Thursday, 7 July 2016

Speaking up is the answer

Many women dream of a romance that will blossom from a glance in the street. But when it's not mutual, then this rom-com can slide into a horror film! It was funny in the first few days when he chased me down the street on a two-wheeler, as I rode to work from home. Initially, I never took him seriously. I thought he was some random jobless guy! It stopped being funny when it became a routine - which continued almost for three weeks.

The reality of being stalked by a man is a mixture of disturbed sleep, violent nightmares and isolation. I didn't want to approach the local police station because I thought this would somehow eventually stop. But it never did. Though many times my friends suggested that I tell this to my parents, I didn't want to trouble them. They are aging. So, I chose to remain silent.

He used to wait at the street-end everyday between 12.30 and 1 pm. That's when I regularly come to work. A few well-wishers suggested that I change my route. "Avoid your two-wheeler, come by an auto or a taxi. Don't let things aggravate. Your safety is important," they said.

Picturise this: The creepy-mindless stalker stops me everyday and softly describes how he finds my private body parts desirable. I know - that's weird. And that's what he did. He started following me and also tried to find out where I live.

"Hey. I am interested in you. Can we go on a date? You have a good physique. Why don't you respond, woman? How long you are going to make me wait," he said once. Though those words were disturbing, I didn't respond to him. I thought if I didn't talk back, he would not come again. My assumption went wrong (like always) and he kept doing the same.

A couple of days later - I guess it was a Sunday. The IT parks in and around were shut. By 11.30 am, the sun was blazing as I reached Guindy. Unfortunately, my two-wheeler had conked off. As there was no mechanic shop nearby, I decided that I push my vehicle and walked all the way to office.

I was praying to god that the guy shouldn't be there. But I saw him standing at the same place!

He came running to me and said, "May I help you?" and caught hold of my hands. "I love you," he then smiled. I didn't know how to react and I lost my cool totally. It was freaking me out.

I started backing off. It was almost like I owed it to him. I was terrified. I asked him to stop. I developed courage to confront him, finally.

"Are you civilised and educated? You are neatly dressed up; I think you must be working for some IT company! I know that I look attractive. But have you looked yourself into the mirror? You look disgusting. Absolutely. The next time I see you stalking me, I'll file a complaint with the police. Get it?" I shouted. All these days, I remained quiet, but I don't know what made me say all this that day.

"Women like the thrill of being chased, right?", he laughed.

"I know if I keep doing this, you'll somehow talk to me. But... I am sorry! You were quiet. So, I thought you were equally interested in me. Had you told me this the very first day, I would have stopped waiting or stalking you (however you name it)," he said.

Yes, you read it right and I was shocked by his explanation.

"You're sounding narcissistic and don't attempt to justify your behaviour. I feel like a nuisance. No means 'no'. It can never be 'yes'. When some women like me say 'no'. It f***ing means 'no'," I said.

You know what? I didn't see him from the next day.

And, the message here is that - women should speak up! Men are like predators, they hunt and when they know what they want, they go for it at all costs. From that day, I realised that I need to fight back and I have been telling this out to protect any other potential victim.

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