The Way They Stare
by Tejas Nair
The following sub-post is from the perspective of a NMMT (Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport) bus driver.
Bus route no. 20 is one of the most crowded buses on weekday mornings that runs from Ghansoli to Nerul. Students of D Y Patil Group of Institutions & SIES‘s establishments sum up to around 60% of this crowd. Half of this 60% are women.
I drive quite recklessly and the roads during monsoon talk to me pretty much in the same language. Well, that’s what NMMT is famous for. But, so sad, KDMT outranks us. Damn! So, when I stop at some of the bus stops that I think should collect some passengers, people barge in. ‘Ladies first‘ isn’t followed anymore. And I usually don’t stop in the middle of a road, let alone an oldie gesture. I even, sometimes, try to run them over. But if a lady gestures, I might rethink with respect to their bust sizes which further depends on how many men are ogling at her at the moment.
The gentleman is dead. No one cares to give someone else their seat. Now there is a hidden factor that drives this ignorance. A friend of mine, who is a usual traveller and boards from Ghansoli, told me the other day that the prime reason he occupies the seat just behind the ones reserved for women is because he can ogle at women (mostly teens) who come and stand near by. I don’t need to mention what he so salaciously stares at because that is why I bought a pair of branded push-up bras for my wife-to-be. She’s a sweetheart. But, to be frank, that is not the best position for a leerer to be. That friend of mine is married, with two daughters.
In my 7 years of life as a driver, I learned how and in what ways men can quench their never-ending visual, sexual thirst. The best stops are LP (London Pilsner) and Vashi Bus Depot. To alight without much hassle, women usually get up from their seats and stand in queue at the exit, one or two stops before theirs. Men try hard to stand behind them. Two reasons I am not interested in that style – one, the view is anti and two, the aforementioned stops require extreme finesse and I am a reputed employee of my regime. I jump on the brake pedal and then look at what pleases me. And I don’t ogle at teens. I love my fiance & hope to stop this ugly sexual escapade of mine, which of course is & I quote myself “NEVER-ENDING.”
The following sub-post is from the perspective of a nineteen year-old miss studying somewhere in Nerul and she gets down at LP.
It is ridiculous how some boys think that the way women carry themselves inside clothes has something to do with all these attacks against women. And it is even more ridiculous that this “some boys” actually amounts to all of them. Not that I am suggesting that I have dated all of them, but you know what I mean, right? Whatever happened to that Delhi Besharmi Morcha à la Toronto SlutWalk?
I have a NMMT bus pass, but I usually travel in BEST (which charges astronomical, by the way) because of the poor frequency of the former. I really have no idea how it feels to spot a vacant seat during that time of the day. In an attempt to reach college before 9, I don’t care if I get one. So, the bus, whichever it be, is ever-crowded. After I push & pull my way to the safe zone, among other women, I heave a sigh of relief. I abhor those men who occupy the seats just behind the ones reserved for us, women. The way they stare is daunting. Without showing any guilt or remorse, they continue to stare breaking my dirty looks into tiny pieces. It doesn’t matter though because my travel period is short & moreover, I am used to it. And if I was to write a book on where & what they stare, I might, in point of fact need to learn from these shameless men about something called boldness.
Too sad, I cannot do anything other than trying to limit my fashion adventures and to console my inconsolable penfriend who got ironically, verbally insulted last month. By the way, my boyfriend gifted me a fishnet-skimmed red and black top for my birthday & I have plans to wear it tomorrow to college. It’ll be fun!
The following sub-post is from the perspective of the person who masqueraded as the bus driver & the innocent girl in the above sub-posts.
My memory reminds me I have seen that driver before, smirking at me showing his yellowish teeth with dark gums, once when I tried to enter through the front door of his bus. Although, that smirk was meant for a hot lady behind me. It was route no. 20 and I occupied one of the seats to the right by the entry door. I have numerous bus-buddies who prefer sitting or standing anywhere in this area because that is from where they can have a nice, long look at the people entering. I turned right that day, because there was no space on the left (trust me!). And by people, you know what I mean. Especially the two-seater just beside the ingress, because one can gawk at two places at the same time. If there is nothing interesting about the people entering, then he can turn his head and have a broader approach on women who are waiting at the bus stops.
I once had a chance to sit on that seat and I was terrified by the way they stare. Their eyes roll so rapidly around to inspect each and every women out there, that it could be considered a routine exercise. Detecting such men is easy: they have loud, currently-trending music playing on their Chinese phones, their shirts cover their knees, their bag has something like FOSTRACK, POMA, PETROL, etc. or they just have this tag saying “I have satyriasis!” Or he could be one of those 40-something men wearing on off-white shirt not tucked inside his pants, carrying a large shoulder-bag. Now, these hints are for men, if at all they are concerned. For women… they can detect it in a fraction of second by a few-second glance at the man in question. It would be dishonest of me to not say that I give some girls the glad eye. But, I am sure these looks aren’t as lecherous as my partner’s. I have an imaginary girlfriend and I am happy with her, for the time being. It is natural for men to have a look at a lady when she passes by. That is the first category of men. And then we have cannibals, the second category.
It’s very hard for me to comment on this sensitive topic, but as far as I am concerned, not all men are cannibals, yet they have the tendency, I assure.
- Long way to go in sexist attitudes (timescolonist.com)
- BESHARMI MORCHA (SLUT WALK) re-visited (vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com)
- Safe in 21st Century India? A Tale of Four Cities (jssherald.wordpress.com)