Friday, February 25, 2011

Molestation in Mumbai

I recently returned from a trip to India. I’ve been digging myself out from under emails, work, and a lingering cold since then. Despite this, I would do it all over again. Except for one part.

I don’t sleep well. I wake myself up screaming. I walk around in a daze. Of course, this is essentially what my sleeping habits have been like since starting graduate school so it may not be related, but nonetheless. I’ve been pushing this down since it happened. I was molested. While in India. By a mustachioed overweight Indian man. Actually that’s not true, well, the pushing it down part. I’ve been telling everyone I know about this since it happened.

While in Mumbai, I, along with a few of the guys I was with, thought it a good idea to ride the commuter train from the central train station in Mumbai to the station nearest our hotel. It was a relatively quick ride, about half an hour, and a ridiculously cheap ride, about seven rupees.

So the four of us braved the crowd and somehow managed to get a seat. We found ourselves next to an Indian architect with impeccable English. He chatted us up, helped us with the culture of the train, and gave us an ominous warning. Make sure you get a seat, if you do not get a seat, you will be molested. We only had a couple of days left in Mumbai and didn’t think much about it. We should have.

The next day, two of us decided to run into Mumbai during some down time in our schedule. We took the train. And it was glorious. Hardly a soul in the car so away we went. It was a simple and uneventful trip into town. Even town itself was simple and uneventful. The trip back however, was not simple, nor was it uneventful.

We were not so luck as to get seats on the ride back. We had to fight the crowds and found a corner that we made our own. And that corner kept shrinking as more and more people crammed their way in. I am a tall person, and I am even taller in India. In fact, I tower over people. Because of this, my junk, by nature of my height, is just a little bit closer to hands than it usually would be. Keep this in mind. I mean, not too much in mind, that’s gross, but the general idea is important.

This time we were not so lucky to have found a fluent English speaker. Although, we did find someone with a good command of numbers, which was perfect because we were able to determine how many stops we had to travel before we got off. Essential information really.

Suddenly though, my traveling companion, who was also smushed against our helpful new friend moved away. Awkwardly. I was confused; then suddenly I felt a hand against my penis. Because of the aforementioned height, I assumed this is what I have since dubbed awkward tough. There is good touch, which needs no explanation, there is awkward touch, that touch when people are smashed together and hands end up in places you didn’t mean them to, and then there is bad touch. The kind we all learned to say no to back in elementary school. Like I said, we were all very crowded; I thought to myself, awkward touch and thought no more about it. Until I felt a grope. There should be no groping with awkward touch.

I looked down, hoping, expecting really, to see a back of a hand to ensure that it was just awkward touch. What I saw was no back of hand; it was palm out in the midst of a grope hand. And so, because I am not familiar with the proper response to a man being groped on a crowded train by another man, I turned away. In hindsight, perhaps turning away was a risky move, but apparently he wasn’t an ass man because the groping stopped.

Luckily, only one stop separated me and freedom from molestation. As I pushed my way off, I averted my eyes in shame while passing the perpetrator. Hiking back to the hotel, the truth came out, my buddy turned to me and said, quite matter of factly, you know that guy you were talking to? He was groping me. My response? ME TOOOO!!!!

Welcome to Mumbai. And mustachioed molestation.

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