The Glass House.

She walked into the metro, exhausted after those eight hours of intense mind labor. Her legs were being butchered by her heels of 3 and, her bag seemed to drag her shoulders down 100 kg, when all it had was her house keys, iPad , earphones, purse and the usual; all in the name of the appropriate  office look. Just another half an hour more and she’d be in her PJs, crawled up like a cat on the sofa sipping away her kadhak adhrakh wali chai. Just the mere thought of it sent a soothing  sensation down her spine leaving her with goosebumps of a sweet dream. But it was interrupted with the heavy push of the man standing in-front of her.

“Sorry.”

Peak hours. Just another 20 minutes.

Another push.

She stepped back slightly.

Another 10 more minutes.

Another push. A touch inappropriate. Her shock was dripping with disgust at this man’s audacity as she confronted him. Only to get the foul  taste of his shamelessness as he argued upon his innocence. 

Peeved as she saw a few craning necks, she was about to say something more when she felt someone’s hand clasp her shoulders lightly.

“Leave it. There’s no point of it. We’ve almost reached our stop.”

And the doors opened.

***


Now, the question is: Why did she have to leave it?

Because it was creating a scene? Because these are common things? Because you can avoid it by just shutting up and walking up to another spot or so? Because he could do you harm later on if his male ego got wounded? Because it’s best to act handicapped of our basic senses in these situations?

Because she was the only one raising her voice against? Because she was alone?

This isn’t just some fictional incident. It’s a reality. A reality that every metro; every bus; every train; every street; every busy place is reeking of. A foul truth.

How many times have you seen any lewd comments being passed confronted by the people then and there? Whether they know the person at whom those comments were directed at? How many times have you seen people supporting someone instead of just craning their neck trying to get a proper view of the live drama? How many times have you seen someone notice cheap behavior and raise their voice?

How many times have YOU done any of the above?

We show anger when we see cases of rapes, and domestic violence, and various harassment and abuse cases. Our papers are filled with the headlines of such cases. We share posts on Facebook, forward messages on WhatsApp, put up pictures and quotes and go about liking any that show that the people disapprove of these crimes and won’t tolerate it. We go on processions and candlelight marches to show our support for the victim and pressurize the government to  act.

But what happens to all that intolerance when these things happen right in-front of us? Does the heinous crime have to be committed for us to show our resistance? Does it have to make it to the headlines? Are only those devilish acts considered major enough?

Eve-teasing; stalking et caetera are also kinds of harassments that can cause psychological trauma.

Has it ever striked you if your flirtatious comment might have crossed the line of decency slightly? Subconsciously? When you’re helping your friend become friends with their crush by passing on their crush’s number to them and letting them know when and where she OR he is; does it strike you that it’s entering the boundaries of stalking?

What if your joke snatches someone’s good night’s sleep?

And the victim doesn’t always have to be a girl. Whoever said boys don’t face such traumas?

The only difference; such crimes against women are highlighted more.

It’s ironic, really. Our attitude towards such things. The hypes are at its peaks around these incidents when they make it to the front page and the flames of anger seem to lash about at the likes of it. But.

Just for a while? And it’s all lost after sometime? All gone when the baby steps of these crimes are taken?

It’s easy to point out flaws in the various bills passed by the government. Easy to be spiteful of the criminals. But subconsciously, maybe even we are criminals to an extent? They say you shouldn’t throw rocks at people if you’re living in a glass house.

Charity begins at home. If a sea isn’t formed all at once, and every drop counts; then neither is a black cloud.

So, instead of just updating your status on Facebook with a hateful message against these crimes; instead of just forwarding heart-clenching messages and posts, why not be another voice in the metro instead of another craning neck?

Think about it…

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