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Pruthvi Banwasi

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Eve Teasing Evils

Chapter Five

Incidents of Eve Teasing

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing --Edmund Burke

The Beginning

It all began when I was witness to 300 to 400 cars whizzing past college going girls every day from about 9 in the morning to around 5:30 in the evening. As I was residing near NMKRV college which exclusively educated women at Jayanagar IIIrd Block, it was astounding to note that there were enough young men with ample time to squander on probable chances of scoring with girls by adapting the flashiest possible behavior, notwithstanding the fact that they were uncouth, rude and loud. These boys did take the mutilated messages in C grade movies seriously.

“I will give you the room on one condition!” This was what Vishalakshi Aunty, a potential landlady said to two bachelors, my brother and I, who stood in front of her, eager to get decent accommodation for ourselves.

She said that she would be willing to let the room out to us as tenants only if we promised not to stand near the gate and look at the girls from NMKRV Girls College who used to frequent the road. I remember having assured her that we were not fortunate enough to hold so much time on our hands to do so, while shuttling between work and college.

Why did Visalakshi aunty even bother to make that point, do people really find time and have an inclination do such things… I wondered.

Later while staying in her house I realized that the two things that these roadside Romeos had an abundance of: time and enough money to throw around. To add it was also conducive to their interests that they had like-minded friends who thought little or nothing about the absolute lack of dignity in their acts of loitering around places where girls used to frequent, wanting to pounce on them and unleash their heckling talents.

Many of these uncouth lots from refined families were indulging in hazardous and reckless driving and it was irritating to realize that they lacked the minimum control that a skilled driver would have otherwise had over his vehicle. Add to this the scare that they threw on these girls and the reactions emanating from their suddenly having been surprised.

The acts of these eve teasers spelled disaster and can be classified as causative factors for accidents, injury and infringing on a women’s privacy and hence as clear as any other cognizable offence.

It was around this time that I chanced upon many a girl being harassed in more ways than one on these roads that led them to college, where they came to fulfill their dreams of becoming better people by imbibing the light of knowledge but had to be victimized by the blinding acts of these miscreants who punctuated their roads and caused enough intolerable nightmares. Their adamant refusal to benefit from a good family background was evident in their acts and the need to bring this to the notice of proper authorities drove me to meet the principal of this college Chi. Na. Mangala ma’am.

Dr. Chi. Na. Mangala ma’am, the principal of NMKRV College, was an educationalist to the core, who would rather that all her students be educated for life rather than a career. She extended her full support to me and unequivocally announced to me that any girl from her college who contributed to acts of eve teasing by being receptive to such advances would face severe action from her too.

She even went to great extents to ensure that she did everything in her power as a capable human and as the principal of a pioneering educational institute to put a stop to this social evil. When I saw this elderly lady, who fought such social evils with every breath she took, unmindful of her personal battles with failing health, I realized that I too would have to do my bit to fight this.

I had met Dr. Chi. Na. Mangala ma’am and had got an insight into her overpowering persona earlier. When I informed her that there were a few of her students who were welcoming the distractions caused by these boys on the road, she immediately agreed and told me that she was willing to extend any co-operation necessary to bring these girls to book, as mentioned earlier. She also told me that she was willing to rusticate any girl whose behavior was not confirming with the standards prescribed. 

Once I took up the task of putting up a firm stance against eve teasing, nothing would deter me from swaying away from my goal. The goal that I have in mind was to walk on the road waging a war against the unhealthy practice of eve teasing all my life. So far I have been able to live up to my promise, barring an instance or two.

Even though I faced many an unpleasant incident in my struggle to dilute the intention to eve tease in people every time I chanced upon its proliferation, the barely visible silver lining to this really dark cloud was in my having met some exemplary people and reinvesting my confidence in aspirations for a cultured life, be they the victims themselves who showed a lot of spunk when supported, the police who were eager to take such eve teasers to task, parents and other relatives of eve teasers who took the eve teasers to task or even social activists who aided me to correct my grammar of social evils and many, many more, who played pivotal roles in taking society towards betterment.

Grateful I am to everyone whom I came into association in course of my fight against eve teasing but not to the person or people who played the pivotal role in this entire circumstance as eve teasers.

For the eve teaser deserves no applause for his demeaning acts and I would not like to thank these eve teasers for having been instrumental in my meeting such people.

The first instance that I ever tackled

As mentioned earlier the place where I stayed was near NMKRV girls college and this proximity made me a witness to about 300 to 400 cars whizzing past me (this was in a residential colony in 1994-5) every single day. This harsh reality stared at me everyday as I had begun English Classes right opposite this college and spending my entire time in my classes I was appalled by the audacity of these eve teasers and the fact that there was no one to question them.

Having made up my mind in a few months that I will tackle this issue as long as I could, the first step that I had to take was that of deciding on the best approach. I unwittingly had assimilated what my friends thought about eve teasing, I began discussing the same with my friends to get a fix on the issue, then I sounded off my thoughts regarding eve teasing to others. I found time to do all this while I was busy balancing my livelihood and my career, thus this minor process itself took me a few months time.

After doing much informal groundwork about this, I then approached the police. The healthy outlook and the problem solving attitude of a police inspector Mr. Yogappa (Who I believe is the COD in Bangalore now) went a long way in strengthening my resolve to try to systematically assist in the eradication of eve teasing.

None in my family (like most of the public) were used to making visits to the police station and without any idea as to what the situation would be and with all the fears that are inherent in a 24 year old lad I went in and asked to speak to someone there. A constable directed me to the police officer on duty there, who turned out to be Mr. Yogappa.

I greeted him and explained that instances of eve teasing was causing harassment to the residents near my home as many of the retired elders who were used to having a nap in the afternoon could not do so in peace as the vehicles with blaring music and irritating horns made it impossible for them to sleep for a while, not to forget the inconvenience caused to the victims, the girls themselves who were being harassed without reason. I ended my monologue with a plea that something should be done to bring this nuisance to an end.

The police inspector who sat in front of me was under the impression that I had come there with a personal grievance and wanted some immediate relief, like those many who walk into his office every single day seeking something or the other. He asked me to sit down and began to chalk out the inability for the cops to be present at everyplace where such incidents take place… he then pointed that they were doing their best to have regular checks and booked eve teasers more on the pretext of some vehicle related offence (like checking them for valid driving licenses, possession of all the required vehicle documents like registration, insurance, etc.) to deter them from haunting the college vicinity. 

The most important problem that the police faced when it came to tackling cases related to eve teasing; that of a physical inability to be omnipresent was made clear to me for the first time then. After explaining the same he said words to the effect that an incredible change could take place if only the common man would (at least) hold the offender till the police came to the spot, as opposed to what was happening in reality - where the cops were called without holding the miscreants, giving the eve teaser ample time to leisurely indulge in his atrocious act and scoot from there.

Mr. Yogappa emphatically stated that the cops were getting tired of rushing to spots where neither the aggrieved victim nor the wrongful victor was available and their inability to reconstruct the offence committed there due to the lack of willing witnesses.

Noting my extreme enthusiasm to transmogrify my words into actions he challenged me to bring or notify us about as many cases of eve teasing as possible and he promised to take stern action against all of them, even if they were influential. 

This gave me ample courage and I walked out of the police station feeling that I would no longer be a mute spectator and it also gave me the satisfaction that I was now on my fontal steps to create a solution.

In retrospect, I realize that not once was I concerned about the fact that my acts of resistance against the eve teaser will be a mere drop in the vast ocean but was keener on reacting to the problem in my own small but significant and sure way.

The next thing that I did was to give out the phone number of my English Classes (and later my pager numbers). That was also the time when I prided my skills at biking (as I was seriously preparing to create a time based intercity land endurance record between Bombay and Bangalore) and could assure my near and dear ones that I would meet them in case of any crisis within 15 minutes from any corner of Bangalore to wherever they were (a thing clearly of the past now). As I was teaching and taking care of the administration in my conversational English classes which was also situated next to NMKRV women’s college, my presence there was assured for most of the time, thus making it easier for me to react to these instances of eve teasing.

I met shopkeepers, STD booth owners, auto drivers (who parked their vehicles at the Nanda theatre stand, Chaat sellers and the such) explained the need to act against eve teasers and circulated my phone numbers to them. I did this with a request that they call me whenever they witnessed any instance of eve teasing and as I would be in the vicinity in all probability, I promised to rush and take a stand against eve teasing.

This brought a lot of positive assurances from the people, who began filling me in on their frustration at these eve teasers who made business bad for them by loitering around and thus discouraging girls to transact with them.  When I had earlier met and requested to take a stand against eve teasing and they had conveniently shied away. What I had asked them to do earlier presented a personal risk as they had to physically oppose the eve teaser. This, not one of them was prepared to do.

Now all they had to do now was to call me in case of their being witness to an instance of eve teasing and not even get involved in the incident. This did not involve any risk to them as the eve teaser would never be able to identify who had instigated action against this deed.

