sent via Pranav
I live in the upstandard and metropolitan city of Bombay. However I have been brought up in a conservative, puritanical family. The equality if the sexes is not an ideology acceptable to my family. However, I have never indulged in sexual harassment before or after the incident I have described hence:
A friend had invited me to Malhar at Xaviers back in 2005. I was just 19 then, and beginning to enlarge my friends' circle and experiences. So I went.
We enjoyed the festival thoroughly. But upon coming out, my friend went to the nearest pan stall to fetch a cigarette. That was fine- what shocked me was the large number of girls smoking there, apparently without any inhibitions. Though I had seen this before in Bombay, it was still very distracting and unique. I kept staring. When my friend noticed this, he smiled and said, "This is posh society. Everything is okay here". He asked me not to keep ogling.
But the scene had left an impression on my mind. Let me explain at this point that I have always been liberal minded, but the culture clash at that time was too much to handle. I began to visit the place again and again, just to watch the "scene", even against my own will and better judgement. It was almost compulsive; I had to stare, I just could not avoid it. Initially I did this once in a few months. By the end of 2006, however, it had become an obsession. I began to visit the place every week. I even went and ordered food at Jhunkas, a popular place back then for collegians. And I angered the Jhunkas waiters by cancelling an order once because I saw some girls smoking outside and could not resist going out.
This went on for a few months into early 2007. I used to loiter around the place for hours, helplessly, obsessively. Then a thing happened that changed my psyche forever.
I had been staring as usual that day. Suddenly a group who were dining at Jhunkas came out. The guys began to stare me down. One of them initiated the argument by asking me what I was doing here. I mumbled something about waiting for a friend. Another guy said, "We know all about you. Don't pretend. You are famous here.". "You come here every week, don't you?", another asked. A girl in the group glared at me hard. There were 6 of them and just me, but I still tried defending myself. I feigned ignorance; I said I did not know what they were talking about. But I had made myself pretty obvious. Then some of the guys became very angry. One said, "We are all equals here, understand that". Another warned me that if I ever set foot on that stretch of the footpath again, they would not talk but act. Then they told me to get lost. As I left, a few raised their hands in mock farewell. All this while, some girls at the pan stall had been following the conversation with deep dislike aimed at me.
I was quite shaken by the incident, and frightened. In the beginning I actually felt sorry (!!) for the fact that I had lost out on visiting the place again! But as time passed, I began to realize the error of my ways, and that I had sexually harassed the girls there in a most sick manner. My cultural dilemma had received a big blow, and all for the good. I never stared at girls again, and the trauma that I had been going through was eased. Over time I became progressively and truly egalitarian, and I am happy that the argument with the collegians did really happen, for it was a life-changing experience...