Deal with it

Published on September 4th, 2013

10

When a biker chased me…

A Mumbaikar describes her ordeal when a biker chased her autorickshaw on Link Road earlier this week.

by Rachel Tseng

I faced a rather unpleasant incident in the morning of Monday, September 2. I tried my best not to think about it as I was determined not to allow it to affect my work, my day.

chased by a biker Yesterday, as I collected my newspaper from the front door, I read the headlines of a leading English daily and was in for a rude shock – “Bikers harass fashion stylist in auto at Malad”.

I read the article on the front page, quickly turned over to page 2 to read the rest of the article which contained a picture of those pervert bikers and no, I did not recognise them – have never seen them before.

As the details of the article began to sink in my mind I recounted the unpleasant incident I faced the previous day.

What happened on Monday Between 11:30 to 12, I was travelling alone in an auto from Malad to Andheri and took the Link Road (the busy main road). On the stretch of road between Hypercity and Mega Mall, I noticed a lone biker with a helmet and sunglasses whistling at me and trying to get my attention. I simply ignored him and he went out of sight due to the traffic.

Suddenly, just as I was crossing Mega Mall, he emerged from the left hand side, again started whistling at me and started saying something to me, which I could not hear due to the noise from the moving vehicles around me. He was mouthing something with a disgusting, cheeky smile on his face. By now I was fuming and was apprehensive as to what should I do if he followed me and nobody comes forward to help me on a “busy road”.

I got my phone camera ready to take his picture and that of his number plate. Luckily, because I had to take a U-turn at the following signal – Patliputra Signal – the auto driver stopped in the second lane whereas the biker was way ahead of my auto in the third lane. From where I was, I could see the biker but he could not see me. As he halted at the signal, I saw him frantically looking for me in each and every auto around him – not once, but he peeped in every auto a couple of times. His sheer disappointment

mumbai by nightwas clearly visible from his body language and the frustrated manner in which he accelerated his bike, broke the signal and huffed off. At that moment, I was just relieved that the sick creature lost me. As my day passed and I went about with my work, the experience of being chased and troubled by a disgusting man lingered at the back of my mind.

Almost every day I read about how unsafe Mumbai has become, increase in the number of crimes against women and children, etc. I am aware that just like other women, I too can be a victim some day, but I have never been able to imagine or think beyond that. I have no words to express the numbness in me. Being born, raised, educated and worked in Mumbai, I consider myself a blue blood Mumbaikar. Mumbai is not just where I have lived all my life but this city is my home, my identity! All my life I have boasted about the cosmopolitan life in Mumbai, the availability of transport at any given time and the freedom of an independent woman to move around freely and fearlessly. My barrage of praises is not based on statistical reports but purely on personal experience.

Not too long ago when I was in Fashion School, after college I used to work as a backstage helper at fashion shows. I still recall the days after a fashion show at the Taj, I would board a local train at 11:30 pm, alight at Andheri and hop into an auto for home without a hint of fear. My parents never came to pick me up, never called to check on my safety nor did they nag me about working late. Somewhere at that time they were just confident that their girl was okay.

With the drastic change in the social situation – a surge of perverts, mentally sick and frustrated people with regressive thoughts, my city, my Mumbai is infested, threatened and troubled by these social thugs who are sometimes under disguise or just pop out of nowhere to make your life miserable for no fault of yours.

Whoever you are, whatever you may be – I will not allow you to bog me down. I still do and will continue to move around freely but (sadly) not fearlessly!

Rachel Tseng is a fashion designer and she lives in the suburbs in Mumbai.

(All pictures are used for representational purpose only. Pictures courtesy timesofindia.com, dnaindia.com)

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10 Responses to When a biker chased me…

  1. The naturalist says:

    I wish you had also taken pictures of the pervert…I think the more pictures there are out there, the more easily women in the city can be made aware of the dangers that lurk on the streets. But not many girls speak about their unpleasant experiences, and you deserve to be commended for that.

  2. Rachel Tseng says:

    Well, as I mentioned I got my phone camera ready but because of the signal and different lanes I missed him & he lost me!!

  3. hussain says:

    It is the bad side of Mumbai. ..I also have a sister who goes to mithibhai she also had one such incident. ..

  4. Creative says:

    yes these anti social elements are making Mumbai unsafe for women. Rachel I am happy that you are safe

  5. meenakshi ahluwalia says:

    Everytime one reads or watches news nowadays can’t help thinking it can be anyone of us. It is sad that even when these culprits are caught our judicial system takes so long. And if the culprits are underage and serial offenders our system believes in reforming them. The government needs to punish them and set an example only then there will be fear !
    More and more cases of eveteasing, rape etc are reported all over the country and that is only 20% most are not even reported.
    It takes courage ! Stay safe and stay alert !! Thanks for sharing Rachel.

    • Rachel Tseng says:

      Hey Meenu, completely agree with you.
      What really disgusts me is the lenient punishment in the name of reforming them given to a so called “Juvenile”. I would really like to know how many of these Juvenile Offenders come out reformed and do they really go on to lead a life away from crime??!!!

  6. Amrita says:

    …. just beacause of these unwanted social elememts .. sometimes miserable feeling comes without any faults of girls ….. I totally agree with menu .There shuld be punishment good enough and fearful ,so that before thinking anything such nostalgic thing one should think twice.

    And above all this as an undividual and a good citizen every mother should take a resposibility to teach thier sons the appropriate behaviour and daughters a equal indivdual.

    Girls should be confident enough to make these guys get a catch rite there in crowd. But again lack of punishment under law acts we get scared .

    But I am extremly happy rachel see this article and making everyone to think about what should be done if this thing happens to someone . We are anyhow setting example for our future generations….

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