Thursday, December 21, 2017


I grew up in India. Eve-teasing was common. You learned to ignore it. You tried to be careful. You stayed alert at all times and avoided traveling alone.

Many times, things happened so swiftly and/or left you in such a shock, that there was nothing you could do. If a passer-by on a scooter/motorbike made a lewd remark, whistled, stared, or made suggestive gestures, I could neither respond nor take him to task. I had to ignore it - pretend that I did not hear or understand.

Being touched or groped was harder to ignore.
There is one incident that I remember clearly.
I was traveling (alone) in the local bus going from the ISBT (interstate bus terminus) to my aunt's house. The local bus had two rows of seats, with four seats in each row - a window seat, and an aisle seat, on either sides of the aisle. I sat on one of the aisle seats, so that I could keep one hand on the suitcase placed in the aisle, next to my seat. The window seat was vacant. I was surprised when this big burly man came up to me. He expected me to move to the window seat. I did not.
I got up so that he could take the window seat. He sat with his arms crossed over his chest.
Shortly thereafter, I felt his fingertips touching me. I shifted away and turned to look at those fingers. They were still moving trying to make contact.
I hesitated for a minute or longer, but then I stood up. I do not remember exactly what I said but I lashed out at him.
Who do you think you are? What do you think you are doing?
He mumbled something, got up and left. 

I never told anyone about this incident. I did not have to. I handled it.

Another day, another bus - my friend Nina was traveling from work back to the hostel where we lived. Someone pinched her bottom. She turned around and slapped the guy behind her. He was taken aback. Said he did nothing. Nina was not taking it. She gave him a tongue-lashing too.

You are stronger than you think. Do not accept mistreatment of any kind from anyone. Speak up.

Mahishasura is a Sanskrit word composed of mahisha meaning buffalo and asura meaning demon, or "buffalo demon". As an Asura, Mahishasura waged war against the Devas (gods), as the Devas and Asuras' were perpetually in conflict. Mahishasura had gained the gift that no man could kill him. In the battles between the gods and the demons, the Devas were defeated by Mahishasura. Dejected by their defeat, the Devas assembled in the mountains where their combined divine energies coalesce into goddess Durga. The new born Durga led a battle against Mahishasura, riding a lion, and killed him.

I may be a tiny droplet but I believe that I am a droplet of the Goddess Durga, the Goddess that embodies the combined powers of all the Gods. If I am cornered, I will summon and channel the goddess to raise my voice and fight the evil till it is completely destroyed. You can too.

And kudos to all of them who did just that, who broke the silence, who said - Enough!

Usually I do not buy magazines.  This one is an exception.

Here is a clip that I encourage you to watch.

Power to you. Power to us. Because we are together in this movement.


  1. I work with many men from India and all of them are great people. So all the problems women encounter in public there were a great surprise to me based on my coworkers. No women here or there should have to be fearful of working, traveling, etc. A very powerful post.

  2. Oh my goodness-what a wonderful post. Thank you
    mary in Az

  3. I'm glad so many are standing up to this and making their voices heard - that treatment like this is not right nor should it be accepted - I hope my granddaughter will never be treated like this when she gets older and we have taught her not to accept it

  4. The silence breakers have been talking, but no one has been listening. Now finally, people are listening, and acknowledging the legitimacy of the complaints. I too am glad that they are finally been heard.

  5. Me Too-----thank you for speaking out.

  6. Hi Preeti,
    I am sorry for what you faced, and I am glad you had the courage and strength to stand up for yourself and say it was wrong. Because indeed it was wrong. One droplet can still make a ripple that becomes a wave. May we all join hands and say enough, stop, and it ends now. Today. ~smile~ Roseanne

  7. Me too--especially when I was younger, but even now in my fifties. Surprising, but true. Having a mother who did not drive meant I was on my own a lot on the bus, bicycle, or walking,since school age. While I feel it fostered independence, it left me in contact with many different ranges of people. I had to keep aware and there were times I changed seats or got off the bus early if I felt uncomfortable. I love your Goddess story.

  8. the Me Too movement should have started a long time ago. I have never voiced my stories and probably never will. Now I fear that employers will hesitate to hire women. I am retired now, but there was an incident where I worked that caused just that situation. No women were ever hired on the shop floor again. There should be an answer, but as long as those in power take advantage of those they have power over, there will always be abuse. Maybe less now than before.

  9. So very well-written my friend and brave woman! I did not know the story of Durga (I know a song, Ma Durga sung by Krishna Das that I love). My Dayna has seen and experienced some of this abuse at Ford but not to the physical level. It is such a long cycle of intimidation, and I am so glad that women are speaking out, and companies are actually taking prompt action, but there is such a long way to go yet. I, too, have a droplet of Durga in me; we ALL do, and must stand together and be powerful.

  10. A droplet of Durga from you, one from me, one each from sisters, mothers, friends, soon we have an ocean. Ah, what power there is in all standing together to say what must be said.
    You, my friend, have much more than a droplet.