VARAN, 23, who does not want her full name used, fired off this angry missive to me about how she was recently harassed by some brown guys and she wants to send them a strong message through The VOICE.
Here is her account of what went down the week before last:
SOMETIME [two weeks ago], I think Wednesday, I had planned to go home for my hour long lunch break. But the car wasn’t available for me to drive home. So, I decided to take a bus. Bad decision! I ended up spending most of my lunch time at a bus stop waiting for the bus. Well, I got to eat my favorite ‘aaloo matar’ for lunch. So, not that bad a deal!
Another “exciting” incident occurred. I had to make one transfer. I got off the first bus and checked the schedule for the next one: 12 minutes. Lots of pressure. I had to reach home, eat, and catch the bus back to office. To reduce the stress on my tiny brain, I took a deep breath, and started walking towards the next stop to kill time. 12 o’ clock in the afternoon, cloudy day.
I was walking one stop towards home when I heard someone honking. I looked towards my left and a car came in sight. I saw a guy half-leaning out of the left rear window of the car that was going at 70 kmph. Then, I noticed him making a gesture. By the time I realized what had happened, they had already “fled”. Yes, they! Four or 5 of them.
Within a few seconds after they were out of my sight, I realized they had honked to get MY attention. Clearly, there was nobody else on the sidewalk. And, when I reacted to the sound, the guy, almost falling out of the window, performed his act of indecency. He had actually thrown a flying kiss at me.
Sadly for them, I did not feel what they wanted me to feel. I felt nothing, but pity and a deep sense of helplessness. The reason being that they were, what they call here in North America, “brown” guys. Indian, most likely. I instantly wished my brain had reacted at a better speed. I sincerely wished them to take a U-turn and try one more time. I needed time to note down their license plate number. Oh, how I wish I had that number so I could call 911 and report them.
Now, the big question! Have I never faced this level of harassment before? Do I not know how to handle this? Well, the answer is yes. I know exactly how to deal with this at my personal and emotional level.
This and more used to happen every other day when I, and sometimes my cousins, used to walk towards our car parked a few yards away from the bus stop back in India (five years ago). Either my dad or my uncle or my grandpa used to pick us up, but that never stopped the harassers. Unacceptable gestures, comments, following, etc. And, of course, I was not the only one. Every other girl / woman has gone through those moments of embarrassment.
So, if this has happened before, what is this fuss about? No, it is not about what happened with me or somebody else. It’s not about the victim. It’s about the actor, the victimizer.
Seriously brown guys!? No, I do not mean to generalize at all and get into unwelcomed trouble. I have high regard for the ones who deserve it. And, at the end of the story, I will be marrying one. But yes, there is something disastrously wrong with the way our boys are being brought up. Shame on those upbringings that failed to teach respect! I am sorry to say, but shame on those mothers who never took the time out of their busy schedules to sit with their boys and teach them to conduct themselves appropriately and morally.
And to the four of you guys, I mean, shame on you! You are in a ‘foreign’ country. Why bring a bad name to your community, your motherland? Do something in life. Go plant a tree, your existence would become useful. I was probably a few years older than you guys. And, not to forget, I am an educated, employed woman with goals and aspirations – dressed fairly formally at the time of the incident. My life is much more meaningful than yours. I would forget this incident completely in a few days. But, you guys clearly have nothing better to do, else you wouldn’t be wandering on the streets on a weekday during work / school hours. This incident doesn’t really mean anything in my life, but it saddens me to see how immature, insensitive, weak you guys are. Go, pray for yourselves you troubled souls! May God have mercy on you! And, get a life, hopeless beings!