The Woman on the Train.

have shorts will smoke


The following was submitted by SMIW reader Aishwarya Javalgekar to our campaign #HaveShortsWillSmoke. It originally appeared here.

It was a day like any other.

I left my house at 11 am; all decked up and ready for college. Catching a rickshaw, I reached Ghatkopar railway station. My college R. A. Podar, in Matunga, was four stations away.

I walked towards the platform at a quickened pace, keeping my eyes focused on the ground in front of me. I ignored the men around me, as they stripped me naked with their eyes. “Be careful to not meet the eyes of the men passing by; they might take it as an invitation” a voice rang in my head, as I weaved my way around a throng of men blatantly staring at my bosom.

I boarded the train, making sure I entered the women’s compartment. As the train began to move, I positioned myself near the doorway and stared dreamily at the passing greenery and filth, lost in my own thoughts.

I was woken from my reverie with a loud and resounding B*****d! Startled, I turned to look for the source of this expletive. Standing at the back of the compartment was a petite woman of 5’2 with short brown hair. She was wearing a plain T-shirt and jeans.

This little creature was glaring at someone in the adjoining general compartment, which was separated from ours by a wall of closely spaced iron rods. lf. And through the tiny space between the rods, she started screaming at a man.

“Ladki ko chhedta hai? Tereme tameez nai hai kya? Ghoor kya raha hai? Abhi udhar aau kya?” (Harassing a woman, are you? What are you staring at? Should I come there now?)

Suddenly everyone started fidgeting. The women in this compartment. The men in the other. Her anger was frightening. Apparently the man had been staring at and / or passing lewd comments about her or someone sitting next to her. We soon found out that she wasn’t just making a threat. The train screeched to a halt at Kurla station, she jumped out of our compartment and into the next one. We craned our necks, waiting to see what would happen next.

It was a full-on tamasha.

As she pushed her way through the throng of men in that crowded compartment, the guy she had been yelling at jumped out of the other door; right on the tracks. He then ran across them and climbed the platform on the other side. Just to get away from her.

At the next railway station, Sion, she clambered back into our compartment. There was a huge commotion; with a few women stepping forward to grasp her hand, to support and congratulate her. Everyone else proceeded to discuss this event right in front of her. Some complimenting her bravery, while a few middle-aged women felt sorry for the guy, who was just ‘being a man’.

I just stood there, looking at her. I had this overwhelming urge to walk up to her and applaud her courage. To talk to her. But I stood rooted to my spot. Looking at her in awe. Wondering if I could ever be confident enough. Imagining what a different place this would be if more women were like her.


About the Author:

Aishwarya is the owner of blog looking in a mirror.