ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bad Manners

Updated on July 4, 2009

Many men in Northern India are abominably bad-mannered.  Notice that I didn’t say all.  I said many.  I have become rather adept at avoiding eye contact (a social intimacy which, apparently, only hookers are tacky enough to engage in), wrapping myself in various layers of shawls, clothing, and more shawls, and taking it upon myself to carefully guard my body parts when traveling on crowded buses or through throngs of people.  One cannot be too careful, particularly when she is female and has white skin.

The other night, I had the luck of riding in the back of a half-empty bus.  The nearest people were white kids several seats ahead of me, so I felt comfortable spreading out on the back seat and taking a nap.  Sometime around two in the morning, I woke with a fright, as someone sat directly on my legs.  Suspicious.  Doubly so, because the culprit was a scrawny Indian man who could have taken any of the rows of empty seats ahead of us, but chose rather to sit on my legs.  I pulled them away quickly, sat straight up, and resigned myself to staying awake.  I kept a careful watch on him out of the corner of my eye. 

Unfortunately, I was distracted by a horrible song on my IPod, and had to look down for a moment.  When I looked back up, he had conveniently crept over three seats, and was now sitting directly beside me.  There was no need for that.  The bus was dark, so I couldn’t see where his hands were, but I knew he was up to no good.  I slowly eased my right hand down near my side, and, surprise!  His creepy hand was right there, inching in towards my thigh.  Two weeks ago, I would have been more polite.  I would have swatted him and walked off, unsure of the proper protocol in such a situation.  But luckily, I have recently made good friends with an India veteran named Mia, and she told me all about what to do in such situations.

“Hit them with your shoe,” she coached me, as we sat beside a pounding waterfall.  “Tell them they are bad men and should be ashamed of themselves.  If you really want to be rude, call them a ‘sister-fucker!’”  I haven’t perfected the art of public cussing yet, but her words buoyed me.  “But why your shoe?” I asked.  “Why not just slap them with your hand?”  “Because,” she said.  “Shoes are considered dirty, so it’s more disrespectful.  Plus,“ she said brightly, “It hurts more!”

When I realized that the slimy Indian’s hand was a millimeter from my thigh, and creeping fast, I swatted him and screamed.  “Fuck you, you idiot, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?!  DO NOT touch me, do you understand?!”  He conveniently pretended to fall into a deep sleep, slumping sideways with his eyes closed.  His sudden slumber appeared to be so deep that he didn’t even notice me hitting him!  Amazing.  I stormed my way into the aisle, cursing him every which way as I went, and took a new seat several rows up.  He wasn’t daunted.

 Five minutes later, he stumbled up the aisle, pretending to be jolted by the bus.  As luck would have it, I was lying sideways on the seat, my head to the aisle, trying to get some sleep.  He must have remembered that he had tucked away a scrap of phantom paper, or a piece of ghostly gum in the compartment above my head, because he stopped there of all places to conduct his phony search.  He also didn’t miss the opportunity to bang his tightly denim clad genitals against my head as he dug around.  I nearly screamed.  Instead, I sat up and aimed my elbow at his crotch.  Before I had a chance to connect, he had quickly darted off, forgetting whatever it was he had moments before been so eager to find.

I hate to say that I am scarred by Indian men, but for the time being, I am.  They are shameless in their leering, muttering, groping, and eye-fucking.  When a young man approached me on the street today, I hardly had the time.  “Please, miss, please, will you take a seat and talk with me for two minutes?” he pleaded.  I looked at him warily, and started walking again.  He seemed young and fairly innocent, but still…  He tagged along behind me, speaking good English and begging for two minutes of conversation.  I kept huffing and puffing my way up the hill, but I said, “Okay, I’ll talk to you, but we’re not sitting down.  What do you want?’ 

He complied, and trotted behind me.  The hill to Dharamkot is unforgivably steep, and after a moment of breathless conversation, I gave in and agreed to sit at one of the roadside benches for a moment.  But my disillusionment lead me to snappily say, “Now listen, Deva, I will sit with you and talk for a few minutes, but don’t you dare try to touch me.  You be good, do you understand?”  He nodded sagely.  But I wasn’t finished.  I was so fed up with Indian men, I found myself taking it out on this kid.  “If you try to touch me, I will kill you.”  His face got very serious.  “Okay, okay,” I said.  “I won’t kill you, but I will hit you hard with my shoe.  I’m totally serious.” 

Deva must have sensed the gravity of my words, because he slid to the far end of the bench and stayed there.  However, he proceeded to tell me a pity story about how no one in the town liked him and he needed money to get to Goa where he could start a new life.  “And anytime I ask friend for money- just two hundred rupees to help me buy bus ticket- they say no,” he said pitifully, dropping his head and sticking out his lower lip.  Then he looked up quickly.  “Maybe you are better friend?” he asked, holding out his hand.  I denied the scoundrel any money, because despite his seemingly good manners, he was blatantly a scammer.  But although his instant request for cash was rather annoying, he was as good as his word- he never tried to touch me.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Sarah 

      9 years ago

      I have such a love and appreciation for you lovely western men now... you have no idea!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Interesting story and beautiful pic there, too. Maybe this will make you appreciate those fine upstanding western men a bit more when you get back home?

    • sarahtrudeau profile imageAUTHOR

      sarahtrudeau 

      9 years ago from India

      Peter, I know I will come out of this a better person, I promise ;) Now I just have to get better at taking this all with a grain of salt- and maybe even laughing about it. Usually, though, the laughter comes later, in retrospect. At the time (pardon me for saying this), I just want to smash those guys in the balls. Ahem.

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 

      9 years ago from South East Asia

      I don't suppose you will believe me when I say that you will come out of all this a better person (if that were possible). Travel shapes you. Thanks I enjoyed the story. Hang in there.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)