Blank Noise Action Heroes are women in public who face threat and feel fear but devise unique ways to confront it.

www.blanknoiseactionheroes.blogspot.com was created in March 2007 during international women's day to archive your stories of dealing with fear.

We would like to kickstart this process once again, starting now!

An Action Hero is a woman who has dealt with street sexual harassment by confronting and challenging it. Her final response might have been to choose to ignore the harassment, but she will have chosen to do so, not failed to notice it. (You can also be an Action Hero by participating in our city specific street actions).

Different kinds of sexual violence/harassment take place on the street - ranging from the hapless wooer to the aggressive sexual bully. Women in public across the world have their own unique strategies and capabilities of dealing with threat. This blog collects a range of such empowered actions from across the world.

You could also be the agent- the one who collects stories from your city/ neighbourhood/locality/ school/ college/ friends/family/ colleagues/. Ask the domestic help/ vegetable vendor/ flower seller/ woman bus conductor/ anyone!

This means that men are also invited to share stories of women whose response has amazed them! Go ahead... ask all the women you know!

Shout out loud! Tell us how and when you felt fearless.

You are an action hero not by the magnitude of what you did but how it made you feel.
Write in. blurtblanknoise@gmail.com.

Excuse Me? Are You Calling Me?

Tales of Street Love and Lust were compiled after bloggers/ blank noise members/ supporters/ Blank Noise agents emailed us what they were referred as or called on the street by random male strangers. This is an effort to compile an 'eve teasing' vocabulary. Statements received will be uploaded here. Food here. (Don't miss the song from Prema Loka- here comes a girl looking like a lemon)Movie Songs here. Below is a list of 'love' references- do keep sending them in if you've been shocked, amused, threatened, attacked, humiliated by them.
words of love:
  1. chammiya
  2. gudiya (doll)
  3. 'gullabbo' ( miss rose)
  4. 'sundari' (gorgeous)
  5. laila
  6. Juliet
  7. baby doll
  8. sweety
  9. 'ms. busty'
  10. baby/ bebe
  11. sweetheart
  12. darling
  13. jaan (life)
  14. chhokri ('girl' in vernacular slang i guess)
  15. jaaneman( the love of my life)
  16. phuljhari (firecracker)
  17. Rani (queen)
  18. Chhammak Chhallo
  19. mallika (queen)
  20. Bijli (lightening)
  21. 'Bomb'
  22. 'Item'
  23. 'Soodu'
  24. piece
  25. bollySakkat,(super sexy)
  26. sexy
  27. GORI ( fair skinned)
  28. ummmmmmmm!
  29. Flower
  30. Suzie
  31. Lilly
  32. taj mahal ( monument)
  33. Photaka( fire craker)
  34. mike( another very popular word in kolkata for breasts)
  35. Headlights
  36. rose
  37. Yummy
  38. Sexaaay
  39. Chasmeesh....
  40. pussy
  41. Veena ( musical instrument)
  42. Matka ( earthen pot)
  43. khekda ( which in marathi means crab)
  44. horn
  45. lota (spinning top)
  46. Tennis balls
  47. Footballs
  48. katori (bowl?)
  49. CHIKNI MAST ( white exciting thing)
  50. Scooby doo
  51. Elephant
  52. tortoise
  53. sun silk
  54. Malldaar (the jerk said this one looking at my boobs)
  55. DAGAAR - a veryyy veryyyy cheap Kannada word which means 'cheap whore'.... usually they would say this when I would stare back at them with anger or scold them.... this word used to make me furious!!
  56. Lal chhaddi" (red stick)
  57. Hot
  58. Kutri
  59. kali( dark skin woman)
  60. nagin(snake)
  61. "Baby
  62. "Sweetie"
  63. "Lovely"
  64. "Darling"
  65. FIGURE - How could I forget this.... the most common word you here on the roads of Bangalore
  66. DOVE - They pronounce it as DAWUU(I dont think u can guess how they say it unless u live in Bangalore). In their lingo its supposed to mean 'beloved'!!!
  67. mast- exciting
  68. cheez- thing
  69. darling (accompanied by kissing noises
  70. chhokri ('girl' in vernacular slang i guess)
  71. maal (goods)
  72. jaan( life)
  73. Maskali


Excuse Me? Are you singing to me?

