Saturday, May 26, 2012

To shin-kick or not to shin-kick?

So there was I walking under the hotttttt Aizawl sun when I passed this old man enjoying the slight breeze on his verandah. He smiled at me and told me that I was looking very fresh and pretty and I thought, "Wow, what a nice old man, woo, tiny ego boost". Then he suddenly grabbed my arm and leered at me, saying, "I bet its as fresh down under, eh? Hehehe. Can we see?"

So I gave him the shin kick which I reserve for all crossing-the-line eve teasers. To which he responded by clutching his shin and wailing, "You stupid girl, have you no sense of humour? How dare you kick an old man?", and then his middle-aged daughter came running out, screaming, "What did you do to my father?" And I'm left there looking like the villain while I actually am the victim; or am I?

When I was younger-ish, one of our male Sunday School teachers had this habit of giving us hugs, stroking, tickling and pinching us. And though the other girls never seemed to mind, I used to get really uncomfortable. So I told my mom who had a word with him. Then the next Sunday he came up to me and told me angrily that I and my mother had really filthy minds, and that he had only been affectionate, and that the fact that I was uncomfortable with his show of affection only showed that I was un-Mizo, un-Christian and that my whole family had depraved minds. For a long while afterwards, I felt really awkward around the male sex because I was unable to distinguish between what is often deemed as the Mizo way of teasing, and what is improper.

Later, I came to realise that there is a certain Mizo brand of 'eve-teasing', if it could be called that, which is not thaaat bad. On those days that your mirror tells you that you look ugly as sin, when a random stranger on the road whistles or tells you that you look nice, then it goes a certain way towards soothing your bruised ego. But when the comments are lewd or when touching is involved (which is when I bring out my shin-kick), then it gets really offensive.

What's worse is, those comments and actions make you feel like your'e in the wrong somehow. You start asking yourself- Am I dressed too provocatively? Do I give off whorish vibes? Do I look cheap? And then you start to feel cheap and dirty, despite all the literature out there that says that its not the woman's fault.

So today, I was again faced with that conundrum- did I over-react to a little teasing, albeit a crude one? Or was that old man out of bounds? As the old man wailed and his daughter screamed at me, and curious passers-by gawked, I thought, "Hell, I'm almost 30. It's time I decide what I think is harmless teasing, and what is improper". So, despite that little seed of doubt which niggled, chiding me for being overly sensitive, I managed to tell the old man's daughter calmly what had transpired and how it had offended me. Luckily, she accepted my explanation and turned instead on her father, calling him a dirty old man, and telling him he that he deserved a broken ankle.

And I silently walked away, feeling vindicated, and yet...
OMG, that old man must've been almost 80. I hope I didn't really break his ankle bone. But he deserved it. Or did he? Oh hell.