In comparison to Delhi, the rape capital of India, I was under the naïve impression that Mumbai is a safe city for girls.
But more than a year ago, I was proved wrong.
A friend and I were learning French and the classes were held late in the evening at a convent school on Hill Road in Bandra. After class, we would walk to Bandra station every day to save money on autorickshaw.
Common belief is that cases of eve-teasing, molestation, abduction and rape occur at seemingly deserted spots.
However, it was beyond practical thought that a pervert would stalk us and molest my friend on a fairly buzzing street like Hill Road.
It was nearing 9pm, as we started walking towards the station when we realised that a man in his mid-40s was following us at a distance.
Sensing that the stalker could be up to some mischief, we sneaked into a book shop at the corner of the road, only to realise that he was waiting for us outside.
After browsing through some books and tired of waiting for him to leave, we decided to walk out and ignore him.
As we just passed the Bandra police station, the pervert had the cheek to pinch my friend’s buttock and flee in a dark lane.
Hell bent on getting him caught, we chased him and even raised an alarm asking the people walking towards us to catch him. Hearing our cries to not let the perpetrator escape, a security watchman from a jewellery store nabbed him.
The crowd took over, beat him black and blue and hurled expletives at him for molesting a woman.
Then he was handed over to the police and we registered a complaint against him.
As he was paraded in the police station to record the panchnama, he received five hard tight slaps from the girls who testified as eyewitnesses and then he was finally put behind bars for a couple of days.
All this talk about only scantily clad women being eve-teased seems ridiculous when I recollect this incident.
My friend was dressed ‘modestly’ by Indian standards in salwar-kameez and was still molested in public.
Is Mumbai safe for girls? It is an utterly naïve thought.