The time must have been around 5 pm, some 30 years ago, on the road in front of our house in Kanpur. I was walking down the road to the house of the lady who used to stitch our clothes. I was about 17 or 18 years old. It was an empty road though not a desolate one. It has been 30 years or so and I still remember what I was wearing. A high neck full sleeves kurta and salwar. As I walked on I saw a man coming on his bicycle from the opposite side. I continued walking on the side of the road and then without warning, he crossed the road, came towards my side. As he crossed me, he groped my breast with all his might and sped off. I screamed in pain and shock and when I looked back at what had happened, I saw him looking back too with a smirk on his face. He was a man in his late 30s or 40s.
30 years later, at about 8 am, I am out for a walk on the main road in front of the farm estate that I am currently staying in, in a small town of Sawantwadi I encounter my latest sexual harassment case in a public placejust
When I reached home (the farm stay), my friend was sitting on the porch at his usual place and he wished me loudly “Good Morning, how was your walk?”, I smiled and went inside
In DTC buses, in Indian Rail compartments, at the Trade Fair organized each year at Pragati Maidan, in office space, and even in the safe heavens of my home
Each time something happened, I wondered what I was wearing, what I did to invite the action, what were my reactions likeNow when I am 47 years old, hair grey and white, having seen the world, a lot wiser, able to comprehend so many more nuances of the society, of people behaviour etc, I wasn’t able to change this narrative I wasn’t able to come to my friend and tell him what happened without a feeling of doubt on myself or being sure of his reaction If an informed and aware woman like me felt like this, I shudder to think what millions of other girls and woman must go through in their head each time something like this happens to them
Sad but not shocking anymore...
#15 December 7, 2020
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