It was on a sunny afternoon that a call came through to my English classes from Vinay, whose brother manned the STD booth at the corner of the road stating that some boys had caught the hand of a girl who was having Paani puri in front of the booth and had asked her “Barteeya?” which in Kannada meant “Will you come?”

This girl, who was appalled at being touched and being asked thus, did the most natural thing that a woman in her circumstance could do; she fell to the ground and began crying. The boys made a few more remarks and got into a white Tata Sumo.

This was the information passed on to me over the phone by Vinay. I immediately called the Jayanagar police and spoke to Inspector Yogappa regarding the incident and he assured me that he would be sending some constables to the spot and asked me to hold the boys till they came.

Bracing myself for my fontal onslaught against such miscreants I took my bike and rushed to the corner and saw the girl crouching and crying next to the Paani puri stall and a few of her friends consoling her. I then asked Vinay’s brother as to where the boys were. He said that they had gone ahead towards Nanda Theatre, I rode down the road and could see the vehicle proceeding slowly ahead. On reaching them I saw that they were engrossed in checking out other girls.

I ripped ahead of them and stopped my bike right in front of the Sumo in such a way that they could not move ahead at any cost and then signaled them to slowly follow me to the side of the road as to not obstruct traffic flow, while I did so I took care to ensure that they would not be able to pass me by and escape. I saw that there were quite a few boys inside the vehicle and a sting of fear had a good grip over me.

The tall lanky boy who was driving the van asked me as to why I had held them up and I stated very politely that they had to wait till the police came to find that out. Then 9 boys got down from the van and one by one they shouted abuses at me demanding what right I had to stop them. I stood my ground and was relentless inn the face of the commotion they created; this made a crowd gather near us among who were quite a few auto drivers parked opposite Nanda Theatre. On their intervention I explained that I was just making sure that the boys stayed put till the police arrived. 

I then explained to them that these guys had caught hold of a girl’s hand and asked her if she would come with them, all I had done was to in turn ask them if they could come with me to the police station and as they had refused I was waiting for the police constables to arrive.

I told the boys that my logic was that if they could walk up to a girl on the road and ask her to come with them, then they had to respect my right to do the same thing to them. I asked them if it was wrong of me to ask them to come with me. The auto drivers who came initially and were shouting at me for blocking the Sumo changed their reaction after hearing me out and they agreed that what I said made sense, especially since I reasserted that all I want to do was to take them to the cop station, and that if I was in the wrong then I was willing to pay the price for it when the cops would take me to task.

The auto drivers and the others who had gathered around us by then supported me and told them that what I demanded was not unfair and that if I had detained them without reason then I was sure to face the consequences at the police station.

Within some time two constables arrived there and I addressed them and described the uncouth act of the boys and demanded that they be taken to the police station immediately. Three of the boys scooted when the constables arrived on the scene but I was unable to hold them back as the constables were still to understand what was happening there and were not supporting me. They were more interested in solving the matter and getting back to their lives.

They rudely asked me to forget what happened and go on with my life. I insisted and told them that I had a grievance against the boys and would give a written complaint against the boys to the police officers at the station and all that I requested them to do was to get the boys to the station.

More for the fear of making the public feel that they were not doing their duty than wishing to aid me, they huddled the boys to the Sumo and took them away from public gaze with me following on the bike. The Sumo, instead of stopping at the police station, stopped alongside the park on the way to the police station and I too stopped my bike near the front window of the Sumo wondering what happened.

There the constables and the 6 boys started reasoning with me and began asking me to nip this issue in the bud instead of taking it to the cop station. The way the constables were speaking for the boys made me realize that the boys they had already passed some money to them and the behavior of the boys, who kept saying that they would be glad to do anything else than take this issue to the police station, made me realize that the constables were keener on monetary gains than more than bringing some wrongdoers to book.

That was when I told both the constables that Inspector Yogappa had already spoken to me on the phone and that I waited for a while and then told them that I will have to report the fact that they sat and discussed something with the boys instead of rushing them to the police station to Mr. Yogappa. This took the wind out of the constables and they immediately asked the boy driving the Sumo to head to the police station.

I rushed ahead to the police station and asked for inspector Yogappa stating that the eve teasers were there. Within a few moments the inspector came out and charged towards me asking the constables if I was the eve teaser. Though I had spoken to him a few days earlier he had forgotten me and his words were enough to strike terror into my heart. I shuddered and explained to him in broken sentences that I was the person who had spoken to him over the phone a short while ago and that I had brought the eve teasers in.

He remembered and asked me what had happened. I explained how the 9 boys had approached and held the girls hand and also informed him that we had managed to get only 6 as 3 of them had run away.

He waited for the boys at the entrance of Jayanagar Police station and they came in with the two constables. He then lined them up and asked them very politely, “Who are you guys, what happened? Why has this man brought you here?” one of the boys said, “Sir, we did not harm anyone, we were going in the car when this man brought us here.” To which Inspector Yogappa stated, “What were you doing near the college?” again in a very condescending way, giving them the impression that he was with them and was merely making a routine enquiry. The boys were emboldened by the meek way in which Inspector Yogappa spoke and one of them said in a more confident tone, “Sir, we were roaming in our van, it is my father’s petrol and our money, we were just going around the college. What right does this man have to stop us in the middle of the road and insult us?”

I was unsure of what was happening then and stood a mute witness to these transactions, but by then the inspector had ascertained their attitudes from their ruffian like behavior in the police station and he started thrashing them with his bare hands, one by one he started slapping them saying, “What made you go around a women’s college? What reason did you have to be there?” and he asked one of the constables to get a cane and said to them again, “Why were you roaming around a woman’s college? How dare you say it is your father’s money and your car? Don’t you know that these are public roads and you have to maintain decency?”

The moment the trashing began the confidence and the arrogance of the boys took a deep plunge. Then the inspector added, “I have already got three witnesses who saw you holding the girl’s hand and they have given their statements and their addresses. It is not at all difficult for me to file an FIR against you boys and take you to the courts.”

Two of the boys immediately stated that they had nothing to do with the whole episode and that they did not even know what was happening with the girl as they were inside the van all the time. Mr. Yogappa then warned them and stated that if they do not come out with the truth he will put them in the lockup immediately. He confirmed from one of the constables to check if one of the prison cells in the station was vacant.

This put a scare in all the boys and when one of the two boys who had earlier feigned innocence stated that they did commit this mistake and pleaded with the inspector to not be stern with them, all the other boys joined one by one and they admitted to having committed the offence. The constables standing at the station and others began reprimanding the boys for their uncouth act immediately.  

Then taking the cane that the constables had got, he gave them a sound trashing for a minute or two and then calling the head constable, he asked him to seize the vehicle and take these boys inside and call their parents there and to file an FIR from me. He warned the boys saying that they will not be let out unless one of their parents (and none else would be entertained, he reminded them) came there and took them away after giving their personal assurance that such acts will not be repeated by these boys in future.

Then he again went to the boys and warned them that he knew how to tackle things when influence was used and underlined to them that the consequences would be worse if they try to put any kind of pressure on him. He also ordered the constables that if any influential people called regarding this case the callers name, address and phone numbers should be noted down and they must be asked to come over immediately to meet Mr. Yogappa, whoever they be.

He ended his instructions by again making it clear to the boys that they should never ever engage in such an activity at any cost. He then took me inside and ordered for coffee. At the outset I thanked him for taking such stern action and also told him that it was very encouraging for the public to know that their complaints were taken in all seriousness.

I told him that I had renewed confidence that eve teasing could be tackled easily. I also asked him if it would be a bother if I took up the task of holding eve teasers on a daily basis and attempt to better the situation within a month or two. He welcomed this suggestion and said that even if he was not there at the station he would instruct the constables to hold the eve teasers and call him or take stern action themselves.

It took more than a month or two, in fact tacking an average of 2 to 3 eve teasers daily it took me an approximation of 8 to 10 months to weed out the problem to a greater extent with the active aid of the Jayanagar Police. Along with Inspector Yogappa, Inspector Y. Nagaraju, Inspector Kumaraswamy and Inspector Shivanna (who had an M A in Kannada literature) aided me. Constable Manjunath and Shantaveeriah who were in the station in the mornings were usually the ones who rushed to the spot when I had to hold the eve teasers in extreme cases and Constable (Writer) Pranesh too kept sending constables every time I called the station and also aided in keeping the uncontrollable miscreants at bay at the station till senior officers took them to task.

The first year I only worked in and around Jayanagar, Basavangudi and Kormangala as my work was centered in these vicinities. In all the incidents that took place a small percentage of them was actually brought to the notice of the police.

My first move was to stop on spotting an incident of eve teasing or watch out for possible attempts to eve tease or rush to the spot where eve teasing was taking place (when called by my friends or my contacts).

The next course of action was to await the actual act of eve teasing and stop it at the nick of the moment when it was about to take place or catch the attention of the eve teasers by calling out to them.

