When A Woman Strikes…
It is very difficult to talk about bad experiences you may have with a community or in a city without offending some people. Yes, in this day and age people take offense over even the least offending of statements. Yet, for the sake of not offending those few, I cannot lie or twist the truth. Whatever happened to me is EXACTLY what I list here, and you, the reader, have absolute freedom to judge me or get offended as much as they please. I have stopped caring about what some stranger sitting behind his or her laptop thinks about me because it does not define me anyways; if anything, it defines them.
For me, Delhi is a city I relate mostly with a string of bad experiences. Good experiences, if at all, were few and usually came with one or the other hidden agenda. Most of my bad experiences were with women and some with men too, men who were self-appointed knights in armor, all too eager to protect the ‘deluded’ damsel in ‘alleged’ distress without taking a minute to hear both sides of a story. I was someone who was socializing for the very first time in life with absolutely no clue and the people I came across were mostly heartless and unforgiving, with a veneer of fake smile and politeness. If I list all of my bad experiences here in great detail it would become a 500-page book on ‘How to Fail in Socializing’ which no one is gonna read. Perhaps the Universe had singularly picked me up for having all those bad experiences, one after another, in quick succession, or perhaps there was no one dumber than I was.
From an intelligent TedX speaker (woman) who advised me to be ‘shameless’ but stopped communicating with me after I emailed her a long list of qualities in her I really like (maybe I was too ‘shameless’ for her), someone (a man) giving me death threats over Whatsapp for praising his girlfriend’s hairstyle in her DP, someone (woman) complaining to my BNI sponsor (man) about the fact that I shook hands with her twice instead of the ‘more acceptable norm’ of one handshake and that sponsor appointing himself as my soft skills trainer in lieu of big money (as big as 60K) even as I thought I did nothing wrong, a self-styled dating coach (man) who I never saw coming or going with one single girl but who duped me of 15k as fees for teaching me crazy ‘dating skills’ which were disrespectful to women at best, a couple of toastmaster girls who thought I had some kind of ulterior motives if I accidentally got a bit too close to them (and they would complain about me to the EC when I had done nothing ‘ulterior’), people in metro who thought I was some kind of suspicious character to stay away from (their stares made me so uncomfortable that I eventually ditched metro for pooling in Uber), a co-passenger in my cab (woman) who told me flatly that she has ‘no interest in conversation’, someone (woman) blocking me on whatsapp just for telling her that I know the woman who is with her in her DP (and she calls herself a life coach too; God save her clients), my landlord stealing 2,000 rupees from my purse when I was in the kitchen to make tea for him, an old self-styled patriarch (man) who threatened to remove me from his whatsapp group just because I sent a ‘hello’ on whatsapp to the co-admin (woman) – in fact a few months later when we met she acted cold and unfriendly and I did not initiate anything with her beyond a ‘hello’ for obvious reasons, a landlord (man) who would fleece me in every possible way right from fudging the amounts in electricity bills to adding extra numbers with pen in those bills and then calling it a ‘typewriter mistake’, someone ( woman) falsely telling the entire executive committee of a toastmasters club that I have been sending random messages to all members of the club when in fact I had sent a Kishore Kumar song only to her for no other reason but because I liked her speech on ‘love and forgiveness’ the evening before and I figured that she is someone I can share my music taste with if nothing else, someone (woman) who was a dentist and shared her number with me but after the first ‘hi’ told me never to message her again, someone who would rather hide herself inside a washroom until I go away than say a flat ‘NO’ when I asked for her number (we belonged to the same community), to someone (man) who claimed that I make the people in his party group uncomfortable when I barely talked to them except for asking them their names and professions (maybe I am not supposed to do that in a party but it was my first experience and I had no clue; the man, when I asked him for an explanation, merely said that since I am an educated English graduate I should know better and that he need not have to explain anything), to a ‘friend’ (man) who claimed to be a crorepati stock market pro and invited me to his home for a few days but then started charging me for room, food and basically everything that put his ‘friendship’ and his financial claims in doubt, to a toastmaster (woman) who fought with me on Whatsapp just because I texted her friend on messenger asking her if she is also a toastmaster (for the first time, thanks to her, I learned that legally speaking, ‘texting random girls’ is an ‘offense’ in our country)… someone (a man) under whom I was a volunteer and who started bashing me (with words, of course) very rudely for talking to the female participants in his group because one of his hitherto hidden rules were, ‘don’t talk to women’, a yoga teacher (woman) who would only call me up whenever she needed money be it for travel or movies (including popcorn) and did not have time for me otherwise, a party junkie (woman) who told me that I don’t need to repeat my name twice (she did not care, actually), a lawyer turned filmmaker (a man) who made fun of my accent and told me straightaway that