Monday, December 5, 2016

Lets Wait for the Incident to happen

Travelling by train, an unfortunate circumstance given the cancellation of flights in Delhi due to fog, led me to relive the inevitable reality – when it comes to woman, action is taken only when an ‘incident’ happens. 

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Sitting in a near empty compartment and reading the latest e-books, I was finally enjoying some ‘me’ time and reminiscing of some memorable train journeys in the past. I was lost in my own world until it came time for dinner; I rose up from my seat and walked up to the wash stand. I noticed the smell of spirits when I crossed a compartment, twice removed from mine. A group of men (who I later came to know were from the Army) were noisily enjoying high spirits and snacks. It felt unsafe to walk through them and yet it was unavoidable. Suddenly, my safety seemed precarious, a hundred different stories of women being assaulted, shared by aunts, sisters, friends and complete strangers rang true in my ears. It didn’t feel right to just sit there and do nothing. If it wasn’t me, someone else could get hurt, I thought. So, I did the decent thing, I informed the head food server in my compartment and asked him to call the TT. In no time, I saw men slinking away from the said compartment and by the time the much delayed TT arrived, they had all apparently disappeared. 
It was the TT’s explanation that angered me the most, he began by explaining how half the population in the compartment were Army men and were hence in some way above censure. He then went on to tell me, none of the culprits were from the bogey we were in but had seemed to have come in from an adjoining bogey to drink. Next, even more ludicrously he told me that if I wanted to file a complaint, I could do so on ‘Twitter’. For a moment I laughed, wondering how it would have looked, a Twitter post that read, “#heartofjoy@help I am being raped”. He claimed he could take action only when an ‘incident’ was reported.
That’s what happens all the time, isn’t it. We wait for a woman to get assaulted, raped, murdered and then blame it either on her provocative dressing or on her questionable character or on her unfortunate circumstances and if nothing else works we can always blame the man for being drunk and thus senseless. And for all my efforts, I was rudely woken up by two railway policemen at 1am at night and asked for my Seat No. and PNR. That’s it!
India really seems to be shining. 

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