Sunday, September 2, 2012


I do not wish to start this piece philosophically or on a  moral high, nor do I have any thoughts about  the greater good of any community or ‘society’. I wish to write this to justify me to myself. Yesterday on the 1st of September, at around 7:30 in the evening I was coming back from college I took a detour from my usual route and boarded the Blue line of the Delhi Metro from Rajiv Chowk. Being used to this chaos everyday, I was warned by my companion that we should board the ‘Ladies’ compartment and not the ‘General’ compartment. The sensible arguments I gave were, firstly that it is a ‘general’ compartment and not demarcated for men, so no harm boarding it. Secondly, that they are humans and not ‘animals’.  I lost the argument in the next few minutes.

I had to get off after four or so stations,  so it didn’t seem like the decision was going to cost me heavily. Being surrounded by 50 to 60 heavily sweating men was a  nightmare enough to take for one evening, but it had hardly begun. Throughout those 10 minutes that I was present there every part of my body was scanned in an inch by inch detail which made me feel like my sex was a curse with which I was born. The ordeal had started.

My station arrived, I shoved my way with great difficulty to make it to the door before it could close and during this struggle my top was pulled by a man to expose my breast for a good 15 seconds while at the same time somebody grabbed my behind. I was paralysed in shock. Nevertheless, I started pushing again and finally reached the door and stepped onto the platform. I  screamed my lungs out at those 5 to 6 men who were standing at the door. I hurled abuses at them which ideally no sensible Indian girl should utter even in thoughts, let alone whisper.

The reaction of those men was something that made the experience traumatic for me – they simply stared at me and LAUGHED. They continued laughing and my anger continued to rise. I was outraged at their sensibilities. I had always believed, that if ever I face such a situation in my life I would beat the daylights out of those people, but I could only stare at them. I was dumbfounded. My hurling abuses seemed like an impetus for them to laugh harder.  I was boiling inside.

I am not playing victim here. Self-pity is something I have done away with. This is not my intent. I want to know how come out of that entire compartment not even one man came forward to do something about it.
They could have stopped the metro immediately.
They could have called 1091 or simply stepped out of the metro to support me.
And, they could have stepped up and changed the situation there and then.

How low have you all sunken?
Does the status of being anonymous in a crowd fueled with this pathetic group mentality give them the freedom to do anything? Why blame the patriarchal setup, when the women present there looked at me as if I was at fault for being a girl and misplacing the societal norm of keeping quiet. Nobody present on that busy platform came forward to do ANYTHING.

If the frustration level of men in Delhi which seems to be so high then, they should go to places where sexual services are available. But,  MY BODY IS MY OWN and I do not give anybody the right to touch it.  This article is not about me; it’s about the psychological scars that I’ll have to live with for life. It’s about how incidents like these happen everyday and they are not even talked about because of the fear of being caught in something bigger and unwanted. It’s about how after going through all of this I for sometime blamed myself. In time, I remembered the words of my teacher, “It’s never your fault.” I do not know if this would help things or change the current scenarios, all I know is that I have lost my faith.