Thursday, August 31, 2006
The deep dread..
I glanced at my watch…
“I should have remembered that it gets dark early in November. “I chided myself.
The lights of the traffic roaring ahead colored the raindrops blue, green and red… It had started to drizzle.
Peeps was away. My car was in the workshop. It had been a casual Saturday shopping with my boys aged 7 and 5... Not that I needed anything urgent.
Just an excuse to pamper ourselves. Wandering through the shops.. Cosmetics.. Clothes.. Black forest cake and Milkshake with Ice cream for the boys.
Gautam was raising his face to the sky in abandon.. His tongue catching the raindrops falling down.. His shoelace was undone. His tee shirt trailing down from his jeans..
Taj stood pulling my shawl.. he looked sleepy.. his jeans lay hung low on his hips.. the bottom trailing in the mud..
I tried to wave frantically at the auto rickshaws but they just whirred past ahead.. Fast..
I glanced at my watch..
“Lets walk “. I pulled them along. Walking towards Palayam.. I was sure to get an auto there
The rain was gathering momentum. The trees in the university college campus looked sinister..The VJT hall looked threatening in the dark. I looked for the reassuring policeman often seen near the Spencer’s.. No he was not seen anywhere..
Ooh..! One auto was slowing down..
"Where to..?" His eyes measured the three of us huddled against the rain.. Without even an umbrella..
“”Kumarapuram.." I shouted raising my voice above the rain..
“No.” He shook his head snobbishly...The auto whirred ahead..
The sadistic pleasure in the ‘no’ was evident..
Rain plastered the hair to my skull. My clothes hung to my body dragging on my steps.. I drooped..
I could feel the eyes on me.. Young.. Old.. Measuring.. Weighing.. Teasing.. Curious.. Inquisitive..
“Oh yes..!” Another auto was slowing down..!
I clambered in pulling my boys along before the driver could open his mouth.. could speak..
“Ok. “I sounded breathless..
I leaned back on the seat.. hugging my boys towards me... my eyes closed thankfully..
I could feel Gautam’s eyes on me..
I smiled at him reassuringly..
His eyes gazed at me..
“Why did you agree..?”
“It is late na..?”
“But it is too high..” He sounded indignant.
“It is dark na..?”
"But it is not fair.."
He looked disturbed..
“You are a coward.. You allowed yourself to be bullied.. Emotionally blackmailed.. "
His eyes accused me..
How can I explain it to him..?
I boss and admonish men in my work place.. I don’t suffer fools or bullies gladly during the day. I drive alone in the city even after 11.30pm cocooned in the safety of my car.
But in the night.... surrounded by staring eyes. If I am alone.. I feel strange..
My confidence falls.. A familiar deep unexplainable dread cloaks me.. I feel the eyes on me.. My voice become high pitched.. My breath quickens..
And those eyes stare at me.. Disturbing me.. Making me want to run to a safe haven..
Maybe it is my fault.. Maybe my response brings out the killer instincts in those around me..
Yes.. Maybe it is my fault.. Or maybe it is the fault of the men in my State.. Who look at me as if they have not seen a female of the species..
I have accepted it as part of being a woman.. Infact I have even included it in my profile..
Recently Parvathy ventured out alone at night. in my city.. To assess the problems faced by women who travel alone at night..
There were discussions about it in the newspapers and TV shows..
I felt happy to read it.. At least some women were trying to change it, not just accept it like me...