“I don’t know how many times strange men touch me in a day, while on my way to work”, says Kusha Kapila. Desperate hands have almost become a part of my routine travel. I take the Delhi metro to work with my best friend, along with many other women struggling to get past the women’s compartment. People may argue over women’s compartment fuelling inequality but swear to holy mother of rush hour, women need a compartment all for themselves. Delhi Metro, on some days could be absolutely stifling in the women’s compartment too but ask any woman if they would take the general compartment and the answer will be nearly unanimous- NO. I think a lot of women, like me, have made peace with the fact that taking the metro on a busy day will come at its own price. Not all days are bad necessarily, but take this one unfortunate incident for instance- my friend and I are waiting for our turn to hop onto the women’s compartment. A ridiculously drunk man, swaying like a modern-day Johnnie Walker, conveniently grazes my friend’s boobs in the name of exiting from the metro. (At this point, I should mention that I am absolutely convinced that men have some serious fixation with taking the women’s compartment despite repeated security warnings and condescending stares from women of all ages) My friend hits him, disgusted by his breath that was reeking of alcohol. Obviously the man acts oblivious, likening my friend to his beloved daughter. On our way back, we pity the daughter while also pitying ourselves.
I’m sure that the regrettable days when I have had to take the general compartment in a hurry, all the gawking men saw their daughter or sister in me as they scanned the curve of my hips, the size of my breasts and the visible flesh of my legs in a knee-length skirt. I am positive that none of them were actually contemplating to grope/graze any of the aforementioned objects of fascination during the exit frenzy. I also had this moment of epiphany when this one time, a 50 year old man handed me a piece of paper scribbled with a rather graphic elucidation of female anatomy, hoping that I would be overjoyed. I definitely cannot skip over the day when a man sitting across, offered his seat to me claiming that a man standing right behind me repulsed him. Puzzled, I asked him the reason and he said in a low voice,” Ma’am he was feeling you up”. Either the pervert was an expert at his grazing skills or my sensory system decided to shut itself in the metro that day.
I live in a nation where they had to assign women a separate compartment and trust me even the fierce ones who propagate the theory of gender equality would take the women’s compartment on a hard day. As for me, I’d take a disapproving middle-aged woman over an opportunist harasser, for I do not want to worry about ghoulish fingers every single day.
By Kusha Kapila
Image Credits: Albi13