Traveling by the Mumbai locals is a torturous task. With the crowd jostling for seats, people dripping in sweat, rain water lashing the windows in monsoons – it is never a pleasant experience whatever time of the year.
Today, I was fortunate enough to secure a seat for myself in the early hours of the morning that made my journey a bit comfortable. Women chit-chatting about their daily lives and college girls lost in their own world with ear phones plugged in surrounded me, and with no better alternative, I decided to bury my head into the newspaper.
While I got busy reading news, the train passed by a few stations and I lost track of time. Soon, a comment made by a woman to her friend caught my attention. I perked up my ears to listen to what they were talking about.
“Look, the kind of clothes she is wearing”
Curiosity took over me and I turned around only to find another girl of my age wearing a halter top, standing by the footboard. I looked back at the woman.
“It’s fashion. It is youth”, said another.
A few minutes later,
“Did she get down?”
“Get away from the footboard. Stand farther!” said the woman to the girl.
“She might feel bad” said another
“If she feels bad, I’ll throw her out”
And then the comments ceased. Within no time, these two women started pointing at me and the two girls sitting beside me, saying how demurely we were dressed and the girl under scrutiny must learn to do the same.
All this reminded me of how, after every rape case that takes place in India, its the women who barge out of their homes shouting ‘The way we dress does not define our character’. I think, the restraint as to how a typical Indian girl is expected to dress is deeply ingrained in our culture. We say women must stick together and stand up for each other, but everyday I come across instances like these which makes me realize that how, a lot of the time, its actually Women vs Women.
These two ladies, after having lived in a city like Mumbai, show off being modern and empowered but their mentality is still bound by their traditional thoughts. How they disapprove any clothing that transgresses the conventional is sheer projection of that mentality. The sad part is that these are the values that would perpetuate through their children and grand-children.
Local trains in Mumbai is the only place where you witness an amalgamation of cultures. It is a place where you can learn a lot. So the next time you board a train, keep your eyes & ears open!
Comment below and tell me if you ever came across any such interesting incidents.