Incidents of Eve Teasing
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
To do this effectively
the methods I formulated to follow were:
make every eve teaser understand that his act is wrong
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.
all women to stand up against this evil every time they see it happen,
be it to themselves or others and fight against it.
men to take the first steps in fighting this evil when they see it
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.
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.
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.
public opinion on this issue by every possible method to somehow get
everyone to never ever ignore this existing social evil.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.**
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
**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.
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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 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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.