Published on September 4th, 201310
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.
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
was 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)