this won’t work (I had gone to his place for an audition btw) while one of his drew members (another man) wrote ‘Mr. Skinny’ as my name on the audition slate rather than my real name because it would help him ‘remember me better,’ a travel host (a woman) I went to travel with who removed me from her Whatsapp travel group just because I could not communicate with him while on the road as my phone was not working (no signal and no battery; later on I explained everything to her in a long message but that did not seem to have any effect on her; it was the last time I traveled on a mercury retrograde btw), someone (woman) who canceled my party invitation because I sent a joke to her on Whatsapp asking whether she also has non veg foods available at her party (with enough emoticons to make it look like a joke) and then when I went to the party uninvited (yep, my fault) and started talking and singing with the group (after I had my 100% veggie food) I was ‘politely’ asked to leave for making the other people in the party ‘uncomfortable’ (all because I did not come with an invite??), someone (woman) who made fun of me when I told her that life is the biggest teacher (her initial question to me was: ‘where did you learn content writing and digital marketing?’ and I suppose she could not get her head around the fact that one can be self-educated through life’s experiences), to some people (women) I met on an offline dating platform (where I paid 5000 bucks to attend the event and the females paid less than half the amount, because as the organizer said, it is hard to get girls for these kinds of events but she also gave me the ultimate advice, even if it seemed to hurt the prospects of her business, that I should stop chasing girls and the right one will find me out) who preferred to look the other way or drink beer when I approached them for interaction…YES the list is endless and ridiculous. About the few good experiences I had, I met a good lady who treated me like her brother and counseled me regarding resolving my disputes with my parents, gained a lifelong friend who I still talk to and met a wonderful lady who for the first time made me feel what it means to have a dinner with a nice and decent woman (but unfortunately, as I learned a few days later, she was engaged to marry someone else and was about to get married soon ). However in this article, due to word-limitations, I can talk at length about only ONE single tragic experience which left a big scar on my psyche, so much so that I won’t have the courage to mingle with women for several months after that.
I was part of a, let us just say, the ‘Happiness club’ in South Delhi; a member introduced me to the club claiming that it can help me become rich; I did not become rich but met a lot of nice people there. Yes I made up the name of the club for that is the only way to protect the guilty. In the entire city, this was the only place where I found people who accepted me for who I am, gave me free life coaching (which, although unsolicited, I never found to be patronizing because hey, none of us is perfect and we all have problems in life right?), shared their joys and worries with me freely, laughed with me, listened to me without judgment : things which money can never buy. Visiting this club soon became my addiction and I would find a reason and time to go there every time they had a free seminar or meet up planned. Since I never got my mother’s love, mingling with older, mature looking women was quite a thing for me and this was perhaps my biggest motivation to go to the club, more than any knowledge and sharing, because at least the women in this club were much nicer to me compared to those in the rest of the city.
In every seminar there used to be a ‘coach’ and the club offered attendees a way to share their problems on the platform if they so wish (full confidentiality was maintained by all the members of the club and as far as I was concerned, I had nobody else to talk to anyway; I had no real friends in the city except the club members). Now there was an arrogant, young female coach (whether she was proud of her looks or intelligence I don’t know) and I fell for her confidence more than anything else. I think at first even she liked me; she would smile and look at me for more than a few minutes every time I entered, make elaborate arrangements to greet me by making other members clap for me every time I entered, etc. However, all that changed when, on the advice of one of the members, I chose to share my story of failures on the platform. I was a total failure in life; my content writing business was not doing well, I had poor relationships with my parents (I had separated from them) and my love life never did well anyway except for a couple of bad-tempered, psycho women I found online one of whom promised to marry me then dumped me unceremoniously for somebody else.
I believe that when she heard my story I had lost all the respect and admiration she had for me; she told me rudely that I should consider shutting down my business, that I had made my life a joke, and after that day she neither greeted me that way nor picked up my calls. Much later of course I learned from Google (this was yet another self-styled dating coach who wrote this article on ‘dating women) that a man must not share his problems or issues with the woman he intends to impress until and unless she is ‘deeply into you’ else, while she may consciously express some female sympathy for the man but subconsciously she will find the man unattractive and wont respect him. I don’t know how right or wrong he was but if anything, his claim seemed to be true in my case; I was enlightened now, but it was already too late; I had fired an arrow in the wrong direction and I had to suffer the consequences.
