Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Safety Pins

I'm guessing no one's unfamiliar with this thing called the safety pin.

Of course, it prevents the 'drapes' from falling off and causing embarrassment; it holds the dupatta in place and averts the breeze from being mischievous.
But there's more to safety pins.

Picture this. I am in the dark interiors of a cinema hall. A Hindi movie is ablaze on-screen. I am comfortably settling to the proceedings. The movie is Kareeb.
And then, I realize, much to my discomfort, that there's an intruder!
A man, seated behind me, has stretched his legs and is wiggling his toes at the back of my seat.
I guess I don't have to tell you how 'exactly' it was unnerving. For the uninitiated, it was in the vicinity of my derriere (this is as explicit I am going to get!).

All of thirteen then, it was my first brush with the lecherous lot. It does suffice to say, I lost my innocence right then. And the irony...let's just say, his feet were too Kareeb for comfort !

My brain is pushed into the fourth gear. I wonder how to tackle this? I have half a mind to stand up, turn around and slap the guy. But, that will just attract a lot of attention; and not to forget, I will ruin the movie experience for others as well. Moreover, I was with my family and I didn't want them to know this (I don't know why!).
In despair, I look around. And EUREKA! A movie scene distills out from my memory. And I proceed with 'Operation POKEmon’. I carefully extract the safety-pin which I used to pin up my dupatta. The man proceeds with his next attempt. I let him. And then, I strategically position my safety pin and wait patiently; like a tiger lying low for his prey.
The next thing I feel is a pressure on my pin!! Needless to say, the humble pin had done its job.
I am only amused that he didn't shriek out in pain. The jab prevented further attempts.
I watch the movie in peace.
Now you know why it's called the 'safety' pin.

Being a woman, I am used to this and more. The 'innocuous' brushes and 'accidental' touches by men are commonplace. I am sure others from my ilk will agree. Women who commute daily by train or buses will have more stories to share. And that's why chilly powder, pepper powder and safety pins have replaced diamonds as a 'girl's best friend'. These household items have a newfound respect in women's hearts.

Thank God for the safety pin!!

P.S. – Actually, thank Walter Hunt. He invented the safety pin. The safety pin was invented while Walter Hunt was twisting a piece of wire, trying to think of something that would help him pay off a fifteen dollar debt. On April 10, 1849, the safety pin was patented. Walter Hunt also thought little of his safety pin as an invention and soon sold the patent for four hundred dollars. Then he watched his latest brainstorm go on to become a million dollar money earner for someone else.

Thought for the day : " Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is. "
~ Francis Bacon


  1. Instead of slapping that man, you went to school the next day and slapped an innocent boy on his back for no particular reason. :(

    1. Vishnu,
      Let me jog your memory. That 'back-slapping' incident happened when we were in the 7th standard. And this incident was when I was 13, ergo when we were in 8th standard. So you stand corrected! :D



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