It is hard to imagine for me as a man what a woman goes through on a regular basis with the constant gazes and attention. My guess is that one gets used to the male attention. But being surrounded by the other gender is still a source of trepidation.
I discovered that when I entered the lift from the concourse at Kailash Colony Metro Station. I was alone in the lift and then a pretty girl entered. It was good. Then one more and then another. Soon the lift was full of women and I was the only guy in the corner holding my breath trying to merge in.
I realized that is what most women do. Reclaiming public spaces is a movement to claim the breathing spaces and nothing more. If men form the bigger number in metros and buses, it is because women have been made to feel uncomfortable in those spaces and they have slowly left the space for men to fill them. I am sure this not just an Indian problem but I am equally sure that the Indian populace has rather confounded this problem.
Luckily they were women so I didn’t get leered at or groped in the lift. If I tell someone I was uncomfortable in the lift, it would either lead to him saying that I am being a sissy or that I am not well-adjusted enough to be in the presence of the other gender. Both the presumptions might be true for me and for the women who feel unsafe in public but how did it come about? The social anxiety has ‘social’ in it so the society has to take some responsibility of my anxiety, right?