of molestrologers and new year resolutions – part 3

Call me old-fashioned, but I really don’t think it’s ok for an old astrologer to poke a pregnant (or not) woman in her genitals under any circumstances.

And trust me, though a dimwit thinks he has his wife convinced that his intentions were merely to demonstrate how to accupressure works on a pregnant woman’s ovaries, his marriage is in trouble.

How do I know this? Because at 7:45 am on the 29th of December, K. Santhanam rang my doorbell. Mom answered, and he said that:

  • He has no reason to be attracted to me because he has an “active” relationship with his wife and he loves her very much.
  • His loving wife was upset with him at first, but then understood that he was just “doing his job”.

Then, he asked to speak to me personally to sort out the “misunderstanding” – which I refused to do.

Then he told mom that I had overreacted without listening to his (cock and bull) side of the story. Mom decided to humor him, which was a mistake, because what ensued was three elaborate versions of how:

(a) He did not touch me on the right side but on the left because he was recently in an accident and could not possibly have moved that arm,

(b) He did not actually do anything and it must’ve been my own hand, and

(c) I put his hand on my crotch myself.

If mom were capable of saying fuck you, she would’ve. Despite her best intentions, she let him walk away with some of his dignity intact.

Now, it was up to me to do what I could to strip him of his reputation. I couldn’t get over how breathtakingly insulting his demeanor was. I started by telling everyone I knew in the Mayur Vihar area about what he had done, requesting them to tell everyone they knew.

Mom and the lady who lives next door went to the Ganesha temple to request that he be taken off the administrative panel. They promised to consider it, but did nothing about it.

Even so, by noon, the news had spread like wildfire. The phone was ringing off the hook, and we had several visitors who sympathized with me and promised to do what they could. Within a few hours, the man had lost his credibility among his social circle – which, at 70+, means a lot.

My brother asked if I was going to report him to the police. I dismissed the idea immediately. How am I going to shuttle between courts and the police station when I have a baby coming out of me? Besides, he’s getting what he deserves – ostracism.

But I was wrong. It took only a few hours for me to realize how easy it would be for this man to just shift to a new house and escape his punishment. By evening, I couldn’t believe I was going to bring a baby into a world where perpetrators of sexual violence can get away with just a slap on the wrist – because I was too lazy to step out of my comfort zone.

I discussed this with mom and Mister at length. If I don’t do this now, I will never be able to teach my kid to stand up for his/her rights. And if someone educated like me will back down because it is inconvenient for me to go to the police, how can I judge those that brush things like this under the carpet was all it took to convince them.

So I wrote to the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) detailing the incident and asking for legal advice. I am yet to hear back, but I feel lighter because this incident taught me something I would like to teach my unborn child (who will probably be here this time next week to learn it!)

Always do the right thing even if it is bloody inconvenient.

This is going to be my new year resolution. This year, and every year after this one.

And to those of you who were kind enough to share my posts on Facebook, I can’t thank you guys enough! I came across some other women who have had similar experiences with the SAME GUY. They are helping, too.

Really, thank you. You made a difference. A BIG one.

of molestrologers and new year resolutions – part 2

A 72-year old astrologer molested me on the 28th of December. And what did I do?

Nothing. I just got up and left.

When Mister came home, I told him what had happened. I feel so dirty, I said, alternating between rage and disgust. He said nothing, just hugged me tighter every time I came close to tearing up.

Where’s mom?

At the temple.

The doorbell rang, as if on cue. Ma entered, beaming.

How did it go?

Very well. Santhanam’s wife taught me how to do puja properly in the Ganesh temple…

… while he was busy molesting Ana.


Mom was shocked out of her wits. Mister told her what had happened. It’s my fault. I should never have left her alone with him. 

No, it’s not your fault. He had no right to touch me. 

We sat in silence for a while, and then I got up and declared I was going to confront him. They didn’t want me to, because of all the stress it would cause.

I won’t be able to live with myself if I let the bastard get away – and that is way worse than the stress confrontation would cause.

So we decided to confront him in front of his family – we took our neighbours (who are Santhanam’s old acquaintances) along for support.

I huffed and puffed my way up to the top floor, where he lives. We stormed into the house and demonstrated to his wife exactly what he had done, and asked her if she thought it was indeed an accupressure demo, and whether ok for him to do that. She sat there shaking her head in disbelief, while Santhanam smiled menacingly and told me that he was seventy two years old and at his age, his intention was obviously not to molest me – he had merely touched me as a “doctor” would.

