On Thursday, my personal space was invaded, and I was physically shoved.
My problem isn’t really with the fact that I was shoved. It’s also not with the fact that this happened at the metro turnstile, which meant that I wasn’t able to scan my card not once, but multiple times leading to a man (not the one who shoved me, or maybe he was?) yelling at me. Not once, but thrice in a row.
My problem also isn’t with the fact that I tried to call this entire experience to the attention of the metro staff and that they refused to try and isolate the perpetrator (I don’t know who shoved me, and whether their attempt was to shove me, or grope me). Forget the person who invaded the physical space, they didn’t even rebuke the guy who yelled at me for not moving fast enough for his liking.
My problem is with the fact that the female guard at the turnstile believed that if she apologized on behalf of the other passengers, I’d let things go. Even though she and her colleague let the men RUN scot free while I pointed and yelled that I wanted them stopped so I could change the person’s final destination from the railway station to the police station.
My problem is with the fact that the metro supervisor tried fobbing off the entire incident with varied excuses ranging from the fact that the lady officer empathizes with me “because a woman understands a woman problem”, to “excessive crowds to control”, to “we cannot do anything, Madam, passengers should behave like educated people”. The last was the point at which I stalked out of his office because I realized there really was nothing I could do.
My biggest problem, though, is that thanks to this entire incident, the next evening, I called V to come get me when I couldn’t find an Uber to get home at 8.30PM. I live 2 KM away from work, in Bangalore. I’ve lived for four years in Gurgaon, and I never once had to ask someone to bail me out of a situation.
I always prided myself on being independent, and I actually (kinda) like public transport. And yet, here I am, trying to decide what bothers me more – asking my husband to come pick me up, or driving myself to and fro the one location that’s best connected to my house by public transportation.
Bangalore Metro, you just made me lose a portion of my independence, and for that, I cannot forgive you.
Note: The best (and only) outcome of my kicking up a fuss was that the guards started yelling out a public service announcement at the turnstile – “Please move away and give the lady passengers some space.”