She was quietly waiting in a queue to get the tickets. She was fair and her hair was long. ‘Beautiful’ was too little a word to describe her beauty. People, especially men of all ages, tried to find some space in the crowd to have a look at her. She enjoyed this attention initially. Who wouldn’t want some attention from the public for being so beautiful?
Soon she was uneasy but, couldn’t eschew this attention. The antipathy had its own reasons. Her eyes avoided direct contact with the gazes and the looks. She felt that people weren’t appreciating her beauty but rather commenting on her ethnicity. Some comments made her feel embarrassed. Some called her ‘chinki’ while some termed her ‘pinky’. Some even passed sexual comments in Hindi, describing different parts of her body. Now she was scared.
On reaching the ticket counter, she said, ” Bhaiya teen tickets dena.” The person at the other end inquired, ” Kahan se ho aap?”
“Usse kya farak padta hai,” she asked in a stern voice. The guy said, ” Madam, foreigners ke liye ₹200 ka ticket aur Indians ke liye ₹40 ka isiliye…”
She cut him short and replied in a frustrating tone, ” Arre Darjeeling se hai hum bhaiya. Woh West Bengal mein hai. Aur West Bengal India ka part hai agar aapko pata nahi hai toh.” By now, people were quietly enjoying the episode. Few people, standing right behind her, giggled and commented proudly on discovering that their ‘Chinki’ belonged to India. They were indifferent even on knowing that she could understand what they said and meant.
She felt extremely humiliated because by now, not only was her ethnicity at stake but also her nationality. She collected the tickets by paying ₹120, stepped aside and then entered inside. She quietly stood at the corner while allowing her friends to proceed.
Deep inside she cursed her ethnicity and her beauty which according to her was the root cause of such humiliation. She even regretted knowing Hindi. She imagined what could have been the scenario if she had slapped the first person to call her ‘Chinki’. Her mind contradicted this thought by telling her that she was a woman. By doing so she would have to face worse consequences than this. Lastly, she even regretted being a woman. She wanted to weep but she didn’t.