My otherwise quiet neighbor spoke up. Actually, no male doctor touches women this way. They always bring in female nurses to do the examinations. In fact, even for women’s lung exams, they check from the back, not the front.

I was not happy with the non-aggressive, rational tone the neighbor had taken. Tell me this, you pervert, would you be ok if my husband, who is a certified Yoga instructor, touched your granddaughter exactly how you touched me?

Santhanam slapped his hands together in a mock apology and said – Ok, you are right and I am sorry. Now please go.

The dismissive manner in which he spoke infuriated me even more than the inappropriate touching.

We left, but not before I told him I wasn’t going to leave him alone.

You’re going to be really sorry you did this.

Can you believe that he actually stuck to his “accupressure” story? Would you actually touch a person in their private parts to demonstrate how pressure should be applied? 

of molestrologers and new year resolutions – part 1

Believe it or not, I got molested last week by a 72 year old astrologer.  Yes, you read that right.

Me, a heavily pregnant woman the size of a small planet, about to deliver any second now, poked in the crotch by an old rambling man with one arm debilitated in an accident and one leg in the proverbial grave.

Let me back up a bit.

Mister’s mom and I had heard fascinating things about K. Santhanam, a well-known palmist and astrologer who lives at 92, Pocket D, Mayur Vihar Phase 2, Delhi – 110091. (I decided to add his complete address here, just in case you feel compelled to send him hate mail after reading this shit.)

So anyway. Mom and I decided to consult this guy because we were curious about what he would have to say about my future. And yes, I believe in this mumbo jumbo when I feel like it.

He started by telling us how he was an accomplished astrologer-cum-face reader-cum-palmist-cum-something else who had even been consulted by an ex-president of India in this very house.

He talks too much, I whatsapped Mister.

Then he went on to talk about how he was an engineer at a senior post, and how he had sent a woman employee home because he had predicted, just by looking at her face, that she was going to deliver a baby boy the same day. Then he told me how she called at 4 pm to say she had just delivered. A baby boy.

30 min and he hasn’t talked about my horoscope yet, I whatsapped Mister again.

Then he got to the point. He told me three things:

  1. I had a “motherly” streak in my personality and I shouldn’t let it go.
  2.  My “gonads” (I think he meant ovaries) were not functioning properly because of lack of sexual activity. This was the root cause of all my health problems.
  3. Having my baby and breastfeeding would “fix” my health for good.

All this while, he kept gesturing at his groin to indicate “gonads” and at his chest area to indicate breastfeeding. He also said something about my beautiful face and lips and I found this odd, but did not think too much about it because he was a senile old man (and also because I’m not easily embarrassed about my body).

He told me nothing of significance about my career or relationship or anything else, and quite honestly, I refrained from asking because he had taken 45 minutes to give me the aforementioned load of crap about my gonads. I was actually relieved when he moved to mom’s horoscope.

His observations about mom were very regular in nature; he said that she was an open person. He asked her to do pujas in the nearby temple, then indicated that there was one going on right now and that his wife was going there.

I (stupidly) asked ma to accompany his wife – but in my defense, his grown-up granddaughter was in the house and I had no reason to feel threatened. At this time, he was looking at my palm.

As soon as ma left,  he started talking about my “gonads” again, then put his hand on my thigh and slid it up to my crotch. When I objected, he told me he was trying to show me the acupressure points that would help me fix my health problems. As he spoke, his hand was still on my thigh.

I slapped his hand away, got up, and instead of going ninja on him, I mumbled something about his behavior being completely inappropriate, gathered my belongings and left.

Has something like this ever happened to you? How would you react if you were in this situation? Do you think I under-reacted?

(On a lighter note, what do you think about the term molestrologer? Giggles came up with it!)

Here’s what happened next.

of ghosts and stuff

After my landlord stole my denim bra, I was house hunting again. I found a beautiful apartment on the ground floor of a small building that had been converted into a number of small, one bedroom apartments. It was perfect, but people warned me against moving in, because a girl had been murdered in that house. They said it was haunted.

I didn’t really believe them, because:

A. I didn’t want to, and

B. I didn’t want to

(Seriously, ghosts and stuff belong only in the DeadMau5 universe.)

