It had been a year since I had moved to Chennai from Trichy. I was still not used to going in the bus alone or seeing boys rag girls...I was in my 7th grade and it was during the annual exams. My brother Bal had been my sarathy driving me from our home in Anna Nagar to my school in Gopalapuram and then going back to his college in Nungambakkam (Loyola). But during my annual exams he could not pick me up during the afternoon so I had to take the bus home...
The first day my friend and I went to the bus stop which was the 1000 Lights stop that was located close to both Presentation Convent and New College. My friends bus came pretty much as soon as we got to the stop and she left leaving me alone with a few girls from Presentation Convent in the stop. Later a few guys joined us and started to eve tease the girls. It started getting a little rowdy for me. The boys were obviously not interested in me because I was a kiddo still nevertheless it scared the crap out of me.
Freaked out I ran all the way to my friends house which was closer to the school and called my mother asking her to pick me up. Mom came and then told me not to be afraid of such incidents and that I must be brave. She also hinted that coming and picking me up daily was going to be out of choice for me.
Next day, same place, same scene repeat...I am freaked out but with nowhere to go but home I stand patiently praying and hoping that my bus would come soon...when it did come I noticed to my chagrin that one of the girls from the stop who was the prettier of the lot also got into the same bus which was crowded. The boys too obviously trying to annoy her furthermore got into the same bus.
I got a place to sit in the back...the girl is standing in front of me facing me while the boys are behind me not giving her a second to rest or relax. I could feel her feeling uncomfortable and saw a tear come out of her eye. I did not know why I did it but softly asked her if she would like to sit down and hold me on her lap?
She beamed, smiled, and immediately sat down and held me close. She thanked me over and over again. And when we got down from the bus we realized that we lived close by too...so she walked me home that afternoon and did so for the rest of the annual exams.
I did not see her ever after that but I felt that I had helped a person and in some funny way we had bonded and I remember this incident as if it was yesterday.
Even today such things happen to girl/female/women passengers in public transportation in Chennai...I cannot speak for the rest of the country although I know that it is prevalent throughout the country...I wonder why fellow passengers sit and watch a girl get harassed and don't step up to help her out of the misery. The attitude of "nammaku enna achu" (What is in it for me...) should change and it might make the city a much more safer place for us. I don't mean to give advice but when such things happens around me my blood boils and I have always tried to do the best to help the person in disaster in my own way. Have I been a victim? Of course...but that's for another blog :)