I was decently clad in a jeans and shirt. I turned around and there he was. A half-drunk man in his late 20s, slurring lewd remarks over my appearance.
It was little after 8pm and I was standing in the auto cue, outside Kurla (E) station in Mumbai, along with two other female friends. Exhausted after a long day at work, all I wanted was to go home and sleep peacefully. While I was dodging myself from the BEST bus that was about to run over me, I heard somebody commenting on my legs. No. I wasn’t wearing revealing clothes. I was decently clad in a jeans and shirt. I turned around and there he was. A half-drunk man in his late 20s, slurring lewd remarks over my appearance.
I looked at him in anger. He stared back at me. I shouted and warned him. It didn’t dither him at all. Instead, he came and stood right next to me, ogled and then kept walking ahead, with his head turned towards me. I was furious and scared and kept murmuring to myself how I badly I wanted to thrash that man. One of my friends heard me and I told her what had just happened. I showed her the man, who was still staring at me. He then began approaching us from the other side. All three of us glared at him with aggression and dare. He came close to us and said in a condescending manner, “Ae… dekhti kya hai?” Flabbergasted at his audacity, we told him that we will report him to the police, which was hardly 10-15 metres away. He, being the man he was, couldn’t take it that we, being the strong headed women we are, were fighting fearlessly.
This went on for quite sometime because nothing that we said could inflict any shame or fear in that man’s conscience. There was nearly a crowd of 100 – men and women standing in the same auto cue as we were, those selling veggies and fruits and other general crowd – and nobody said a word. They all kept mum, indifferent to all that was going on but busy looking at us. Then a roadside vendor politely asked that atrocious man to leave the place. He did. But only to stand at the further end of the cue to stare back at us. We shook our heads in disbelief, appalled at his audacity and fearlessness. He was way too sure that he could have his way with any woman and nothing will happen to him. Just like those assaulters, rapists and many others who will never learn to respect women. While sitting in the auto, I was burning with rage. The memory of the recent rape of a photojournalist was still afresh in my mind.