Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Aap itni Bhakt ho"/ "Purse key neeche kya hain madam"

The weirdest thing happened to me today.I had to go to South Extension to pick up furniture from a friend who is moving out of Delhi. So I ordered a tempo - they reached my friend's place and waited till I got there by an auto.
. (It didn't even occur to me that an excursion like this could be unsafe.) When I reached, they had already loaded all the furniture. The light skinned, light eyed driver of the tempo offered me the front seat. I got on, and had planned to come back in the tempo anyway. He was very friendly initially and I made polite conversation. Although, his tone was much more respectful on the phone - as if he had thought I was an older woman. He  asked where I was from and if I was married. I didn't want him to think that I was an outsider so I just said that I have been living in Delhi for many years.He insisted on knowing where I was actually from so I told him

Everytime there was a traffic signal, his gaze was fixed on me in the most unnerving manner possible. I began to get very nervous and resorted to using my favourite security blanket - texting. I then became busy having an existential conversation (on sms) about being lost in life and scared and all this quarter life crisis kind of thing with a friend in Bombay,

He then looked at me and asked " Purse key neeche kya hain madam." He might as well have been asking "T shirt key peeche kya hai madam", seriously, that's how his tone was. (What is under your purse, madam?/What is under your Tshirt madam.) So, I usually carry a bag with me but today I just carried my wallet and trust me to be foolish (why is it foolish?), a pack of cigarettes.I quickly lied to him that it was my brother's. He insisted with a sly, flirtatious smile " Aap hi peethe ho" I remained firm that the cigarettes were my brother's.He was curious to know if my brother lived in Delhi. He initiated a long conversation trying to establish how this "cousin brother" was related to me. And then he told me about a girl from NIFT who smoked ganja in her Hauz Khas flat, and how he has seen girls smoke with his own eyes. I looked suitably shocked.

By then, I had already told him that I live with my sisters and that there was a joint family living below us who were also family friends. (I have people to protect me.)
And then, every time there was a traffic signal or we were stuck in a traffic jam (Bloody Nehru Place), he started masturbating. He didn't take his pants off or anything but he kept looking at me and masturbating. I freaked out. On one hand, I wanted to yell at him but on the other I was petrified because here I was, in his tempo, and there were two other men sitting behind so even though this is broad daylight Delhi, newspapers have led me to believe that anything can happen. And then I made a mental list of all the people I could call but I felt really chicken to call someone because was I just
overreacting? By the time someone reaches, he would have stopped and I'd have been home - I was thinking. 

So, I called another male friend, again in Bombay, and launched into a conversation pretending he was my brother who was waiting for me at my place. (Also the silly thought in my head was to tell him that I am a journalist and he can't mess with me. But as if being a journalist means anything..hahaha)He continued masturbating, but stopped after a while, hopefully in response to my new found aggressive voice. 

When I reached home, I wanted to ask my landlord to come up with me. The thought of him moving the bed into my bedroom made me feel extremely violated, however illogical this may sound to you. So, he came up to the third floor. My landlords have an elaborately done up pooja room next to my house. The moment he saw the pooja room, he said " Haaaw, Aap itni bhakt ho". And seriously, there was an expression of shame on his face. As if he in someway violated a good girl, not one who carried cigarettes under her purse. Like he performed a surgery on the wrong eye.He then graciously said, he was leaving. (He didn't enter my house and let the other men take the stuff in.)

So, what should I have done. Insisted the cigarettes are mine, yelled back at him and taken the risk? Or just tortured myself through the ride. And even if he hadn't done anything "major", was I over -reacting because I felt so violated. Well, I can't deny it - that I was but what bothers me the most is the fact that I am even questioning this. Especially after being so involved in this.

I can't stop wondering why this happens to me all the time. The last time my room mate and I shifted, it was totally fine. 
And just for the record, I was wearing blue jeans and a loose pink Tshirt. 


Ashutosh said...

Why dont you have the courage to create a scene ? Were you scared that he will not deliver the good to your flat ?

oof ya! said...