Leave the comfort of home, and you are bound to run into the males of all these species. What are we talking about? Read on and find out what every Indian girl has already experienced.
Let us first define the pathophysiology of ‘eve teasing’, the common Indian name given to what is street sexual harassment. Many of us Indian women think that eve teasing is a disease much like chicken pox. We feel that exposure to this dreaded infection in childhood is the most normal occurrence – like a sickness that builds immunity, whether the dose is small or large. Women – the mothers, sisters, friends, daughters around us are affected by it one time or another during their lifetime and often multiple times – so why not us, we reason.
Many among us women would agree that ‘eve teasers’ are pests. Apologies to all the rodents and roaches across the world who would find this comparison highly objectionable.
Ok, let’s just say eve teasers are like bacteria and viruses. Oops sorry, these little germs have their own self-respect and dignity. Besides, to be fair, there are good bacteria too, but there is no such thing as a good ‘eve teaser’- unless one means an eve teaser who is really good at their job, in which case, there are plenty all round. Just look.
Eve teasers are ubiquitous, omnipresent just like bacteria and viruses – they are everywhere. Roads, road sides, walls, malls, canteens, cafes, colleges, outside schools – you name it and the eve teaser can be seen, heard, felt (yes, literally) and then of course there is the invisible species.
The eve teaser is a bug like the leech (apologies again to these blood sucking beauties for the odious comparison) that latches on to any female – young or old, large or small, pretty or plain, caste no bar and carries on with its shameless activity without any guilt, embarrassment or remorse.
Like germs, eve teasers come in a plethora of shapes, sizes and virulence and have special characteristics of which they are very proud. They affect, infect, afflict, attack with a pleasure that makes them feel stronger, big-headed and very powerful indeed. There are hundreds of species of eve teasers out there, but we shall attempt to classify some commonly occurring ones and leave the rest for you to figure out.
This seemingly harmless germ hangs out alone, in pairs or in groups with others of its ilk. Its specialty lies in its X-ray-vision-endowed eyes which are highly well–developed, unlike its X-rated mind which is stuck in the ape-stage of evolution. Its characteristic feature is that it STARES. Now that is a harmless act, isn’t it? What’s wrong with staring you may ask. But note that its radiographic see-through eyes will rip through and through your clothes however plain or not they are and shred your modesty to pieces. Its stare is accompanied by its devious lopsided grin and revolting giggle as if it knows more about you than you think. Advanced species of this kind develop a 360 degrees vision after perfecting their skills over the years.
This species has a highly specialised and practised way of eve teasing. It emits sounds to seemingly attract its victim. This takes the form of whistles – using its filthy paws as well as without, air-kissing sounds, palatal explosive sounds, tongue-in-cheek sounds of a unique kind, hissing, spitting out sounds, deliberate coughing sounds. It requires a lot of practice for this level of expertise and a great control over its teeth, mouth and other structures within, to release a myriad such catcalls. This species is often found hanging off train doors, at college gates, corridors and basically anywhere in the open.
This repulsive species originated as a bathroom singer in a dirty toilet and migrated towards girls’ hostels, colleges or anywhere it could show off its non-existent skills. Its non-specialty lies in its insistence at singing the latest Bollywood songs in the most hideous off-key voice. It chooses songs that are composed to glorify kisses without consent, hugs without nods and lust without love. Its repertoire includes songs that degrade, cheapen and insult women-kind. It would take a special kind of app to even encompass such songs. But our songster pest here has memorised all the lewd bits from such songs and does not flinch to belt out an item number at the sight of a female. It paralyses when asked to demonstrate its non-skills on a public platform, bashfully hanging its head and refraining from opening its mouth. But give it the anonymity of a place behind a curtain or wall or closed window and it will display its characteristic unwelcome serenading and take it to new heights.
This species has a poorly developed eyelid which sinks low in a state of excited spasms at the sight of a female. The intense spasm causes the germ to wink uncontrollably when it feels the urge to communicate its amorous tendencies to the female in front of it. Conducting its hideous activity in a blink of an eye, this germ seeks crowded places like buses or trains where it can slyly do a disappearing act after its misdeed.
The characteristic of this species is its flair for secreting and excreting filthy comments at females. The comments range from murmuring ‘compliments’, mouthing ‘romantic’ filmy dialogues in a high-pitched voice to giving vent to its perverse bucket list very vocally and colourfully when a female passes by. This species prides itself on its warped humour and misdirected intellect. Some of these species have highly specialised features such as ventriloquism, where the germ is able to blurt out a comment without moving its lips and keeping a straight face, thus avoiding detection. A weakness of this species is that it cannot survive without others of its kind. It finds safety in numbers and prefers to adhere to others commentatorium species like itself, wrapping its tentacles around its buddy for added support. When separated from its buddy, it develops a strong tongue-tie, clams up and loses its power.
This species reveals a spectrum of subspecies from the relatively harmless to the highly toxic ones. These range from the two-wheeler-bound germ which honks or revs its vehicle in a not-so subtle wooing ritual for seeking ‘frandship’ while circling its victim frantically to the more regressed species which degrades itself further by exhibiting parts of its body that are best kept private or for the gaze of the STD doctor. The retrograde species is usually found in crowded buses or lurking in dark places where it seeks to give a show-stopping performance that will rattle the senses and numb the brain. This self-style narcissistic pathogen is deadly as its revolting exhibitionism can easily evoke symptoms such as vomiting and even blindness in anybody who happens to be at the end of its misadventures.
This worm-like species possesses a pair of tentacles that would make an octopus feel inadequate. The slimy tentacles of this pest can slide or down surfaces, pinch, squeeze, grab, besides executing many other manoeuvres that require a great degree of flexibility . This pest is exclusively endemic to crowded places where it can carry on touching and feeling. Considered by some as a mutant hybrid of a caterpillar and magician for its very sophisticated sleight of hand, this ambidextrous creepy crawly is the most dangerous pest described so far. The less advanced among this species simply crawl close to females and attempt to claw or elbow but slink way at the slightest hint of a threat from the female.
This species is known for its great tenacity, as it can hound females for days or even weeks. It is willing to walk, run, jump on to buses, spend money to burn petrol and do virtually anything to follow. It can sometimes stoop lower by attempting to metamorphose into any of the species previously described. For example it may take on the form of the exhibitionistus species when fatigue overtakes its limbs to do a show-stopping ritual thus giving itself a burst of nutrition to carry on following. By itself, this species can be considered harmless but can become lethal when it changes its form for some frustrated attention-seeking.
There are many such pathogens roaming around of which we women have to be wary every single day we leave the comfort of our house.
Is there a vaccine for such infections? Is there a spray for such infestations? What is the antibiotic for this disease? Is it curable? Is there a salve for the wounds inflicted by these noxious termites that corrode our lives? (So sorry termites….. you are far better)
This Women’s Day, let us take a minute to share with our sisterhood how to tackle this menace with simple solutions that work or will work in encounters of the eve-teasing kind.
Top image is a scene from the Hindi movie Badrinath ki Dulhania
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