Then I used to talk to them in a very calm and decent manner and asked them if what they did was right or reminding them that they were not supposed to behave like uncivilized brutes.

The reaction to this would either be:

A) The eve teasers who were first timers (or had tried eve teasing a few times at a safe distance and were trying their luck at bigger bounty) and belonged to respectable families immediately realized the gravity of their offence and were gripped by the fear of societal embarrassment, they used to immediately apologize and scoot out of the place as soon as possible. That is when I asked them to spare a few moments and reiterated to them that they took the easy way out and I was happy that they were decent enough to state that they will never indulge in such a thing again.

Then I used to request them to make sure that their friends too do not indulge in such an act. They understood the risk involved when the public took note of such incidents and questioned their sanity in indulging in them. The victory here was clearly in the satisfaction that a set of people, meaning the guys who promised to not indulge in it and their friends who on hearing about what happened would not indulge in eve teasing.

B) Another popular reaction by hardened eve teasers was that of abusing the people who questioned them and caught them in the act. This is indulged by those who had never been questioned in the past and had always gotten away with their acts of eve teasing to such an extent that every instance of eve teasing only saw them graduating to more ludicrous/insulting ways of bringing embarrassment on the faces of their victims. They used filthy language in a bid to embarrass those who hold them up and also to remind those who interfere that they were in a league of their own which others would be very uncomfortable in.

When they used foul language, in earlier days I stuck to my level of decency and used to keep them at the spot till the cops came there, no matter what rot they spoke about me. Without saying a single bad word I used to scream out at them in such a voice that they knew instantly that I meant business. I resorted to this to send a strong signal to them about my not being deterred by their use of bad language and also to show them that an equally strong abuse can be in the form of a person who has the conviction to stand his ground in the face of abuses without stooping to their level. This also showed them that even if I did not react in the same way I had the guts to question their authority to do so.

I then used to explain to them in a stern voice that it would be better if they realized their folly and stopped indulging in such behavior, else it would not harm me to spend an hour or two in taking them to the police station where the police would make them realize their mistake and then let them go only after getting their parents to apologize for what they did. After hearing this and gauging the possibility of punishment that they might incur in the hands of the police and their families, they would lose their steam.

They would then rush out of the place after a scuffle. In case the opposition to their act is not coming in a strong way from a person who is unable to exert enough authority they might also cause harm to the person questioning them.

Whatever be the reaction of the eve teasers, be it docile submission and retreat or an aggressive outburst as explained in the earlier two paragraphs, it is important to understand that no battle can be won if your resolve to fight dilutes half way. Another important thing is to ensure that one always pays heed to the theory of balanced punishment called ‘Hedonistic Calculus’. This theory simply states that an offender should be punished in a way that the pain that his punishment causes him is a little more than the pleasure that he has derived by his improper act.

·       CAUTION: The bottom-line is that every eve teaser is to be made to give up his urge to eve tease. Many eve teasers may reach this state of mind when members of the public question their suspect behavior or after being sternly reprimanded. It is only a small percentage of people who have to be taken to the police station to be made to understand this. Taking each and every case to the police station will only make the youth feel that what happened was not fair to them and that by itself may act as a causative factor for rebelling against the unjust norms laid by society. This will further deter them from adhering to other norms that are prescribed by society.

This way of proportionately assessing the pleasure he derives by an uncouth act and meting out punishment that will override this pleasure that he derives will deter him and others from indulging in such acts as they are bound to cause them an equal amount of pain or more. This will make them think a tribizillion times before they even wish to experience the denied pleasure of harassing a girl.

Prof. K. C. Gopalakrishna, my economics professor in the National Law School of India University would not tire of reminding us over and over again that any social phenomenon to be understood in a holistic way and in a way that will provide a complete solution for it by eradicating the root cause will have to be studied by taking into account the economics of the situation.

I strongly agree with him and state that his theory holds good even in the case of eve teasing where the economic analysis of eve teasing shows that:

a) The financial empowerment of women is sure to eradicate the root cause of eve teasing, that of acknowledging a supposed/existing* (*supposed in terms of the urban educated and existing as in the hard hitting reality as seen in every other nook and corner of India, starting from the 15000 odd villages and the 4000 towns and small cities.) subjugation to men. By becoming financially independent a woman is no longer an object of ridicule for most of the males.

b) Men, by indulging in the act of eve teasing, are also reminding women that they are living at the their mercy from womb to tomb and that they have no right to complain and that they have to grin and bear the atrocities of men from time to time. This is taken as the gratitude and repayment for the benevolent act of man bestowing on her the greatest favor of feeding her all her life and keeping her with him. Therefore he has been bestowed with an unseen right written to his advantage that gives him the unchallenged privilege to outrage the modesty of women starting from his cheap indulgence in eve teasing to that of worse atrocities.

Thus realizing fully well that the eradication of eve teasing is only possible when it is poisoned, axed, shot, knifed, burnt, all at the same time… in simpler words when it is attacked at all angles. So now understanding this social evil in all its magnitude I began to think of other steps that I could take or instigate others to take to educate women to tackle this and take away the very intention of every man to indulge in this.  

To do this effectively the methods I formulated to follow were:

·        Catch and make every eve teaser understand that his act is wrong

·        If the above is not possible at least instill in him the fear of punishment that will restrain him from not committing this act again and also for reason of being ridiculed by the public.

·        Educate all women to stand up against this evil every time they see it happen, be it to themselves or others and fight against it.

·        Educate men to take the first steps in fighting this evil when they see it occur

·        Educate parents and guardians to not put the blame of the act on their children and use this as a reason to restrict them in any manner whatsoever. This one act will strengthen the girl’s resolve to directly report every act of eve teasing she faces to her parents and this itself will bring an end to the eve teasers acts, thanks to his cowardly nature.

·        Educate boys in homes, schools and colleges to respect women and to never ever give in to peer pressure or indulge in this act to prove to other boys that they are macho enough.

·        Educate girls to understand that it is finally up to them to wipe this out in such a manner that the mere thought of eve teasing should strike terror in the hearts and minds of the boys for fear of the dire consequences that they might face for indulging in it.

·        Build public opinion on this issue by every possible method to somehow get everyone to never ever ignore this existing social evil.

·        Make sure that every hardened eve teaser is made to admit this fact in front of his parents and that his parents aid in eradicating his urge to do so.

·        Ensure that every woman who has been eve teased is able to inform her parents without fear of the indirect consequences that she might fall victim to.

Rome was surely not built in a day and to weed out a rampant social evil like eve teasing it will need a mind shift that has to be proselytized into an entire generation. This subscription of a decade or so to eradicate eve teasing should suffice to wipe out the very breath of eve teasing in all corners of India, provided that every single instance of eve teasing ever encountered is taken on a war footing by the members of the public and tackled in a manner that will never eclipse the certainty of punishment to the eve teaser.

Prof. V. S. Mallar, while enumerating aspects of development and the means to achieve it, stated emphatically that mere growth is insufficient and for growth to be beneficial to society, it has to be accompanied with the all important aspect of social justice. In his words it was only when social justice was appended to growth as a necessary corollary that any growth could be termed as development.

Such growth might be that of an individual, an institution, an organization or an association. Thus even in cases of eve teasing it is important that we address the developmental perspective of providing social justice to women everywhere than focusing only on a few women who are progressing in some sectors and in some places.

If one has to gauge the presence of culture in any society, it would not suffice if one merely studies the auditoriums and stages where culture is showcased and displayed once in a way. It is rather more important to gauge the advent of any society in truer terms of the amount of social justice it meets out along with the evident growth quotient that is present in it. Two reliable barometers to measure such presence of culture in any society are (a) the care taken in handling the public property by all the citizens and (b) the respect accorded to women in that society.

In both these ways India has fallen short of even figuring in the graph. When it comes to public property one gets to witness periodical outbursts against public buses, benches and buildings where the masses give vent to their anguish and frustrations by damaging these easy targets. On the second measure the less spoken about the respect meted out to women, the better.

It is pathetic to note that the Indian woman has been declared to be empowered by many around us, when in fact it is only a decimal section of the urban elite who can claim to be able to breathe according to their many (if not every) whim and fancy. The rest of the women go through enough trauma at the hands of society that comes into play much before their conception and they are not left in peace much after they cease to exist.

How can one be complacent when it is proved that an approximation of 47 suicides every day end the incessant sufferings of Indian women who realize the futility in seeking redressal for their grievances from all existing sources. It is burdensome to think that we are plying the boroughs of a society that has not given them a ray of hope that will see them through their unending tunnel of troubles.

An Un-Holi Incident

It was a day like any other for me, not for the many eve teasers lurking around in the guise of men across the city. For today presented an opportunity for them to play foul with women and benefit from the enormous protection made possible by religious sanction.

