Sometimes it takes a piece of rather uninspired writing to get your thoughts together. I have seen this to be one of my best cases when it comes to writing down my thoughts.

When Shree Amit Shah announced the anti-romeo squads as part of his election promise, all hell broke loose. The lines were again drawn. Some were vehemently supporting, others of course towing the lines of love asking impassioned questions such as: Have you lived in UP? Do you know how bad things are there?

Unfortunately. I have lived in UP. And I actually know how bad things are there.

I read a blogpost (which IMO should have been written by someone a lot earlier) how living in UP the woman experienced harassment on road, was inappropriately touched by strangers, etc. By etc I do not mean to offend the writer (or blogger- I don’t know her) but only canvassing how generally the streets of India are for women.

Yes, India. I found it rather offensive that she considered this to be a very UP centric phenomenon. Which I can guarantee given my extensive travelling, that it’s not.

Here’s my story.

I have been followed by boys, men and even strange old uncles on streets of many places. A rather horrible incident once even saw me and my sister involved in an accident so much so that my sister, who fell rather hard on the ground, in no time started spitting blood. My hands shook while typing that.

Moving on, she got a jaw fracture and I got a strange compulsive disorder that now prevents me from crossing any road on my own. I have often held hands of strange women to reach to the other side.

So needless to say. I have been touched inappropriately. I have been followed. I have been passed lewd remarks. I have been shown things one normally likes to witness consensually.

And I am against the idea of “Anti-romeo squads”.

I also have the misfortune of experiencing another strange incident. My husband (then boyfriend) and I decided to plan a weekend getaway to Nainital. Happy in love and lost in each other’s eyes on the railway station, we did not pay heed to the rather bulky policeman approaching us.

He pulled my husband’s collar. And asked him super weird questions, in that characteristically menacing tone. But me being me. I decided enough is enough. I walked to him and screamed. I told him that man you saw who dropped me here is my father and he knows we are traveling together. “One more minute of hanging around with us and I will dial 100 and also my father’s mobile number. I am sure he will arrive faster to teach you a lesson.”

I kind of have that effect on policemen. Yes I have multiple encounters of these uniformed criminals- unfortunately.

I also know acquaintances, family friends whose daughters have been clicked in parks or even on the streets by random ‘policemen’ and they have found themselves to be quite the talk of town. Strange as it may sound I have heard more of these stories than any policeman ever saving a girl from molestation or eve teasing.

Who remember the movie Masaan? Why did it shake so many of us?

There is an existing helpline in the state which was formed by previous government then headed by Akhilesh Yadav. The helpline I have myself witnessed works very well given the conditions it is exposed to. If the new government had strengthened that and formulated a plan to execute it even better we would not have seen this.

But then, how would the Rams and (Vanar) senas of the world win future elections? No?

Let’s hear it from the Shakespeares themselves (P.S I dare someone call them fringe elements. We cannot create more potential CM candidates in this country. Please)

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