I feel so disgusted when I find so many eyes staring at me every day. I wonder, is it my dress or is it a lustful look that reduces a woman to a mere object of their pleasure. I also feel helpless when I feel unsure of how to deal with these occurrences that take place everywhere every day.
Once I was walking near Churchgate station, wearing a simple,salwar kurta ,the most comfortable and least revealing outfit.
A stranger walked by suddenly broke into a Bollywood song. His gait suddenly changed from a walk to a sway, eyes that started right back at mine with an unimaginably terrible look. hisy of walking. He was moving his body as much as he can. Unable to restrain myself-myself, I asked out” Kisko dekhke ga rahe ho?” He said kisiko nai and he stopped walking and defiantly looked me back in the eyes. I decided not to buckle down. I shouted and said “Dimag thik haina?” There was this small kid along with him who was wearing torn jeans. I said,” Ye bacche ke samne tum itna confidently ladki ko ched rahe, kuch samajh mai aata hai ki nahi, dimag thik to haina?” He said”Dekho ye bacha kaisa dikh raha hai? Mast na?” and he started walking ahead. I could not control my anger and I said “ Zor se dhakka mardungi idhar hi mar jaoge, police ke pass jana hai to bolna zyada”.
After all this, he just left with the same confidence and I was left with my anger. I felt horrible about being able to do nothing much against his attempt at eve teasing. I wondered how that small boy would have taken this situation.
I always like to walk confidently on road, without keeping my eyes down. My mom often told me not look at men who walk by our side, staring at our eyes. I felt like I’ve been imprisoned in the confines of a zoo cage, where men come to watch and enjoy and women like zoo animals, are objects of desire on exhibition, who have no right to freedom of movement or of speech and action against those prying eyes!
In Mumbai, most places have the option of share rickshaws where everyone is equally eligible to sit. I have often experienced many men occupying a lot of space and women uncomfortably seated, adjusting in the leftover space.
I wonder why men aren’t more sensitive to women. I don’t mean to generalize, but these are the realities we face daily and nobody speaks about them.
Sometimes I lose confidence because I feel I don’t have the freedom to roam about in my area, to look straight and walk on the roads and to stop those who stare at me.
Considering that I can’t even count the number of incidences I’ve faced, imagine what the female population as a whole face throughout their lives. The objective of my article isn’t blaming but sensitizing.
I have seen many men who respect women as equals. I wish more men and women become sensitive to these issues so that we live freely as equals, with equal opportunity and mutual respect.