Radhika, a 25-years-old marketing professional recently shifted to Delhi as a part of her career decision. She convinced her parents about her safety and took the big plunge. She was happy about her new project, new house, excited about life in new city.
Delhi – city famous for its mouth watering street food, high street fashion and zest for life also has a shoddy picture when it comes to the safety of women and that made Radhika a bit apprehensive.
But that it didn’t stop her from beginning her journey. She used to take a bus daily to her workplace and back. On one such fine day she noticed a man (must be in his fifties or early sixties) in the bus staring at her constantly. She turned her glare the other way and ignored him. But not for long. She saw him again, again and again consecutively and every time she noticed him staring at her. It was getting on her nerves. “It’s so irritating, am I a piece of meat to be served as his eye candy? His age and acts have no correlation whatsoever!”, she despised him so much. As if it was not enough she found him following her. After repeatedly ignoring his acts she confronted him when she could take it no longer. “My silence is only strengthening him and I won’t let it happen”, she said to herself.
“What is your problem? Why can’t you mind your business? Why do you stare at me? When I ignored your acts you have started following me? You must have thought that I am going to take it lying down and you can get away easily. Come on speak up now”, she roared. The man was taken aback and soon few people gathered and anger poured in demanding a legal course of action to be taken.
Radhika interrupted and said, “let him go considering his age. What if his family comes to know about his lowly acts, they will break down. Let him go with a warning”, and she turned to the old man and said, “I am letting you go now not because I fear you but I am worried about your family more than you. I am thinking what if you have a daughter of my age and she faces such harassment, think about it”, she blasted him and left from there and the gathering dispersed leaving the old man with a drawn face.
She thought it was over.
Next day morning she received a letter from the guard at the gate which read –
Don’t be afraid thinking how I got to know your name. I overheard it when you thought I was following you. But you only thought I was stalking you. My intention was never so. You asked how my family would feel if they come to know about my deeds. But I wish I had one. The day I saw you, you reminded me of my family. You reminded me of my daughter! She is my family – whom I lost in an accident two years back. I was not following you as I stay in the same area in the building opposite to your society. But I can’t deny the fact that I stared at you as I was searching for my daughter in you. Wish I spoke to you earlier, but along with my daughter I lost my speech too in that dreadful accident! You don’t have to worry anymore about this old man stalking you as I am shifting to a new place. My best wishes are always with you, daughter!
A broken father.
Radhika was shameful about what she did. “How wrong I was in being judgmental – why I was so apprehensive”, she kept pondering over and over again.