Last night, while I waited at the Metro, this young man decided to look me over. Not once, which I could have lived with, not twice, but for minutes while he chatted with his friend. I glared back, not enjoying it in the slightest. He looked away and moved a few feet farther on. All this while listening to Lola vs. Powerman on the iPod.
The train arrived at this point and I got on. It was really crowded and I was trying my best to stay upright without rubbing up against the crotch of the guy behind me. Some minutes into the journey I noticed a woman my age standing nearer the door and shifting uncomfortably. To my indignation, the guy behind her – and standing right in front of me – was the one I’d encountered on the platform. He had been standing at another door altogether when I got into the train, and must have had to run to get in through this door. This time I glared long and openly so that people started to turn to see what I was looking at.
Finally, having glared enough (I thought), I turned away and didn’t give him another look although I could see he was staring at me again.
My station arrived, I got out leisurely at the end of the crowd, well after him. I saw him walk away as I slowly climbed up to the ticket stations but I saw him standing on the other side. I knew he had been traveling alone and if he was waiting for a friend, why look at me? So I went over to the cop sitting nearby and pointed the guy out and explained to the cop that I didn’t need to have him do anything to this person but that he had been hassling me for a while and could he please just take a good look at him.
The man himself was too far to hear what I was saying but he could see me speak to the cop and point at him. The cop was rather nice about it, too, and asked if I wanted to be escorted to the exit. I didn’t but I did walk out very slowly. Luckily, by the time I was outside the man was nowhere to be seen.
All this left me quite a bit on edge while I waited in queue at the rickshaw stand. You know how you get when your skin tingles if a person comes too close? Now imagine my sense of shock when a couple of fingers tapped me on the bare back above my saree blouse! I spun around in shock and saw my ‘attacker’ – all two and a half feet of him safely tucked away in his father’s arms. Grinning at me and ready to make friends. Somehow, it quite restored my equilibrium. All little boys remind me of my own wee one at home, I think.