Even Lord Shiva would have decided to not allow for any celebration or gaiety to mark his triumph over the act of killing Kamadeva (which marks the celebration of Holi) if he was aware that his triumph would bring shame to women many centuries later when this celebration would be used as a cover to unfold the lascivious intents of the countless men many centuries later.

The prototype of a well balanced man who is idolized to date, many centuries after he is supposed to have walked this soil, Lord Sri Ramachandra too would have mellowed down all celebrations of his return to Ayodhya in the form of Holi if he had a premonition that men would misuse and maul womenfolk many centuries later on an annual basis.

It was around March - April of the year 2001, Yogita and I had decided to get married to each other. It was a custom for us to meet up once in a way and lunch together to catch up with each other. One day I had given my bike for service at Zen motors to ensure that I could embark on another ride and thus she had to drop me home in her Kinetic Honda. After having lunch, she dropped me home and headed back home. I went back to writing an article that required to be published in a day or two and was engrossed in it in a short while.

It was less than a minute or two after I engulfed myself in the article that the doorbell rang and Yogita came rushing in seething with rage. She shouted something to the effect that she wanted me to accompany her and take a few boys who had tried to play the fool with her just then to task. On seeing Holi colors on her clothes I realized what might have happened and immediately went out with her and searched for my bike and not finding it there I knew that the task ahead was going to be tougher on her Kinetic Honda, but nonetheless, we both rode out on it in search of those boys towards the place where she saw them last. On the way I asked her to explain what had happened.

She informed me that while she was riding back her home near La Casa (an eatout) she saw a bunch of boys harassing some female riders ahead, to avoid them she decided to take a deviation and took a longer route to her home that went through the Jayanagar police station. The minute she took the deviation she was followed by these boys who relentlessly pursued her in front of the police station and then at the south end road intersection that is a mere 100 metres away from the police station waylaid her and then stopped their bikes in front of her and blocking her way they forced her to stop.

They then smeared her with colors in an indecent manner. She began screaming out at them but they did not stop, she tried to hit one of them and she somehow managed to turn her vehicle away and rush out.

We searched every possible road in Jayanagar for around half an hour and were not able to find them though we met a few other gangs of boys playing holi. Yogita could not identify any of the boys and knew that the boys we saw were not the ones who splashed colors on her. She lost hope and told me the same, I told her that there was no way we would miss out on them and that we just had to persist and luck would favor us.

Then we saw them after a while at 36th Cross near National College, Jayanagar. We halted at a distance and I asked her to take her time and identify the boys as I did not want to lash out at them if they were innocent. She pointed at a boy and told me that I was not to let him go in particular. We stopped the vehicle near them and I walked up to the particular boy Yogita had pointed out and stood behind him as he was sitting on the pillion seat of a bike. Then I tapped him on his shoulder and told all of them in a loud vice that none of them were to move and all I wanted them to do was to accompany me to the police station.

They took one look at Yogita sitting on the bike behind me and guessed what had happened and what would follow too. Two of the boys then gave calls to the others to scoot and in an instant all of them started their bikes and they headed off in different directions. I caught this particular boy’s shirt and as his vehicle began moving I ran behind it but I was unable to keep up and as the vehicle (a CBZ) picked up speed I had to let go, I immediately ran back to Yogita and then followed the boys.

By then a few boys who were running had also jumped onto the bikes and we began following two bikes (the CBZ and a cream colored Bajaj scooter) the boy from the CBZ had got down and climbed behind two boys riding the Bajaj scooter. Single mindedly we pursued the scooter, the other two boys on the bike took another route, the scooter made its way through Jayanagar, Banashankari and then headed to Vidyapeetha Circle. All through the way I was screaming out at the people around us to hold the boys and being handicapped without my bike and having to make do with a Kinetic Honda I knew that catching up with the boys would be a little tougher, yet I was pushing the bike to its maximum and was able to reach them by the time they were nearing BMS College.

As we neared the college I went near them and told them while I was riding near them that that I would bang into them if they did not stop, yet they did not pay any heed. Then I turned to Yogita and told her that I would now be banging into them and asked her not to worry as nothing would happen to her bike or to the boys. She agreed and I rammed into them opposite Bull Temple. All three boys fell and I fell on them. Before I could get up and tackle them two of them ran away from the spot as fast as possible. The particular boy I was chasing was taking all my attention, after he had fallen down I had caught his shirt again with my left hand and this time did not let go, it was then that I realized that he was at least six feet in height and my being much shorter made it tougher to keep a firm grip on him.

I was angered by the fact that these guys had the audacity to act funny with Yogita and I was also frustrated at their attempt to escape instead of facing the consequences of their act. I began hitting the boy hard with my right hand and gave him a few hard blows, all the while he tried his best to escape. I kept hitting him till I saw that my knuckle was bleeding but I did not want to let go of this boy, so I yanked the mat of the Bajaj scooter that was lying near us and holding it I began slapping his face with it. By then a crowd of around 200 people had encircled us and I could see Yogita nearby holding her Kinetic Honda.

None of the people did anything other than watch, but that did not bother me much, what bothered me was when a man aged 24-27 held me and told me to let go of the boy. I asked if he knew what had happened and told him that he had misbehaved with Yogita. He told me that this person had gotten enough punishment for that already and I had to let him go. I was angered by his causal attitude and pointing the mat at him I told him, “If you do not keep quite then I will start hitting you too.”

Saying so I continued slapping the mat on the face of this six footer, all the while asking him repeatedly if he will ever have the guts to misbehave with a girl again. He did not answer, I asked him again and again while trashing him. Before I could even get an answer from him, a few of the elderly people intervened and asked me to let the boy go and before I knew it they released the boy from my grip and coaxed him to run away from there. They restrained me and gave the boy enough time to disappear. Nothing I said had any impact on those people.

In a mere moment, the boy was nowhere to be seen, but I had already noted that he had left the vehicle and I knew that I had a way to send a strong signal to all these boys to never misbehave with any lady in future. I asked Yogita to take her vehicle and follow me and I rode the Bajaj scooter to my class in Jayanagar. In my rage I forgot to ensure that Yogita would follow me and I had gone ahead of her.

Knowing well that she might have headed back home, I took the vehicle to my class in Jayanagar and parked it there. On the way I remembered that some construction work was happening in the house next door and that they had kept some huge blocks of stones there. On reaching there I took one of those huge stones and began pounding every inch of the vehicle. It took me quite some time and effort to make dents in every past of the vehicle. With the help of some students (to whom I explained the fact that the vehicle belonged to an eve teaser) I even managed to damage the lock of the petrol tank and bust the mirror and number plates of the vehicle too.

While I was doing so, I got a call from Yogita and she said that she had reached her home and had explained to her mother about what had happened and that her mother too was willing to accompany her to the police station to give a written complaint against those boys. After damaging the vehicle I rode it to the police station and walked in to meet the inspector. It was inspector Vasudev Murthy who was there that day, he was busy so I thought it best to call Allen Sir (As I called Allen J. Mendonca, the editor of Bangalore Times at The Times of India) who had taken great pains to help me in my fight against eve teasing earlier.

After hearing about what happened Allen Sir told me that this incident will be published by the paper and that the crime correspondent (Mr. Bansy Kalappa) would call the Jayanagar Police station and get further details and then ensure that this incident is not forgotten by the families of the eve teasers and that he would also publish the vehicle number and asked me for the same. I told him the vehicle number and thanked him for his support.

 

Then I again waited for a while before I could meet inspector Vasudev Murthy. I sat inside with him and explained the whole incident to him and asked him to take the eve teasers to task. By then constable Manjunath came in and asked the inspector to take a look at the vehicle. After seeing the dilapidated state in which the vehicle was, the inspector asked me as to what happened to it. I told him that the vehicle was mauled by me and I will willingly accept to having done it provided that these eve teasers are arrested when they come for the recovery of the vehicle and are punished for their offence.

After a while Yogita and her mother came to the station and they too showed their willingness to assist the police without fear or favor to bring these boys to book. The inspector assured that action will be taken against the boys to which I replied that as a favor to me he should call me when the boys brought their parents and I will talk to them too. The inspector promised me that he would.

A few days later I came to know that the Bajaj vehicle belonged to an RTO officer and that he had taken custody of the vehicle after the boys were produced to the station and after they were severely warned by the inspector and a written apology was given by them.

After this incident occurred there were a few thousand such encounters with eve teasers in the next years to come. What brought it back in my memory was a visit to Mr. T. M. Gowda of Soundarya Arts (who had part sponsored one of my rides earlier.) office to distribute my wedding card. He was chatting with a person and I waited for him to finish.

He welcomed my interruption and I informed him about my wedding. After inviting Mr. Gowda and his family I went on to give an invitation card to the man who was chatting with him out of courtesy saying, “I have met you by chance but I would like to take this opportunity to welcome your presence and blessings for my wedding.”

To this he replied, “You do not know me but I know you very well. You escaped getting beaten up by us a few years ago after what you did to my son’s vehicle on Holi day. Why bring all that up now. You have a wedding coming up. We will take that matter up some other time.”