Tales of Street Love and Lust :

Tales of Street Love and Lust were compiled after bloggers/ blank noise members/ supporters/ Blank Noise agents emailed us what they were referred as/ called on the street by random male strangers.

This is an effort to compile an 'eve teasing' vocabulary. statements will be uploaded here. Food here. (Don't miss the song from Prema Loka- here comes a girl looking like a lemon)
Movie Songs here (objects / descriptors/coming soon!)

If you have been sung to and felt threatened / 'harassed' or even amused- email us at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com . You are welcome to describe the situation and how you felt. We will add the song to this blog post right away! Thankyou!

Haseena Maan Jayegi: I'm sure if I am persistent one day she will be mine.

Khud ko kya samajhti hai:
what does she think of herself/ she is arrogant/ let's have some fun guys.

chhai chhappa chhai- (I had short hair and was wearing a white salwar kameez!) The guys tried to follow me for nearly a couple of blocks singing this song.

ek bar aaaja aaaja aajajaaaaaaaaaaaaaa: come to me just once

o priya priya: someone remembering Priya, his love

babuji zara dheere chalo: go slow mister, I am lightening and I am standing here.

Yeh ladki hai! : Oh that girl!

Khambe jaisi Khadi Hai: She stands like a pole/ is she a girl or a firecracker? she has rage in her eyes and her lips are ready to abuse you.

Akhiyon se goli mare, larki kamaal ki: she shoots me with her eyes/ what an amazing woman. she tortures the guy in love with her.

Aati Kya?: will you come with me? to Khandala? We will go dancing, roaming and chill together.

Aaja Meri Gaadi Mein Beth Ja: Come sit on my car!

Hai Hai Mirchi / Uff Uff Mirchi: oh you hot thing!

Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast: You are such an exciting thing!


Excuse Me??

Street Tales of Love and Lust include a list of statements that have been sent in by YOU.

This online event was triggered in August as our collective attempt to 'define eve teasing'/ street sexual harassment/ street sexual violence.

In August we gave the list of food names you sent in the form of Food Charts/ IMAGE WORD MEANING REVISION: THINGS I AM NOT. Coming up is a list of 'things' and descriptors you have been referred to as while out in public.

The statements have been heard by women from across geographies. Over 80 people participated to compile this list. You can still add to it..email us subject titled 'excuse me?'
e: blurtblanknoise@gmail.com.
You can be anonymous if you like.

Besides being published on the blog, all responses to collectively building the 'eve teasing' vocab will be printed in the form of a book .

All email responses will be listed below- keep sending them in!
statements will be uploaded here. Food here. (objects / descriptors/ songs coming soon!)

