photo credits. Punit and Yamini
Yamini Deen reports:
After so many Blank Noise interventions, the street in my head is like a laboratory of delicious experiments- those of provocation, the test of limits .
The street tells so many stories of wooing , of harassing, of hookers , of control, of sexuality .
SO Gateway Sunday was one such experience.
I walked up and down the promenade for a while. I went and politely handed the letter to anyone who responded to me in some way-lewd, curious,anything.
Some men would look at me up and down in the lewdest way possible and get completey flabbergasted if I went up to them, smiled and handed a letter.
Guilt? Fear? Something they didn't expect?
One man came to me and said
''So you think I am eve teasing you''?
''Why did you only give me the letter''?
He later told a male friend.
'If a girl walks ''that way''..you know one assumes she is asking for sex.'
But Gateway is also a space where they pick up men/women for sex. is the line between being unapologetic and sexually overt so thin?
But I am by now extremely unapologetic about my walking.
Anyhow, in the corner right in front of a gateway of India stood a pretty white woman in a short yellow dress. When I first spotted her, men collected in a line , at a 'safe' distance and stared.
She fiddled with her phone.I handed her a letter and left.
After a while, I went there and noticed that men were taking turns to take pictures with her.
(This while she was holding our letter)
She was smiling. The crowd thickened. Rumours flew like sparks and at other parts of the promenade, fellow blank noise members overheard conversations
about Preity Zinta or 'some' celebrity being there.
(A photo op for random loiterers, is that the new hobby of celebrities?)
Well.,after a while, about 40 men had crowded around her taking turns to take a picture with her.They helped themselves to her waist while holding her.
And she was smiling , mostly, slightly embarrassed , occasionally uncomfortable.
And maybe behind all mobs, there are a few complacent cops standing at a corner.
We asked the cops why they didn't stop anyone.
They said it was because she agreed to have her picture taken.
I was wondering then if in my mind I allowed the thought that she might have actually enjoyed the attention.And NOT in a negative way- not in a she deserved it sort of a way.
We asked her and she said 'Now , ask them to go.'
It was like a constant seesaw between comfort and discomfort for her.She never really looked threatened, to me atleast.
The only thing that worried me was how the mob gathered so fast, and mobs being mobs, can go out of control.
Which again brings me to the question of when attention is threatening, when it is mildly irritating, when it is flattering and when it can make you bawl.
Action Heroes include: Yamini Deen, Pranav Joshi, Kismet Nakai, Punit, April.
Next event: Blank Noise Bombay on March 29th. Sunday.
CALLING ACTION HEROES. REPORT AT blurtblanknoise at gmail dot com