I replied, “I remember and regret that day. I remember the uncouth behavior of a few boys and further regret not taking them to task all the way that day. Let me finish that task today as today is as good a day as any other.”

Hearing this, the man said that his boys were not at fault and that they had been peacefully celebrating Holi when I took out my anger on them as I could not find the real culprits. I reasserted that I checked well before I pounced on them and that Yogita had identified the boy and I too was convinced that they were guilty when they rushed at the very mention of the police. I told him that Yogita would accompany me and identify the boys at that very moment. All this time Gowda was trying to change the topic by asking me where the marriage hall was and if all the arrangements were made, repeatedly coaxing me to forget the minor incident.

I persisted and informed the other person about my willingness to meet his boy right then. At this point Mr. Gowda again changed the topic and bid goodbye to me without giving me an opportunity to further my talks with this man. He also held the other man at bay indulging him in some other conversation.

With this incident it became clear that such onslaughts by those whom I had caught eve teasing will have to be borne by me for a lifetime. I also realized that the eve teasers would have concocted some story to suit the situation to underline their innocence as this boy had cleverly done by casting strong doubts on my act.

This incident also made me decide that at times taking matters with hardened eve teasers to a conclusion; be it informing their parents or eliciting a promise from them that they would not indulge in such acts in future was always better than letting them off with a warning as they would go to any lengths to not accrue discredit to themselves and paint a different picture of what happens to their friends and family.

This will not erase the want to eve tease in them and will only make them more aggressive as they would be under the belief that their act of eve teasing was right.

Family Approval

There are instances where the girl can be held responsible for having instigated an act of eve teasing and make others feel that she welcomes such an approach by a boy. This is an incident about one such girl who welcomed attention from a known boy in an uncommon manner and was also putting herself in a position where other boys too felt that she would encourage her advances.

A girl was chatting with a guy standing on the edge of the drain for nearing four hours, from around 8 in the morning to 12:30 in the afternoon at the right side of the entrance to the college. This was brought to my notice by the juice vendor who walked up to me and informed me that this girl was standing outside the college gate opposite his juice center since he opened the shop and was inviting trouble in the form of attention from many a passing male who assumed that she was easy game for their advances. Being a student of that college she was surely inviting trouble as she would be noted by many of these boys who frequented the place to tease girls.

I knew that it was none of my business yet I remembered that the principal Ma’am Chi. Na. Mangala had made it clear to me that she would not encourage any girls who contribute to this act, hence I walked up to the principal and told her about the same, she immediately asked the watchman to go and bring the girl and the person she was talking to, to her chamber.

The watchman came back with the girl who was sullen and meek when she entered the office and the boy with her was visibly scared. The principal asked her if she was a student of the college, when she got an answer in the affirmative the principal asked her as to why she was standing outside the college for the past two to four hours. The girl then gathered her wits and thinking that it was best to lash out, asserted that she was just talking to her neighbor and when her parents themselves did not mind her doing so why then was the principal interfering in this matter.

Calling for her class teacher the principal enquired about aspects of her attendance, her behavior and her interest in studies. Her teacher informed that she was a student who fared well in her studies but was a bit irregular in her attendance. The principal reprimanded her in no uncertain words and reminded her that the college’s responsibility was not limited to dishing out a degree to her but she had to ensure that every girl in her college turned out to be a better person and also conveyed that she was displeased by the manner in which this girl spoke just then.

The girl was sure that she had done nothing wrong and more so about the fact that her act had the approval of her parents and she asserted the same. That was when the principal asked her if it was alright for her to call her residence and get someone from her place. The girl agreed to this, after which she called her home and spoke to her brother and told him that he was required to give some clarifications to the principal. He informed her that he would be there in some time.

Her brother was there in the college within 10 minutes. When he came over he was informed about the situation. The girl told him that she was merely talking to her neighbor in front of her college and that the principal had unnecessarily intervened on my having informed her and asked her brother to defend her. The brother screamed at the girl and asked her why she was talking to the neighbor in front of the college.

He told her that he might be her neighbor but asked her what work did she have with him near the college and told her that she was welcome to talk to him inside her house but not on the road in front of the collage, she was told strictly that she was being sent to college not to do what she had done.

He then spoke to the principal and understood what had happened that morning and asked the neighbor what work did he have with her that warranted him to speak to her for 3-4 hrs, first thing in the morning. He made it clear to both the boy and the girl that they had no authority to behave thus and emphatically pronounced that the girl cannot claim any support from her family when she indulged in such things. He then thanked the principal for having taking the right decision and for bringing this to his notice and left with the girl.

Any girl is wrong to assume that her unnecessary indulgence in idle chat in public places is appreciated by her folks. A proverb in Kannada states “Dushtara Sangha Doora iru” which simply means that one should avoid the company of bad people. In the same way is it not pertinent that every girl fully fathoms that she can let loose her guard with no detriment to herself in a protected environment but she should also not allow herself to attract unwanted attention in certain public places.**

**Check Trishna’s article where she stresses she carefully chooses her clothes in a way to suit her comfort level and also keeps tabs on the latest trends in what she wears in Commercial Street or M G Road or Brigade Road, but when it comes to visiting Kalasipalya or Majestic then every other thing takes a back seat in front of the all important aspect of not attracting unwanted attention.

**Personally I am an advocate of “lazziez faire” or the “hands off’ theory used in economics that states that one should not try and manipulate the market (the relationship between demand and supply) so it is my strong belief that every man or woman has a right to behave in whatever manner she pleases as long as it does not involve the committing of an offence or as long as it is reasonable in the eyes of other reasonable people.

Eve teasing When Harmless

As Mr. Mariswamy, whom I met when he was the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore City, made a valuable demarcation between eve teasing that is not offensive in nature and one that has the approval of decency. He stresses the need to make a distinction about eve teasing as a phenomenon and eve teasing as an offence.

I have experienced some incidents of eve teasing which almost bordered on decent admiration, but fell short by a notch. The line that separates these two is very thin and is left to the perception of the existing society, the place where it happens, the time of occurrence and such other factors.

I was walking home from class one day when I noticed a car parked ahead to the left side of the road; a lone person sitting in the car was playing some music. As I heard it I realized that he was not indulging in recreation by playing music but was merely repeating one line from a song. The line that had held his fascination so was “Tumse milne ko dil karta hai… re baba… Tumse milne ko dil karta hai…”

This was one of the few times that I was in a dilemma myself and restrained myself from taking the person to task as I felt that going by any definition he was giving himself some benefit of doubt.

Another instance when an eve teaser amused me more than he angered me was brought to my notice by my teachers. They pointed out that a college boy was staring at them everyday at around 4 pm and asked me to be around at that time to tackle him.

I waited that evening and as reported a slightly plump boy of around 20 years wearing spectacles cycled to the spot and stood there, visibly without any work. I waited for a few minutes and then saw him staring at girls passing by but not doing anything else objectionable. After 10 minutes I walked up to him and asked him why he was standing there. He told me in a nerdish manner that he was just checking out the girls in about the same words.

I asked him if that was a right thing to do, to which he answered that he was not harming anyone. He then seemed familiar to me and I realized that he was my friend’s neighbor. I then told him my friend’s name and informed him that I knew where he stayed and enquired if we should bring this to his parents notice.

He thought for a moment and said that he was only standing and looking, I then asked him, “How dare you come to NMKRV college to do so?” Visibly agitated he said, “MCC (Mount Carmel College) is very far” and added “If I cycle till there I will be very tired!” 

I was dumb stuck by his reply.

Giving Up the Fight

It was not always that the outcome of accosting eve teasers was favorable; there were two instances when things soured for me too. In all fairness I have to record my reactions to them to ensure that a person reading this book knows the flip side of standing up against a social evil.

Though I will never plead guilty to having allowed eve teasing to occur with my silent consent, it is not always that I have played the part of the brave anti eve teasing campaigner. It is true that there have been instances when I too have chickened out and found myself to be incapable of tackling a ruffian group of eve teasers in a stringent manner.

In both the instances that I am about to state I was clearly not capable of furthering the fight and I saved my skin at some stage. Though I have been able to fight my fears to a greater extent, but while tackling these two instances fear had a firmer grip on me.

The extent of fight that one can put up when faced with an instance of eve teasing depends on the mental make-up of each individual and that there is no set generalization that can be resorted to earmark it.

The Thugs in the Car

The first instance where I was scared, nearly out of my wits and deserted any thoughts of a foolhardy attempt at bravery was in the initial stages when I fought against eve teasing. One day after playing basketball I was sipping from a glass of fruit juice at around 7:30 in the morning (in those days Jayanagar Complex too was replete with the old world charm of Bangalore, with chirping birds, fully flowered trees and people sauntering in to begin their chores and set up their shops at around 8 am.) in Jayanagar complex.

