India celebrating its 58th Republic day on 26th January 2007 was a matter of pride fro a patriot like me, plus a sense of elation was palpable at the thought of a holiday in the grinding 6day work schedule. On 25th January while I was heading back home from office in a crowded DTC bus. There were a lot of things on my mind.
· Friends had shared the news of the beating of the Nithari accused---Moninder and Surinder Koli with a tone that spelled satisfaction and a little disappointment at not being able to hit a few hands themselves.
· How was I going to dodge a few phone calls from acquaintances that were trying desperately to move a step further in the process of being more than friends?
· What had mom prepared for dinner? I was dam hungry.
· And the perennial question that haunts me. When will I realize my Mumbai dream.
· What was going to happen in Bigg Boss? And what surprise would SRK spring to make KBC even more interesting.
With these thoughts on my mind and ear-plugs in place promising to damage my ear-drums I managed to secure a seat in the bus. A man who was almostmy father’s age if not more sat next to me. Pondering over the events of the day I was thinking of how a man could live with himself after knowing that he was responsible of killing someone’s child. Moninder had killed more than 40. A man who was in his fifties satisfied his sexual needs by molesting innocent kids and the worst part was that he had not shown a trace of remorse for his act.
At this point in time the man sitting next to me made his move. Very subtly he placed his hand on my thigh. I felt such repulsion that I cannot express it in words. Writing about it right now is one of the most courageous things I have done so far I feel. Because writing about it is reliving it. And reading it again will be going through that same sense of humiliation again. Yes humiliation. It is humiliation when another human being decides to treat you as a commodity. It is humiliating when you know that any amount of screaming from your side will not garner any support from the fellow travelers who feel that this is a common thing to happen. It is humiliation when a man fit to be your father looks at you lecherously. It is humiliating when your country is celebrating 58 years of implementing the constitution and there is no moral law to prevent a young girl from being taken advantage of by an old letch. I am one of the lucky few that has the courage to shout at the offenders. I did shout at him even abused him. His reaction was even more humiliating. He just removed his hand. Did not have any other emotion on his face. He was not apologetic. He was the one who had done something bad, he was the one who had been verbally abused by a girl half his age but I was the one who faced the humiliation.
The country was to celebrate the 58th Republic day. And all I could think of was is there anything to celebrate if monsters like Moninder, Surinder and that unnamed old letch plague us. The only demand that I feel entitled to make to the Government of India today is to make the women of the nation humiliation free.
The reason for writing this is personal. This is not the first time that something of the sort has happened to me. I have been traveling in buses since I was a teenager. I have faced the sort of humiliation many a times. And I am completely aware that thousands and millions of others of my gender face the same humiliation from the scumbs of the other gender. Now that I am aware that at least 4 people read my blog, I would want them to circulate the message to as many as possible. Forward the message with the sole reason that we do not harbor or cultivate more perpetrators of the sort. Even if some of the boys and men amongst the readers have done something as futile as eve teasing remember the humiliation attached is unmeasured for the victim. Make sure you educate your brothers, friends, boyfriends, husbands and even fathers that what they do to someone else’s sisters, friends, girlfriends, wives and even daughters might happen to their own.