By Swathi R.:
Women are constantly judged, characterised in bad light and questioned in this country for hanging out with men, staying out late at night, drinking, partying, being bold and being open minded.
A few days ago, I was involved in a situation that made me so angry that it felt like my head would explode. I reside in Bangalore and had gone to meet a friend for an early dinner at Ajmera Infinity. At around 8 p.m., after we finished dinner, I asked him if there’s a place where one can walk peacefully without getting disturbed by traffic. He told me how the colony he lives in is amazing and it was possible to go for a walk in the garden there. I was delighted!
We were strolling in the garden in his colony, when an elderly man called us and asked if we were residents. I told him that I live there to prevent him from judging us and to avoid trouble. Just two seconds later, I pointed out that I was a visitor and was too lazy to get a pass. He told us about the security concerns and how we should follow the rules and regulations. We apologised and were hoping that he would leave us alone. But that did not happen.
He asked us questions related to what we do, our jobs and how we both know each other. I was under the impression that a light conversation had begun. My friend made it clear that we were just friends. I’m his senior from college and we met after a long time. He asked my friend – “Isko kahaan ghumane le jaa rahe ho? Apne kamre mein?” (Where are you taking her? Inside your room?) Then he told us a story about a couple who were caught hugging in the vicinity and how he ensured that they were thrown out of the colony.
He asked me what my age was and I told him that I am 24. He told me how his son works for Capgemini and is married. In the course of the conversation I also got to know that he has a 27-year-old daughter and she has been to the US too. He pointed out that they had been brought up in a ‘disciplined’ manner. He further went on to ask me whether my parents were aware of the fact that I was roaming around with a boy at night. I told him that my parents know that I hangout with my friends during free time. I wonder why I tried to justify myself. What made my blood boil was what he said after this. “You have many friends? Different friends? You’re so advanced!”
I replied furiously, “Just because I’m younger doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want and question my character! What right do you have to talk to me like that?”
My friend pulled me away before the situation got out of hand. It’s not surprising that women are held responsible for rape or molestation. If people can have such a mindset, I’m really not surprised.
I want to tell everyone to not tolerate such nonsense. I don’t want any other girl or woman to go through the humiliation that I did. Such people don’t care about women in this country.
Grow up, India.