Recently, the #MeToo movement in India has been soaring up and this has given immense courage to the women out there to come out and bash the predators. Many big names like Nana Patekar, Alok Nath, Rajat Kapoor, Tanmay Bhatt and Gursimran Khamba had to face the wrath of this raging movement.
But you know, while this movement has generated some understanding in people’s minds about the evil of sexual harassment, the work on a deeper level still stays untouched. Yes, people are aware that sexual harassment is wrong but do they know what all falls under the sexual harassment section?
To give a context of what I am trying to say, I want you listen up to one of my personal story.
So, it was a late night, around 2:00 A.M, I booked a sharing cab to reach home. The cab arrived and I saw a foreigner girl sitting on the front seat, so I grabbed the back seat and our drive started. Everything was going smooth and suddenly, this girl quipped and told the driver to ‘Drive Carefully’, she had expressions that reflected trouble and uneasiness. After, a while the girl shouted at the driver: “Will you stop touching my body or not?”
The driver took a mean laugh and looked at me with his creepy smile, he thought that I’d encourage his act so he kept looking at me for some time and when my response was negative, he turned his head to concentrate on the road.
Till this point, I was aware of the situation so I was all awake keeping an eye on the man. I asked the girl if she’d like to come back and I’d sit on her seat, she angrily answered: “Just do your work.” I kept quiet and felt embarrassed. And, I don’t blame her for her tone, she has already been pissed by the driver and just wanted to reach home as quick as she can.
After a while, the driver starts rubbing his genitals firmly while giving this girl a very macabre’ish look. The girl felt very uncomfortable and it was evident from her body language but she did not react. To deflect the situation, I started a conversation with the driver. I asked him ‘bhaiyya kaha se ho?’, he replied: ‘Bihar se!’
The conversation went ahead and then suddenly out of nowhere, this driver says: ‘Bhaiyya, chuogey gori ko, mulayam hai.’
I was taken aback by his sentence, I did not know what to answer, I told him: ‘apko pata hai ye crime hai? You can go to jail.’
He replied: ‘are balatkaar thodi karne ko kahein hain, choona kaahey crime hai? Aise hi maje kar rahein hain thodey!’
The girl did not understand anything that we were talking but she was feeling relieved that the cab driver wasn’t looking or ‘doing’ things to her.
I was in a state of shock after coming across this man’s delusion about the rape culture and harassment issue. He took a pause on his trash talk and said: ‘Bhaiyya ab aap bhookey ho kai dino ke, par khaana nahi khaa sakte lekin kam se kam soongh to sakte ho na!’
I was getting mixed emotions in my body and wasn’t sure how should I react. I wanted to know more about his psychology so I questioned him if he is married or not?
The guy replies: ‘Nahi shaadi nahi hui par girlfriend thi, alag ho gayi saali chinaal’
Firstly, I resisted and asked him to control the language and then I asked him – ‘Why did you guys separate?’
He replies: ‘are ladai hogai ek baar to thappad maar dia hamne bass chali gayi, bhaiyya hamne 3 mahine tak roz phone kiya, usne number change kiya to naya number dhundwake phone kiya, haar nahi maani. Tution jaarahi thi to poore market me dabangai se haath pakde uska or liye thapak se choom, par phir zyada bhaav khaarahi thi to ham kahe jaao choolhey me tum’
The car suddenly stopped and I gained some momentum in my body that had got numb hearing to this piece of shit. The girl went out as her destination had arrived. As the girl was going, this guy kept staring at her crotch and shouted ‘Good night madam!’
He then dropped me at my destination and I was still recovering from the harrowing thing that I had heard. I was shocked that people are so ignorant about an issue like sexual harassment. I called up the cab company and complained about the driver via official mail. The company replied in a positive manner and necessary action was taken against the driver.
So, one thing that I realized was that Indians are in an urgent need to get educated on the roots and branches of sexual harassment. Touching someone without consent, brushing your body, giving demeaning expressions, calling and harassing someone on phone; everything is HARASSMENT and should not be ignored.
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