Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's wrong with Delhi men....?

This appeared in Bombay Times.... judging by the response, it is a 'Bingo!' column that has hit a particularly soft place - the same one that make men vulnerable. Very vulnerable!
Kolkata was krazeee. But I enjoyed hanging with Mamata Banerjee and driving to Howrah with her. Didi is something else! I'll be writing the story for 'The Telegraph'. Do look out for it. Pity it was such a rushed trip with zero time for 'phuchkas' or 'sandesh'. Imagine going to Kolkata and eating a tuna sandwich! Ki mushkil!
***************

What’s wrong with Delhi men…?
Ask any woman ! Go on… take the challenge. Regardless of age, shape,size , temperament or any other factor, Delhi men unabashedly, lewdly ogle women . Any woman. The visual assault begins at the airport itself with lecherous loaders giving every female passenger the prolonged once –over. Up down ,up down…stop at the breasts, and go on leering. Bags on the console can keep spinning, but that does not bother these awful chaps. In any case, for all its cosmetic merits ( barring the spectacularly hideous carpet), the fancy terminal 3 is a nightmare for weary travelers who are forced to trudge a couple of kilometers before they get to their gates or the parking lot. If the traveler happens to be a single woman, chances are she’ll trigger off a familiar response - men will instinctively grab their crotches.It is a reflex action. If the crotch- grabbing does not grab the marked female’s attention, they’ll sidle up to her and ask , “Taxi? Hotel?” Since there is never a cop or security guard in sight, the female under scrutiny will be forced to handle the situation any which way she can. Ignoring these men is a bit too subtle. Challenging them involves a prolonged exchange of angry words, besides attracting some more men who ‘join the fun’. So, the woman is forced to quicken her pace , look straight ahead and march on, hoping it ends there. Once she reaches her car, it’s the driver’s turn to stare shamelessly through the well positioned rear view mirror. His job is to ask, “Water? Cold towel? Newspaper?” if it’s a hotel pick up. In Delhi, they take the word ‘pick up’ very literally! If you indicate your total unwillingness to engage in any form of conversation,the driver starts humming old , romantic Bollywood songs and smiling to himself. So much for interaction with strangers on arrival in the Capital.
Once you get to your meeting, the organizers behave in an equally strange way, unless you know them well. The first assumption is that Mumbai women are ‘bold’ ( yes, of course we are bold, but not in the way implied ). This so-called boldness means they’ll invite you to join a room full of the most dead boring, idiotically pompous and foolishly opinionated fellows who are busy name dropping in the most childish way. If you look obviously unimpressed, they assume your mind is on shopping or partying. They turn to you and ask in ‘jovial’ tone, “So….. how’s Mumbai?” It’s such an absurd ,time-pass question. As if Mumbai is an individual and one can provide a health report ( “Not doing too well…. kuch sardi-bukhaar problem…change of weather…. vaisey, theek thaak…”). Everybody converses mainly in Hindi, and the few women present stick to ‘safe’ topics – ‘Kya haal hai?’ Nobody waits for an answer. They are far too busy looking over your shoulder to spot some big shot mantri walking in with an entourage. If a bonafide VVIP does arrive, all hell breaks loose and protocol is promptly forgotten as the scramble to get ‘face time’ with the person begins in earnest. If that person is Sheila Dixit or one of the Gandhis, the crowd goes orgasmic. Full blown chamchagiri takes over…. and that’s your cue to beat it!
*************
There! I am feeling so much better after venting my spleen. Let’s blame it on the foul weather… and the bad movies . Whatever happened to those holiday season blockbusters? Here we are – suckers, all – forking out 350 bucks per ticket to watch junk. It’s time to think of some ways to fine film makers who promise big and deliver phoos. Like the zero-dum film which is so amateurish and clumsy, it gives the drug lords running Goa a bad name. But it has given Bollywood ( and Bipasha) a new hero – Rana Daggubati. Meanwhile – watch that girl! Which girl? Mallika Sherawat! She may have become President Obama’s new BFF. Hissssssssss!

48 comments:

Emotions & Me said...

