I had forgotten this incident long back- probably because it is one of those unwanted memories or it is not worth mentioning or remembering. But, the feeling still lingers on. When I wrote about how the bus rides in India is a fight for a woman’s dignity in my last article, I remembered this incident as one of those, where I became a victim.
This took place in a pub in New Delhi, when me and my friends had ganged up to celebrate the New Years Eve. We were all set to welcome the coming year in pomp and pleasure. We knew it was going to be a crowded place since it was New Year and everybody would be in the mood to party. We were three of us and we tucked ourselves in a nice cozy place in the corner. I was not too used to such parties, but with friends, it wasn’t a bad idea. We intended to have a couple of drinks, have a nice time and then head home as these parties tend to get nasty, and that too on a New Year’s Eve. I was with my friend and her boyfriend.
After some time, they decided to hit the dance floor, that too just in front of me, else I would be left alone. I enjoyed watching them groove to the music. The bar was just diagonally opposite and since it was almost getting crowded, it was really hard to get hold of a waiter to serve you. So, I decided to walk over and get a drink – just my second one. Suddenly, this guy came at the bar asked me for a dance, and obviously I refused, quite politely. I got the bottle and turned around to go back and just the unthinkable happened. He almost groped and hugged me and tried to pull me towards him. His glass fell, alcohol from the bottle in my hand fell on my clothes and in an attempt to push him away, I hit the bar stool.
I could barely make out what just happened, I was completely shocked. My friends had an eye on me (thanks to them that they were there). They immediately came and got hold of the guy and there was a huge commotion in the pub. The bouncers came and people gathered. It would have almost turned into a bad fight, when the guy himself intervened and started apologizing. However, things came under control, though the guy and the gang was asked to leave. I was quite numb as I was new to such an experience. Though, we had a nice time, it left a scar on my mind and fear, and of course will always remind me of my insecurity of being a woman, when I am at such places.
This was my story, and now I have some questions?
Why is a pub safe for a man, while not for a woman (maybe it’s not safe for men too, not sure)?
Pubs, clubs or wherever it is, when people gather to have fun, it is like a safe enclosure for them to be free to enjoy, dance, sing and fill your heart with happiness. So, why the discrimination or the insecurity for a woman at these places. Why will I be afraid that some random person will touch me or pass remarks, when I am there just like him to have some fun? Why do I need to safeguard myself? Why do I have to constantly think of ways to save me, when fun and enjoyment should be on my mind?
Do you I have to mend my ways, when people can’t mend their mentality?
I was not wearing any revealing clothes (as many opine that a woman’s attire might trigger such things) – I was clad in a full, high neck sweater and jeans (considering it was peak winters in Delhi) and minimal accessories. I was not in some un-parliamentary or inebriated condition or inviting trouble. And, what I wear should not make someone else attempt anything on me?
If I am not wrong, the guy was younger than me, may be a graduation student. So, why would he do such a thing. Is it the alcohol or the attitude? Today, people feel that they can do anything, if they know the actual meaning of democracy. He can do whatever he wants, but I cannot. How do we control people in a pub, if it gets ugly?
I am sure he must have done it in a heist of intoxication, but how can you get so ‘high’ that you will attack the modesty and dignity of another. I guess, the answer is known to ‘us’ and it is definitely not known to ‘them’.
Can you denote/mark a safe place for us? I guess, the society is not up for it. One can argue that, then why go to a pub. But, it is not the place, but the perversion in the mind. Sometimes, people are prey to circumstances or their social ambience and do things, they might not have desired. But, then where is their self-control?
Well, it’s been many years now and I have not left going to the pubs or partying, but yes I am more conscious and alert.
It is not the known dangers, that affects you, rather the fear of the unknown. You will never know how, when, where and from whom, your ‘womanhood’ might be in danger. So, stay alert, attentive and safe. And, of course, keep having fun, your choice of happiness is your own, no one else can take that from you.
So, what is your story? Have you felt un-safe somewhere, a place where you least expected? Have someone ‘suddenly’ made you aware of a probable danger?