This was when I saw two guys in a Maruti car near the juice center making obscene cat calls to a girl who was walking by. A few boys who were also back from a fresh morning game or workout were the first to notice this and they began making smart comments looking at the men in the car. Emboldened by their act I too shouted out to the guys asking them if what they did was right.

Both of them made verbal attacks on me which was punctuated with expletives from within the car and rushed out at me in a roughish manner. Suddenly out of nowhere the parking guy who was usually there made me get away from there saying that I was not aware about these men and that I should think about saving my skin and not getting into any argument with them.

I realized that the parking guy was able to recognize me and knowing me as one of his customers he was just looking out for me, so I asked him who these men were and why was he forcing me to stay away from them. He replied saying that they were hardened rowdies who would not stop at anything and that they were to be feared by all. I felt a fear right then but I stayed back wanting to have a chat with them.

I tried to hold ground and fight on behalf of these girls but when I saw three of those thugs walk menacingly towards me, I knew that I will not be able to talk sense to them. In a moment I was on my bike and was heading home after making sure for a few times on the way that these people were not following me.

The Unspeakable Words

The second instance was that of a car blaring loud music on the road next to the college, all this to catch the attention of two girls who were walking on the road. I followed the car even as they were honking every time they passed by any girls.

After ensuring for the third time that they were intentionally honking I went near them and rode alongside the window. I saw them ogling at two girls coming near, their annoying horn blared again. I stopped the bike in front of them and asked them if what they did was right. They doled out a mouthful of obscenities at me. This was when I saw two lecturers of NMKRV College walking nearby within earshot.

I again asked him politely as to why he was doing rounds of the road, but he did not answer me properly and continued mouthed obscenities in front of the two lady teachers who were walking near me. At that time I was unable to give a fitting reply as I did not want these teachers to witness a brawl to which I was an active perpetuator. That was when I sulked away from that place before I was further degraded. 

The Ear Incident

One afternoon in October 2002 that I was heading back home on my bike after teaching some students on behalf of NIE (The Times of India) in a school near Malleswaram. I bought two bangle stands for my wife and after putting them in two plastic covers started off again. I had planned to open a class in Malleswaram around that time, so I was riding very slowly and checking out the shops watching out for any place available for rent.

When I neared 8th cross riding up Sampige Main Road, I saw a traffic constable manning an intersection. As there were many vehicles in front of me I stood waiting at the right side of the road which was a one way. That was when I saw two guys standing on the sidewalk and in an instance when two girls walked by one of these men tugged on the end of the duppatta, the girl mouthed some insult at him and walked ahead.

I impulsively called out to one of these men and when he came near me I slapped him in rage as I was sitting on the bike. He was stunned by what I did and was trying to back out. Before he could go away I held him by his shirt but he kept going behind. I had to let my vehicle fall down as I held on to his shirt and walked with him. His other friend who was a thin bearded man was behind me to the left now as I had moved ahead still holding this man’s shirt. I was asking him why he had tugged at the girl’s dress when I saw the bearded man from the corner of my eye trying to slap me.

In the last moment I tried to escape the blow that was heading for my nose and ducked. Unfortunately the bearded man had the advantage of height and of catching me unawares. The slap fell square on my ear. Though I did not experience any pain right then I immediately heard a buzzing sound emanating my ear. I had no time to think of it as I was concentrating on not letting these two guys go. I still held on to the shirt. By then a few people had gathered and asked them as to what was going on and why I was holding that guy. The constable who was manning traffic too had come there after checking the commotion.

Both of them attacked me saying that I had picked up a quarrel without reason and was now accusing them of teasing some girls to save my skin. Then I began arguing vehemently that they were at fault a stout dark mustached man walked to the man who had pulled the dupatta and trashed him around without saying anything. Then he told everyone there that he was the owner of a shop nearby and that two girls had came to his shop just then and had told him that this man had indeed pulled the dupatta and asked him to help me out as they knew that these eve teasers were at fault and that they did not want to walk up to the crowd and say the same personally as they were afraid.

A few members of the crowd who had gathered rebuked and trashed the eve teasers who vehemently apologized for their behavior. The shop owner asked me if I wanted to file a case against them. Realizing that would have enough memories of this incident to haunt them for a lifetime I asked the eve teasers to indulge in such an act again and asked the crowd to let them go.

By the time I reached my residence I had a throbbing pain in my ear. On going inside and seeing that my wife was asleep I went to another room and quietly lay down to forget the pain. In the evening when I put some cotton in my left ear I realized that it was bleeding. It is nearing two and a half years since this incident happened. I still experience recurring pain for many hours in a day. Consultations with the best of doctors have not yielded a permanent solution yet.

I keep reminding myself that no reward is possible without risks and to lessen the menace of eve teasing in my own small yet sure way I had to take many a risk and when a risk blows up on my face I cannot hold any one else responsible for it. I know that this is a small price to pay and cannot look at it in any other way.

While riding the bike I am unable to bear loud sounds of the traffic and am in constant discomfort in rush hours even while driving my car in the midst of heavy traffic. My wife has accompanied me to many sittings with the doctor but not once has she spoken against my act. It is a joke between us that now I am an old man who is unable to listen. Many a times I am unable to hear things that she says clearly. If you ever get to see my wife and me together, in all probability, I will be standing to her left to hear her better with my right ear.

The Rich Influential Spoilt Brat

This is a very interesting incident which proves that any education and inculcation of values should be imbibed by a child at home and this is possible nowhere else. I was teaching at my class when the panipuri vendor walked up to me and called me out of class. I asked him what the matter was and he informed me about a particular Safari car (purplish color) that had already made two rounds and that it had a set of boys who were busy passing loud comments at girls and embarrassing them. I stood near the gate and awaited the arrival of the car again.

Within a minute I saw the car come by with a bunch of boys in it listening to loud music and also jeering at girls from inside. I called out to them to stop but they increased their speed and went on. I took the bike and followed them and got the car to a halt at an intersection.

I saw a tall lanky kid aged around 15 in the driver’s seat in the car. He was unruffled at being stopped and by this gesture itself gave me an impression that he was a tough nut to crack. I decided to not get into an argument with him and merely asked him for his driving license. He asked me why he had to show it to me and I replied that I was a citizen who had a right to know if children driving vehicles on the road had a valid driving license or not. He handed a plastic booklet that had his DL (driving license) book. As soon as I opened that book a good many visiting cards of quite a few ministers sat on my palm and it included the chief minister’s son visiting card too. I just tilted the plastic booklet and all the cards fell to the ground, doing so I asked him what his name, age and address was to verify if the card really belonged to him. He told me all these correctly.

Thanking him, I asked him to collect the DL book from the police station. He said that he will accompany me right then to show me who he was, I welcomed him to do so and went on to the police station.

As I went to the police station and waited at the gate the sentry greeted me and asked him what the matter was, I told him what happened and showed him the brand new Safari vehicle that as being parked opposite the police station. The constable had one look the boy getting down from the Safari and said it will be futile if I tried to get him to acknowledge and obey rules.

I asked him if that was because he was a spilt rich brat with an influential father and he answered that was the exact reason and he also informed me that they had held him thrice earlier near Vijaya High School and though he was clearly in the wrong a few phone calls had ensured that he was let go without as much as a warning.

I then knocked at the half wooden doors of the inspector’s room and on seeing Yogappa Sir entered after seeking his permission. Then I told him that I had an interesting character there to meet him and explained exactly what happened in two sentences. I had barely finished doing so that the door opened and this boy entered without even bothering to knock. If that was walking a step towards his grave his next act was even more atrocious, he walked up to the inspector Yogappa who was sitting quietly and putting his hand on the inspector’s shoulder said, “Uncle, this person has…” No sooner than he touched the police inspector, Yogappa sir pushed him aside and said, “How dare you address me as your uncle, how dare you touch me?” and began trashing him. He then asked him not to lie to him and asked him as to why he had been near NMKRV College to which this boy answered in fear that he was just roaming around the college with a few of his friends.

Yogappa sir then asked the boy to give him his father’s mobile number, the boy fell at his feet and told him that his father was in Delhi and he could not be called, when asked for his residence number the boy said that his mother had heart trouble and she was not to be called. Yogappa was taken aback by these answers. He then called the constable and asked him who this kid was. The constable immediately took the name of a very influential local politician who was known for his dubious behavior.

The boy was still holding the inspector’s feet and was relentlessly pleading to be let off. On being asked by the inspector the constable stated that this boy was a student of Vijaya High School and had been caught indulging in such acts outside his school many a times by the cops but had always used his influence to get away. Once, the police had acted on the request of the principal to take note of unscrupulous elements outside the school at closing time and had caught hold of this boy with his friends. That was when the principal had issued a severe warning to him and had made it clear that the next time he indulged in some such an act he would be expelled.