Superb :) Shobhaa, a few weeks back I was at a dinner party discussing with the women folk about the working culture in Mumbai and Delhi based companies. (I am a marathi mulgi worked most of my life with US / Indian multinational based in Mumbai, first stint with Delhi based company).
I was discussing the distinct culture difference and how its challenging for me to adjust in the new culture, to my surprise my friends said that Delhi culture does not exist and which age am I working in?
Nice to know I am not alone.
Cheers.

paris said...

I completely agree with you on this. Delhi's men are a different breed altogether. I've had the exact same experience in Delhi every single time i visit the place. Right from the airport, to the taxi drivers, to the pani puri wallahs, to the security guards at malls, and of course, the roadside vendors. Age no bar, class no bar, they're all crass.

Neha said...

I have been in Delhi for the last 7 years and go through this every moment of time that I am outside my home! And it only seems to be getting worse with every day, month and year. With the type of incidents against women reported every day, Delhi is definitely not a safe place for a woman!

BlueHornbill said...

Oh! This is very disturbing. I have been reading 'Delhi the rape capital' but never imagined it to be this bad. Right from the airport? Makes me feel very angry! Thanks for the heads up, I have my first Delhi trip in a couple of days, better take more than one bottle of pepper spray, huh??

cmpershad said...

` Since there is never a cop or security guard in sight,....'

Mind you, even they are dangerous these days :(

goodluck said...

Mumbai men dont have energy or time to do all those things after their gruelling train journeys, traffic bottlenecks and unbearable humidity. They have become zombies meeting deadlines or failing to meet deadlines. And thus women are saved to a large extent.
So you found DMD dumb. What can one expect when Deepika does an item number and Vidya is given a 2 minute appearance at the fag end. Rana Daggubati is handicapped by his lack of hindi knowledge which is a must for bollywood success. He looks interesting and a welcome change from the chocolate heroes. Sippys seem to think that music videos can replace solid film scripts.

goodluck said...

When you are angry, you write the best blogs full of sarcasm and lots of wit. After a long time, I enjoyed reading this and your previous blog. Hope you will always be as angry and write dashing blogs. Visit Delhi often for this purpose.

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malyaban said...

that's what Mumbaikars are famous in maliging Delhi's image and indulging in some Delhi bashing do u even know how rude Mumbai is

malyaban said...

Mumbai's men are no less they i know very well how well behaved they are but the media is 2 scared 2 potray the true light of Mumbai they can only do Delhi bashing well another IRAQ in India

malyaban said...

why are Mumbai kars always anti Delhi?????

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avidblogger said...

Kudos to you Shobhaaa for this piece.Your observation about Delhi men is spot on. I recently had an American friend tell me when she came back from a visit to India and having covered Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and a few other cities that why is it that men in Delhi keep scratching their "b____" all the time in public and keep checking out women in front of them. Your article only endorses her view. What a pity for women who have to go through this everyday !!

Divya Virmani said...

Right on! I agree 100%. Every time I travel back home, I face the same situation. As if guys are just desperately waiting to have a full blown out session. Every damn place you go to have the same problem. Infact, an incident at the train station pissed me so badly, I forced myself to go some gali galoch on their faces! Even in the buses, guys don't leave a single second to flirt and/or sit next to you regardless of whom your traveling with! And mind you, I was with my brother at the moment!

Cheapada's...

NAT said...

Shobha,

Very true about Delhi, but Mumbai is also slowly but surely taking after the Capital. If we are not careful, we will have the same issues here within five years from now...

Cheers!

Tsomo85 said...

Excellent! Shobha De don't get cultural shock. hehe I've grown up with these type of people in northern india and trust me every single one of them will behave exactly same. Its in their gene. hahaha Sad thing is these people gives bad name to the word "indians." And half the time they are crazy over gori/white madam no matter which shape or size. Anyhow, I watch DMD first 5 min & all i can think of is what a rubbish & stop watching. Didn't wan waste my time. Forget about going to theater for it. Rather watch good RK old films any day!

Desi Babu said...

Once, someone famously said in Farsi, Hanooz Dilli dur ast . Nowadays, perhaps, we can replace that with, Hanooz Sharafat dur ast . Mainly in Delhi.

Vishal said...

