Why Does It Seem That Indian Men Don’t Respect Western Women?
Now I know that is a sweeping generalisation; but for our time in India (having been there twice), there were very few that actually treated Elise with the respect that she deserved. I am all for understanding another country’s culture and traditions, but being down right rude and vulgar is not on in my books.
There was one incident which pushed me over the edge. Maybe I should of thought before my actions but the extent of the rudeness made be so angry.
I snapped. Enough was enough.
We had been travelling India for 2 months and I had become accustomed to the ways of the world in India. I had it all figured out and I new straight away when someone was pulling the wool over my eyes. We arrived in Pondicherry where we intended on visiting an alternative settlement called Auroville located some 10 kms out.
As always we searched the surrounding districts for accommodation that backpackers had recommended and settled for a guest house with some 100 rooms, which we were amazed at. This was a massive hotel and located right in the middle of the main street close to transportation and food. Two pluses in our eyes and the rooms where some what middle range on our comfort scale.
We went through the usual check in procedures and handed over our passports for safe keeping and security for the room, along with full payment for one nights accommodation. I only ever pay for one night and there is a good reason to never pay up front for a number of nights in the one place… and you will find out why.
Earlier upon check in we were shown a room that seemed quite nice. We were happy with the bed, bathroom and security bars on all windows. It even had a small satellite television which sometimes in a nice change for us. Bonus!
However, when we walked up the 4 flights of stairs, we walked directly past the room we had been shown earlier. I questioned the worker as to where he was taking us and motioned down the hall to a different room. In broken English he told us that the room we had seen eariler was already booked.
Ok, no problem right? Wrong.
He opened the door to a new room and before we could even say thank you, he had shut the door and disappeared down the hallway. We looked around and saw that this room pretty grimy and we heard water running from the bathroom. Not just a few drops of water, the entire shower head was broken off and water was flowing freely!
Elise and I both attempted to turn off the taps and shut the water off, but after several minutes and confused looks, we were defeated by the shower. We lay on our bed and looked around at the differences of the room that we had been shown before and the room we were now in. I tried to imagine sleeping with the sound of falling water on tiles. If you are aware of the ancient asian water torture, this was the kind of night that we were in for. We were sure to be kept awake for hours. We tried ear plugs as well but the sound was over whelming and it was Dolby Stereo Surround sound inside my head.
After being in the room for no more than 20 minutes or so we discussed what to do. Both being so tired we couldn’t be bothered looking for another hotel, but we had to change rooms. Besides, there were so many rooms here there had to be another one free!
I went downstairs and asked if our room could be checked for the leaky pipe or could we be moved to another room that was like the one we were shown on arrival. The two men discussed a few things in Hindi which I was now beginning to understand a little and then motioned to me that they were cleaning a room and we could move to that room in 5 minutes. Perfect! I ran back up the steps not realising how unfit I had become travelling for all this time and entered our room gasping for air. Elise was extremely happy to be moving into a fresh hopefully water dripping free room.
10 minutes passed and then 15 minutes and finally 20 minutes passed. I am extremely patient and traveling has taught me that in developing countries time is not an issue. People will get around to things when they are ready no matter how much you ask. Upon waiting half an hour I wandered back down to find out what was going on and if we could move across to the new room. One of the gentleman walked back upstairs with me and checked on the room and agreed to move our things across and opened the door of our new room. This guy seemed a little unusual and smiling a little to much for my liking. I just put it down to a few too many beers at lunch and he was a just merry.
He offered to help us with our bags and I insisted that we were OK to carry our own belogings. We then went back and forth carrying out our packs and swapping into a room that looked identical to the one we saw initially upon arrival. I looked around and I finally saw what I intended on paying for in the first place. Now I was happy and I jumped on the bed tried to see if the TV worked and if there were any channels in English.
Our door remained open and the man motioned Elise back in the old room like she had forgotten something. I guess she must have forgotten her shoes or something on the floor. But then I heard something about the shower head and that he was telling Elise that it was fine. This struck me as unusual that he needed to tell her, even though we had now checked into the new room. Then, there was no more voices coming from the room. I decided to get up after a minute or two and check out what was going on in our previous room next door. In the time I walked out into the hallway to go into the old room, Elise burst out in a huff and I could see the worried distressed look in her eyes.
I asked her immediately if everything was OK and what was going on. She seemed to have frozen and couldn’t talk. I asked her repeatedly what was going on she eventually murmured that the guy had cornered her in the room, held her against the wall and was trying to kiss her. She started to shake and cry when I asked her again, to reaffirm I was hearing her right and as I did I saw in my peripheral vision that the man was now starting to walk back down the stairs. I yelled at the top of my lungs for him to come back at which he crawled his way back to me and with his idiotic grin said that nothing had occurred. I was furious. I told him to go down stairs and I would be down in s moment. I then asked Elise to pack the few things we had and to lock her self in the room until I came back.
I went down stairs and demanded to have my money back and passports to the two men at the counter, one of them being the one that tried to forcefully kiss Elise. The other man tried to calm me down and I made it known what had occurred and the two of the men exchanged looks and talked then started laughing.
I challenged the man with the stupid grin on his face who earlier had cornered Elise in the room. At this point I had been thinking why I had allowed Elise to be in such a situation, but I had only left her for such a small time. It was all happening so quickly now and nothing was getting resolved. I asked the man if he thought it is OK to treat women the way he did. I asked him if he would treat an Indian women in this way. He continued to grin at me and then began laughing in my face.
That pushed me over the edge.
I walked around the counter grabbed the guy by the shirt and connected two punches with the side of his face and his jaw.
To get some perspective, I am not a fighter and this was only the second time I had ever hit another human. The anger inside of me was too much and I was running on adrenaline and nothing could stop me now. I demanded I have my money back and that we were checking out. The other man fumbled under the table and presented me with my money and passport immediately.
Shit, when I think back now I hated how I acted.
I now had to go back up stairs and retrieve Elise and our belongings and come back down to check out. Upon running up the stairs I prepared myself for the worse case senerio when we arrived back down. What if he had now called all his co-workers to defend himself and I would be terribly out numbered? Like I said I am not a fighter and I can hold my own, but to face 3 or 4 people at once? I was beginning to fear what would be waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.
Luckily when we went to leave our key, the entire lobby area had been vacated and the man that I had struck had all but disappeared. I was still on guard and I continued to make it known that I was pissed off at the lack of respect for my fiancee and what had occurred.
We motioned for a rickshaw and got the hell out of there. I still looked around to see if anyone was following us or if we would still be in trouble. My primal concern is always to protect Elise and when that was breached I guess I just snapped. I think that I made the wrong decision in striking the man, but he made me so angry with having no remorse or any apology for what he had done.
In India Elise was constantly having her photos taken by men, most of the time she didn’t mind, but it was the sneaky photos on their mobile phones or the calls of ‘Hey you want sex?’ that became draining for both her and myself. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if she wasn’t dressed so modestly all the time.
The thing that really gets to me is, many of these men wouldn’t dream of speaking or talking to Indian women like they do to Western women. I am ashamed of not controlling my anger, but like I said this is the second time I have hit someone and the other was when my cousin was in danger and once again felt I needed to protect him. I always want to look out for the ones I love.