Monday, January 17, 2011

Deepal Shaw Was Harassed On Mumbai Street

I was going back home, and it must have been around 9.30-10 in the night, which is a very normal timing for anyone to be going back home from work or gym. 

I was passing through the Juhu area towards Andheri in Mumbai where I live. The road from where I was crossing is a narrow road, because of the construction work that's happening on both sides. There was just little space where autos and tempos were parked. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this guy came and started banging on my door and passing lewd comments. He was a young boy and must have been 25-26 years old, but he looked completely inebriated. He started shouting my name and tried to force himself inside my car. 

I had forgotten that my car door was unlocked, but fortunately I had the presence of mind to push the door open which hit him and he fell on the ground, and I then locked my doors. People generally say that such incidents of eve-teasing happen when the woman is wearing short clothes or is very skimpily dressed, but I think it's a very cheap and an absolutely nonsensical argument. I was covered from head to toe, and it was a busy street and there were people all around me on the road. But when this incident happened, not even a single person came to help me. 

The auto driver on the side of the road was watching me scream and shout for help, but he did nothing. I swear to God that for the next 7-8 minutes I was so scared that I started imagining the worst that could happen to me. 

What baffles me is the fact that I have no film/ screen on my car so everyone could see what was happening and how he was harassing me, but people were just looking, as if some carnival was going on and not doing anything. Somehow, I just maintained my calm. When the traffic started moving a little, I immediately pressed the accelerator and took a right and I think my car's tyre went over his foot. That gave me some time to move away while he tended to his foot. Though I was relieved to be back home safe, I was amazed, shocked, disheartened and disillusioned to know that nobody came for help. This was one hell of an experience. If it can happen to me, who was driving her own car, imagine what would happen to someone walking on the road or travelling in some public transport? How unsafe it is. We generally say Delhi is unsafe and such incidents happen only in Delhi, but this was Mumbai. But this is not the question of geographical boundaries. The truth is, it happened in front of everyone, but no one came forward to help. 

The problem of eve-teasing is increasing and the reason behind this not the internet, nor movies or serials, nor the dressing sense of women. It is happening because women don't fight back. They just take things as a given, they try to ignore it and not do anything about it. But we should take a stand. We should act. People tell you to keep pepper spray in bag, etc, but when such things happen, you don't think of pepper spray, you just think of how you will get out of the situation. But it is time we started giving it back. And I'm saying it not only from the point of being a celeb, but from the point of being a woman first. At the end of the day, when you are driving alone at night and somebody starts passing lewd comments or starts following your car, then your celebrity-hood goes for a toss. You become one lonely woman and the fear is the same for every woman – celeb or non-celeb.


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