Soon after I moved in, I started feeling like something about the house was wrong. I sought solace in wine and feverish lovemaking with Mister at first, but then the noises became too much and I had to start paying attention to them.

Mister suggested I keep a diary of all paranormal activity – though in my case there were only noises that seemed to come from within the walls. I did.  Continue reading of ghosts and stuff

of feminism and checklists

You’d remember that I wrote about an IPS officer’s friendly checklist for women who want to stay safe.

Someone left the following comment for me there, and my response was so long-winded, I thought it might just be better to write a new post.

And then there was the fact that this way you can actively engage in the conversation and tell me what you think.

Here’s what TheKomentor had to say:

Though I can sympathize with the fact that you were injured in an accident, I really don’t find anything wrong with that police list. Those are just common sense instructions that every woman can follow to have a better chance of staying safe in public places. And it isn’t like the police are shirking their responsibilities; they are just saying you can stay safe even without them if you do those things. Of course everyone of us wants the freedom to dress and behave and live our lives the way we want to, but the fact of the matter is that freedom is oftentimes just a word — we, both men and women, are living under limitations, and we are safer when we stay within those limitations. It is like saying I should have the freedom to touch fire, and then blaming others when I get burned.

Let’s talk about her perspective, point-by-point.

I really don’t find anything wrong with that police list.

Take a closer look.


  1. What does he mean by ‘dress decently’? What is less provocative? A saree that leaves my midriff exposed or jeans and a t-shirt? Who is to say rapists will have exactly the same sense of fashion and modesty that I do?
  2. About being well-behaved – should I be greeting potential rapists with my hands folded? Or is he implying that women walk around “inviting” men through provocative gestures?
  3. If I can’t travel in crowded buses/trains, should I be boarding nearly empty buses/trains? Isn’t that what Nirbhaya did? I’m confused. Are you?

Those are just common sense instructions that every woman can follow to have a better chance of staying safe in public places.

Yes. I agree. I proactively do most of the things on that list. These things are not necessarily making us safe, because we do get “eve-teased” in broad daylight and in groups, but I’m with you on this one.

Most Indian women would agree that we’ve been forced to become street smart. We know, just by means of a quick glance, who is looking at us and how. We don’t go to ‘wine shops’, we don’t step out in the dark without male escorts, and we wear shrugs and leggings with dresses when we step out even if at the cost of looking like buffoons. We’re already doing all that.

But we don’t need a police officer to tell us these things. Unless, of course, they are talking to a specific woman who likes to walk around naked and dances provocatively in a crowded bus full of lusty men in the middle of the night, and then asks why she got raped. That woman, my friend, should be the poster girl for this checklist. Do you know her?

And it isn’t like the police are shirking their responsibilities; they are just saying you can stay safe even without them if you do those things.

Ummm… nope. What they are saying is: boys will be boys, and women just have to work around that.

They are making it our responsibility to stay safe. If something untoward happens, the same guy will first ask the victim where she was, what she was doing there at that time of the day/night, whom she was with, whether her family knows she hangs around with boys, etc. More questions will follow, centered around this checklist – ‘what were you wearing’ will be something that will finally make it the victim’s fault.

Of course everyone of us wants the freedom to dress and behave and live our lives the way we want to, but the fact of the matter is that freedom is oftentimes just a word — we, both men and women, are living under limitations, and we are safer when we stay within those limitations.

I disagree. Vehemently.

Just because it’s a bad world does not mean we have to live with it. Things will only get better if we take a stand, and I don’t mean just women.

We ALL have to stop saying these checklists make sense. Because they don’t make any sense because when they come from other people, they’re coming from someone who believes in victim blaming and slut shaming.

I’m not ok with that. I will do what I need to do to stay safe. I don’t need the police to tell me what I should do to not be raped. What I do need them to tell me is what they are doing to keep me safe. See what I mean?

My freedom is just a word until I believe it’s just a word.

It is like saying I should have the freedom to touch fire, and then blaming others when I get burned.

I don’t even feel like dignifying this with a response.

I know, I know, I have got to stop the sermonizing. But I can’t help it. There’s so much going on in our world these days, I can’t be an ostrich anymore. I think it’s time we stopped and thought about how little ‘friendly suggestions’ like this are adding to the gender issues we already have.

What do you think?

Please play nice. Just because you disagree with someone’s views does not mean you have to be disrespectful.