Team Project Sexuality
It is 1 am midnight. Most of the city is sleeping, the buzz on the street is dimmer, only a few vehicles are plying.
A well known nightlife square in the neighborhood wears a deserted look. With the exception of countable groups of women huddling along exit gates opening into road pavements, the glass panes of popular restaurants and clubs show no customers inside. Nestling close, these women seem to be looking for transport. Street lights dotting the alley are creating vivid patches of light on a straight road that makes the rough surfaces uneven, but visible.
At a distance, two men are lighting a bidi -a type of cheap cigarette made of unprocessed tobacco wrapped in leaves – an auto fleets past.
Few drunk men are shouting loudly from a car which is moving at a snail’s pace. Their exact words are inaudible. The young women coming out are walking along the road. They look frightened as a car moves past them.
What has frightened them is the news which came a few days back. A girl was raped in Hauz Khas village at midnight when she was returning from a party. She took help from the accused, who had told her that he would drop her home and that his car was parked nearby.
The accused on February 18 took her to the nearby Deer park and had raped her in an isolated corner, raising the question of security in such areas.
Despite a routine operation of gangs of traffickers and middlemen working in clusters in the capital, not a single police officer can be seen on patrol past midnight.
The frightened women board a cab and leave the place. More cabs are speeding away, people in private cars are hustling by as those waiting for public transport with anxiety-colored faces seem to gather around possible makeshift shades. A group of women in deep skin tones, visibly of foreign origin, are walking swiftly near Jagannath Temple, around 300 meters from the club area.
A vehicle stops and chats with one from the group, she nods her head in disagreement as two more men are seen conversing with her from inside a sedan. More from the group join her as they exchange words with each other.
A tall woman from the group goes close to the driver of the car and says “Can you pay 5000?” The driver is adamant that he is willing to pay just 3000.
The fat man sitting in the sedan talks to his friend seated beside him and both of them flash a smile at each other’s faces.
Few meters past them, two young men in a car are cracking a deal with another woman of the group, persuading them to come along, offering them money.
The negotiations are on from both the sides. Minutes later, a young woman from the group, dressed in traditional attire, sits inside the car of the two young men as they hurriedly rush past the spot.
The other women are moving ahead as the men in sedan accelerate slowly and try to persuade them. People are passing by, going about their own ways across the dimly lit street.
Towards the club area, a car is offering a lift to three women, to which one of them replies back ferociously, “get lost.”
An incident of rape a week ago hasn’t done much to beef up the security in these areas.
Clanking of steel knobs and metal locks can be heard as the nightlife corners surface their last minute of the day, young women are still nervously lining up around faint street lights to get into a vehicle. Some have buried their eyes on the phone, trying to book cabs while some cautiously look up and around till a few meters away before stepping ahead.
The conversation between women and cars on halt continues on the other side. Police are nowhere to be found in the vicinity.
700 metres away from the spot, at the entrance of another road, however, a few stand guard.