Saturday, April 6, 2013

Soldiers wanted - Men who can let women be !!

I am sure all of us have seen and loved the Gillette adverts which promote the "Soldier for Women" campaign. Although its a sad thing that it has come down to this. That the whole of mankind and the womankind is sweating it out to save women all over the country from certain animal like men.
And so when I had to write about the special man in my life, I knew it had to be H.

For all the years that I have known him, I always liked the fact that he respected all women in general, and would not make any disparaging comments about any women in a way of objectification, something that I have heard most male friends/colleagues/acquaintances do. They may say that its all harmless fun but excuse me, I beg to disagree. I find it quite down market and cheap.

But there was always one area of this whole issue about women safety and eve teasing that H and I never agreed on. He always said that women should make a hue and cry about if anyone acts fresh with them. I said it was no use, since nobody comes forward even if you shout (not true now that the whole country is in a state of high alert about women safety). He said most eve teasers would get scared/feel embarrassed if shouted at in public, and might not repeat the act in future. I thought they might develop a silent grudge in their heart and become a stalker or one one of those acid-throwers. He said there was no point in being insulted and getting used to it, and then cry about it later. I always said that it was easier said than done. He probably didn't understand a girls' apprehension of drawing unnecessary attention towards her. And so we had our differences.

After the recent gang-rape and murder stories doing the rounds, I was asked to be at high alert at all times. I drive with my car windows all rolled up and locked, carry a pepper spray in my bag at all times, and majorly try to avoid any desolate places all by myself. And the old debate also resumed, since many a times, strange men pass some lewd comments on the road, and if I tell H about it, he doesn't take very kindly too it. A couple of weeks back, we both were in Connaught place (C.P., New Delhi) for some work. After finishing work, we were just taking a stroll through the inner circle when a harmless looking guy crossed us. Before I could even realize what was happening, I felt a sharp pain and a moment later I realized that I had been groped. I turned back, and he was walking down the road as nonchalantly as ever. As expected of me, I just cursed and ,mouthed some expletives under my breath. H sensing something amiss questioned me and I told him what had just happened.

And the next thing was straight out a movie scene from Bollywood. H ran after that guy and pushed him on the road. He cursed him with all his expletive strength acquired in 28 years, kicked him with all his might, landed blows on his back and even slapped him. I was shivering meanwhile (And this was kind of pay back time for all the time I have been mean to the ladies who have played the damsel in distress :-P )
Anyway, during all this chaos, some 10-15 people had gathered and everybody started cursing the guy and somebody suggested he be handed over to the police. The accused guy by now had started crying and his statement had meanwhile changed from "galti se ho gya (happened by mistake)" to "sorry, aage se nahi karoonga" (sorry, will not repeat this in future)

And that day I realized that my hero did walk the talk. Someone who believes in doing the right thing. And standing up for it. I even joked about it saying that if he had done this before we were married, I might have thought he was doing this to pataao me :-P ;-) (Ain't I mean?)

I, for worse, cringed at the blatancy of it all. That a girl, in a crowded area, at 7 in the evening, walking alongside a 6 ft tall guy, and still some guy has the b***s to feel that he can get away with his monkey business. But, for the better of it, I learnt a lesson for life. Silence might be golden, but sometimes golden is not the need of the hour. Speaking out is essential. Speak up ladies. Meanwhile, let the men be the soldiers of the country who can stand up for the women with courage and integrity.