blank noise


Action Heroes

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Soar High

Freedom lies in being bold – Robert Frost

Last year on Women’s day I had written this and this about my experiences which formed a part of the blank noise project blogathon. This year the blogathon is back. The theme this time is “Action heroes” where bloggers are expected to blog about the times when they fought back sexual harassment. Though I had already written those instances last time, I am reproducing them here in this post as well.

There are ways and means to tackle that colleague who talks to your breasts or that elderly relative who pretends to be fawning over you but is actually lusting (you can always tell). One sure shot way to ward of a starer is to stare back. It’s not so easy. Staring back. One feels disgusted merely by glancing at the eyes which seem to be ripping your clothes apart. But DO stare back and very piercingly at that. One’ll instantly feel the urge to cast ones glance in some other direction quickly but DON’T. KEEP at it. However obstinate a starer may be, his testosterone still does not surpass his selfconsciousnness (in almost all cases). He’ll instantly look down, beyond, or back whereever he’s supposed to be looking. Of course, one needs to weigh ones options and actions a little bit keeping in mind all odds. One does not go ahead and take pangas with a gang when one is alone. But one can definitely be alert and quick (not just physically but mentally as well).

There has happened a particular incident of ballooning around holi where the guy made the mistake of being visible while throwing the balloon. He happened to work at a local barber shop, which I immediately stormed into and gave him a piece of my mind and some of the choicest abuses I knew. A guy there (a client) egged me on to give him a tight slap as well. I quietly ignored him since I didn’t want the situation to get so heated up and that guy seemed to be egging me on just for kicks. I cant say that what I did, would have made the ballooning guy stop it for his life. But it’s always best to bring the “situation” into notice. The fear of embarrassment is enough for some to at least think twice about it next time. There was another guy who tried brushing past me on a main road while I was waiting to cross it. The whole damn road was empty, but he thought that he would have a piece of my butt before I reached the other side. That guy was unaware that he was going to get the shock of his life. Though I felt like killing him, I merely held his collar with both hands and shook him so badly that he didn’t know what hit him. He tried running for his life, but he couldn’t. I was surprised with my own grip. Eventually he managed to pull off and ran for his life. It was only when everything was over and done with, that the “crowd” asked me what happened and if he was trying to snatch my purse.

There are umpteen such situations in everyday life and they would perhaps never end. Not only is it difficult to try and give such sick men their due, it is very much a difficult thing when you are left in a doubt about the intention of someone. At times things happen accidentally and unintentionally too. But at most times they are obvious enough to be brought to public notice. Even if the “crowd” does not react (and only watches) one should definitely make sure that one does not ignore it. A confrontational attitude is certainly better than an escapist one. In public transport one can always request ppl politely to stop pushing or plainly to stand a little away. The way one does it makes sure that even the ones who did it accidentally aren’t offended by your request and the ones doing it intentionally can not just go scot free. When it happens repeatedly in spite of polite requests, it’s time to stomp that high heel onto his foot or to shove ones elbow into his balls.

The best way to actually try and reduce something like this is to spread awareness amongst women that they can actually protest against it. I have grown up watching things happen to me and around me and even though I knew it was wrong I didn’t know what to do about it (till some point in my life). One needs to ignore minor happenings but one also needs to make sure that the ones which can be avoided, are. Things can get as ugly as molestation of ones own children or marital rape. There is no dearth of the levels till which harassment can go. Be aware, be prepared, be alert and be proud to be a woman in spite of the shit that happens.


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Barbie girl 1

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You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere“..”kiss me here, touch me there, hanky panky“. A lot of guys think that’s what women are for. Writing a post on such issues like the ones that blank noise project (which incidentally got mentioned in boingboing too) covers, had always been on my mind but never did that earlier, because I never wanted reactions amounting to martyrdom, like “oh you poor thing, you had to go through so much”. I am glad I wrote, nevertheless. No, not because I had to vent it all out or that it would be cathartic. I didn’t need to do that. Those things had been purged by my mind a long time ago. And all women learn to do that eventually. They block out such memories in their entirety and lead their lives as if nothing happened. I am glad I did it because of the kind of reactions that I have received from people, many of whom are male. I anticipated that almost all women would be writing similar stories (and actually I was sick reading the same stuff). What I didn’t anticipate was that most men are completely oblivious of the “magnitude” of the situation. I am glad that this series had them enlightened (read “shocked” in their own words).

