Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I am disgusted at this country today.

Sitting with a few friends, discussing “the state of the men in this place” I was once again reminded of “my place”. A place I have not only not chosen but have also refused to acknowledge. But I realize that over here, before anything else, I am a girl.

I hate to sound like a pseudo-feminist movie but the fact of the matter is that when a situation like this comes up, my thought is “So what if I am a girl?”Again, the hollow monologues from various Hindi movies come to me.

But the difference here is that my side of the story is not a question. It’s a statement. I am a girl and am not guilty about it.

But unfortunately that is not enough. Because everyone else disagrees. So here I am bogged down by the weight of the dignity of my nation that men all around me want to gnaw to bits the first chance they get. These are the men strutting tall talking about developing India where everything around us is booming.

The fact of the matter is that everyday, with everything you do, you are made to feel like an inferior.

Because you are not worth it.

As a jeans-wearing, English speaking girl, every often I have been made to feel like trash. But my enlightenment came when I realized that even salwar kameez’s and sari’s don’t make a difference.

“You are a girl.. are a girl.. are a girl… and I am going to rip you apart”

So right now I am trying desperately to figure out what all this culture we all talk about is.

I can already hear those many concerned men saying “we want you safe that is why we want you tucked away at home”

Of course, it is always easier to rub against a woman in a bus when you wife is not watching.

I also realize that the statement/question (the one about being a girl) is hollow within itself because there is no answer or counter-argument.

Sitting in a café sipping cold coffee and munching on crinkle cut fries turns into a teary mess. Because none of us have answers. And that leaves me frustrated like nothing else does.

Tomorrow all of us would step outside and it would be the same thing. The whistles. The hoots. The lewd comments. The shady songs. The satisfied smiles….

Is the only option to get off the bus and catch an auto? That is a way out of the situation for the moment. But is that the only solution that we are going to be stuck with forever?

And the thought that bothers me over and over again is that, even though women have accepted this as part of everyday life, this is Not life. At the moment when I have to walk into a railway station or have to catch a bus my patriotism crumbles. I hate this country. I want to go back to a place where civilized people dwell and you don’t have to scold yourself for wearing a t-shirt instead of a kurta. Or for forgetting that you should have protected yourself with a bag or something else.

The irony of all this of course is the many comments that one hears about “girls abroad”. Girls abroad, for all their “looseness” are not gnawed in public while the whole country watches.

Perhaps it is because I have something to compare with (and thank God for that) that I know not all men are desperate sex-maniacs.

But I wish, on a day like today, that I had another side of the story to make me feel better.


  1. culdnt agree more.. wish there was amagic wand which would hit a guy everytime he makes a pass ..would serve them right..

  2. Street sexual harassment is less about men being sex maniacs, more about men generally having no respect for women.

    Many people (and many women too) think women should stay at home, and that public spaces belong to men, specially after dark.

    I guess when men grow up hearing their sisters being told to not invite 'eve teasing' or their fathers berating their mothers for not 'controlling' the daughters - they learn that they are helpless victims of provocation by women who don't respect their culture and traditions (i.e. societal norms).

    A lot of these men also feel insecure when they see independent women. They have always seen their sisters and mothers and other female members at home being treated like second class citizens, they can't imagine how a woman in the street didn't seem to acknowledge their obvious superiority. They know exactly how to put her in place - no matter how educated or successful and which class she comes from, they have heard at home, in TV serials and in Bollywood movies and they know 'ek hindustani ladki ki izzat kyaa hoti hai' (what honor means to an Indian girl) - so all they have to do is grope, paw, leer, flash etc to 'outrage her modesty' or to dishonor her. And what is a woman without her izzat (honor)?
    Long comment!!