Saumya Tandon, Rashmi Desai And Other Popular TV Actresses Recall Their Disturbing Stalking Experiences!
Eve-teasing, harassment and stalking are unfortunately something that a lot of women have to go through in our country. Some women understandably shy away from facing their harassers, but others take matters into their hands. Celebrities often get stalked too, so in the wake of the two stalking incidents in the news, we decided to talk to some actresses about their experiences in the hope that it enables women to speak up.
I used to ride a bicycle to school in the 10th standard, but was harassed by a senior in my school who used to follow me everywhere on his bike. Once, when I was returning from tuition at 8pm, he stopped his bike in front of me and put something on my head and ran away. I was horrified and ran home. My parents got scared when they saw me howling and thought it was blood on my head. Later, I realised that he had applied sindoor. I was so shocked that I fell ill. My father spoke to the guy’s mother, and she said, ‘Such things happen between girls and boys. What can we do?’ This horrific incident stayed with me for 10 years. I think men are brought up in the wrong manner in India. Hindi movies glamourise stalking, making it cool — the hero stalks the heroine and wins her over — but in reality, it sucks.
Once, when I was driving home alone from work, I realised someone was following my car. At a signal, when our cars stopped, they pulled up next to mine and were staring and cheering. I was very scared, as they began whistling too. I called my friend and kept the phone on. Then, I saw a policeman on the road and reached out to him. Once the guys saw the cop, they took a U-turn and ran away. It was an unnerving night.
I was shopping in Lokhandwala, Andheri (W) and was walking down the street when I reached an alley and realised two well-built guys were following me. I was very scared. Thankfully, I spotted a lady with a dog and started walking with her and took her into confidence. She walked with me until we were at my building and that’s when I clicked photos of the guys and threatened to give the pictures to the cops. They ran away, but stalking is a harsh reality in our country.
Every woman has felt the sensation of being watched, which is unnerving to say the least. Once, I drove home after work, when I noticed a guy, who I had seen on the sets of my show a couple of times, sitting on the footpath. I thought it was odd that he was near my house. And because of the dug-up roads, I had parked my car a bit far from my building and was going to walk home. But before I could get out of my car, he came over and tried to open the locked door. He kept on knocking, which scared me. He later went and sat on the footpath and kept staring at me. I then called my husband, who came and thrashed the guy for harassing me.
I was stalked a lot when I used play hockey. I was in Dehradun (Uttarakhand) and we used to walk down to our hockey training centre. While I was walking, there was an autowala who was playing a song really loudly. I ignored him, but he soon began following me, which made me angry. I asked him what his problem was, and he told me that he liked me. I asked him to go away, but he didn’t. I then rammed my hockey kit on his rickshaw, which scared him off. I always feel you should stand up for yourself rather than waiting for help.
Two days ago, I got a message from an unknown number. The guy said he was from a music company and wanted to sign me for a music video. Later, he added that there would be a bold scene in the music video. I felt something was fishy, and so declined the offer and asked him not to contact me again. But he kept calling me every day and even sent me pictures of his private parts. I have blocked his number and plan to file a complaint soon.