The novelty of scantily clad women wears off way too soon in Bombay. At ten in the night, on a deserted street such as Babulnath, a woman in a mini skirt is rare. Rarer are three of them, looking to get back home. While a longish stroll home wouldn't harm - not even a mild risk of eve teasing or crime - our bunch decides the occasion calls for an all-out splurge. Small change, the other two consider, the fact that they all seem to have overlooked is that they don't have any.
It surprised me when a pal (visiting from a faraway remote land, far more conservative than apna Bombay) exclaimed, on our walk back to Churchgate station, near a bus stop, at the number of skimpily dressed women who travel by public transport and ogled so lustily and in awe at the bare female human flesh on the little back-n-forth hunt across Pali Naka, though I don't blame him, given the beauty crisis he endures each day.
The ease with which a woman can commute in even starved sections of this cosmo sex-haven, has nothing to do with the men who put up the I'm maha-decent facade. Oh! no sir! It is a simple case of not hitting the kulhadi on the foot. Simple logic: if the "outsiders" did not behave themselves, they'd be either beaten up, or screwed royally by one of the many moral-policing gang bangers. Plus, women's false sense of security comes from this fact, which the men actually use as a means to encourage more women to be less covered up... all for Nain Sukh Praapti!
Of course, some communities are also associated naturally with sexual satiation, or at least the complacency that they can get whoever they want, using slightly more subtle, and even sophisticated means.
The tall and hot bawas have no dearth of nice- NICE women. The Goans are also lucky when it comes to well structured damsels in very little clothing. The Gujju janta (and female jantus) knows how to play around the rules. The bibis live in a different world, and the other locals are a wannabe lot anyway. The greatest benefit from all the men that we women enjoy, is of complete submission and utter helplessness.
It is amusing to walk into a conference room full of Bambaiyya men, raising more than just their eyebrows. While in a less urban setting, women with slightly decent brain power would be ignored or ridiculed or even side-lined, with zero appreciation for the female intelligence, and complete ignorance and neglect of the fact, that instead of concentrating on my obvious assets, they instead of their d**** might want to stand up and take notice. Even in "very professional" Bombay, the d***brains don't really evolve. Only, they know how to conceal better- well, at least they make the attempt. So instead of considering us as dimwitted sex objects, [wo/we]men are a masked as potential threat that our semi-metrosexual boys think will overwhelm their positions at work, in a competitive environment.
The assumption is, a hot woman is hot, looks hot, appears and makes efforts to be that way because she has a motive. The motive isn't even to "sleep" her way up, but simply "tease" her way up the ladder. And when the teasing is done the right way, you never commit to giving the "wrong impression", yet the purpose is served. And this purpose at workplace could be anything at all- anything from some leeway from the IT department, to no-fetching-coffee-for-the-boss, to more frequent increments and rewards in kind.
While it hurts some women to do that because either they're just not equipped, or LAZY, some of us are too motivated and dispassionate to care a f*** about what others will say or do as detriments. One just bulldozes one's way through because there's just such a dearth of time. Traditionally, the sex that was perceived as docile and less equipped, is now sly and cunning. Not exactly the vamp, but she knows how to get her way. She will do so without announcing it to the world. And take advantage of the horny, patronising chauvinists who will weave their own intricate traps and get so wound up in them, that they will have no choice but to give in to the demands of the women around them.
All they shall be left with, is delusions of having the final say, the upper hand, and utter cluelessness deep down. And eff the pun!!