I am also hoping that it would have definitely helped many women realise that they aren’t the only ones going through this. Everyone and I mean every single one has to go through exactly the same shit. I also hope that women actually learn to “raise their voice” (literally) against it. I noticed that some of us felt “dependent” on men. I would like to point out that largely everyone in the society is dependent on each other for some reason or the other. But dependency to the extent of not being able to go out to a movie or a mall or to the market, unescorted, is pure crap. I know women (not child women but grown up adults) who can not even cross the road on their own without someone holding their hands! I know women who need “company” while going to the loo because they are scared (of the dark or of the loneliness, only they would know)! It irritates me to no end to see people perfectly capable of taking care of themselves (and others at that), being so dependent on others for such small little things. May be it’s because they have been sheltered all their lives and the reason for that would be the kind of experiences women face here. It’s a vicious cycle of sheltering and dependency which only leads to further dependency. It needs to be broken by the *women* themselves, by realising that dependency to some extent is unavoidable but it is only by breaking that mental dependency that they would learn to take care of themselves. This is the only way they would ever be able to get the strength to get back at the people who are largely the reason for such harassment on the streets, in public places and even in one’s own home.

In this country which has such high female infanticide rates, and has all kind of discrimination against the girl child, I have been fortunate enough to get a good education and parents who don’t have such a mindset. But I see several others who are as fortunate, still stuck mentally in a rut which makes them feel “helpless” and “dependent”. Just taking up a job and being a working woman is not called being “indpendent”. Independence stems from one’s own mind. There are females who can not take a single decision independently. Not for others and not for their own self. Whether or not it’s life altering, doesn’t matter. Taking someone’s opinion or consultation is definitely good, but having someone else take entire decisions for you is different. I know women who are grown up adults and can not get themselves from point A to point B all by themselves. Whether Point A is their own home and Point B – their next door neighbour or the Louvre in Paris, it doesn’t matter. They are not limited physically or monetarily. Mentally is the only way they are. I stay alone in the same city that my parents stay in (though it took me a year to convince them to be able to) and I do it because I *can* and want to, and not as a solution to any problem. I am tired of repeated clarifications (most of them, to women) to inconsequential stuff to the effect of, “I do NOT get scared of the dark or for that matter spiders, rats, frogs, lizards and what nots”, “I can take care of myself”, “I can run the house independently”. My only (of course unsolicited) advice to such “oppressed” women would be to wake up and stop being “Barbies” themselves. Only then can they expect others to NOT treat them as the same.



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Take a vow

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As I sit down to write for the blank noise blog-athon, I wonder where I could begin. Should I start chronologically from the age of 7, when a man servant felt me up in places I can still not get myself to write down? Or should I go ahead to the age of 14 when a guy rubbed himself into me in a not so crowded bus in Nepal, all this when my parents and sister were in the same bus, but I didn’t dare to move, for the sad reason that at that age, I didn’t know how have the guts to react in that kind of a situation. Or should I just jump past all those daily experiences of men feeling me up, pushing themselves into me in public transport, or staring at me or winking at me or passing lewd remarks or pinching my butt or singing songs or throwing balloons at me every damned holi or autodrivers offering me “lifts, jahan bhee jaana ho” or cars stopping by when I am walking alone on a main busy road, following me for some time, assuming that I am on sale or “boys” aiming small paper pellets at my butt or men hitting my butt by driving too close to me while I am walking my dog or guys speeding on a bike hitting my chest so hard that I almost fall with the sheer force (apart from the shock)… I am out of breath already and this sentence doesn’t even seem to be anywhere near ending. Maybe I should just land up at the incident which happened at some new year party when I was 16 and at that age, like everyone else I had the humble desire a young girl would have – that of being asked for a dance (not even a ballroom dance, it just a jam session). Little did I know that the request for a dance was a pretext for masturbation in a public place with the guy trying to make me fondle his dick. By that age, I was thankfully not so ill-equipped in terms of presence of mind (had enormous experience of such incidents by now) and I shoved him away with all my might. But till this date, only one person on this planet knew about it and she actually thought that I had imagined it all, since guys in those social circles are supposed to be “decent”. Nothing really “harmful” (this term is so damn subjective) happened then. I tried dealing with that incident in an adult manner (in my mind i.e.) so that my self esteem didnt get hit (“did I really look the cheap variety or did I look the “unable to do anything variety” to attract the wrong guys” kind of doubts).

There are ways and means to tackle that colleague who talks to your breasts or that elderly relative who pretends to be fawning over you but is actually lusting (you can always tell). Of course, one needs to weigh ones options and actions a little bit keeping in mind all odds. One does not go ahead and take pangas with a gang when one is alone. But one can definitely be alert and quick (not just physically but mentally as well).

