So there !!

IRONY .. ‘Posh’ residential neighbourhood .. around 9:00pm .. walking calmly down the street .. cyclist coming towards me .. warning bells at the look in his eyes .. while passing by me, does the predictable – expresses what he wishes to do to me (using a typical bengali word which people use rampantly on Calcutta streets with minor variations) ..

I SEE RED .. run after him screaming at the top of my voice (loud enough to wake the dead) .. scared a**h*** speeds away before I can reach him .. people standing by in a daze; I’m sure most of them were actually shocked to see a woman hurling verbal abuse at someone .. scandalised that she’s actually repeating such ‘unladylike’ words at the top of her voice .. next-door neighbour comes forward to offer help in catching the offender .. I repeat the guy’s comment (no paraphrasing) .. but the guy’s long gone by then ..

FRUSTRATED (again) .. wasn’t fast enough to catch up with him and push him off his bicycle and kick the shit out of him .. the people in the vicinity were probably more affected by my ‘unwomanly’ behaviour than at that a’s actions – ‘men will be men’, right? ..

MAYBE .. they would have shown a little more interest if I’d been screaming ‘HELP’ instead of hurling abuse at the guy .. then they would have felt more like ‘protectors’ and come forward to help a ‘helpless woman’ in distress ..

I REFUSE to oblige & give them the satisfaction .. SO THERE !!


17 thoughts on “So there !!

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for the support .. the ‘maybe’ part of the whole episode is what made me want to write about it .. the amazed faces around me – at my dry/candid recount of the guy’s action; abuse and all – made me realize that even if people did come forward, they would do so out of some misplaced need to patronize ..

  1. People don’t want to hear the ugly truth. They don’t want you/us/women to repeat the guy’s ugly words – words that diminish us. They prefer fairy tales – bad guys, good forgiving women. An angry woman doesn’t fit into their neat little view of the world.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with, and thank you for, your answer #1 .. “for example, you never know when you might be asking your child to show subservience to an abuser” .

    I disagree because how is a western style handshake or hug better practiced in west & also in India too – can get you even closer – the physical proximity – imagine a child physically touching a pedophile???

    so, don’t blindly say that act of touching feet is wrong and if you do, better incude examples of other forms of greetings too to sound rational

  3. I didn’t want to read your comment there on IHM’s blog, you could have done it here. Anyway, I didn’t find any email id listed on your blog so I had to put it here.
    Anyway, you can delete it.

    You misinterpreted my comment. What I am trying to say that how is a western style handshake/hug better or superior to touching the feet of the elders by a kid (as a means of showing respect – both are ways of showing respect since they all our greetings) especially the other person is pedophile/ child molester (as cavarka commented there on the blog)

    It is even more dangerous because it offer that pervert to touch the kid through a western style greeting in strong contrast to an Indian namaste/touching feet.

    Moreover, why such a hue and cry over touching the feet – it’s a beautiful custom and many Asian countries go even further ahead.

    The closeby SE ASIA like thailand, laos etc. practice prostrating at the feet of the parents/grandparents on the floor and adults do it too even today.
    Well, it’s fine not to extend it to all elders but certainly to one’s parents & grandparents who deserve it because of the love showered by them

    It shouldn’t be compulsary but it doesn’t reek of subservience to me.

    Actually, I saw a popular Thai movie wherein a a teenaged school boy wais (like an Indian namaste but with head bowed further down) to the portrait of his recently dead grandmother before going to school everyday (there weren’t any expectations placed on him since his parent were already dead) and I became an instant fan of Thai culture.
    I delved deeper and found it had so much in common with our Indian culture.

    So, why just traget Indian culture to the exclusion of others or make statements that only Indian culture is bad.
    No I am not glorifying my culture for every culture has some positive & negatives but this practice certainly comes across as positive to me.

    Anyway, you can delete my comments and let’s end it here

    • No, Rithwick, I couldn’t have ‘done it here’ .. we need to maintain the context .. and I don’t see any need to delete your comments either; you are entitled to your opinions, after all .. however, I don’t understand your reluctance to comment on IHM’s blog; you read the original post there, right?

  4. Since you mentioned by comments, I will reply here:

    “I am trying to say that how is a western style handshake/hug better or superior to touching the feet of the elders by a kid”

    I wouldn’t ask my kid to hug a stranger ever or even shake hands always. A wave or a ‘hello, how are you’ is sometimes enough. But a hand shake is still better than feet touching because it does not teach you to bend and lower yourself to show deference to another. A hand shake teaches you to look a person in the eye and be an equal. Bending down and touching someone’s feet (the dirtiest part of the body) is by definition a ‘bending down’ style gesture, even if it doesn’t reek of subservience to you personally.

