Yesterday after a long wait I went swimming at the pool in my neighbourhood. Located in one of India’s premiere colleges it really is one of the few pools easily and not very cheaply accessible by public. It being located in my locality is another of its perks considering the crowd here mostly constitutes college students, professors and their families. Another category would be the landlords and their families who overcharge students for flats and PGs who in return are quite destructive with their property.
All in all when I went to the pool I was hoping for a really good time. And now that the scene is set the actors must step in. The actor steps into the pool at a very reasonable Indian Standard Time, already feeling the gaze of all the men in the pool. Brushing it aside as paranoia, she steps in and makes a move for an emptier side. There is only one other woman in the pool wearing a swimming costume that was a little less covering than a burqini. We could call it the frockini. Wearing a one piece myself I felt extremely naked with all the gaze and testosterone around.
Of course the moment I was in the pool I forgot all about creepstars and frockinis, and went into my athletic mode, swimming lap after lap. Towards the end, as my stamina was lowering and my energy steaming out, and I was doing a slow breaststroke, I noticed there was an old man in his 50s staring at me and and time and again he would go underwater while continuing to stare. If that did not creep me out enough another guy around my age, continued to swim in deep waters from under me while facing upwards.
Like whaaa!!! Can’t a girl just enjoy her swim without bothering at least once in her life about men staring, shame about body, decency of costume etc. There is some time before men in Delhi become comfortable about women in the pools. This is also a hope for women reclaiming pools because we want more women at the pools and women to stop giving other women judgmental looks about their costumes or bodies.