RS, I will refer him by this name, is in late 40s or early 50s. He is quite popular in our housing society, though he lives in one close by. Almost all residents of our area greet him very respectfully. The reason being that he is very religious. He is at all religious functions in our locality. He organizes such functions regularly at common areas. He visits places of worship daily, mainly of his own religion but even of other religions on special occasions. I met him about 6 months ago at such a function where a friend had taken me along. I have been seeing him often at some place or the other. I have met his wife. They have two children, a son and a college going daughter. They are very well behaved and polite. I see his daughter almost daily while on morning walks. She greets me with a lot of respect and at times stops her jogging to have a word or so. Over a period we have developed a healthy rapport of uncle and niece. She at times seeks advice from me of some issues.
He has some business dealing in whole sale trading. His son who is around 25 years old helps him or rather he takes full responsibility leaving his father free to attend to his religious activities. RS had been asking me to be regular at all functions but I somehow feel that religion is in one’s heart and is personal choice for which there is no need to make much of a show. Still to keep him happy I did join him at times. I surprisingly noticed later that his children almost never joined him in such functions.
A few days ago I went with him to a function which was held in a small temple. The place was over crowded. One could hardly move. To avoid being jostled around, I climbed onto a higher side platform. There were a few persons like me on that. I had a bird’s view of crowd from there. I found RS milling around the crowd, majority of which was women. I was totally shocked when I saw him groping at young ladies while moving about. At first I thought that he was just trying to move forward but on close scrutiny I realized that it was intentional. If there was any male in his way he just elbowed him away but with ladies, particularly young ones, he touched at their bottoms or chest to move forward. I watched it for some time to be sure it was not a trick played by my eyes. I felt so disgusted to find what I observed was true.
I felt very disturbed for the next couple of days thinking of ways to make him stop this. I felt if I talk to anyone, I would not be believed. To talk to him was out of question as he would never admit such behavior, rather he would go ahead to talk ill of me to all and sundry. It was while his daughter asked me while on morning walk as to why was I so lost in some thoughts because she had to greet me twice before I responded that the dam broke. I asked her as to why did she not attend any of functions with her father. She looked at me intensely and said, “ So you have noticed it.” Then she went on to tell me that she had known his habit for the past couple of years and that is why she did not attend any function with him inspite of her mother insisting. She knew that no one would believe her if she told the reasons. Her brother did not attend as he was busy with work and on return he wanted to relax. We then hatched a plan. It was that on frequent basis she will speak of being groped by some male , mostly elderly ones, in the bus while commuting to and back from college. This was to be done when all of them are together and add to her narrating such incidents that what kind of males are these who indulge in such obnoxious behavior with girls young enough to be their daughters. She would also say that next time she is going to slap that person irrespective of his age or status. We hope that hearing this regularly he may think of his own conduct and desist in future.
This makes me wonder why should one put up a false façade of being a God fearing religious person if he has to indulge in such nefarious activity.