There has happened a particular incident of ballooning where the guy made the mistake of being visible while throwing the balloon. He happened to work at a local barber shop, which I immediately stormed into and gave him a piece of my mind and some of the choicest abuses I knew. A guy there (a client) egged me on to give him a tight slap as well. I quietly ignored him since I didn’t want the situation to get so heated up and that guy seemed to be egging me on just for kicks. I cant say that what I did, would have made the ballooning guy stop it for his life. But it’s always best to bring the “situation” into notice. The fear of embarrassment is enough for some to at least think twice about it next time. There was another guy who tried brushing past me on a main road while I was waiting to cross it. The whole damn road was empty, but he thought that he would have a piece of my butt before I reached the other side. That guy was unaware that he was going to get the shock of his life. Though I felt like killing him, I merely held his collar with both hands and shook him so badly that he didn’t know what hit him. He tried running for his life, but he couldn’t. I was surprised with my own grip. Eventually he managed to pull off and ran for his life. It was only when everything was over and done with, that the “crowd” asked me what happened and if he was trying to snatch my purse.

There are umpteen such situations in everyday life and they would perhaps never end. Not only is it difficult to try and give such sick men their due, it is very much a difficult thing when you are left in a doubt about the intention of someone. At times things happen accidentally and unintentionally too. But at most times they are obvious enough to be brought to public notice. Even if the “crowd” does not react (and only watches) one should definitely make sure that one does not ignore it. In public transport one can always request ppl politely to stop pushing or plainly to stand a little away. The way one does it makes sure that even the ones who did it accidentally aren’t offended by your request and the ones doing it intentionally can not just go scot free. When it happens repeatedly in spite of polite requests, it’s time to stomp that high heel onto his foot or to shove ones elbow into his balls.

The best way to actually try and reduce something like this is to spread awareness amongst women that they can actually protest against it. I have grown up watching things happen to me and around me and even though I knew it was wrong I didn’t know what to do about it (till some point in my life). One needs to ignore minor happenings but one also needs to make sure that the ones which can be avoided, are. Things can get as ugly as molestation of ones own children or marital rape. There is no dearth of the levels till which harassment can go. Be aware, be prepared, be alert and be proud to be a woman in spite of the shit that happens.


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Testosterone tackle 1

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Ever faced the problem of having someone staring at you or maybe I should put it as leering at you? Well, I am sure at least all girls face this problem most of the time, especially while travelling in public transport. Initially I always used to feel disconcerted but later learnt to ignore it and got used to it. So much so, that some of my male friends would be wondering why the guy in the nearby car would be almost plopping out of his car to stare at me, while I would be driving unconscious of the fact, with my ‘eyes on the road and hands upon the wheel’. Who has the time to pay attention to all this unwanted attention? But it definitely does get too much, depending on situations. One sure shot way to ward of a starer is to stare back. It’s not so easy. Staring back. One feels disgusted merely by glancing at the eyes which seem to be ripping your clothes apart. But DO stare back and very piercingly at that. One will instantly feel the urge to cast ones glance in some other direction quickly but DON’T. KEEP at it. However obstinate a starer may be, his testosterone still does not surpass his self consciousness (in almost all cases). He’ll instantly look down, beyond, or back wherever he’s supposed to be looking. There are nerds who actually turn around all the way to be able to look behind them! But beware, no sooner than the starer would have looked back in this ‘original’ direction and you would have heaved a sigh of relief, than the guy will steal a glance yet again and start the thing all over again. So keep at the dirty staring bit, till the jerk in question does not STOP looking back.

And in case, the staring at them bit doesn’t work, then simply try the ‘what’s your #$#%@#* problem’ routine. With a sudden surge of unwanted and unexpected attention, he’s bound to forget staring at least.

Other irritating problems that ppl may come across is with ppl they know. In fact it can be anyone, friends, colleagues, subordinates, anyone. I have noticed this silly habit which ppl seem to possess. While talking to you they’ll very easily get distracted with something on your face, instead of focusing onto your eyes. I know several ppl (not just guys) who look at my earrings while I talk to them especially if they happen to be a little long in length. The same happens with bindi & lipstick too or basically with whatever adorns my face apart from my facial features. Fine, the earrings/bindi/lipstick look nice and all that, but don’t the ppl realise that I can *see* what they are looking at, and I certainly don’t fancy ppl talking to my earrings/bindi/lipstick!! It’s not as if they have 2 sets of eyes.. dekhne kee aur, aur dikhaane kee aur (one pair to see with and one pair to show others)!! It sure is amusing to see ppl’s eyes dancing to your head movements!
So to tackle this variety, there’s a very simple way. Just utter ‘They’ll/It’ll look nice on you, do you want them/it?’. Doesn’t matter if it’s a guy you are suggesting to, that the danglers that you are wearing will look nice on him. It’s sufficient to jolt him/her out of his/her ‘tranced-with-the-earring-routine’. Also subtly manoeuvre something to the effect of this into the conversation – ‘I thought you really fancied them/it, since you were talking to them/it and not me!’ when the person at the other end squirms on your suggestion.
Note: The above tip can be used in synonymous situations where ppl fancy your bust, your butt, or well whatever ..

More such snazzy tips coming later.. for now you can wish me a happy blog budday :-].


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