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When A Friend’s Elderly Husband Made Me Uncomfortable By Ogling When I Was At Her Home

Here is an appeal: Dear Men, please let us live our lives in ease comfort and peace. Your unwarranted attention makes us (women) feel as though we are no better than objects of lust.

This was nearly ten years ago.

Jayati a dear old friend of mine was in Delhi in connection with a wedding in her family. I was super excited because we would be meeting after almost 15 years. When I landed up at the place where she had put up it was an ecstatic reunion. Over cups of tea and scrumptious snacks, we talked of the good old days.

However, the entire evening was marred by a discordant note.

Deepak, Jayati’s husband (a retired brigadier) kept staring hard at me all the time. We had met very briefly on an earlier occasion but I guess it must have slipped his mind. Nonetheless, I tried to avoid his eyes as much as I could, without much success.

This was an elderly, retired man!

I knew instinctively that he continued to ogle even when I moved around or changed places. It was awkward, because I always consider such gestures as childish, something that behoves fanciful youngsters and adolescents. I felt it rather out of place for a retired, elderly gentleman with married daughters and loads of grandchildren.

As a 45 y/o wife and mom I was not something that would make heads turn. I could have yelled or snapped at him, had he been a stranger. Unfortunately, he was not. This heightened my discomfort.

On this particular occasion I had a sense of déjà vu.

Men ogle women – and age or looks no bar!

Years earlier I was visiting the sasural (marital home) of a female cousin who had recently married. We were cordially received as was natural and expected. After we sat down to chat with the hosts including the newlyweds, Rajdeep, my brother in law’s older sibling came and squatted bang opposite me. He struck up a conversation without taking his eyes off me even once. (Incidentally like the Brigadier he too was a ‘family man with a grown up son).

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Frankly, his manner made me squirm. But I had no way of escape. Therefore I had to grin and bear it; when the visit was over I was relieved!

Happens too often at the workplace too

Yet another instance of such ogling. During my tenure in a private TV channel there was this ‘Desk in charge’ by the name of Kanishka. Believe it or not while he conversed with female colleagues his gaze would invariably wander towards the cleavage of their breasts.

Initially one or two girls who noticed it kept quiet, owing to lack of evidence. Gradually, other women too observed it during their interactions with him. Finally they lodged a written complaint with the HR manager. Nobody knew what transpired but the fellow discontinued his offensive behaviour soon after.

These are not isolated cases. I am certain most women have undergone similar experiences in their daily lives. Here is an appeal: Dear Men, please let us live our lives in ease comfort and peace. Your unwarranted attention makes us (women) feel as though we are no better than objects of lust.

Sorry to use this clichéd phrase to make it simpler to understand – Treat us with dignity and respect, as you would treat your mothers, sisters and daughters …

Image source: a still from the film Aakrosh

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About the Author

RUCHIRA GHOSH

Am a trained and experienced features writer with 25 plus years of experience .My favourite subjects are women's issues, food travel, art,culture ,literature et all.Am a true feminist at heart. An iconoclast read more...

55 Posts | 283,150 Views

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