Thursday, 2 August 2007

Cosmopolis,... really?

So, Bangalore has its fair share of glitzy malls, funky dudes, happening raves and noodle-strapped gals. Does that make it a cosmopolis?

Not as long as a lone woman walking down the street, sitting in a cafe, waiting at the mall or even trying to flag an auto, is considered easy prey. Not as long as middle-aged Romeos in Marutis, who act the part of dutiful husbands and fathers and sons in their homes, think it is a matter of pride to shadow a woman, to try and 'pick' her up. Not so long as a woman in distress is ignored by everyone - even other women.

As a woman, I burn with anger when a man walking towards me brushes against my breasts, when the policemen/autodriver/passerby, mutters something only I can hear, even if I am walking with my husband. I am outraged when the idiot lolling against the railing starts whistling a tuneless ditty the minute I walk past him and I am disgusted when a gang of Gap-clad guys decide it's cool to harass the girl in the t-shirt and jeans.

And what happens if I protest, if I make a ruckus? "Oh, she wears such tight clothes, she was asking for it anyway," is the callous response. Not from your average-Joe-on-the-street, but from your nose-in-the-air matron who drapes her saree in a style that leaves nothing to the imagination. Does wearing a fitted tee or a figure-hugging blouse make me 'easy'? Then why aren't our behenji's rounded up for wearing sarees that show much more than their corpulent bellies? Why aren't pear-shaped men banned from wearing swimming trunks on the beach?

Is the mother who allows her son to disrespect other women, to be blamed? Or the man who ogles at the PYT while walking with his wife? Or the PYT?

It's the chicken-and-egg thing again, I guess. Meanwhile, women continue to be harassed, raped and have acid thrown on them. All we can talk about is the booming economy and the IT revolution.

Our city certainly has the malls. It's a pity about the lack of balls.