Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pravin Sharma

Anybody who lives in Mumbai, knows about the locals here. At peak time, the locals are very crowded and the men stick out of the doors, climb on top of the roof...
I attend a Coaching Class which is located in Borivali for which I have to cross the Railway Tracks on foot. (Of Course, its illegal but there is no other way, the common bridge is quarter km away) Many people use the crossing to cross over to Borivali W from the Eastern side and Vice Versa,like me.
Its not that I hadnt heard about eve-teasing, I had assumed it to be a minor thing and never bothered to think too much about it. But all that changed last year. As I was waiting for a packed local to pass, with a few other people, I suddenly noticed several jeering voices, hooting and whistling. They were all coming from the local coming from Virar at 9:30 am.. To be honest, I had not expected such a thing to happen, so I was shocked for a moment. Then I saw the girl beside me hanging her head down in Humiliation and the commuters above (all of them, yes all of them) eyeballing her and whistling. What peturbed me the most was that the eve-teaser was not a single person but the entire train. I had to watch with sadness and helplessness as coach after coach passed and all the people inside each coach started howling. Maybe being in a group gave them some feeling of invincibility. I looked at the others nearby. Clearly they were uncomfortable too, trying to avoid looking at the train as much as possible. After the train passed, everyone including the girl went back to their business. I thought maybe they were used to it now.
I was left alone, feeling insecure,weak and helpless. I spent the entire day brooding over the incident.
Now I had to attend my class every alternate day. Whenever there happened to be a female (age didnt matter) the hootings began if she had to wait for the train to pass.A single guy whistled and the entire train followed him. The jeerings and tauntings were especially high if she was in a western outfit (not necessarily immodest, the kind of clothes you would not mind your sister wearing)
Even women aged 40 + were not spared.
Common phrases used were " Phone me coin Daal" (for someone using a cellphone) and some other unmentionable phrases.

In the evenings the train used to be relatively empty and I did not find the incidents happening . So obivously they felt safe in numbers.
Once I saw a group of girls (age maybe 13-14) become a victim to this. Yet I could only stand and watch as the train drifted away quickly.
Soon, I noticed the females who regularly crossed the tracks would wait at the street, behind a wall for the train to pass before they stepped on the railway tracks.
Now, I have become so used to this that it does not bother me anymore. I know that I am helpless, I cant do anything to stop it. The train wont stop and even if it would there is no way I can tackle 50-60 people on my own.
I just pray that someday, maybe I wouldnt have to wait for the train to pass with some member of my family.....
What I think is that these people are influenced too much by Indian Movies. In movies, usually the actress falls for cheap antics and cheesy dialogues by the actor. Maybe they think what they are doing is right after watching these movies..
So thats it.

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