Hi Shobha-ji
Delhi is indeed a rude city in the truest sense.me think women are not safe there..usse achcha hamari mUmbai hai where women and every can roam till late night.
BTW ,jus got ur book Shobha at 60..hmm qyute funny na fr a 28 something to read about ageing..but bought it fr ur cool style of writing..Well!Shobha sells not just AB, SRK n Sex
Cheeers
Vishal

Arjun said...

Its all in the mind, I'd say. The empowered woman of today; while she has found her new found freedom, it can be said that she's also living under the influence of massive double standards. Not unnatural, with the western and desi influences making women sway in a direction they themselves wouldn't know.
Picture this, the so called hip girls hang out at some of the snazzziest of hangouts, and would be on the look out for some suave stud around, who'd use a classy pick up line on them, and they wouldn't mind that. It boosts their egos u see.!!
Flip things around, and if you see the auto-walah, or taxi-wallah or any-wallah at the airport ogling women top to bottom, it turns those very ladies into a whole new creature. India is a diverse nation full of differences, and while the bottom rung of the people; the likes of auto-wallahs, taxi-wallahs sure do not have sophisticated pick up lines in their arsenal :), they do have eyes, ears, and a mind that loves being pampered at the thought of coming close to beautiful women or beautiful looking women (made that distinction intentionally). And this is common to people in all cities and countries of the world with varying degrees based on the sexual maturity of the male-female populations of that region. The Indian counterpart is in the midst of change and maturity, and its not too long when there is some semblance of confused stability that'd come to be in the way men and women view each other. Blaming or demanding policing for all women...well thats being a bit too impractical and foolish !!!
And the generalization made of M'bai and other cities vs Delhi is ridiculous. It just smacks of bias. Yes, there is aggression in Delhi, much more than you see in other cities, but thats simply because Delhi is the power capital of the country. And it shows up in some form or the other in a majority of its inhabitants.
Simple message, when in Rome, live as the Romans do. When in Delhi, live with your guards ON, just like most Delhiites do.

How do we know said...

Arjun: your comment is so warped i dont know where to start thrashing it.

If Delhi is so ok for women and if this is just a bias from outside, how come none of the delhi women are supportin "their" city? how come ALL of them are agreeing with Shobha?

Obviously you think that all women go to pubs only to be picked up. You see, we were BORN to seek and beg for your attention. We have no reason to exist otherwise. We are not human beings. We are lego blocks put in the marketplace for you to examine and Grope. How dare we decide who can interact with us and who can't?

Shame on you guys for defending your behavior. Chhee!! is this what your families taught you? Your mother will be so proud of you when she learns that you advise women to "live with their guard on." And this "Guard on" will lead to more women being taken off the roads because of the fear of animals like you.

Malyaban: Shobhaa is an outsider and has a bias. So let me give you the insider view of the women of delhi:
1. In this country, a woman should travel from the North to anywhere, but never to the North from anywhere. The East, the West and the South know how to treat their girls, but the North only knows how to kill them - in the womb and outside.

2. You should only use public transport if you want to be publicly groped.

3. Seat of power? the only "seat of power" known to most of these shameless animals is in their briefs. And since when did seat of power become enough reason to violate another person's right to exist?

Arjun said...

How do we know: It seems you are in love with your own words. Using terms such as shameless, Cheee!! doesn't really add weight to what you are trying to project my humble blog response as.
Besides, what in the world makes you think, any one's defending the wrong doers ? Its only fair to judge a city or a region based on the situation, circumstances, and to some degree its historical development. Thats all I did, when referring to "POWER". It is indeed the power capital of the country, whether you like it or not. Not that I meant that it gave license to anyone and everyone to do what they liked.
By being "ON GUARD", I meant, live smart, by trying to avoid situations that would put you in a vulnerable position.
By taking an aggressive stand, you're surely not going to change a situation that you don't like. None of you will travel stop traveling in and out of Delhi, and I feel, the change in men and women with respect to each other will come sooner than later, as the country is going through a churn not just economically, but socially, and sexually too.
The reference to "girls from the hangout" was a reference to sexual revolution in some sense, where either sexes from the current gen is experimenting with their sexuality like never before.
You seem to dissected my response the wrong way. Hope this one puts things in perspective.

Vishal said...

