Molested By The Mob
You can call me a hypocrite for this but the fact remains that you can’t hide from reality, atleast not from yourself. There is always an age-old argument between my out-of-town friends, namely Delhi that Mumbai is a much better city to live in than any other in the country.
The one point I brag upon, time and time again is that “Mumbai is a safer city for women to breathe in”. We can travel alone in public transport without many worries, we can party till wee-hours of the morning without being escorted with brigade of men around us, the Mumbai public is ever-ready to vent their frustrations on perverted souls, Mumbaikars are generally very helpful so if lost or confused someone will surely come forward to help.
But but but if you ask me to swear on the above mentioned Pro-Mumbai statements, I would be a bit hesitant. I have been living in this city for the past 27 years basically my entire life up till now and never have I faced a situation where I have felt totally let down by the city that I so very much cherish. Then again our city, just like any other Indian city is inhibited by the regular junta – so we too are exposed to the good, the bad, the ugly and at times the very ugly in our day-to-day life.
And here is one such very ugly incident.
A young woman was groped by some 60 perverts in plain public view, while her male friend, who tried to protect her, was pushed aside violently.
The 10 harrowing minutes the helpless woman cried for help as the perverts abused her, shook my faith in the city I have lived in all my life.
I was at the place at 11.35 pm with my camera, taking pictures that captured the mood of the New Year celebrations. I was atop the temporary watchtowers erected by the cops.
After a few minutes, as the crowd grew larger, I could vaguely make out a youth aged around 25, surrounded by a mob of around 60 to 70 people.
When I zoomed in, I saw the girl of about the same age being groped by the crowd.
The girl was screaming for help but her voice was drowned in the commotion. Her companion tried to shield her but found himself helpless.
The presence of 50-odd policemen at the site did not deter them. Even as she cried pitifully, I saw them pull at her dress, leaving it torn from below the waist.
In the middle of this pushing and shoving, the girl fell down. The wild men, taking advantage of her, pounced on her with even more venom. After an agonising 10 minutes, the two managed to extricate themselves from the crowd and leave the venue.
A few metres away I saw a middle-aged saree-clad woman being groped. Mercifully, police escorted her away before the situation got worse.
This incident reminds me of a similar situation many years ago. After watching a concert at Andheri Sports Ground, I along with my brother, sister and their friends (plus other concert watchers) were walking out of the venue towards the car park area. In a matter of few minutes we all were getting pushed, touched, and groped by a mob of some 50-60 sickos. These bastards were basically not leaving anyone, be it a man or a woman they were trying to get whatever perverted pleasure they could manage off anyone that came in their path.
Thankfully, we all managed to survive and reach home in one piece. But since then, I have developed a crowd-phobia. I don’t travel by local trains, buses, avoid going to beaches, parks and am extra vigilant when going to night clubs, concerts and the likes.
As mentioned earlier, I still love this city inspite of its pitfalls and with certainty can say that Mumbai is a safe city but maybe not as much as we would want it to be – so take care of yourself and the ones around you from those perverts.