The troubles of being a North-Indian woman in Bangalore

satire
noun
 
  1. 1.
    the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
     
    “the crude satire seems to be directed at the fashionable protest singers of the time”
            synonyms  :  mockery, ridicule, derision, scorn, caricature

I moved to Bangalore from a small North Indian almost-town about 6 years ago and having travelled in all the public means of transport in Bangalore since then, for everyday chores as well as for work, I feel it is now important to point out to fellow north Indian women the huge problems they will encounter on moving to the great, tech city of our country for working/ studying.

First off, ladies get ready to be ignored. It is indeed a terrible feeling. You dress up, looking pretty, step out of your home and are greeted by a deafening silence. Where are the catcalls and shrill whistles to elevate your pulse-rate and heighten the color of your cheeks owing to the wild beating of your heart when you step out in your finery in a crowded market? Here, 95% of the time men will politely sidestep, to make way for you. Groups of boys will walk past without even a first look, forget second glances, engrossed in talking about some new gadget or movie. It’s an entirely new feeling and it takes some time to get used to it. So forget about packing all your trendy clothes and just go with a pair of comfortable shorts, some flip-flops and maybe dad’s old comfortable tee-shirts. Oh alright, you can pack all your funky clothes too, just for your own pleasure and feel like a model in your mind. Although what’s the point of torturing yourself with excruciating high heels and other such instruments of torture when nobody will ever appreciate them?

Second, the sense of adventure that a north – Indian woman feels when she steps out of the safety of her home and locality is completely missing in Bangalore. Most north Indian girls are undercover ninja warriors by the time they are 18 years old. Their training starts early, at about 13, when they start travelling in public transport for the first time, usually going to school or out with friends for a movie and so on. These women are the ones, who have such well-honed skills of blending in, evasion tactics,and diversionary tricks that at times you won’t even know they are right standing next to you. They know never to let their guard down, since even though days may go by without anything worth-mentioning happening, just when you become complacent, the enemy scoops in with a well-placed tap to your bottom. In order to dodge out of the way of the opportunistic butt slaps and the sly pinches coming one’s way in the crowded local public transport, these girls and women develop almost magical powers of squeezing through the tiniest spaces in order to escape these sticky fingers. A woman walking down a street is always aware and alert of the potential hot spots around her; the guy leaning against a wall, the two men walking towards her, the adolescent schoolboys on their way home and so on and so forth. Its a wonderful life and a wonder that the Secret Service haven’t tapped into this pool of undiscovered raw talent. One never knows what the new day will fling in one’s face; its like living in one’s very own ‘Lara-Croft’ movie every single day. In Bangalore, you must immediately burn your hooded cape/ black ninja pajamas, since adventure is as far from anyone’s day, as can be. You will just have to go out on a boring and safe journey to work/ college/ school day after day without much hope of any thing to distract you from the tedium of the daily grind.

The only ray of light are the dear auto-wallahs and bus conductors who uphold the national code of being rude and being as unhelpful as possible, especially to single women; though even here, a surprising number seem to be of the calm and honest type who charge you only your actual fare, thus robbing you of the opportunity to sharpen the strongest weapon in the woman’s arsenal – your tongue. Plus, there are women bus-conductors in Bangalore, which in itself is enough to boggle your mind by what it suggests about a woman’s place in this society.

So ladies, before you move to to Bangalore to work, study or play, remember to leave behind all the small, everyday street adventures that you take for granted up north. Get ready to walk out of your home without being hassled or heckled and get ready to be able to shop alone till eight o’clock  at night without any need of safety-in-numbers.

If after reading this, you still choose a life of tedium, then I have nothing more to say to you, young ladies!

Disclaimer : This post in no way makes light of or condones the terrible crimes against women occurring anywhere in the country; nor does it mean every north-Indian man is out to ‘get you’ ; it is an observation on the culture where teasing a girl is a show of macho-ism, sometimes harmless and sometimes extremely terrorizing; it is also a compliment on the everyday life in Bangalore for women who come to this city from a relatively different work culture, for the purpose of working or studying or simply living a life.

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28 thoughts on “The troubles of being a North-Indian woman in Bangalore

    1. I know, it is remarkable isn’t it? My mum was talking about her experience as a newly married working woman in Pune and her complete surprise at the absence of eve-teasing even then in South India.

