Last week at the Bangalore airport when my flight was announced, I got up from where I was seated and walked over to join the queue that had formed. By then the queue had curved on itself in the way of impromptu queues formed anywhere. There was a girl in red standing towards the end of the curve, then after a gap of about two feet stood three men in a group conversing with each other. One seemed to be holding forth, the others listening politely.
I wondered whether they were in the queue or merely standing around waiting for their seat numbers to be called for boarding. Perhaps the girl in red was the last in the queue? After all only those in rows beyond twenty-one had been called for now. So I did the next obvious thing.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Are you all in the queue?”
The man holding forth to his friends paused, turned around and stared at me incredulously for a full second as if I had said something improper. In fact I had already started going over my words in my mind to check. Had I said something wrong? Fortunately, just then His Majesty (the other two seemed ‘silent’ partners) condescended to answer.
“Of course, we are!”
What was not said but could be clearly heard was, ‘What else could we be doing!!!!!???’
Yup. What else? Especially when the three of them were standing away from the end of the queue, facing each other and talking? That makes it pretty obvious that they were in the queue. What a foolish woman I was to ask such a stupid question of them?! Anyway, I ignored the unspoken words like I normally do, nodded my head and smiled in thanks (a smile doesn’t cost much, the Motivational Bullsh*t Manual repeats every two pages or so), and took my place.
That would have been that, except it wasn’t.
The man who had gone back to his interrupted conversation suddenly broke off, turned back to me and said with ill-concealed sneer,
“Don’t worry Madam. The flight will not take off without you. It will only leave with all of us on board!”
Hahaha. Very funny. His cronies laughed dutifully. ‘Madam’ though, didn’t laugh, because she didn’t find his juvenile remarks funny. ‘Madam’ has a higher standard in humor. She laughs at P.G. Wodehouse writings and Tom and Jerry antics, to name two. Not to the hot air spewed by pompous idiots. But ‘Madam’ rues she had not looked at him with eyes full of admiration and said the following in typical Trivandrum slang:
“Aano, Anna? Jnaan vicharichu aadyam keriyillel bus povana pole plainum angu pokum ennu! Annan paranjathu naannayi, ketta Anna.” (Really, Elder Brother? I thought if I didn’t get in first the flight would go off without me like it happens with the bus! Good that you told me, Elder Brother).
By the way, it sounds a lot funnier in the local lingo/slang than it appears in the translation, especially with the right intonation which I am, if I say so myself, adept at. What would I not give to have seen his face when I said it. Sigh. I am still kicking myself for having let the chance be lost.
In the same airport (these happenings have nothing to do with the particular airport per se except that I keep traveling a lot to Bangalore and so they happened there) a few months back, I was standing behind two men, waiting for my turn to get tea. The men were leaning against the counter and talking animatedly (and they say women ‘talk’!). There appeared to be no one behind the counter. The cashier had probably gone to fill their order, I assumed. Five minutes passed. Yes, all of five minutes. I started getting impatient. But the men in front of me did not seem to care about the delay. That was odd and I felt something was amiss.
“Excuse me.” I said, “Are you waiting to be served?”
“Oh! Sorry.” said one of them looking down at me from his lofty height of about eight feet ten inches as if noticing me only then when I had already seen him surreptitiously glancing my way a few times. Moreover, I am not that small to go unnoticed. Vertically challenged, yes, but there is definitely enough of me horizontally for people to notice there’s someone around. The men moved away to one side of the kiosk and continued talking.
Like, really! Is this even done? You block a counter for gossiping and don’t move away even when you see someone waiting their turn till that someone reminds you? Besides, WHY THE HELL did they think I was standing behind them at the counter? To admire their pretty tail assembly?! Gah.
The truth is, the average Indian male does not care too hoots about a woman. Let her wait, is the attitude. Or, let her ask, THEN we’ll move. Too bad if she thought we were waiting to be served and so kept waiting in line too. It’s kinda funny though. Hahahaha. Women! Yup, the high point of his day, also his friend’s. A much needed ego boost to have caused inconvenience to a random woman who bore them no ill will ever.
These are NOT isolated incidents, just two from recent times. Daily life for women everywhere is much more worse than this. I have lived fifty seven years of my life with such bullshit and more. And then they have the nerve to ask why women are angry.
©Shail Mohan 2017