Friday, January 04, 2008

The Great Indian Railway Bazaar; and Sexual Perversion Therein!

My great love and dislike – well some things like that aren’t they? – about the railways is that when it affords me a keyhole peek into the real India, I, sometimes, get disgusted by the people and their lack of manners. You could never put together so much of India in so small a space: UP-wallahs, Punjabis, Madrassis (what to do, we are like that only, no?), Bengalis, Gujaratis, Sindhis, Parsis, Pahadis, Marathis, Andhras (there I go again, Andhras don’t like to be considered Madrassis, de facto), etc. And there are bhajans, Bollywood items numbers, and people are most voluble when they are inside the belly of the monstrous centipede.

Yes, you get all kinds on the railways, it’s a bazaar out there, a festival, a Benaras ghat ka mela, a carnival that happens every morning out there. Have you heard of the partition exodus, it’s the same on the suburban railways of Bombay, if you haven’t been on it some time recently.

When the train arrives there is a lot of screaming, insulting, wolf-whistling, teasing of women (and men, yes, I am coming to it!) going on. Then when the train stops there is a lot of pushing, and if you stand in the middle, you are pushed inside by those behind you. By jove, you are inside, no need to do anything, not even push, you are inside flailing your hands and legs and getting trod on like, um, aaah, grapes in a grape vat (or, so I have seen) in the wine-making district of Burgundy, south of France.

And there is touching! A lot of them of the wrong kind. A woman friend complained of it when she was travelling on trains for the first time in Bombay. Why, Blank Noise Project ran a blogathon on it and I participated in it and got a lot of hits on my blog on account of that. But men get molested too: in trains, in various other crowded places. And you know when the touching is wrong! Yes, you feel humiliated, like bashing up the man, like killing him for deriving guilty pleasure from your body. I can feel my female friend’s humiliation, you feel violated, you feel as if you are reduced to nothing but a piece of flesh. A male friend deals with it by bringing his bag fitted with a lot of buckles near the molester and he goes away.

Women of the world: the truth is men get molested too (Stilll don't believe? Read this article about chikan/chijo in Japan). Yes, more if they are young and vulnerable, but age is not a deterrent for the molester, he/she will go for anything to satisfy his/her carnal desires. Does that shock you? Yes there are women molesters too! More on this as we go along in later posts. Are we a perverted people? Aiee, the Japanese would say, there are perverts among us too.


Alankrita said...

Dont you think tat "touching" is more prevelant in societies where physical touch hugs etc are not part of expressing affection and all, just a supid theory...nothing to do with the greater perversion therein.

John said...


You bring a new perspective there because I had never imagine it that way. I guess it does. In western countries where touch is so prevalent you don't see people wanting to touch others in private places the waythey do here.

I think that the wrrong kind of touching and groping (whichis prevalent in all crowded places in India) is because of a fall in moral standards, urbanization, and the anonymity of crowded places.

Recently on new year's eve, a woman was molested in BOmbay's Juhu Beach by a gang revellers. What do yu have to say to that?