    “Well, itโ€™s fine not to extend it to all elders but certainly to oneโ€™s parents & grandparents who deserve it because of the love showered by them”

    I agree. I object to the ritualistic thing of touching all elders’ feet, even people you’ve met for the first time.

    “So, why just traget Indian culture to the exclusion of others or make statements that only Indian culture is bad.”

    Every culture has it’s flaws. I am Indian and know Indian culture closely so that’s the one I can examine and seek to improve.

    • @ cavarka

      ;I wouldnโ€™t ask my kid to hug a stranger ever or even shake hands always. A wave or a โ€˜hello, how are youโ€™ is sometimes enough.;

      It seems that you aren’t aware the sometimes the closest members/relatives of the family can also be pedophiles (in the closet) – uncles, aunts etc. and thereby the kid is more than allowed to exhibit physical display of affection for them.

      Or do you think that families in the west are devoid of such disgusting uncles & aunts (their habits well known to the families) & they adorn Indian families only?
      May be you can watch ‘oprah’ once in a while – it will be an eye opener.

      And, yes, ‘To each his own’ – you might treat the the act of touching feet (the dirtiest part) with scorn or disdain while there may be other who would consider the act of kissing with puckered lips pressing against each other (a cultural mandate in the western/west-inspired weddings between couples and as a normal act of greeting between parents & their very young school going kids in the west) as unhygienic & then there would still be some who would find Eskimos rubbing-their-noses-kiss act of greeting, a very unpleasant olfactory experience & thus disrespectful. Maybe you want to say that it’s still equal.

      And, not so long ago, the boys & girls in west too were made to show deference to adult/elderly guests visiting their homes – boys by bowing and girls by curtsey.

      However, I have still listened to your argument graciously, you must avoid doing that to many natives of several other Asian countries (including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Malaysia & a few African too – some of them have forms of ‘bending down’ greetings which are far more elaborate & varied than ours & are practiced till date) for you risk seriously offending them.

      And, I would be any day more than willing to use an Indian namaste or bending down to touch (in case of an elder) or obviously the commonly practiced handshake too, but would refrain from the European style greeting of kissing on one cheek/two or hugging because it as plain disrespectful and I see it as a serious invasion of privacy and my private space so much so I actually did take a step backward when anyone attempted to do that to me in school/university.

      It’s good that you at least didn’t go down the ‘foot fetish’ line – an interesting incident. During a recent state visit, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Ms. Kamla Persad-Bissessar attempted to touch the feet of the then-President of India, Pratibha Patil out of respect, which found many critics – some said that she had undermined the sovereignty of her state (which still does hold some ground) but then they were other claims that questioned her ‘foot fetish’

      Good, you didn’t see it that way!!

      What is also important that every country has its own culture and though no one is bound to rigidly follow it in its entirety, we still have to play by them to an extent as long they don’t do us any harm. ‘Touching feet’ is a graceful gesture and I don’t think it can be wrong.

      Moreover, many elders aren’t too keen on this custom in today’s age because it directly points out at one’s age, a complete no-no in our very youth-obsessed world.

      @ transcendist

      Thanks, for providing an open platform for free discussion & debate of diverse ideas

  5. Totally in awe of you. I have still never done more than giving those pervs a dirty look, which really makes no difference to them because they keep staring/ making comments etc anyway. Inspired by your awesomeness. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • thank you, Pinku ๐Ÿ™‚ however, I seriously doubt whether it will sink in – you need a minimum level of sensitivity to even realize you’re doing/saying something disrespectful ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ..

  6. Kudos to you! Loved your “I refuse” part ๐Ÿ™‚
    Once, I picked up a fight with a guy while traveling in a bus because he “accidentally” pressed against me..and most of the people in the bus were telling me to calm down and take it easy, instead of showing that guy his place…Pissed me off big time :/

    • thanks, Mypunchingbag ๐Ÿ™‚
      That’s what bystanders do ๐Ÿ˜ฆ some try to get you to calm down and be ‘reasonable’ and ‘rational’; all the while passively encouraging the perpetrator, while others measure your vital statistics and clothes to determine how much of it was your ‘fault’ !!

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