Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Close Encounters of the Male Kind

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.

21 comments:

D said...

Quite an unsettling experience except for the ending.

Ron said...

Nice end to a awful experience :)

Glad to hear the cop was helpful. Some of my friends here in Bangalore tell me horror stories about unhelpful cops, though the two times I've approached a policeman here they have been really nice and scared the offender away.

dipali said...

Lovely ending!

Serendipity said...

How scary. When im travelling in trains/crowds I look at any and every man like he's a criminal out to get me.

Thankfully this man was just a looker. dont they have wives and sisters at home I wonder?

Aathira said...

Good to know the cop was helpful.

I always am slightly worried about approaching a cop. No clue why!

Sue said...

D -- The ending 'settled' me right back!

Ron -- Yeah, so far I've been more lucky than not, with cops.

Dipali -- :)

Serendipity -- I don't know about their female relatives. I don't even want to be their female relatives. I just want to be able to get into a train and go home without worrying about such creeps waiting around the corner for me.

Aathira -- I think it helps that I have no expectations from a cop except him looking big and scary. I explain to them that I don't want them to do anything, just look at the guy and mark his face. So far that has sufficed. I use my helpless young woman avatar for all it's worth!

Mama - Mia said...

these kinda creeps just make a regular n routine journey hell! good for ya, you went to the cop!

and read the end thrice and smile kept getting bigger! :D

cheers!

abha

Banno said...

I would have jumped and yelled at being 'attacked'.

Mystic Margarita said...

I'd say you did the right thing by approaching the cop under the circumstances. A nice ending to round off the unpleasantness! :)

Mystic Margarita said...

I'd say you did the right thing by approaching the cop under the circumstances. A nice ending to round off the unpleasantness! :)

saptarshi said...

Ask J to link this post to the BN blog?

asaaan said...

I thought that guy tapped you. Luckily the ending was nice :)

adi said...

the cop was quite a change from the crop that we get to see in india. the ending was sweet. all is well that ends well

Rimi said...

I didn't tell you about my metro ordeal days before I left, did I? I was exhausted (been doing the KMR run ALL day for transcripts, in the August heat) and upset (stuff, y'know). And this chap kept harrassing every woman in my compartment, and grinning delightedly at the women's discomfort. And for some reason he made ME his ally--kept directing his slimy smiles at me every damn time. I almost cracked when he slammed his elbow into an elderly lady's back because she came and stood between (unwittingly) between him and this young girl. Then he pretended like it was an accident and told the woman if she didn't fancy the travails of public transport, she should take a taxi.

I almost let it go, but he was waiting for me at the top of the stairs at my station, and -- just for laughs, I suppose -- tried to shove me down the last set of stairs while trying to feeling up my back. At which point, after exchanging a few warmish words, I suddenly pulled back and punched him in the face.

And broke his nose.

dipali said...

@Rimi: You rock!

Rimi said...

Dipali, thank you :-)

Sue said...

Abha -- :) The ending made it worth remembering.

Banno -- I almost did. :)

Mystic -- Yeah, I got a bit psyched seeing the creep at the turnstiles.

Saptarshi -- I should na?

Asaan -- So did I!

Adi -- He's not the first cop I've approached for this particular kind of help, and they've all been like this. Perhaps because I don't really ask them to do anything except look menacing they are all the more helpful. I was not expecting his offer of escort, though, and that was a pleasant surprise!

Rimi -- Well done! No, I didn't know about this guy but I remember the one who you caught by the collar. You give me courage, I hope you know that.

Dipali -- Exactly!

The Orange Cat said...

You know, there ARE polite young men out on the streets as well, who are ready to give up their seats to women, help that kindly old grandma cross the street, and who would never dream of misbehaving with someone from the opposite sex.

Monika,Ansh said...

You did good Sue. Smart thinking. Can get scary, these things.

sunny said...

There should be woman police at metro stations to tackle eve teasing.
And traps should be used to net regular offenders.

And why not start a action group on orkut abt this teasing in metro rails....we have seen the first example of successful internet campaign by nisha susan.

sunny jain

Sue said...

Orange -- Did I ever suggest otherwise?

Monika -- I know...

Sunny -- There are cops and perhaps if we women complained about the regular offenders, we would be able to nip other such enthusiasts in the bud. I don't know, it's just a thought. Actions like Rimi's (see her comment above) do a great deal of good where nothing else works. I don't know how effective an Orkut group would be, frankly.