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I have always been escorted by my parents or a trusted auto driver whenever I had to go out to school, tuition or any outing in general. Later, I had a two-wheeler and so as a school girl, I was fortunate enough to escape from perverts.
However, I moved to Chennai after college. I was working in a software company. I had to travel by bus and train – that in itself was a new experience to me. I felt very lonely and paranoid about travelling alone in the bus and to admit the truth, since I had been in Coimbatore for 4 years, I found the Chennai bus crowd very hostile.
One weekend, I had to go to the Koyambedu bus stand to get a bus to Anna nagar. The bus was late as usual, so there was a big crowd waiting to board the bus the moment it came to a halt. I got caught in the middle of the moving wave of humanity and was pushed in the general direction of the bus.
I don’t like crowds primarily because one has to endure being jostled about by others. So needless to say, I was trying to wade through and get into the bus safely. I felt someone groping my back and I thought it was the lady near me trying not to fall down. So I endured it and tried to worm away every time. But the hand was relentless and I felt very uncomfortable, irritated and all those wordless things you feel when you hate something. I finally got too irritated and turned and what do you know! It was not the lady but a shady looking middle-aged guy.
My blood boils even as I type this now. I can’t put my anger into words. Anger. Revulsion. I just hit him. Hit his bloody hand that was audacious enough to grope me. He left me alone. I had not made a scene, but had just given a tiny fraction of what the rascal deserved.
Throughout the rest of the journey I stood near the driver and kept throwing nasty glares at the guy and finally he got down after 2 stops. I was still shaking inside, but he did not know that.
I have never thought of myself as a person strong enough to stand up to a strange, big guy. But that day, I knew I was. All of us are.
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