For A Woman In India, A Crowd Is Synonymous With Being Molested

Posted by Shweta Raj Kanwar in Society
April 19, 2017

I do not normally rant about the past in writing, especially when it involves a lot of emotions and me being victimized. But as they say, sharing your troubles only makes you feel lighter, so here it goes.

The incident which I am going to narrate took place in 2012. I had just moved out of my home town, Shillong for pursuing my Masters in Punjab. Away from home, in a university hostel, surrounded by friends and peers of my own age group, it’s never too late to plan for outings, hangouts and shopping. After all, shopping is one of the many activities a girl loves to do, whether happy or sad, angry or depressed.

Unlike other Sundays jam packed with overloaded plans, this particular Sunday had an aura of peculiarity – the misty foggy morning and the wintry chill. However, they were not sufficient to dampen my roomie’s and my winter shopping excitement. Full of zeal and enthusiasm, both of us were ready to walk the ramp – unaware of the realization that would befall upon us that misty Sunday afternoon.

One store to the next, one pullover to another – nothing seemed to catch our eye, not anything was as appealing to our hearts as we went from one boutique to another. Walking past innumerable boutiques, finally, the one that caught our attention was the one from where we grabbed our apparels and were just ready to leave when…

A huge crowd had gathered at the market. Being a Sunday that was all the more obvious but all the same unexpected. Nervous and scared of the crowd, we decided to stop by the store till the crowd subsided, which, all the more increased.

Since we were getting late for reaching our destination, we decided to get through the crowd and find our way out to reach the cab stand. Little did we know we were throwing ourselves into a “clan of hyenas”- ever ready to tear the skin off our bodies. With pounding heartbeats and nervous faces, we risked joining the never subsiding crowd. Pushed and touched, commented at and humiliated – all these were just an everyday instance in the life of an ordinary Indian woman.

It was too much to bear, an intolerable fit of anger raged through me and I had just dared to turn to slap the moron behind me but… The moment I looked back, what I saw made me feel so helpless! It was as if a clan of hyenas were waiting to be provoked.

I realized the seriousness of the situation and reacted the way any sane woman would have reacted to such a situation. We decided to stop at an eatery and waited till we found a group of ladies amongst the crowd and went along with them.

Reaching the hostel was like escaping abduction. We went to our room, not uttering a single word, but deep inside cursing our helplessness, the anomalies of being born an Indian woman. Our silence was a symbol of the justice we demanded from men, who, instead of helping us at that harrowing moment, were willing to make fun of and enjoy the helplessness of an Indian woman at a crowded market hub.

The face of that moron, still troubles me to this day, as I looked behind me, only to realize, how unaided and vulnerable I am as a lady in India. The only conclusion I drew from this was – “It’s a curse to be born a girl in India!” And the question that I ask is – is this an ongoing process? Will every Indian girl be made to realize this fact at some point of her life?

It’s been four years now and yet those faces haunt me. The face of that heinous man, that evil grin, trying to grope me and to his left, another man waiting for his turn and to his right, another one, smiling and enjoying the road show! But since then, I have evolved as a woman, yet I have not been able to find a solution to such kinds of situations at an individual level. The only thing I do is avoid crowded places for I do not know self-defence and the only tool I use is the ‘Mighty Pen’.

I am a journalist now and I try my level best to bring justice to every woman out there who has been a victim of abuse or molestation. My profession is hence my greatest ‘Weapon’.