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      1. @Malvika: I don’t know about that. Eve teasing was very much prevalent when I was living in Chennai. It has reduced quite a bit because of police intervention.

        When I used the bus to go to college, I would get pinched and prodded all the time. These days, apparently it’s a lot better as there are tons more lady police who take these things seriously.

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  1. There is nothing like culture in the Northern part of India. It will be long long time that North will perhaps rise to some revolution like the one we saw in Delhi few months back. Yes south – women are safe and respected. Go to Kerala it is still better there. In North it is rubbish and shameful the least one can say.

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  2. Friends… my veterinarian turned writer friend is a great story teller.. n i love her for that…As far writing is concern its a MASTERPIECE…. n i know many more ll be coming…. but friends here my opinion is slightly different… Well Bangalore is safer then Delhi.. No doubt no debate…. But ll it be alright to compare the whole north India with Banglore …. we have many cities in North which are equally safe n sound….

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    1. Awwww, Sushi!! You say the sweetest things. Come Sush, you have to agree about the tendency to turn around and look back at a girl or burst into song when a girl walks by; its just the way we are, even in the smallest towns. Its usually harmless, but then it takes so little for it to become scary and over-the-line.

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  3. It’s a very good depiction of north-India and insecurity that a girl feel stepping out of her home. You had put a great spin on it and made the not so good thing about north india rather comical. Mumbai is the second city where you feel the same sense of safeness and independence as in Bangalore. And this feeling is heightened when you leave India all together and move to the United state of America. People here don’t even understand the reason or the thinking behind eve teasing back in India (especially in North India) and our media exaggerate everything. Well I will leave it to that and will say it again that it was a rather interesting blog to read. Keep at it….
    Love

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Shalley, Thanks for taking the time. I love it when old friends stop by and leave a comment 🙂 I think maybe awareness will come with time, hopefully, in the next 100 years if we are lucky. *keeping our fingers and toes crossed*

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  4. So…it means you wont look back at bangalore, pack up your stuffs and fly to your favourite city, may be delhi or mumbai, then live out your life filled with magical tricks & thrills as you mentioned…? Will you ? cool…
    Thanks 🙂
    Atleast the Indian culture (which ‘India’ is portraying to the western world) will be preserved. Your beauty is not in your makeup, frills & how u expose them.
    Well u dont understand…! All the Best 😉

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  5. He he…But I also find this aspect of Bangalore somewhat liberating . For a few months post marriage had I been in Delhi or other North Indian cities ,I would have been expected to deck up like a mini Christmas tree ,complete with the Chuda and heavily embroided suits to exhibit my “newly married ” status . In Bangalore ,no one really cares !!
    Btw nice introduction . Having my roots in Himachal ,looking forward to some more Himachali recipes from you 🙂

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    1. Very true, its such a cultural shock that for a few days you just can’t believe the evidence of your eyes and ears!! I know its been a long time, since I put up a nice Himachali dish, will try to do so sooner.

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  6. You post reminds me of when I was in Moscow, Russia, on the metro and someone grabbed my butt. I, having ninja skills, grabbed the perpetrator’s hand as it was making its getaway. The metro train was crowded, bodies packed in like sardines, and here I was holding onto a wrist that had just grabbed me. Try as I might, I could not pull the wrist up above the crush of the crowd, above the shoulders so that I could see what body it was connected to and give whoever it was a piece of my mind. I finally had to let it go. Or, else hold it until the next stop, and I wasn’t going to do that. LOL!

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    1. Hahahaha! good one! Good to know there are ninja women all over the world! I just wish women in India had a platform for justice like it exists in the west. The media and social pressure does make a lot of difference. The horrific rape-murder of a young student in Delhi saw such a mass-movement that one feels maybe there is hope and then the news comes of the most respected journalist (Tarun Tejpal), the leader of the moral brigade, raping his employee, who also happened to be his daughter’s best friend and the daughter of his former colleague and then getting his entire magazine to try and cover it up by blaming the girl and calling it an ‘incident’ and ‘drunken banter’!! What do you do when these educated, liberated so-called supremely moral people behave like this?!

