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The Toxic Gaze Of Delhi Men

09/03/2016 12:09 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Businesswoman standing alone in conference room

2016-03-08-1457466069-850464-naturesunsetpersonwoman.jpg Image Source: Pexels

Sybylla ( Judy Davis) from My Brilliant Career , Katherine Ann Watson (Julia Roberts) from Mona Lisa Smile to Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) from Downton Abbey are among the strong, fearless women on the screen who did exactly what they wanted. Nothing stopped them. They made a difference by breaking the norms by which society expected them to function. They carved a path for themselves.

There are numerous examples of such women in real life who have succeeded in sweeping the world along with them. Yet every day in the newspapers we read about violence against women. I am not sure if this is ever going to stop. Man, the very superior creature created by God, still rules the world.

It took me a while to realize that I am a woman because I was born in an environment where men and women are treated equally. I considered people as human beings; never did I differentiate between a man and a woman until I stepped into the outside world.

I cover my face to protect myself from not only the dust but also these 'evil forces'... more toxic and more dangerous than the air of Delhi.

I am a woman and I live alone in Delhi. It is my individual choice to live alone. I think living alone is a luxury only few can acknowledge. Living alone no longer means being lonely. Living alone is being one with yourself. Unfortunately, though, in Delhi, you can never be too far from the watching distance of prying eyes. You see them staring from every door, every window. So if you walk on the street alone, eat alone outside, buy your stuff alone, there are evil eyes watching. These eyes could belong to anyone--bus conductors, rickshaw pullers, shopkeepers, local officials, anyone. Once they know you're alone they may violate you with your eyes, make you go through small ordeals (like the shopkeeper who makes you stand waiting for longer) for sport.

I cover my face to protect myself from not only the dust but also these 'evil forces'. These 'evil forces' are more toxic and more dangerous than the air of Delhi.

I have been living away from my parental home for almost six years, in cities including Bengaluru, Chennai, and Thanjavur. I never had such experiences as I did in Delhi.

Conductors in Delhi buses stay fixed in their place, wilfully unaware of what is happening around them. By contrast, in Chennai no man ever dares to sit on a woman's seat; the conductor there takes the pain to go to each and every person to collect the ticket. Women participate in almost everything in the south. They are bus drivers, conductors, shopkeepers and even cobblers. Imagine a woman cobbler on the streets of Delhi.

I have seen that often education doesn't change these men's thoughts about women. It doesn't seem to have enriched them or introduced any decency.

Chennai and Bangalore have seen women bus conductors and drivers long before Delhi. Delhi only started a bus exclusively for women in 2012 and inducted its first woman bus driver in the year 2015.

And the men. What do I say? The qualities I see most often are lust, ego, desire for money, chauvinism and a decidedly sadistic streak. I have seen that education doesn't change these men's thoughts about women. It doesn't seem to have enriched them or introduced any decency.

I really feel there is a need for a universal purification which can cleanse every one of their impurities so that the air of Delhi can be pure for people to breathe in.

Now the question is, can these evil forces deter a woman from accomplishing what she wants? The answer is big no. For so strong is the power of a woman that nothing can surpass her. She was born to live free.

Women are the true healers of society. They are like shining stars, burning fiercely. I am proud to be a woman.

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