Someone has to Give it Back


 

 

As  the  train pulled  out of  the  Jalandhar  City  station I waved  good  bye  to  my  father  from  the window  seat   in  a  second class  reserved  compartment. Being my first  journey  alone  I was  nervous  and  a  bit  scared . It  was  on  my  insistence  and  the  confidence  that  I  had profusely displayed  at  home   that  my parents had agreed  to  allow   me  to  spend  my summer  vacation  with my  cousins  in Delhi. As  my  father could  not  get  leave I volunteered  to  travel  alone. Now  trying  to   mask  my nervousness, I subtly  checked   the  presence of my   wallet  in the pocket  and  and  the  bag  underneath my  seat . Finding my  both  possessions  intact I  began  to  ogle  around  confidently. Sitting opposite  me was  an  old  lady , with white  hair , gold  rimmed  glasses and a  stern  gaze on her  face.  Clad  in  a  decent  salwar-kameez  she  was  busy  knitting. Sitting  next to  her was  an  elegant looking young  lady   with her  two  small  children  who seemed  to  around  three  or  four  years  old. Sitting next to  me  was  an  innocuous looking  middle  aged  man who  was  engrossed  in his  newspaper.

The train would  stop at  every station  and  this  being  the  office  hour  a  deluge  of  commuters  would  alight  and  board  the  train  irrespective  of  their  reservation  in  the  compartment. Soon  we  were  wooed   by  the  words  ‘Adjust karo’ and so we  were finally  well squeezed  to  our   ‘squeezing limit’.

Everything  seemed  to  be  going smoothly till the  time  two rowdy looking  middle-aged persons boarded the  train  from  a  small  station  and  adjusted themselves  on  my berth. With  unkempt  hair  and unshaven  faces  both had  repulsive  looks. The elder  of the  two even  looked  slightly tipsy.  He pointed  at  the  kid (i.e me) to get further squeezed  and  make  more  room  for them  on  the  seat. As  the train  moved  out of  this  station  they  began  their incessant  ogling   at  the  hapless  young  lady sitting on  the opposite  berth. She  sensed mischief  , ignored  them   and  continued  to  look out  of  the  window. Finding  himself  in  a  commanding  position the  elder  one  remarked  in  a  slurry tone  to  his equally mischievous  accomplice  “Aaj kal chote balon  ka  fashin aa  gaya hai” (nowdays  keeping short  hair  is  in  vogue).  To this  the second accomplice  gave  out a  short laughter and  they  continued  their  uninterrupted  leering  and  ribbing  at  the  young  lady.  “Aaj  kal hare  rang  ke suit  bahut chal rahe  hain” ( nowdays  green color suits are  in vogue) . The  young lady  was  clad  in green. On hearing this remark  the second  accomplice  nodded  in  agreement  and they  both let  out a  cheap  laughter.

To  my  horror , while  all this  was happening  no  one  in this  crowded  compartment  tried  to  bring  an  end  to this  reckless  eve-teasing  drama. In fact  most  of  them  would  ogle  at  the young  lady for her reaction  ,  then turn  away  their  face  and  smile. No  opposition from  the  public  around  gave the  two   further  impetus  to  continue ;

“Gori  hamse naraz hai, Bhai”( the lady is  cross  with us)  the  first  one unleashed  another  remark at  the  lady.

My blood  boiled  at  these  remarks  but  found   myself  unarmed  and  absolutely helpless to deal with  the situation. By  this  time the  two small  children  of  the  lady  had   also sensed  that  something  is  wrong  and  were  clinging  close  to their  mother.   The  only  hope  which  I  could  sense  was  the  rage  developing  in  the  eyes of the  old  lady  who had  stopped  her   knitting   and seemed  to be  preparing  for  her  foray.

In  the  meantime , the  younger  accomplice  said, “Bahut  garmi hai Ustad  ji” ( its  very  hot  , Boss).

Saying   this  he   unbuttoned  the  top  two buttons  of  his  shirt  and  ,  padded  his  chest  hair and   then loosened  his  belt. This  was  the  most  shameful  and  disgraceful  conduct I  had  ever  seen  . But more  shameful was  the meekness prevalent  in  the  spectators.

At  this  moment  the  train entered  Ambala Cantt  Station. As  if  waiting  for an  opportunity the  old lady sprung to  her  feet and shouted, “Ek  ghante  se  tumhari  bakwaas  sun  rahi  huan main”( I am listening to  your  filth  since  last  one hour)  and unleashed  two  tight  slaps on their  unshaven  faces.

Police ko bulao”(call  the  police) . She  shouted   at  the  meek spectators  who were equally  dumbstruck  as   the  two  rowdy  fellows were  by  the tight   slaps on their faces. It  seemed  to  me  her two slaps  had not  hit only the  two rowdy guy  but also  the  ten male  spectators of  this  drama too. .

“Maine  kay  kiya  hai?”the  elder  rowdy one managed  to  mumble .

In  a  fit of  pique   she  gave  him another  tight  slap  and  said.

 “Who to  police hi batai gi tum dono  ko. in dono   ne  sharab   pi hai”( call the police  these men  are   drunk).

Gathering  some courage  I shouted  at  a  constable  strolling  on the  platform and signalled him to  our  compartment. In  the  meantime both these men sensed trouble  and  tried  to escape  but  the  old  lady  gripped their   wrists  so tight and  only left them  once  the  policemen  arrived. After listening  to the  lady the  policemen gave  both  the  guys  some more  blows  and  took them  to the  railway   police  station.

The  train  soon moved  out of the  station but the  fury of  the   lady  did  not subside. Standing akimbo  she  let  out  at  the  men  sitting around. “sharam aani chahiye  aap sabko apne  aap ko  mard  kahte  hue”( You all  should feel  ashamed   of yourself- you  men) . As  everybody  looked  down  I saluted the Old but Bold  lady silently.

 

*** this  is  the  first hand  narration of  a  eve-teasing  incident to  which the  I  was  a  mute  witness  on  my  maiden  journey at  the  age  of  14

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11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sonali Dash on February 2, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Through the old lady, you teach us to be a leader and take the initiative, instead of being dumb and watch the whole drama unfurl… Again, a nice message spread

    Reply

  2. Very nice Sir. Courageous old lady.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Vkk on January 28, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Yes we only see people around being mere spectators, which is highly shocking,don’t know why nobody wants to act .Aaplause for the brave lady…

    Reply

  4. Posted by Satish Warrier on January 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Courage has no gender. Courage is not restricted by age. Courage is belief. Belief of being correct and worth fighting for.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Sapna on January 29, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Bravo! We need more people like her!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Ankush sharma on January 29, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Men should act like men and salute to old lady

    Reply

  7. Posted by Shiv Kumar on January 30, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    One should have the courage to fight with social evil. Miscreants don’t have heart to face right man or woman if once oppose them. Salute to the oldy lady.

    Reply

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