I cannot remember the number of times I have been whistled at, groped, pinched and stared at in India. I lived most part of my life in Chennai which is supposed to be a conservative city. But there has not been a single I been able to feel safe on the roads. Almost every time I have been subject to some sort of abuse by random men on the streets. There is one such incident which still triggers a temper in me, I still really want to catch hold of that man and bash him up. It was around 9 pm and I was walking back from my violin class. I had reached a long street at the end of which there was another long street which would finally lead to my apartment. I loved this walk because this was a peaceful residential area and many of the houses planted my favourite Parijatham. I cannot explain how I felt walking past these flowers, it just transported me to a divine place.

So, as I was walking a young chap got onto the road in a bicycle. He started saying filthy things to me and his cycle came very close to me threatening to hit me. Since I was carrying my violin, I was not able to walk very fast. I told this guy to move away and not bother me. He continued in the same vein and after a while to my horror I heard him moaning and groaning. I was horrified when I realised what he was doing and tried running from the place. It did not help, with him on the cycle. After a while he suddenly disappeared. By then I had entered into the second street which was better lit. But to my annoyance, there was nobody on this street as well. I literally ran as fast as I could and reached home panting and puffing. I found the incident so disgusting that I could not have my dinner that evening. For the next few days I went the class on my two wheeler which still did not help because it is very easy for a person to stop the vehicle.

All this happened 10 years ago. I did not have a mobile phone to capture the disgusting act and shame the man. Even if I did, i doubt if that would have been a safe thing to do, with no one around. I coudl have shouted and attracted the attention of the people inside the houses. But the man would have fled in his cycle by then. So many ifs and buts. If only I had taken action once, this anger inside me would have cooled down a bit. So when I see women take action to protect themselves and shame the perpetrator, my heart fills up with happiness. It truly does, thank you ladies.

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