Some of Us Are Becoming the Men We Wanted To Marry
When I think of women I see beauty. It’s everywhere, right from the forehead to the toes. A woman is beautiful. So let me talk about woman, today. If Mary Wollstonecraft were to live the life of a common woman in Delhi, she’d be scandalised. She would really consider adding a new theme on “Sexual Harassment” in her work “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)”. I loathe reservations. Deal with the world as it is! Why ask for made-up conveniences? Make your own! Too much rigidness, isn’t it? I’ll be lying if I say I don’t find the women’s coach useful. It saves me from the monstrous men who are ever ready to have a piece of us women. Then why am I contradicting myself in my very first article here? I’ll tell you a story. For that I’ll have to go down my memory lane.
I had started commuting to college in July 2010. I used to live really far, so I used almost all kinds of road transport. My morning started with bus travel, a quick Rickshaw travel, Metro trip and then foot travel. Rickshaw and foot was good. Bus was horrifying at times, with the ticket checker often falling on the women. Back then Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) hadn’t considered potential threat by men to womankind while travelling in the Metro. I’m honest. I am a harmless, quiet girl with the “it-doesn’t-matter-to-me-if you’re-hitting-on-me” look on my face. I usually listen to some music and read Reader’s Digest in the Metro.
That very day, like all normal days, I took the train. A few stations passed, and then suddenly this huge mob of men came and almost covered me. I thought, ‘it is alright; they’re not going to rape me or something…a bunch of ordinary working men’. Then it started getting ugly. Every time the metro hit the brakes, this one man would exaggerate the jerk he got from the same. He stood so close that I could smell his unwashed clothes, and what he had for breakfast. It grossed me out more than it scared me. Why would I be scared? There were about five other women in the same coach, mobbed the same way as I was. We were in the same boat, we would sink together. The man then started playing smart. He brushed against me and then tried feeling me. I took out the ear plugs, gave him a mouthful. I spoke out all the swear words I ever knew in Hindi. Other women questioned him and then he was gone at the very next station.
Honestly, I did not feel victorious after that. I felt filthy. I was harassed and I was jolted with one lesson I learned that day. We should stop blaming the men. What do we do to stop harassment? We sit back, try to forget it, ignore it and then accept it as a “harsh reality”. Not all women can stand strongly in front of men and give them a nice “fuck-off” speech. I feel that the problem lies within us. We would simply watch another woman getting harassed and not speak until she signals. It’s irritating that a lot of us do not even consider “eve-teasing” as sexual harassment.
I am happy to travel in the women’s coach, not because I am getting a facility served hot on a platter, but because I love women. I am not gay. But I love them. I see a trend these days. Women travelling in the general coach of the Metro do not hesitate to swear at men trying to feel their humps. Having said this, I refrain from generalising situations. There still are women who would never speak, who would take it all silently and then come back and cry. They would not even look up and would not even consider it as an offence. Remember the “harsh reality”? But those who can speak up should do it for them! I do not go beyond my way to get into the women’s coach. I might be a petite, skinny girl but I can show men that they needn’t live in the illusion that they rule the world. Rapes, domestic violence and other different forms of sexual harassments are common. We all know about all this. It’s very easy to sit in the comfort zone of one’s bedroom and type about it. It’s equally difficult to go out there, take a stand and have the courage to speak against all the wrongs. I do not wish to mobilise women against men. I just wish we were more united in kicking harassers than men are united to treat us as sex objects. It is all about the “refresh” button. Get rid of stereotypes and you’re good to go.
I have overwhelming exposure to various kinds of women. I go to a women’s college, often travel in the women’s coach, live in a women’s hostel and I have more girlfriends than guy friends. I do not like some, I like some. But on a whole, I love them. I celebrate being born as a woman. I love studying about women. I feel beautiful being a woman and for me, every woman is beautiful, for she has the heart to bear it all, speak up a bit if not a lot, and still manage to maintain the smile! For me, the glass is always full. It is easy to find faults. Let’s be innovative enough to look for the good. I love what Mary Wollstonecraft said, “I do not wish them to have power over men, but over themselves.”
Bachelor of Arts (Honours), English, 1st Year
Indraprastha College for Women