  1. ooof ...so niissse
  2. where fr u go? where do you go?
  3. I want to be youwer friend. I want to be your friend.
  4. up and down ( to be repeated very fast )
  5. rapchik maal. good thing/stuff
  6. ' kya maal hai' what a thing!
  7. Small baby with big balls.
  8. Muslim phuljhari(at the sabzi market) muslim firecracker
  9. Oh beautiful gori. oh beautiful fair woman
  10. nice tits.
  11. i want to fuck you
  12. "F@!k me baby one more time"
  13. Ure so sweet as honey bhaybe
  15. KODTYEENEE (WILL YOU GIVE in kannada)
  19. can i have a ride? (many times when i was riding my bike in nyc)
  20. rambe urvashi menake (the heavenly angels)
  21. ghonti chepe debo( i want to squeeze your bells, in bengali)
  22. Ki maal(what a thing)
  23. Hi plumpy
  24. hi chink chong. chinky
  25. hey silky
  26. aye item hey you thing!
  27. SEE HER BUTT - ive heard this in Kannada... sounds very gross
  28. kya lag rahi hai! you're looking hot
  29. want to come for a ride, baby?
  30. waiting for me?
  31. (after flashing his penis) "well, did you see it? did you like it?"
  32. "ashbi" ("aati kya?") will you come?
  33. what a handful?!
  34. sardi ka saman sardi-winter/ saman-thing/object
  35. soda buddhi (when i used to wear glasses)- old woman with glasses
  36. Dekhle hobe? khorcha achhe"( referring to a girl with a man, meaning it takes money to keep such a girl.")
  37. "Pooro makhon" ( Following a Bengali Butter Biscuit ad, meaning very smooth like butter)
  38. CHEWING GUM CHIPKEGI KYA? will you stick like chewing gum?
  39. How much?
  40. Rose for me?
  41. Hi! Julliet
  42. Hey Bob-cut!!
  43. Hai Babiiieeee
  44. Maal hai yaar!
  45. ki bodo(what big ones!!)
  46. Hey- you breastfeeding those books?
  47. excuse me baby
  48. hello..excuse me..hi sexy..
  49. item hai
  50. jhakas
  51. “kahaaaN se aayeeeeee?” [sung in unrecognizable melody- where have you come from?]
  52. “hi gorgeous” [in nattering nasal chipmunk voice]
  53. "Jaldi karo, seth-ji" (yes, that too. Whatever it meant.) hurry up! you rich man
  54. WHAT, SHE HAS NOT KEPT ANY 'SAAMAAN' ONLY- likely to mean that she does not have breasts.
  55. Kya Garam Hai / She is hot
  56. Soni Kudi/ beautiful woman
  58. Aye Soniye/ beautiful woman
  59. Front or back?
  60. “nice girl” [by a 65 year old retired police officer who then tried to sweep in for a kiss]
  61. “Yes? Yes?”
  62. “WOOOO!”
  63. “hi beautiful"
  64. "tight-jeans"
  65. "white-bra" - because my bra strap was visible
  66. WHY EVEN THIS, SHE SHOULD HAVE COME NAKED - when we were wearing Jeans and Tees
  67. I WILL F@#K HER - I cant even repeat the words in kannada... sounds soooooooooo gross!!
  68. "####### bitch!"
  69. Bade hilla hilla ke chal rahi hain/ you're moving your breasts as you walk
  70. Neena na kachch haki bidtini (i'll eat you up!)
  71. Isko bana do! (make her up!)
  72. kela chahiye? (do you want a banana??)
  73. rambe urvashi menake (the heavenly angels)
  74. One shot- 1000 Rs. Barthiya? (Will you come?) *NEW*



Both images have been sent via

1. Hamsini Ravi from Blank Noise Chennai

2. Atreyee Majumder and Abhishek Baxi from Blank Noise Delhi

Look Out!! While driving, walking, being stuck in traffic...

It could be anywhere and in any city or town. On a bilboard, in a magazine, on the back of an auto or taxi, on your best friend's t shirt, on the tele, in a movie hall...anywhere!

Do these images amuse you or confuse you? Do they make you angry?

In the Blank Noise spirit we invite you to start questioning the politics of public communication in our everyday life and in our cities.

Who is communicating? To which audience? What is the explicit and the implicit message? What does it say to you about YOU?

Look Out NOW, photograph it and email it to us! You can also send in text to start a debate.


Yes it's not always about 'eve teasing', but it is about reinforced attitudes of relationships between men, women, and cities.

Atreyee and members from the Blank Noise Delhi group discussed the Delhi Police advert on the Blank Noise Delhi mailing list a few months ago