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      1. I don’t know. I often think that women in my country don’t appreciate the freedoms that we have and sell themselves short, and allow themselves to be used and objectified. The only thing I can think of is that mothers need to teach their sons and daughters that all people are valuable and worthy of respect. And women need to pick out husbands who will support this viewpoint. This is very hard. The only thing I’ve got is to complain and not be silent. Because we don’t want to wait generations for this to change.

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  7. Lovely to hear that Bangalore is treating you well. But with the influx of more north Indian men coming to work, one can only wonder how much longer it will last. 😦

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  8. Hi All,i guess one city become safier only when it have strong cultureal base which is missing in delhi as it is always be a city of immigrants(need not to mention the roughtest,law less areas like haryana,up,bihar) but if you go to city like jaipur which is only around 200 kms from delhi ,you will feel much more safier

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  9. There is no place in world that we call safe. In global rape hike statistics, all so called developed nations stares there role on top lists. US on top.
    In India I feel Mumbai is the safest, may be because it’s a city that’s 24×7 on. Delhi is the worst to say. Because even Delhi comes as a state in various norms it’s not. Every one has total freedom in Delhi which is misused. Lack of education is also a factor. But other cities comes exactly under a state governence, so we can assure that most chaos are created only by locals.
    All over in South parents give very importance to education. We can see the out performance of Southern states in various social aspects of development.
    When it comes to Bangalore, my current city. It’s climate is awesome. English is widely spoken, highest in our nation. It’s people’s conservation over trees. It’s transportation infrastructure, still being a city start to develop with in 10 years. You know when I first came to Bangalore before 21 years as a kid I remember the city full of horse carts, even Mysore was more developed and known at that time. It’s cleanliness. It’s cosmopolitan nature like South-North mixing when compared to other Southern cities. It’s rain that’s mild and stay only for hours, not exceeding for the whole day as in Kerala. It’s outflow of youngsters to the city. It’s spacious building infrastructure and gardens. It’s geographical location at the borders of other two Southern states. It’s new generation trends and fashions. It’s cool winds at evenings. More over, its well civilized people and more presence of middle classes in society.
    You know the list goes on. We can’t compare two persons, then how come we compare two cities. Every city’s have it’s own goods and bads. Enjoy the goods and just be aware about bands.

    I love all cities of my country and people living there even though I’m a Keralite. You know I still find people of Bangalore more yelling comparing to state–lol. But, we should compare. Then only we compete.
    Nice post

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  10. Thank you for liking my blog post and allowing me to find yours. Ironically, I’m an american who lived in Russia for 8 years and actually moved to New Delhi a month ago. I even wrote something about it, briefly. It was in fact an Indian from the south who told me I should write something about my experiences here, right at the beginning, though I told him that after 8 years in Russia, where i learned the language, traveled broadly, and understood the culture, I would feel like an idiot writing about India, because I know the type of investment it takes to actually understand a foreign culture. He disagreed, saying that it was right now, before everything become familiar, that I should write about it. I guess there can be a certain truth in the perceptions gathered from a point of ignorance. So anyways, you might give this a read. I admit it is crude, and perhaps not to your sensibilities, but even when I’m being crude, it’s a metaphor for something else. This is what I felt after my second week or so in Delhi.

    https://russianavos.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/delhi-via-moscow-dispatch-1/

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    1. Oh Dear! Just in India for a month. There is just so much to take in. Even people who were born and brought up here sometimes fail to understand the different cultures and traditions in our country. I like how you have already distinguished your friend as being from the ‘South’. Given time, you will learn to start referring to them by the states they belong to. 😉 Its not racist/discriminatory- its just the Indian way of doing things. 🙂 Hope you have a pleasant stay, although landing in Delhi during the terrible summer seems to be not very conducive to falling in love with India.

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  11. Get out of our city bitch! Why do you people want to cause another holocaust. You people are taking advantage of our simplicity. You people will cause racial war sooner or latter.

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    1. Lol! You sound anything but simple, my dear, with your kind words. And I doubt YOU need anyone else to start a holocaust or racial war for you; you sound quite capable of doing it all on your lonesome. I also would like you to open a dictionary and look up ‘satire’. For by your comment it seems you would love for Bangalore to become a city of eve-teasers, which it is not and is as I point out in the article. Oh perhaps, you did not have the time to read the article beyond the heading. Btw, You would be my second bad experience of living in Bangalore for the last 8 years- a rude auto driver being the first. Cheerio!

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