@aRJUN:plainly do not agree with you here..what are you infering?Women do not have the right to chose their freedom or sexual liberation..see im guy and truly beleive in equality between both sexes..the comment bout while in Rome..sounds ridiculous..r u condoning agression?

Arjun said...

Vishal:In complete, and total agreement. Women have the right to choose, and are sexually liberated species, and yes equals among all equals.
Where's the problem ? :)
The problem is that you're missing the point. Its just that everyone in this blog is singing the same tune, that it required a composition that few wise people would associate with.
For the frequency at which we Indian travel overseas now, we all want our cities to have the best global cities have to offer, that includes easy accessibility, security etc. Cities like Delhi and other metros are on their way to getting there.
The T3 terminal in Delhi is a start. Its just that till Taxi-wallahs, auto-wallahs, and the common Delhi-wallahs all become more likable species by non-Delhiites, travel with precautions, just like all smart travelers would, and enjoy the sights and sounds the lovely city of Delhi has to offer. :)

anil khanna said...

i dislike staring girls.but while traveling one does come across airline pulp.why talk about low level drivers-whenever i have fight with driver,i counter attack by saying"jin haton ne driveri sikhai hai,unhe hathon koh kah driveri bhola de".it is a choppy field full of what we say in delhi"kateshwars".

Padmaja Shastri said...

I do not agree. Simply because I have known otherwise. For one, I know many Delhi men who are classy, sophisticated and can hold very intelligent conversations. While it is true that, most Delhi men ogle, painting the entire lot with the same brush is not being objective. I have been in and out of Delhi airport so many times and I haven't found it as bad as its portrayed here. In fact, I have met many strangers who were quite helpful...had a conductor in a bus once vacate his seat for me, as I visibly looked too tired and had too many bags on me! Thats not to say all Delhi-men are so kind-hearted...but not all are sex-hungry monsters as well.

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Thinking Woman said...

Hi Ms De,

Needless to say I find your columns wonerful. And this time I can't say how happy I am to hear this from you. Delhi is unsafe for women, period. Only no one in Delhi likes to talk about it. Couple of months ago I had blogged about this too (http://www.indusladies.com/forums/blogs/moumita1/womens-safety-my-capital-city-4725/). But what amazes me is that no one is bothered to do enough about it, men here are all lecherous, from those in administration to those cleaning streets. I am hoping that after your colum may be someone in high up the ladder will do anything about it, though if u ask me, honestly, then I don't think so.
But thanks anyway for mentioning the topic in your artcle. Believe me, I know the feeling.
Regards.

pmathur said...

Shobhaa - if your venting your anger at bad weather or movies -it's a different thing. Otherwise - I would not only differ but also protest (like a true Dilli waala) at your observations.
Your comments are a 'sweeping statement' on Delhi men. First I feel as sick as you do, when I see women subjected to such treatment anywhere. Any decent, normal person would.That does not make all Delhi men sick, just as Mumbai being the hotbed of underworld crime does not make all Mumbaikars - 'Bhais'
I have lived in this City for almost 50 years, and I have known many, many Delhi men. All of them, me included were born in decent families, had good normal upbringing, and are mentally sound. We do not lech shamelessly at every woman, and we do not grab our crotches at the very sight of a female. And we are a majority. The sick ones you have met are but a minority.
How many of each kind you have experienced - is a matter of statistics - which anyway are reputed to hide more than they reveal.
Cheers!

pmathur said...

Tsomo85 - your comments about Delhi men are - well - immature to say the least. To quote you 'trust me every single one of them will behave exactly same. Its in their gene" is nothing but a silly generalization. Shows how much you know about Delhi. If you lived in Delhi, you would be more close to reality than is the case when youre in the USA. And if you've lived in Delhi ever, and yet make such statements, then I can only conclude that you've written your comments only to 'agree' with Shobhaa. In any case you know nothing about Delhi.

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krunal said...

isn't it strange...?
if you ogle at women that's lecherous, if you don't that's male indifference ...

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Is it possible that in Mumbai you are familiar with the surroundings and you know your car is waiting to take you home and you don't notice the stares of strange taxi drivers?
And because you have heard that Delhi men ogle and leer - you are on your guard and notice it more. I have felt uncomfortable with male staring in almost all cities of India that I have traveled in.

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