Yogappa sir stated that this boy was not one to change and no mercy was to be shown to him after all that had happened and he took his telephone book out and called a number. When the call got connected he asked for the principal, immediately this boy who was still holding the inspector’s feet began wailing loudly to the inspector to not talk to his principal. The inspector then got connected to the principal and he chatted with the principal about the road safety week program that was proposed for the school students.

He spoke for about 10 minutes and every time he continued the conversation with the line, “Another thing I wanted to talk to you about was…” and “About the students in your school…” the boy holding his feet went into a frenzy and began requesting him over and over again to not tell his principal about anything.

Just before the inspector kept the phone down he asked the principal to excuse him for a second and placing his hand on the receiver of the phone he asked the boy if he should be reported to the principal, the boy began pleading with him not to and the inspector said, “This is my last warning to you and this is your absolute last chance. I do not care if your father uses his influence and gets me transferred but before that I will personally take you home and trash you on the road.” So saying he spoke into the receiver again and bid goodbye to the principal.

Then he asked the constable to take the boy and seize the vehicle and ordered him to release it only after someone from his house came and paid a fine to the court. The boy was then ushered out of the room. The inspector then explained to me that these boys from such families pick up a total disregard for rules as they are aware that their fathers too flaunt them and that he wanted to give a stern warning to the boy and in the same breath not put his education at stake. He also informed me that he would keep track of this boy and ensure that the tendency in him to eve tease too is taken away.

A Twist in the Tale

There are innumerable instances where the eve teaser, when questioned by any member of the public, comes to know about the gravity of his act and accepts his mistake immediately, but there are a few hardened eve teasers who will show how influential they are.

I recall this particular instance where I failed to drive home the message to a hardened eve teaser even after taking him to the police station, which I thought was the penultimate step (the ultimate step being that of informing the eve teasers parents about the act) but then realized that such failure too was short-lived by an interesting development.

It was around 4 in the evening, the time when NMKRV girls college students were heading back home. That was when I had ordered a burger at Dev’s Favorite Snacks and went back to some writing work for Topnotch Communications, the publication outfit that I was working for at that time.

I heard loud beats and music and saw a swanky car with huge Hella speakers in front, fog lights and the works cascading down the road with loud music blaring. I saw four enthusiastic boys in the car looking out at the girls on the road as it passed by once and was amazed at the time, effort and energy these kids were willing to expend on impressing unknown girls.

Leaving it at that I went back to my writing work, in a few minutes the car returned again with music blaring to such an extent that I could hear them even when they were 100 meters away.

I walked to the road and stood awaiting the car in the middle of the road. The car came up to me and stopped. Walking up to the boy driving the vehicle I requested him to reduce the volume as he was less than a few meters away from an educational institution. He said, “Ok! Don’t get worked up!” and went ahead. He had not taken the car even 20 feet away when he again increased the volume of the car to its earlier deafening level.

Getting onto my bike I went behind them forgetting the food that I had ordered. I caught up with them in a few moments and asked him what the meaning of his act was. He defied me and said that he was least interested in what I had to say. I asked him if I could ask him to accompany me to the police station to which he said that it would turn out to be a joke at my expense. I followed them to the station as he insisted on leading the way.

His readiness to take me to the police station made me realize that he had a good amount of influence to goad him to do bad things without fear. When we reached the police station he informed me that he would be out in less than 15 minutes as he was an MLA’s nephew. I said words to the effect that it was not the act but the effect that I was concerned with and that I would willingly take him to the police station a thousand times if he kept roaming around a girl’s college with his friends, unmindful of his impending easy exit in 15 minutes.

I walked into the station and explained what had happened to the station-in-charge. After waiting there for quite some time I met Pranesh, the station writer and informed him about my intention of filing a complaint against the boy if needed and resumed waiting. In a few minutes I was thanked for having brought these boys to the police station and after being assured that the due course of action would be followed I was asked to leave.

I went back to Dev’s Favorite Snacks and found that my burger was served to someone else and after ordering another fresh burger I continued writing my article. In a few minutes the burger was ready and as lunch was really late and my hunger pangs were unbearable, my usual clumsiness while devouring a burger was heightened.

It was less than half an hour since I had left the police station when the same flashy car was parked in front of the eat-out and I saw the MLA’s nephew walking out towards me. I prepared myself for an impending boastful attitude from his end and reassured myself that still he had indulged in a base act and as far as I was concerned he was standing in shame.

He sat opposite me and said, “I told you that it will be a matter of minutes before I come out and I was not wrong. But I have to admit that you too were not wrong in what you did… My friends and I did not mean any harm and were only indulging in time-pass. I was angry with you for taking us to the police station but now I have come back to say sorry to you as I have realized that you did right. I may have got out of the police station fast but it does not bring me any credit, I know that the police too will be scoffing at what I did and will make me and my uncle the butt of their jokes. This is a lesson that I will remember for the rest of my life. Sorry and I promise you that henceforth I will not encourage my friends to do such thing too.”

This was something that came unexpected, I know that regret is expressed by very few people and the manner in which he said it convinced me that what had almost become a futile action was saved by his self realization and his attitude of accepting his past misdeed.

After that day I was strengthened in thinking that every single instance of reprimanding an eve teaser was well worth it as it would have a definite effect and would also help in changing the mindset of an eve teaser in some fashion or the other.

On Rear View

This incident happened much before I got into the habit of questioning the sanity behind the actions of eve teasers. As I was walking from a bus stand to my home, I saw a car cruising very slowly but in style with the mandatory loud music blaring out, as I made way for the car to pass I could not help but notice a few boys who seemed to have got the best of everything in life.

They proved me wrong in a moment when they took the car close to a set of girls walking by and deliberately ensured that their rear view mirror brushed against a girl walking closest to the road. I am unsure as to what happened next. I was too stunned by what had happened to even register what the reaction of the girls or the boys in the car was. I just remember asking myself if I had to run behind the car or break the rear glass door of the car or shout at them… I did no such thing.

I remember that this incident kept bringing itself in front of my mind for the next few days and I cursed my inaction several times. In retrospect when I think of this incident now I am thankful now that at least whenever possible my acts and wits have always been channeled against this social menace with failure rates in decimal levels.

My Fall from Grace

It was not always that my resolve to bring eve teasers to book was fruitful and without any harm to me. However skilful one is, when emotions get the better of him, disaster strikes, the same was the case when I was enraged by the acts of two young kids, aged around 18 on a bike who were incessantly following two girls who were on a TVS Scooty.

An ordeal that began in Ashoka Pillar continued for a kilometer and half till Jayanagar 4th ‘T’ Block, initially I was under the impression that the girls were friendly with the boys as they seemed to be going together, but then when the girl riding the Scooty turned back and spat towards the guys following on the bike did the truth behind the situation dawn on me.

Realizing that the girls were trying to lose these boys following them I rode towards the boys and honked till I got their attention. The minute I advanced towards the guys they came to know that they would walk into a dangerous situation if they stopped, so the rider gathered speed and kept going past the girls in a bid to escape me as soon as possible. Instead of my usual calm pursuit I was enraged by the fact that they had acted in a manner that had driven a girl to spit on them and show how much she detested his act.

This worked to my disadvantage, as I was even more angered by their unwillingness to take responsibility for their acts. They kept riding all around Jayanagar and after circling Jayanagar Shopping Complex twice they headed towards Cosmopolitan Club, I too went around and was by then pretty sure that they had learnt a valuable lesson and that they would not dare eve tease again.

When they took a turn at the Cosmopolitan Club, I went a little faster than usual and was caught unawares by the gravel there. Due to this the front tyre of the bike skid on the grave and in the fall the mound on my left palm was scraped and I sustained a few more injuries on my knee and leg.

This proved a costly lesson for me as it contributed to a knee pain that has ever since been a recurring sensation causing pain. Taking this as a valuable lesson, my advice to anyone who has an inclination to stand up against any social evil is that they have to gauge their abilities and limitations well and also accept the possibilities of long term risk if any detriment is caused to you because of their having stood up against any issue that they feel strongly for, in no event are they to be in a position where they would regret their having stood up for a good cause in retrospect.

The elderly obstacle

Elders are to be respected not only because they have been pillars of our past but also because they hold in them the experience to support right action in the present. Add to this their ability to make a sea change by merely showing disapproval to the aberrations from tradition that is being perpetuated by youngsters swayed by wild winds.

Many a times I have gained the silent support of elders who have retired themselves to an enviable life that begins with the leisurely indulgence of scanning the newspaper once, followed by breakfast and then a round to a park and coffee in one of their favorite haunts. The afternoon siesta is a flavor that brings out the best in them.

I was not aware of the immense pleasure derived from an afternoon nap till I too became addicted to the same. Coming back to siestas and elderly men, an elderly neighbor who stayed in the house opposite mine once walked up to me and struck a conversation with me. He began with a remark that renewed the vigor with which I attacked eve teasers.

