Less than a week has passed since I wrote the post “Danger! Are Women Safe In Bangalore?” and I have an update!
Honestly, I have pretty much stayed on my high-horse and continued breaking the rules that every single one of my friends, colleagues, and wonderful people who have commented on the post about safety have told me. I didn’t want to be limited to running around my new city on foot only during the daylight hours. Seriously, this has now become my least favourite thing about Bangalore … so I keep trying to push the boundaries.
Well, tonight I had my first taste of the consequences of being a rebel “after dark” pedestrian. Unfortunately, I waited until dusk to head out to buy my copy of DNA (I really need to subscribe!). In theory I was only going two blocks to the little closet-sized news stand around the corner, so I had plenty of time go there and come back to the flat long before sunset. Sadly my little neighbourhood news stand was shut and since today my driver wasn’t here because I didn’t think I’d need him, I decided to just walk the six or seven blocks down the cross street – away from the high street – to the other news stand I frequent.
I had my Blackberry on me so I was happily distracted catching up with my lovely friend Peter back in Spain on Whatsapp…when all of a sudden, I felt it. A small hand squeezing my right butt cheek! WTF? I had just been groped for the first time in India! UrbanDictionary.com describes a Groper as: 1. someone who tries to sneak sexual touching while the other person is unaware. 2. takes advantage of people who are passed out 3. a pervert Well, both 1 and 3 work just fine for my story.
I stopped dead in my tracks, turned and said “Are you serious?” I’m not sure why those were my magic words but can’t change it now. This scrappy, short guy who looked like he’d been throwing back a few beers up the road had the nerve to look at me with an innocent, blank stare and a big “what” nod. What an ass! So I backed up a step, because he had stopped just in front of me, and I now expected him to step aside. But the guy wasn’t quite done playing with me yet it seems. I moved to the right and off the road, stepping up onto the sidewalk but he was right behind me so I stopped and moved back to the street. And yes, he followed me there too.
Two lovely ladies and a really nice gentleman both were apparently watching what was going on and started walking our way and speaking in local language Kannada to this idiot. The women looked like they could have gone Ninja Turtle and really taken this guy down too, gotta love how little patience they have this sort of behaviour. I looked at the three of them, put the palms of my hands together in front of my chest, bent forward and said thanks. Then backed out of there and kept going.
Of course, this was not a dangerous situation and I am NOT trying to exaggerate it into one. There were tons of people walking around the streets because it was only 7pm and I was on a busy’ish cross street. BUT had it been later, had there been fewer people around, and had there been a few guys instead of just that one idiot, I probably could have been pretty damn scared.
So, I am publicly declaring that I WAS WRONG to try to continue to live my life as if I am still living in a small, quiet village in Spain. I am going to follow the rules from now on. My friends, colleagues and my fellow bloggers have told me time and again how to behave to maintain “harmony” with the system. Yet I kept throwing on my James Dean ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ attitude, doing what I pleased, and basically tried to prove them wrong. But, tonight’s little moment has worked its magic and made me realize that I really should not head out on my own, unaccompanied, after dark.
I have told two mates about this little incident and so far BOTH asked me the exact same first question: “Did you slap him?” Uhhh, no! Hmmmm… I don’t ever picture myself hitting anyone in a situation like that to be honest. Not my style. It just wasn’t that big of a deal and I certainly wasn’t in any danger – just annoyed. But I would have no problem turning bad-ass and doing anything I needed to in an actual situation where I was in danger. But for a groper, I think I’ll try to keep my “what an idiot” mentality and avoid becoming too fired up over it.
Odd but true…one thing that has come out of this tonight is the reality that I indeed have now been groped. I was really hoping to take the train one morning this week for the first time just for fun and sort of hoped that I might have an authentic Indian train experience with my first groping taking place there! I mean, the Indian train groper is legend …but they are TOO LATE now 🙂
XOXO from Bangalore
© Angela Carson and Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011