#TalkingStalking: They Rolled Down Their Car Window & Flashed Us
In the year 2003-04, my friend and I were stalked in Lajpat Nagar. Four boys in a black Lancer with a Haryana registration and tinted glasses followed us. I noticed they were making rounds of that small market area, and throwing colors and various objects on passersby. It was the month of March and Holi was around the corner.
We were in a cycle rickshaw heading back to Lady Shri Ram college after a heavy meal. The boys had been following us for 10 minutes around the block. They threw two eggs at us, and I heard one shouting: "chinky, chinky". My friend got badly injured in her right eye and started crying. I quickly dropped her off at the LSR hostel and went back to the market place in the same rickshaw. I spotted the car, picked up a stone and broke the back glass of that expensive car! I was furious.
To no one’s surprise, the four boys jumped out of the car, manhandled me and tried to force me into the vehicle, right in the middle of the hustling bustling market with hundreds of people and shops around. Nobody came to help. They were just watching and crowding around me. One of the boys pulled my bag as I was trying to escape. After 15- 20 minutes, an old Sardarji, dressed in white kurta, shouted and the crowd dispersed. I ran to a phone booth and called the president of the Delhi student union of Arunachal Pradesh and informed him about the incident.
I regret that I didn't make a complaint to police. I was a novice, unaware of the existing laws and absolutely furious. Actually, I was in shock and I didn't know the Indian Penal Code back then.
Today, almost 12-15 years after that incident, and as a practicing advocate, I still shudder when I think about what happened.
I know I could have avoided all these hassles if had made a simple complaint to the police in the first place. However, looking at the perpetrators, it was obvious that these boys would have walked out after paying some bail amount to the authorities.
Few witnesses came to talk to me later when I sat in the Sardarji's house. They told me that these boys were regular offenders who repeatedly created nuisance in that locality. They were supposedly some brats of a nouveau riche family.
Today, as a lawyer, I can think of almost half a dozen relevant sections of Indian Penal Code that would attract the type of criminal activities these boys were into then.
I will definitely not recommend that anyone do what I did back then. You must approach the nearest police station or find a lawyer. Ideally, call the helpline numbers and report the incident. Today, there are many NGOs that offer support.
I honestly think laws definitely have to get more stringent for stalking. It has to be made a Non-Bailable Offence, because if it isn’t nipped in the bud, stalking can lead to many other crimes like rape, acid attack, outraging the modesty of women, molestation, to name a few. Creating awareness of existing laws for protection of the body is important too. The enforcement authorities definitely have to get more sensitive to this issue.
Lets not forget the responsibilities that older male members of family/society have for their younger counterparts.
Stalking is definitely not a romantic gesture as portrayed in the movies. Stalking causes serious mental and emotional trauma, and a fear psychosis lingers on apprehensions of being stalked and ill-treated in public. My friend was bedridden for a day for her injury.
I can actually narrate many more incidents of being stalked by men in their cars both in the daylight. Once, while walking back to my PG in Anand Niketan/ Satya Niketan from Jesus and Mary College on a 800 meter-stretch, we spotted men in cars who slowed down and rolled down their windows to show us their penises. This happened several times.
Then, there were men behind the bushes in the same 800 metre-stretch who would masturbate and stare at you. These men were often found there because they knew that girls from colleges would walk that lane after classes were over for the day.
In fact, as per the record, a JMC student was raped and murdered in the daylight by a stalker!
If I look back now, as a young college student I would often find myself furious and stressed out due to all these harrowing incidents that happened regularly, it was disgusting, and traumatic. I was furious for I could not stop it from happening. I didn’t know where to go for support.
As a student, funds were low and I could seldom afford a taxi or a rickshaw to commute and silently endured the violent attacks to my dignity every other day, if not daily.
So, yes, stalking can happen in broad daylight too. It has got nothing to do with dark alleys or the clothes we wear. Stalking is a reality. Sociopaths, racist, psychopaths, insensible, and idiotic people irrespective of class, caste, color, sex, religion and birthplace, are ubiquitous in India. Unfortunately, people who require psychological and legal interventions are present in every corner of the world.
*Story submitted on condition of anonymity.