“Thanks to you, I am able to complete my afternoon nap!” A string of abuses was immediately appended to this remark against those juvenile delinquents who never failed to wake him from his much needed slumber with their constant blaring of horns and incessant revving of the accelerator to attract the girls who passed by.

Add to this another indulgence of the girls of this college who had been habituated to the peace offered by these well shaded by lanes of a predominantly residential locality with little or no vehicular traffic and had hence made it a habit to walk on the narrow lanes with little or no regard to the earlier non-existent traffic.

This meant that they refused to give up their habit of strolling in leisure, the giggles and indulgent chirpy voices brought about a lot of mirth to these elders who watched them for a while before they smiled and went in for a siesta, but all these pleasant sounds were also being drowned in the mechanical revving of the cars and bikes.

The screeching and halting of four wheelers and two wheelers after ripping towards the girls and wanting to impress them with their spectacular stunts and skill of control was akin to the chase and play that one would stand enthralled by in channels showing animals during their courtship times, if only to remind you about the complete absence of the inherent beauty and ethereal appeal that transfixed you to the antics that animals indulged in.

With regret I add that this was not the case once when I was all set to tackle an eve teaser but was stopped from doing so by an elderly person. The futility of my actions and the impossibility of my getting an eve teaser to book is something that I shall ever hold this elderly person responsible for.

One day I saw a guy chase two girls in a demeaning manner, he was in a car and was following the girls, the girls who were aware of this turned behind and began walking in the opposite direction. He was not put off by this and knowing that it was a one way lane he reversed the car and kept taking the car back with them.

The girls changed their direction to get away from him and he promptly put the car in forward gear and followed them again. I called the Jayanagar police station and requested for some constables to be sent immediately and then took my bike and went up to the car and parked the bike right in front of the car. I was about to take him to task when an elderly man who was out on his morning walk asked me to let the car go. I asked him if he knew what had happened and informed him that I had called the police and if he could wait till the police came there.

He was not keen on listening to anything that I had to say, he went on about how I was clearly in the wrong as I had come in the wrong side of a one way road.

I kept trying to ask him to wait till the cops came but he was not in a mood to listen to me, he kept talking and even helped the eve teaser take his car and leave. I did not let him go, I asked him to wait till the cops came. By the time they came I informed him that he was a hardened eve teaser and had made good his escape only because of his intervention. He quickly retorted that he was only doing what he taught was right and went away.

Elderly people are to be respected not merely because of their age but more because of the wisdom that were inherent in them, thanks to the abundance of their experience.

Jayanagar Eve-Teaser Claims “I am a Police Officer’s Neighbor”

by Prakruthi N. Banwasi

It was a day that would find most of us toiling our sweat away, not for the likes of A. Rao.  This person had all the time in the world to rip around in his swank car from one corner to another on NMKRV College road with the mandatory accompaniment of loud western music.

The pile of work that had a hold on me still failed to keep me away from approaching these aberrations in society and request them to stop throwing culture to the roads and show some culture on the roads.  It was with the wish of requesting him to not saturate his act of obvious indecency that I approached him, that too after watching his antics for 15 minutes plus.

On meeting this chap with a ear-stud on his left ear and a whole world of attitude I gathered that he was ‘Waiting for a girl whom he had met on the same road the previous year and was hopeful of checking her out again.’ It was then that I asked him to show his license to find out his name and address, he said that he did not have one and claimed that he was ‘the neighbor of a Mr. Sreenivasa, a police officer’ in a way that made it clear that he was somehow exempted from the boring routine of carrying valid documents to drive a car.

It was then that I asked him to kindly accompany me to the Jayanagar police station as I was sure that he was not a kid who ought to be let off with merely being reprimanding, not with this kind of attitude of defiance. In spite of my attempts I was unable to reach the police on the mobile and I did get into his car waiting to be taken to the cop station.

It was then he asked me what authority I had to take him to the police station, I reminded him that I could take action as a public spirited individual and the primary offence of not holding a license while driving sufficed for me to lead him to the police station. He warned me of dire consequences and threatened me saying that I would find it to be very unpleasant in the end. I then told him that I assisted the police in matters concerning eve-teasing and was ready to face the consequences if I was at fault.

He then took me near the police station and to his intense happiness found his neighbor, the police officer, right there.  He ran to him and said something, I then walked up to this officer to explain what happened, but before I could do so he had nailed me down as an anti-social element and refused to listen to me and then ordered a constable to take me to the station and take action against me.

Thankfully the station officers recognized me and were easily convinced by the attitude of this young chap that he was in the wrong, especially when he reminded them that he was the manager of the tent house which never failed to provide materials free of cost to the police every year and that he had also contributed to the police station in many other ways, he kept saying that he was this officer’s neighbor at least 10-15 times. The policeman sitting in front of him finally asked him out of disgust what authority did he derive from being a police officer’s neighbor?

Yet this police officer intervened again and gave me a warning and let this guy go scot free. Before I could request him to listen to me he was off. The police officer sitting in front of me was too dumbstruck to say anything. I told him that I was utterly demoralized and that I now wondered if it was worth it to take time off and risk getting such a thug to the station and get the wrong end of the stick.

In an instant this police officer understood my predicament and asked a constable to get back the boy I had got there and took him and me to the inspector on duty.  He explained that I had found this chap near NMKRV College and left us. The inspector heard both of us talk and realized that this boy had to be taken to task. He gave the boy a severe warning and asked him to call his parents and wait outside.

I thanked him for doing so and left the place. Later when I narrated this incident to Suresh Heblikar he stated that in the end he was as thankful as I was that the thug got what he deserved. He then reminded me that it was because of such officers like that the spirit in me to continue to fight against this social menace stood undiluted. There is no other moral to be derived from this incident than the one of ensuring that we are not against the morals that defines our behavior on the roads.

Garbage

There were enough instances where the eve teasers were not so naïve that it warranted them to be completely exonerated from suffering the consequences of their act but at times some of them were not so naïve that I could let them go scot free nor were they so hardened that they had to be handled by authorities. Creating a third category of eve teasers who had to be deterred from indulging in eve teasing again but who did not have to be trashed about for the act and deciding a proportionate punishment for them was among my first acts in a bid to understand the dimensions of eve teasing.

After a good amount of thought I decided that the best way to tackle them is to negate the joy that they would get by eve teasing in a manner that will also make them realize that they were definitely in the wrong. Such utilization of Hedonistic Calculus would go a long way in aiding them to realize the gravity of their act without ostracizing them for their indulgence in an unreasonable manner.

Hence I began to use an effective method to chase the intent to eve tease in eve teasers who fell in this category and aid them to stop indulging in harmful eve teasing. The method was simple as all I had to do was to throw their vehicle keys in the garbage bin or in the gutter beside the road and inform them that they could take recourse to two choices, either they walk up to the cops and inform them about my act after which there would be a possibility that I myself might have to dip my hand into the garbage and take out the keys.

The next alternative left to them would be to atone for their indulgence in harmful eve teasing by either retrieving the key from the garbage heap or take pains to procure the duplicate key from their homes. Here the purpose was to also make them realize that they could have fought back against the punishment but then they would be disgraced and taken to task first.

This Catch 22 situation always had them in a dilemma, as the cops would definitely enquire about the whole circumstances and this would mean that their shameful indulgence in the act of eve teasing will first be made known to the cops and they would certainly be reprimanded for it or further action too might be taken against them.

In the face of this dead option all they could do was to retrieve the key from the garbage heap. I am assured that this way of making them dig in garbage is the best way to remind them about their helplessness in taking me to task and also equate the shame they feel in dipping into the garbage with the shameful act of eve teasing.

This method had worked many times and I am happy that I did not bring them to the notice of the authorities and make it miserable for them but in the same breath I was hopeful that they would think give a deep thought before indulging in eve teasing again.

Girls Welcome Attitude

One day when I was taking classes I was called by my partner Dev to come out to the gate immediately. I thought it must have something to do with eve teasing and I was proved right. Dev then told me that he was observing two boys who were harassing two girls for quite some time and that he was cornering them from all sides and not giving them the remotest chance to escape.

I immediately went back to the class and requested another teacher to engage the students and returned to the gate wanting to have a glimpse of these eve teasers. I wanted to ensure that I was not barking up the wrong tree so I waited to confirm that these two boys were indeed harassing the girls. Both Dev and me were standing at the gate for sometime without any progress. Then after a while we saw the two girls again walk towards us on the road, but the boys were nowhere in sight.

I was hoping that the boys would turn up and try one of their stunts on these girls again and they would be proselytized into stopping this indulgence. That was when the girls were walking a mere two feet away from the gate where we stood and we could clearly hear what they were talking. If it was not for the fact that we knew that the two guys were following them we would not have been able to gauge the context behind their conversation that led to an anti-climax of sorts.

We clearly heard them say “Thirugbeedve, Yellhogthaare… nammahinde barle beeku, thaaalu…” (“Don’t turn back! Where will they go? They have to follow us… wait!”) We were both shocked at first and then we laughed.

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