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Eve-teased by Pakistani men

October 22, 2016

Recently when the surgical strike issue was hotly debated in our tv channels, we were going for our evening walks.

After walking for an hour, I and my husband decided to sit in a sidewalk bench to catch our breath. I was wearing a sleeveless kurthi with a plunging neckline and a matching legging. As we were checking our mobile, we heard a shout ‘mein hoon Dawood Ibrahim!’ which was clearly directed at our direction. It was only then we noticed about 8-10 pakistani men (surprisingly well dressed and not in shabby shalwar kameez) laughing loud a few feet away from us, leaning on the parapet. All were looking at us openly. One came forward with his cell phone. 2 more guys were standing right over us, in an upper level – looks like. We were not aware. The guy with the phone told those two to pose for a pic. He took it (definitely I and my husband must be in the frame; it was evening 8 but there were enough street lights). ‘Error!’ shouted the man and laughed and all the guys laughed at that. We knew by this time, the shot was aimed at us. My husband was alarmed mildly by this open eve-teasing but tried to brush it off lightly. I said we could leave but he said, ‘not for them. never!’ With that he closed the subject. The men did not even matter to him who was by then into office calls and they could not impress him with their antics, what a shame!

I dreaded walking before them – normally I am bold but the number was about a dozen or less. Finally after 5 minutes we made our move and I saw a few more mobiles being drawn out from the corner of my eyes. Whistles followed. ‘May be I must tell them my age!’ I said because these guys couldn’t have been over 35. Not even a reply from my hubby. Labour class doesn’t exist for him. It is not an issue whether they are India or Paki. As for me, crossed the age long back. Its so irritating that we women have to put up with this nuisance even in our middle-age.

But in my 10 years in gulf this is the second or third time I am facing this kind of brazen eve-teasing. Reason could be the surgical strikes. The ‘Dawood Ibrahim’ comment really surprised me.

Even this time in airport that I wouldn’t want to name (with Europe & India visits I had to frequent more airports), in security check a Pakistani asked me, ‘Kerala?’ and I said, ‘Tamil Nadu’ . He said without asking ‘Pakisani’ with a big smile (I knew without his telling) and said, ‘Chennai Express!’ showing all his teeth upper & lower cases! All this happened under 1 minute as my hand baggage was getting screened. Light-hearted banter absolutely fine so long as there is no reference to a woman’s physique or unsettling/embarrassing staring. Even at 48, I cannot deal with stares.

But there also happened this incidence a few years back. We were on our evening walks and next to us a woman and her 2 daughters were in full burqa. We thought they were arab. We walked for 1 hour and it was time to leave. The woman was being picked up by her husband in jalabi (the arab men robe). Only when he spoke to the family in urdu we realized they were Pakis. The man glared at me as I was in 3/4th jean wearing a sleeveless top. He was the first to start his car and we had to wait to reach ours parked at a distance. Normally driving men patiently give pedestrians especially near walking trails time to cross but this man when we were crossing suddenly came with a force as if to mow us down. We were shocked and stunned that day but he braked at the last moment to glare at us. Mere inches away, we could sense his pure hatred for us because we were Indians and also because I was what he probably thought ‘in indecent clothes’ compared to his wife and daughters all draped head to foot in black. We were unnerved completely that day- this is the only time we felt the naked hatred of a Pakistani for anything Indian.

Pakistani men who eve-tease Indian women abroad must ask themselves whether they will do it to their own women in middle-east. If they try it on Pakistan women, they know they will be skinned alive. Hindu women, they think, are public property. The worst is they don’t look at scantily clad western women. It is Indian women they target. Going sleeveless or in tight kurti or short kurti or jeans or shorts is a woman’s privilege and this is not a licence for men for eve-teasing her. I think in Pakistan they don’t see much skin so when they see brown skin outside Pakistan they go haywire.

Impossible for an Indian woman to walk through a stretch if there is a bunch of Pakistani men hanging about. Not even the presence of our husbands seems to deter them. My friends tell me their teenage daughters are the worst victims of eve-teasing. I can guess. Not generalizing. Not every Pakistani man is like that. The educated elite are better. (Even they can’t help broaching the topics of bollywood pictures or cricket if an Indian woman appears on the scene as I have observed in airport waiting. “kaise hai Lahore’  One Paki in business suit asked another and his friend said, ‘acha hai’ and then looking at me, ‘par Dilhi (delhi) bi achi hai !!). (Now that brought an involuntary smile to my face. The sense of timing and humour got me!) Not saying this does not happen in India. But I don’t think Indian men would eve-tease Paksitani girls abroad even if they may be good-looking. They know their limits. Indians normally obey boundaries and respect the law of the land.

The attitude of Pakistani men shows the typical muzzie mindset: keeping their own women all covered up, safe and secure in ivory towers but thinking all women especially Indian/Hindu women are public property. As for Indian men – they are the typical specimen of the great Indian complacency. They will do nothing but look on even if their women get teased. Indian men’s thinking : (1) avoid controversies at any cost (2) stay away from trouble (3) shirk off and walk out Karma will take care (4) don’t become the center of attraction (5) this too shall pass. This is how even as a nation we are, sadly.

 

 

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From → Bharatiya Naari

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