2001 August or so, I travelled by overnight train to Bangalore and back with my mother. On the return journey to Chennai, there were only men in our compartment -- which bothered me somewhat. Still, it could not be helped and it was soon time to lay out sheets and lie down. I had the lower berth as did my mom. I helped the guy in the middle berth (just above mine) to spread the sheet on his berth. Really, I did not help so much as give the sheet a twitch and a tug once. I would do it for anyone...well, not anymore. The guy mumured thanks to which i just smiled non-comittally. (I no longer do this--my middle name is now Grumpy-Face).You'll see why. The guy was in his late twenties or so...normal looking.
The lights went out -- I had a vague opinion on one of the other guys on the uppermost berths -- that he was rather selfish and brash. Don't remember how that opinion was formed...anyway...so, it was dark and I thankfully had my blanket pulled right up to my chin. Say around 1 or 2 a.m., I was woken up by some weird pressure on my toes! I looked to see this middleberth 'thanker'-turned-pervert massaging my toes. MASSAGING! Ugh. At first, i could not BELIEVE my eyes. So I waited in complete bewildement and disbelief. Then he came again over the edge of his berth (footside) and did it again. Then I yelled "You $%#$ stop that" and then he stopped as if shot and went back onto his berth..disappeared from my line of vision. I was shaking with anger and ...ugh-feelings. I shouted out again, calling him some names. Bloody so and so...you get the picture. Still, nothing happened. The guys around seemed disturbed but nobody did anything.
My Mom asked me what happened, i told her (taking care to be loud)and I was even more annoyed when all she said was "do you want to switch places with me?" So I got up and walked a bit up and down the corridor looking for a cop. OBVIOUSLY there are no cops when one desperately wants to see one! So i switched on the lights and came back to lie down on my berth. I did this cos I wanted to rouse the morons who surrounded me (I was equally angry at the rest of the co-passengers for not caring about my yells). After a few minutes, the selfish fellow on the upper berth said "what is this? i am trying to sleep -- who put the lights on?" Aha. This was what i was waiting for. "I did" I retorted loudly. "There is an indecent guy on the middle berth above me and I don't feel safe so I switched the lights on". The selfish jerk then says "But madam, that is between you and him...why should you disturb the rest of us?" At this, I was pretty enraged. I got up and faced the whole compartment and shouted and raved about their selfishness and the guy's bad behaviour.
Pervert Prabhu who had been pretending to sleep pretended to look up groggily and I bit his head off. Figuratively of course...who would touch that jackass with a tenfoot pole? I snapped at him and said "don't pretend!" One guy half-heartedly, reprimanded PPrabhu. I told the lot that when we reach Chennai, i would summon a policeman and take it from there and as the chivalrous men in the compartment did not care for my discomfort or safety, i would let them get back to their beauty sleep, I would switch off the lights. BUT...IF anything further happened, I would lead the whole lot of them into a lot of trouble. I then went back to my berth in a huff after switching off the lights.
I bet the guys got nervous with my big talk cos one crept out and put some dim lights on and thereafter nobody (MUCH to my satisfaction) slept. They kept going to the loo. Serves them right.
In the morning as I was itching to get to a cop, Pervert Prabhu sidled off his berth QUICKLY and disappeared in a jiffy. As for me? I ranted a bit at my Mom who did not have much to say (i am still a wee bit bugged!) and then thought of the best way to cleanse my toes although he did not touch me directly - only through the blankets. Still...YUCK!
I came home and scrubed my feet hard for a few days.
And only then did i sit back and dare to consider rape victims...actually, i did NOT dare. It is too horrible to even think about. I am quite proud of my actions that night. All I regret is not having slapped him a few times. THAT would have sealed the deal. What say?
Next in line...PPP.
Btw, thanks for the 4 comments I got for my previous. Yes, LKS, I do know that the US folks have your point as one of the few better-than-Indian things about them. I was there for 6 months 11 years ago. I found there that nobody cared how others dressed--GREAT! (But also, nobody...cares!)