My desire for her, however, only grew as time passed by. Once I met her aunt at the seminar. She was wearing a beautiful necklace with large balls, a design rather unique to me. We chatted for some time and then when we were about to part I told her that her necklace was beautiful so it must be expensive; at the same time I touched her necklace with my finger (not her skin or anything; just one of the balls of the necklace, because I really admired its beauty). She smiled and said that it was rather cheap and fake; in any case she did not seem to mind me much.
A month went by. I was getting tired and angry with this coach girl for not picking up my calls. One day, out of anger and desperation, I stupidly proposed to her on Whatsapp. She angrily told me never to contact her again. I thought it ended there and then; I promised myself never to contact her anymore. A few days later I got a call from one of the managing directors of the club that I have to leave the club immediately as I have been accused of sexual harassment by an unknown woman.
I was dumbstruck; nothing I did in life with women bordered even remotely on ‘sexual’ let alone ‘sexual harassment.’ He refused to divulge the details at first but few of my friends pressurized him to reveal that the woman whose necklace I touched had accused me. In my mind I could add two and two; clearly she was instigated by this young woman who got miffed at my marriage proposal, else why a woman would sit idle for a month and not complain immediately. Also, back when I touched her necklace, she did not object at all and rather smiled at me pleasantly. Third, as far as I know in no law of the country the sole act of touching someone’s necklace can be called sexual harassment; the ‘crime’ if any, was not really one, to begin with (unless it has been preceded or followed by really obscene behavior) , compared to the grievous charge leveled on me which can end any guy’s career in a minute (luckily I was not doing any job in any firm and she did not go ahead with a police complaint because frankly, the premise on which her complaint was built was shaky at best).
It became clear to me that the girl merely wanted me OUT of the club by any means. I even offered to talk to the woman and apologize to her in person but the managing directors would have none of it (again, they acted like typical patriarchs, self-styled knights in shining armor). The fact that I had interacted with hundreds of women in the club and the only complaint came from this young woman’s aunt, that too just days after I proposed her, cannot be a coincidence. I think other than that of my mother, that was the first time I experienced a woman’s wrath in a big way. What disappointed me even more was that only 10% of the club members came in my support (even though several more Whatsapped me saying that they knew what happened with me was wrong), but it was not enough to get me back in the club. That was the day I told myself that I must leave the city; there was nothing for me in Delhi anymore except that club, and with the club gone, I was friendless. A few more bad incidents happened and eventually I got a writing job offer from Mumbai which acted like a catalyst that facilitated my shift to Mumbai (the job offer turned out to be a sham but I stayed on anyways). After I shifted I changed my SIM card and snapped all ties with most of my Delhi-based contacts. For several months after that I did not trust females much and would keep a distance from then except for professional talk.
Even today, a year later, the mere thought of visiting the city sends shivers down my spine. I get project offers from there but dread getting embroiled in something bad again. I have been bitten so many times there that I am indeed too shy of visiting Delhi. The only two bad things I did in Delhi, of which I am truly ashamed of, were: I once met a hot girl at a party who slept with her boyfriend in front of all of us. I thought she had no character. After that she put up a picture on Whatsapp where she was wearing just a black thong and bra. I messaged her saying that the picture can make any man horny, in response to which she abused and blocked me. The day after, her drunken boyfriend emerged, threatening to whack me (on whatsapp) if I send such obscene messages to her again. I blocked both of them, but could never forgive myself for that one mistake which I never repeated again in life; much later, just a month or so before I would shift to Mumbai, I met her at another party and she seemed to be real nice to me; I don’t know whether she forgot or forgave me, but I was so ashamed of what I had done that I did not interact with her. Another time I had met a hot woman who poured her heart to me, like no woman did before, ranging from marital to career related problems; I thought she liked me and I put my arm on her shoulder while we traveled together back home in metro; later on she told me she found my behavior inappropriate; I apologized to her and said that if she had said it then and there I would have taken a step back, but her excuse was that she did not want me to fall prey to the angry, frustrated knights in armor who were around, watching us. In any case I blocked her.