Its raining outside and I am loving it, static in the traffic, sitting at the backseat with half open window.
Here, I see some chirpy school girls standing at the bus stand, a group of boys coming from the other side and the girls become quite as if, they were aware whats next. They were right! boys passed the comments as per their moral duty and girls looked down as usual. We have somehow accepted the fact that we are to be commented on.
A girl’s journey to the real world begins with a struggle to understand, WHY those men standing on the bus stand stare like that (MAY BE its the over or under weight), WHY those school boys change their route, look at the girl, talk to each other and laugh a loud (MAY BE its the funny appearance), WHY that shopkeeper touches his fingers on the palm while giving the change (MAY BE he doesn’t want the coins to fall down), WHY that uncle equal to father’s age wants that girl to give him something to eat (MAY BE he is too poor to fetch a meal), WHY that man who can be called dada ji leans on a girl even at a small jerk in the bus (MAY BE he is too old to maintain body balance)… These WHYs haunt a girl (every girl) initially, till the time she does not realize that her MAY BEs never existed…
This is when that girl goes into her cocoon, her bag becomes her guard, her eyes always search something on the ground lacking the courage to look up, tolerating everything to an extend and then, just moving away. You know what best she can do, taking a cab or an auto rather than a bus or metro, so that its not those 50 men looking at her personal self but just the driver.
This weather, those girls, the comments and that moving bus gives a throw back to that day. A small girl (Uniform; MCD school, she must be in grade 3 or 4) was sitting at the window seat in the bus, her hands and half head was out of the window, enjoying the drizzle, it seemed that its raining ONLY for her… Gosh! that lovely smile and mischievous eyes were eager to reach home.
BUT, after a few minutes her smile was lost, her hands were in, she was still looking outside rather was looking out vacantly without a blink of an eye. (May be she was missing her maa). Something was awkward. A tear rolled down from her eyes… Yet again that ‘MAY BE‘ was wrong. The man sitting next to her, had his hand on her shoulder. Suddenly, that amazingly pleasant downpour turned into a gloomy one. In almost no time her fear had over ruled her tears and her eyes were dry. By then his hand was in her shirt. The little girl looked numb and there she shooked her head down. How could someone do that and how could others standing there, witnessed it but still ignored???
All those gazing eyes, mostly non understandable comments, un-welcomed hands, ever tolerating deeds that our society has been accepting, might be travelling in your mind, heart, body, blood and veins, that frustration is too strong that it can create a tsunami. That same tsunami gave me the courage to move to her seat and scream… Yes, a scream of regret, helplessness, hattered and anger… A scream that was too loud and fierce that it made HIM get down from the running bus.
That girl stood up after a minute or so and without looking at anyone, de-boarded the bus may be much before her stand or after that, did she even know the way to her house, was she even in her senses to reach home, would she ever be able to tell her family, would they understand, but one thing which was for sure, another girl was now ready to get immune to be looked, touched or felt. Congrats! she was a mature girl now…
Hey you boy, there is something for you, yes you! You might be someone’s best friend or just a facebook friend, a neighbour or a relative, a boyfriend or a husband, a brother or a father, an uncle or a cousin, a boy riding a bike or a man in his car, a colleague or a boss, a brother’s friend or a father’s business partner, please be man enough to be called one. Because the girl whom you checked out today, yesterday, a week back or long back has much more than her curves.
And you girl stop it! Be courageous enough to stand for your ownself, to beat anyone if required, to abuse them if needed, to look up while walking straight into their eyes, telling them “I” belong to “Myself“. No one can ever be your guard, your bag, a cutter, a pepper spray, your self defense classes, your boyfriend NO ONE and NOTHING. Stop sympathizing with yourself and be your own shield.
So, my equation with existence of ‘a woman’s respect’ says:
‘Stand Up, Stare them straight and Scream’