I never learnt to whistle and it wasn’t my piece of cake to attempt eve-teasing but I always wished to understand the psychology. Paanwallahs, barbers and some frequent train travellers used to be one of inherent philosophers and observers. They observed life in raw form everyday, every minute.
Paanwallah has his small cubicle on one of the busy streets in Bangalore, next to a wine shop, probably an ideal ‘adda’ of hooliganism and raw manhood. He told me a woman would step down the pavement some 50 meters ahead of shop, staying at a fair distance from shop. I made a bet it wouldn’t be true for a ‘fearless (nirbhaya)’ woman in this cosmopolitan city. Some 43 (yes we counted!) females passed, with pretty good accuracy of 50 meter down-stepping.
What worst could happen at a Paan-shop on a busy street? May be some ‘whistles’, some ‘lewd remarks’, or just a ‘look’. Standing at the shop, I felt myself standing a ‘culprit’ or at least an ‘accused’ to these street ‘victims’. I never whistled in my life, because I could never learn it properly, but when an attractive girl passes by, my head does turn or at least sway a bit. But, the look doesn’t have that dangerous appeal probably. Remarks could have been lewd in closed hostel rooms, but never on a bustling street or in front of woman.
A good look or a bad look, a good touch or a bad touch, a woman could recognise much easily, which actually never existed in men’s dictionary. Where to step down, what to wear, where not to go in night, good corner, bad corner,…….. umpteen senses irrelevant to me.
Only way I see to eradicate this social stigma is to improve the interaction. A sexual autism prevails in India, where many of men talk or interact only with men, and believe women could be either mother, daughter, sister or wife. As if, rest of women are some creature to look, make remarks or whistle. More eyes would meet, and smiles shared, the world would look more uniform.