By the way: I am just another guy on Geri Route, and I don’t get what’s wrong in stalking | columns | Hindustan Times
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By the way: I am just another guy on Geri Route, and I don’t get what’s wrong in stalking

How could she have not liked the chase? Worldly wisdom passed on to me cannot be wrong. I know. She secretly enjoyed it. At least she did not mean for it to become so big. She’s said that. Read the papers. Actually, don’t. The papers, the channels, they’re all enjoying the hoopla anyway, deluding themselves. We’ll come to that later.

columns Updated: Aug 13, 2017 09:37 IST
Aarish Chhabra
Aarish Chhabra
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh stalking,stalking,Geri Route
Ain’t I cool?(Shutterstock)

We all know that I am just another guy. But these days I am in a jail in Chandigarh. All because this girl from Panchkula made such a hoopla about our usual ‘geri’.

Tell me: how could she have not liked the chase? Worldly wisdom passed on to me cannot be wrong. I know. She secretly enjoyed it. At least she did not mean for it to become so big. She’s said that. Read the papers. Actually, don’t. The papers, the channels, they’re all enjoying the hoopla anyway, deluding themselves. We’ll come to that later.

First, I must say that it’s the cops who spoiled it. They responded to her phone call as if we — my friend and I — were some criminals headed for a robbery. They caught us and took us to the police station. Later, the girl got a little emotional and logged onto Facebook. We all know that’s a bad idea when we are in a mood. She wrote down the whole shebang about how we tried to kidnap her. No, we did not. We only wanted to talk to her and ask her if she would do friendship with us. To make it legit, we started chasing her only from the thus-named, designated ‘Geri Route’.

For those of you who don’t know it — BTW, shame on you — let me explain the concept of ‘geri’. But I won’t do it in my own words. I have decided to take something from the internet and twist my words around it. In short bursts. That’s how things are done these days. I am a true millennial, not as medieval as you thought, OK!

So, there’s this guy called Amandeep Sandhu whose post about our little misadventure went viral. I googled him. He’s some sort of writer and has been to Europe. He is married to a south Indian woman. She’s dark, man. Who does that? Anyway, his life!

His post explained that ‘geri’ is the feminine of ‘gera’, the term used in Punjab for “the farmer going on horseback to survey his farms”. The use of the feminine, he argued, “is to ascribe gentler qualities to it, make it more innocent than its reality”.

“While earlier it was a sign of protection and power and vigilance, the act has now become a ritual,” he added, “Within it, the term encapsulates the political economy of large farms where the owner has many serfs working for him... Now that owners are separated from lands and moved to cities, changed their steed from horses to SUVs, the necessity has become an empty ritual. You are mistaken if you feel ‘geri’ in cities is harmless men having some fun — chicken and rum — without harassing women. That is not how women feel...”

I did not understand much of it, and I particularly did not get his references to caste — which I’ve deleted — and the last part about women feeling unsafe. Caste is a political issue. And my uncles and aunties, Papa’s colleagues, have already said we must not politicise the issue. I respect my elders.

As for how women feel, let me educate you. Women love it. Why else do they smile at us? I get a little confused, though, when they smile. What am I supposed to do now? Smile back? Share feelings? Yuck.

I am a man. We don’t do that kind of thing.

In fact, I like the ones who don’t smile. The fun is in the chase. Even Babul-ji said it on Twitter. (Supriyo, yaar, that singer who’s now a minister! I follow him on Twitter.)

Let me come specifically to the girl we chased that night. It was past midnight. She was alone in a car. If she were my sister, I would’ve scolded her, protected her. But she isn’t; though I had to call her ‘behen’ later when we were arrested. Karna padta hai, yaar!

She was one of those who don’t smile at us. What else were we supposed to do if not chase her? She’s using some fancy word now. Stalking. The media has picked it up and made it a national issue. What’s news in it? Did those reporters who ran after me — the male ones — never chase a girl? And what about those pretty girls interviewing her?

Come on, girls, you know you like the chase. The more you frown, the more you look irritated, the dirtier the looks you give me, the more obvious it becomes. It’s not like something is out of syllabus here.

Even that girl is now saying she did not expect it to become so big. She understands. You don’t, you media people. Why are you railing against Geri Route suddenly? You played along before, especially on Valentine’s Day, glorifying its romance. My brethren have already pointed out how, after the initial bail, I was re-arrested under stricter charges only because the media wanted to appear all holy.

In the latest, a march was held, too, to “reclaim the streets” for girls. The marchers made it a point to cover Geri Route. But did we ever say that girls cannot come to the route? They are most welcome. We shall give them due attention, at all times of day and night.

People, calm down! It’s a matter of culture. We must protect it. And I, as you know, am just another guy.

Writer tweets at @aarishc

(Views expressed are personal.)

First Published: Aug 13, 2017 09:34 IST