Neelam (name changed) is a 29-year-counsellor living in Delhi.
It was one of those days when I was super late returning from work. I live at a hostel near Connaught Place. Getting out of the metro you have to walk a short distance of less than 500 metres to reach my hostel.
I actually enjoy these walks because it is difficult to find quiet streets like this one in Delhi. That night was no different, getting out of the metro station after a long day at work I was looking forward to the walk.
A peaceful walk
There was not a lot of traffic at that hour and I was just plugging in my head phones to listen to some music while enjoying my walk when I caught this guy on a cycle staring at me. I dismissed him and started walking. But I knew something wasn’t right.
The guy on the cycle passed me and I told myself, “I am being paranoid and just scaring myself unnecessarily.” I had walked across the bend only to realise that the guy on the bicycle was parked nearby with the support of the fence on the footpath. The small shop near the bend was still open, so I didn’t stop walking but walked past him, staying as far away from him as I could.
The guy passed me on the cycle again and I breathed a sigh of relief. I hurried to finish the short walk to reach my hostel. That short distance seemed long that night. At the next cut, the cyclist was again waiting for me. And it is then that I realised that he was masturbating.
No more walks
I was stunned. I didn’t know how to react. I mean, should I have called 100? Would the police even hear my complaint? What would I say? “So on this road there is a man who is not touching me, or cat-calling but wanking off while following me?”
That is when I realised that I still had a short distance to walk and this guy could very well be dangerous. I immediately acted as if I was dialling someone and started speaking loudly to an imaginary uncle on the phone and a police officer waiting for me at the hostel.
I have no idea how I made it back to the hostel that night. I shifted out of that hostel within a month of that event and during that one month I always took an auto rickshaw for that short distance.
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