Atreyee Majumder:
I was appalled that there was no mention that such behaviour can be criminally punished, and women should take action against these harassers by coming to the police, what is the whole point of the ad then?? Coming as it does from the police!
And of course, underlying the ad is the perception of women as weak and vulnerable, who need to be 'protected', that too in the interest of "shame to the community" that would be caused otherwise, and not so much in the interest of safety of women, right of women as citizens to access these spaces. I smell an over arching sense of women as 'belongings of the community' than as autonomous subjects of a democracy.
Twilight Fairy:
"Dont you know how ashamed and embarassed women fell when they are teased? Please protect them and take them away form the scene when this happens"
ashamed?? embarassed? I mean isnt it the eve teasers who should be feeling all this and more? (ok we dont live an ideal world). But even from a female POV.. angry, harassed, provoked, annoyed, frustrated.. these are what women feel... Delhi police guys need to take some lessons from their own female colleagues.. and just what are these female colleagues doing with statements like " take them away from the scene" going through right under their noses into print media!
Abigail Crisman:
These are all stereotypes which reinforce the macho mindset which causes most of these problems in the first place.
It shouldn't say, "there are no men in this picture", rather it should be "there are no human beings in this picture" because no one should be able to stand by and watch another person being belittled and harassed for fun--whether male or female.


Wooing on the streets

After a series of articles questioning responses, here are some thoughts on problems are processes that are thrown up in the course of Blank Noise interventions. Comments, as always, welcome. This is by Blank Noise volunteer Ratna Apnender:

The first time I participated in a Blank Noise intervention, March 2006, Brigade Road, Bangalore, it was the most empowering experience I’d had in my life so far. Standing on the street and reversing the gaze, confronting people who felt me up - in whatever ways I felt was appropriate - and, most importantly, simply talking about an issue I had been taught to ‘ignore’ all my life, knowing other people had similar experiences to share.

The issue was pertinent; I had never come across it being addressed before and in this manner. The methods were self reflective, participatory and therapeutic. Most of all it wasn’t NGO-ish and jargonistic. As an eighteen year old in the first year of college who had just begun exploring feminist theory and activism, I felt I was actually doing something.

One intervention after another, and after talking to friends who have been involved with related issues and those who haven’t, I found myself beginning to question certain things that were central to these interventions and central to the direction in which Blank Noise, as a social movement / form of protest seems to be heading.

After listening to countless stories of friends being molested in nightclubs by people they know and being felt up at parties by friends it made me think about how most of us women (and men) automatically demonize the public space, assume that it can only be a site of harassment and proceed to make our private spaces out to be safer and more devoid of harassment than they actually are. Not only are we unequipped to deal with harassment in the private sphere but also more importantly this ignores the presence of desire in the public sphere.

Of course looking hurts. And I have the right to protest against being looked at in a way that violates me and the right to be offended by any kind of looking or staring. But why is it that most of us are usually only harassed when we are stared at by the man from a lower socio-economic strata on Brigade Road and not by the guy on the dance floor in a posh nightclub, or by a woman?

Because you just don’t feel as harassed by the nightclub guy, you may even think he’s cute and that’s how people hook up. Are you not implicitly ruling out the remotest possibility that you may be attracted to the guy on Brigade Road? And that he may be trying to woo you just like the nightclub guy may be trying to chat you up? Especially in a society where the man is almost always expected to make the first move and where no still means yes, where a women who is sexual is seen as desperate, Blank Noise while trying to challenge the notion of a slut may also be restricting the ways in which this can be done by imposing rigid codes of behaviour, rigid codes of what to feel when one is stared at by a man on the road, and also what not to feel.

Why and how are the actions of the man on the street different from those of the man in the nightclub?

I am not trying to say that we shouldn’t feel harassed by non- English speaking lower class strangers on the road. However I am saying that looking at every public space as only sexually threatening and not a gray area where people interact, forge relationships, fall in love, and also have unpleasant experiences, and get harassed, is dangerous because of the assumptions on which it is based. Perhaps worse is the potential for an entire movement to be based on these same assumptions.

Am I also not ruling out that fact that I can be sexually threatened by a woman? That the same stare from a woman may not offend me in the way it would if it was from a man. Again I’m not trying to say that one should feel offended by a woman who stares at you, only that we must wonder why. And acknowledge the shades of gray.

I also want to ask whether this is an inevitable consequence of what Blank Noise is supposed to be doing, or is it because of the assumptions we as participants take for granted and base our actions on?

Is Blank Noise still a form of protest that is responsive and dependant on the social and cultural context or is it just another convenient social issue for us to be involved with, while airbrushing confusion and refusing to challenge notions in our minds before we go out and challenge the street?