If one is to wonder what could be the perfect ending to mid semester exams, a water balloon hitting you squarely in your face would not be a part of the list. It wasn’t an item on my agenda for sure.
Here I was, sitting in the auto, lost in thought already preparing myself for the long awaited post exam nap, when suddenly a slap of cold water brought me back to my senses.
I suppose on some other day I would have tolerated it. But at that moment something snapped.
I was too shocked to move for ten seconds after which I asked the auto driver to stop.
I ran after the boys yelling and screaming all the abuses and threats that Dilliwallas use. They fled. I stopped running but continued to scream. The security guards of my colony, much like the police of Hindi Cinema came just as the villain had escaped.
“Arre kya hua Madam?”
“Arre madam ye ladke bahut battameez hain, par Holi haina, yeh sabb toh hota hai, aap itna gussa matt ho”
I returned home fuming, narrated the entire incident to my mother, who though sympathetic and angry offered the same advice.
“Good you screamed at them, but don’t spoil your mood, Holi is round the corner these things happen.”
To my immense frustration, my friends said the same thing..It’s Holi….these things are normal. Deal with it.
But why should women always deal with it? Accepting harassment as “normal” is only going to increase it. If miscreants know that they can get away with things, why would they stop then?
Why are we living in a society where wrongdoing is “normal” and protesting against it is considered ridiculous?
Why must I be holed up in my house like a rat or risk being hit by a water balloon? (I was lucky, it was water; my friends have been hit by much worse- the Delhi University special being raw eggs.)
I am not saying that women are the only targets of this kind of behaviour. I distinctly remember a female classmate plastering a male classmate’s face with gulaal despite him categorically stating he did not like playing Holi. But one cannot deny the fact that Holi is used as an excuse by men to harass women. Throwing water at girls to make their clothes transparent is not fun, its sick and any society that accepts it as “normal” should not consider itself civilised.