lot
My opinion was that It was to show off to the world that India is no less or more lagging in women issues when US president Hillary clinton a prospective president and probably first in USA. Then why not Pratiba patil.Hat off to marathi community. hope you don't mind my comment .
To me it looked as if we're symbolising the corruption in the country. If we're showing something to the world, our politicians have shown they can elect a corrupt president and get away with it without bothering about people's opinions. Hats off to our politicians.
Women issues? Do you realise how farcical this is? Do you know while we calculate Maternal mortality Rate for every 1000 births, they calculate it for every 100,000 births. What difference is Prathiba going to make for that.
That is the sad part of today's society...women president at helm..women administrator behind pn...yet aam women unsafe...but you know what it was not that woman' s fault..they are brought up to0 be docile...and you know if they stand against such issues..in case it turns into a brawl...women's family say..hey dont go to college..cant handle those probs you bring..sit at home ...do correspondence...hey, don't work its risky...whose gonna marry you...and shes married..
Most women do not even speak about these eve teasing at their place because their freedom will be hampered at large. So they mutely suffer.
She deserves help... She needs it.. When people around give her the confidence that they'll back her and not watch the show, she'll pick up the courage in her and scream, soon, slap! It takes a lot of courage... But like others said, people avoid issues. If it becomes an issue, no one will help. It's not like in the movies. People travel in buses just for this! It sucks!
Hmmm.. what if she had told me... 'Mind ur business I've to travel in this bus daily...' ?
Yeah life is not like the movies... and I am no hero! :P
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