Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Of conductors and drivers...

I think I was in fourth standard when it started. I used to be fair and delicate and I was going thru a phase where I would insist to wear a gajara to school everyday. My sister and I would go by bus to school, Aai Baba would drop us at the bus stop. All the conductors and drivers were interested in me. I was too young to understand their laughing and teasing each other and whistling and stuff when I would walk by so it wouldnt affect me and I would forget about them the moment I would walk into the school. But slowly over time, one conductor emerged as the main "hero wannabe". He started getting bolder and would not let me get off the bus and keep me till the end. He wouldnt do anything or ever touch me but would smell the flowers in my hair etc. I think this went on for quite a while and I didnt say anything to anyone (I was an idiot or maybe I was just really young). My friends (boys) started to stand two behind me, one in front of me and would refuse to get off the bus if he wouldnt let me get off following them. They started shielding me with their hands. Bicharey, tey pan same age hotey. Maybe boys have a protective instinct from young age? At that time, I finally mentioned it to Aai Baba over dinner one evening. Babani ardhavat ghaas tasach panat takun, lagech uthun gele. He went to meet Mr.Kunder who used to own the buses and run the bus service. Overnight that conductor was fired ani dusryach divsapasun none of them dared to look in my direction. The issue was solved so quickly, I tolerated it for so many days for no reason.Most times it helps to speak up.

Many months later I bumped into that conductor on the road. He gave me a horrible angry look and kept staring. I was terrified but I also looked at him sternly and he turned away. Anil (my gay best friend) was with me, he asked me later why I was so white and shaking :( I dont know what is the right way - not to show you are scared or to ignore and walk away. I mostly ignore and walk away. Ughich kaay karayacha ahe na. These are all things in the past. I dont meet any sleazy people now. I have become accustomed to the US where even though it might be super crowded sometimes, like if we go to a carnival or a fair or the city in summer, no one ever bumps into you or touches you.

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