As a student, living in a paying guest during exams was the toughest thing to do. Studying for final exams was essential for me and I decided to agree to my friend’s offer to shift at her house for one week. We were also classmates and hence it was a good decision to opt for a group study. As I had no vehicle and had never seen her house before, so we decided to meet at a fixed spot from where she could pick me up.
I packed my bag, more books than the clothes. It was very hot in summer and to avoid any tans I covered my face with dupatta and walked off the streets. I hopped in a shared rickshaw and reached the spot, the landmark was a local area’s police station and I stood right exactly under the roof of a restaurant and on my right back was the stairs to police station. It was not even two minutes, I was waiting for my friend in a busy street and a 40-45 year old man approached me.
“Chalo mere saath bike pe.”
I stood still and was trying to recollect what I heard. I ignored!
“Kitna logi bolo jaldi, time nahi hai.”
I was still wearing a dupatta and a collage bag on my back. For a second I thought what made him think I was a prostitute? I ignored again, which proved to be an encouragement.
He came close to me, looked into my eyes and said, “Chal rahi hai ki uthaun?”
I freaked out with fear the moment he came closer and his words made my heart almost to the edge to stop. I gathered courage and said, “I am not the girl you are looking for, I am a student and you have mistaken me for some prostitute.”
I was so scared that the thought of walking from there never got stuck to me.
To my explanation he said, “Kaha chale bol.. guest house pe kitna legi.”
A feeling of fear and anger rushed in me, I prayed god, tears in my eyes and said, “I have gathered your bike number, your clothes and your appearance. Let me take you to police station.”
The courage in me had given a boost to my anger and I moved towards the police station in a swift only to stop after 5-6 long steps. I looked behind to note that he was already gone. I was relieved but those words were still within me, combined with the anger that these are the things women come across. It’s an everyday thing. Ask any woman about the sexual harassment, and they would recount many such incidents.
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I did not report it to the police thinking I would be dragged into all this legal mess during my exams, but that was my mistake. He was gone, may not harass me as he never saw my face but he was a potential sexual harasser and chances are high that innocent girls would be the victim again
It is not about being a prostitute or not, it is about one’s liberty and not to get harassed. If at all I was a prostitute, nobody has right to misbehave with me.
I am telling you this story of mine today only to warn you that whenever there are such illicit demands, be smart, note all around you, specially his appearance and the vehicle number he came in. Reporting is important to pass on the message to those who are responsible for creating a havoc in a woman’s life. Fear is inevitable, but this would encourage the harasser. So, it is very important to relax, gauge the situation and act accordingly. Take Care!
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