It happened to me a couple of weeks back. I was on my usual evening walk to a nearby park with my music on and headphones overhead, on a footpath covered with fallen dried leaves from trees, and above me was the bright blue sky with sun illuminating brightly. It was a very pleasant evening and I was walking absorbed in my own thoughts since there was neither road crossing nor too many people ahead or behind me. Foo Fighters were shouting out loud in my ears, “what if say I’m not like the others… you’re the pretender…”
Lost in my own music and thoughts I kept on walking, not knowing about a bike passing alongside the footpath on the road, and the biker riding the bike with another guy on back seat, whistling at me. They weren’t too close to the footpath I was walking on, perhaps this could be the reason, I could not follow what had happened. It was only after reaching the park, and when they turned their heads towards me making certain gestures, that I realized, I had been eve-teased. I entered the park, found an empty bench for myself away from all the chaos around; the laughter of kids playing around, senior citizens’ laughter exercises (laughter therapy), mummas yelling at their mischievous kids etc. Everything that used to sound so friendly and likable until that moment, had suddenly started sounding chaotic and irritating. True that my unconsciousness while taking a walk and not knowing what was happening around would sound like a mindless and ridiculous act, at least to me it did for a while. But it wasn’t!
Sitting on the bench I started reflecting on how I would have reacted or how should have I reacted on noticing some guys eve teasing me. The very first that that came to my mind was, “Am I not safe enough in the city I lived in for so long?” And the next thing that sprung up was, what should have I done? Screamed for help, yelled at them, slapped them or registered a complaint against these men or remained silent assuming it to be one of the many obscene acts women are inflicted with? Many amongst us acquire the notion that such acts are acceptable. But for how long?
I realized that women aren’t safe enough to walk the way they want. Now what’s wrong if I walk unconsciously with my music on? Obviously, nothing! A place that I have lived in for so many years treats me like this, then imagine the unexplored parts of the world. We, the Gen X, Y women often say that we would do this and that, file complaints, call the cops, report to some Women Welfare commission and stuff like that, but by doing this will the mosterity stop? Or has it stopped? I did not do anything that day, but that incident left me shaken and really made me wonder, about the liberty of women. Whatever age, generation or time we live in women have never been spared. When we try to fly high leaving age-old traditions and customs, either we are caged permanently or ours wings are chopped off.
Society, mainly the patriarchal one, comes up with new techniques to hamper women or lower their position in some way or the other.