November 22, 2011

In the Path of Thorns

Posted by Sunitha at 3:24 AM
When this month's discussion topic was announced  and Maithili implored all of us to come out with our experience,I was sure that there would not be many entries.But was shocked beyond belief to read the revelations from my friends at DOV and after reading what each of them shared , my respect for these amazing ladies have increased a hundred fold.

An age old saying in my language goes like this "immaterial of whether a leaf falls on a thorn or the thorn falls on a leaf,the leaf gets damaged ". And from the moment a girl child is born ,these cliched lines are oft repeated to the parents and the girl alike.That being said,every girl at some point gets her share of prickly sex repressed male thorns.

Being in a close knit family with grand parents,uncles , aunts and cousins living almost on the same compound to look after me and by God's grace, I haven't had to encounter such bastards in my life.But just as a leaf on a rose bush cannot escape grazing through the thorns to fly in the wind, I too have fleeting memories of nameless and faceless parasites that refuse to go away that must be the part of memories of even the most ordinary Indian girl.

1)The hairy hand that made into my purple frock when I was standing in queue for darshan at one of the most famous temples in Kerala and how I with all my might pushed it back and somehow exchanged position with a fat old lady in front of me.

2)The pointed fingers that kept poking me through the gap between the seat and the back rest in the TNSRTC bus while the teacher was taking me and a friend for a science camp in Tamil Nadu. the frustration when the teacher asked us to ignore the constant pokes and the my friend's fiery outburst at the guy which finally resulted in him moving to a different seat.


3)The numerous times I have had to ask my friends (guys) or cousins to exchange seats with me at a movie theater because some dark hands were trying to grope me in the safe darkness of the movie hall.


4)The lecherous eyes of the random guy who stopped me mid road to ask if I wear clothes when I take bath (!!!!).

5)Those decently dressed men in the heavily crowded trains and buses , whose only aim in life is to bump on to you with each movement the vehicle makes and then look back with a false smile as if it was an accident.

6)The showmen who post themselves at strategic locations near girls hostels and embarrass the girls by showing off their strategic body areas.

7)The hands that always try to find their way towards a girl when you are sleeping in a second class sleeper compartment and how you always remembered to sleep with your feet in the direction of the corridor and keep them covered under a blanket.

8)The fake sleeping guy who tries to fall asleep on your shoulders as if by some horrible quirk of  fate you did not get a lady's seat in one of those overpriced overnight Volvo buses.

With time and experience , I learned that this was the way of life and there was nothing much a woman could do to avoid such people completely (unless of course I wanted to shut myself off in a nunnery, which after some second thoughts involving Sister Abhaya might not be that safe either )

But some of my favorite weapons that helped me are an umbrella and a safety pin. Of course having a fierce look helps and some martial arts would be amazing.

Here are a few small tips to stay safe in daily life , which I used to follow

1)The open umbrella is a savior while walking through crowded foot paths , in that it gives you a  little space and a much needed weapon from guys whose only intent is to bump you and touch your breast.

2) A closed umbrella is a good weapon to use against auto  or taxi drivers if you feel they are planning something for you. (Have always been told this , but haven't had to use it personally).

3)Safety pin is a good weapon to be used when the perpetrator is hiding in a crowded or dark place, like a bus or movie theater.I have successfully used it on the guy who tried to poke me in
the movie theater .(3 pricks and 20 min later that guy left the theater). Compass or other sharp instruments can be used too but for the difficulty of carrying it around.

4)Having one or more trusted people of the stronger sex , unfortunately is one of the most fool proof ways to keep yourself safe.

6 comments:

Pria Rao on November 22, 2011 at 4:42 AM said...

You wrote about ALL the ways they can attack us. I now remember something. When I was just out of college and new to my job life and the busy life in big cities, i remember a guy standing beside me (i was sitting) in crowded bus and he tried to touch my shoulder with his thing. Damn! I wish I had a safety pin then.. and imagine he would get down off the bus in the immediate next stop. You are soooo lucky you could do it. And I understand how nice you would have felt then :)

The Updater on November 22, 2011 at 1:57 PM said...

Hmmm, I have experienced most of the stuff you have mentioned. :( All the desperate bastards. Thanks for the Amazing tactics to handle them :)

Mystical Skeptical Me on November 22, 2011 at 6:05 PM said...

Ohhh, you actually covered everything! And so well. The defenses...yep, they really are effective, but true that too, that having someone stronger of opposite sex with you...helps. Good one, lady! :D

meoww on November 22, 2011 at 8:49 PM said...

good post sunitha..
its informative actually..
and yusss all of those things happen to almost every other girl in this world..
such effing Bastards i tell u...
grrrrr...
god bless u dear..:)

cheers !

maithili on November 23, 2011 at 10:48 AM said...

These are what I was talking when I said about daily harassments a women faces.. Liked your post for the ways you have suggested to protect.. I usually carry my bag and keep it close to my chest with my arms surrounded about it when I m in crowded places like station and buses.. It doesn't give the perverts a chance to "accidently" touch me..

Keirthana on November 23, 2011 at 10:22 PM said...

A well exhaustive list of things that we girls should look out for! Good one :)

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