Delhi. A breezy February evening. The cold has subsided a bit, yet the chill in the air remains…
…Three girls in their hostel room. Sitting in a circle. Comfortable and cozy, each of them covering their legs with a part of a duvet. Sipping tea and chatting about the hunk next door. Jokes and loud laughter fills the air. Suddenly the light-hearted chit-chat gears into a serious discussion. About the increasing number of rapes in the Delhi.
Reeti: …but that stupid fellow knows that he looks handsome. In some ways, his awareness of his good looks reduces his charms. He is so obsessed with himself. That makes him quite effeminate.
Neha: True! I don’t like his friend’s either. They are such lechs! The way they stare at girls, it’s so yuck!
Priya: Oh that reminds me – the other day, Poo, Shy and I took a ric from the vishwavidhaylaya metro station to this hostel. Guess what happened? Three guys followed us in a Honda City. They went away only after they noticed the hostel guard. I was so scared. I don’t know why they followed us. True, the three of us were laughing very loudly at some funny thing Shy said. But I don’t know how we attracted their attention. Probably it was our loud laughter that attracted them.
Neha: C’mon Pri. Stop blaming yourself for having attracted them. They got attracted because they have no business on earth and wanted to simply have some fun.
Reeti: They were in a Honda City. Meaning, at least, one of them belong to a well-off family. That means they are educated; yet this is what they stoop to do!
Priya: Oh ya! They were well dressed too. Guys are just animals in the garb of human beings. They are so libido-centric! They can’t just think beyond that.
Neha: Correct! The number of rapes reported in Delhi proves the same. Forget about Delhi, the number of molestation cases we get to hear in Delhi University, which is supposed to be considerably ‘safe’ is proof enough!
Priya: The other day, Neelu had taken a ric from the Civil Lines metro station to Shamnath Marg. Two fellows came in a bike and tugged at her dupatta and kurta. It was 5:00 in the evening. Can you beat that? Tugging at her dupatta and not letting her climb the ric. Thankfully, the people standing in the pan shop intervened.
Neha: Oh yes, the metro stations itself are very unsafe. Never take the lift! There was a case in the Vishwavidhyalaya metro. This girl took the lift. It was 9 pm. There was some metro worker in the lift when she boarded and then the consequences were unbelievably bad!
Reeti: A metro worker! Did she get molested?
Neha: Nope! Raped!
Reeti & Priya: O GOD!
Priya: The other day, Vaidehi was taking a stroll round the campus, near Hansraj. A guy came cycling down, hit Vaidehi in her butt and moved on. Her boyfriend ran after than guy, caught him by his neck and forced him to apologize.
Neha: Did he apologize?
Priya: Yes, he did! The surprise factor was not that the guy hit her. It was that he did whatever he did, despite seeing a guy next to her and in spite of being surrounded by so many people. The weirdest part was that, while this entire drama of Vaidehi’s boyfriend running after him and catching him by his neck unfolded, not a single soul turned around to see what was happening. People are so stoical! Either they don’t care about others. Or, it’s a regular thing for them. So, none of them are surprised!
Neha: Moving out of the hostel has become such a risky thing. You never know whether you are going to come back intact.
Priya: Yes, for example, yesterday’s case. When such a thing happens, I just go numb. It almost feels like I have no hands and legs. If I ever fall into such a scenario, I don’t know how I would protect myself. I think I would just let the person do whatever he wants to do and leave.
Reeti: Shut up Priya. Don’t even think that such a thing would happen to you. You’ll be just fine, alright?
Priya: No. I guess all of us should keep ourselves mentally prepared for a scenario like this. This can happen to anyone. You know, at times I feel, since childhood we should be brought up with the mindset that getting raped is just like hurting your knees or meeting with a regular accident. Getting raped has nothing to do with self-respect! It feels so bad that just because you haven’t been able to save yourself from some creatures on the street, your entire family has to bear the brunt. I guess rape is the only crime in which the victim gets punished by the society instead of the victimiser!
Neha: Ya, I have often heard people saying things like – why did that girl get raped? As if, getting raped is such a pleasurable thing! That she was dying to get raped! Or, she even asked for this kind of treatment!
…and another pleasant and cozy evening ended in a bitter note! Although all the three characters here are fictitious, the incidents are real!