I have been touring with a fellow comedian this week. One evening during a discussion about men and women, he turned to me and said, “Girls that have difficult relationships with men have often had bad relationships with their fathers”. I said, “and visa versa.” He looked surprised that it could work the other way round. I said, “Men that treat women badly have often had bad relationships with their mothers.”

He said, “Explain?”

I said, “Mothers are the first role model of a woman to any man. It’s a boy’s first relationship with a woman, it’s the first view he forms of a woman, and in the future he may marry a woman just like his mother – if he likes her enough, doesn’t nag that much and wears great shoes.”

I was on tour in India earlier this year. On my few days off I decided to travel by myself from Bangalore to Mysore and spend a couple of days seeing the palace and going to the coffee plantations in Coorg. Travelling on my own, I have never been harassed so much in my whole life.

I came out of the palace one night with millions of other people and men kept shouting, “Miss, you want lift? You want lift?” I ignored them. “Miss are you tourist? We take you anywhere. Come with us we are the police we can give you lift Miss.” I turned around and there was a man with one leg trying to drive a three-wheel rickshaw. I thought either the police have hit hard times, or this man is lying.

Everywhere I went on my own I felt harassed. It was like I was some kind of loose immoral animal for wanting to sight see by myself. One night I had to get on a night bus from Bangalore to Chennai to do a show in Chennai the next day. On the bus I was the only woman, there were seven men. When I got on I sat on a double seat by myself, but the driver moved me to the front of the bus as I obviously couldn’t be trusted to spend seven hours on my own with my Rod Stewart autobiography on two seats so he had to keep an eye on me. It was like going on a school trip to Dudley Zoo.

After seven hours after I was getting off the bus one of the men said to me, “Where are you going now?”

“I said mind your own f*&^%$# business.”

He looked really shocked and shouted, “Stupid British woman!”

I said, “Stupid twat.”

Then I went straight to my hotel in a rickshaw with four wheels.

These Indian men really have a unique way of chatting up a woman. “Get in my rickshaw, I am the police!” That’s a chat up line I’ve never heard before. It might work in Bangalore, but it doesn’t work in Birmingham and Birmingham is very much like South India.

When I heard about the Delhi gang rape, one of the first things I thought was, “Who are these rapist’s mothers?” Where are they? Who are they? What are they like? What woman has sons like that? I’m not blaming the mothers, I’m just wondering what they’re like.

Men like this, obviously hate women. If you hate women you hate your mother.

I am always attracted to men that have a good relationship with their mothers. It is sweet, lovely and how it should be. Being a mother is the most important role in the world. A good strong positive mother could spew lots of James Bonds’ and a weak, negative role model could spew a million Jack the Rippers’.

When in India, a man asked me out for dinner. When I arrived, he told me he was married.

I told him I had to leave.

He said, “What’s wrong? My wife wouldn’t mind. It’s no big deal, it’s quite normal here to go out for dinner with other women when your marriage is boring.”

I said, “Well my life is quite exciting and there are a million single men I could be with tonight, so see you later”.

And I got in my four wheeled rickshaw and left.

I’m not scared to be a strong woman, it doesn’t make me a man hater or a lesbian. It just means I can do better than a man with three wheels.

Shazia’s new stand up comedy tour ‘Cukooland’ starts February 1st. For dates and tickets see:


The author is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Updated Feb 02, 2013 12:35pm

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Comments (19) (Closed)

Feb 04, 2013 09:16am
One thing we fail to understand is that a Desi born and brought up in phoren lands is not a desi. He/She is a foreigner. So do not expect them to like anything or everything desi just because they have a brown skin like ours. More importantly and unfortunately in most cases, these desis are also cognizant of the fact that they are "different" from the others around them. They are neither desis (most of whom are ridiculed by others but they are comfortable with being desis) nor they are foreigners. If anything I would ask you to cut them some slack since many/most of them are truly "confused" (not in their identity but rather in their acceptance within the society that they live in).
Feb 03, 2013 10:10pm
nice post Shaiza :)
Does not matter
Feb 04, 2013 09:04am
And you learn everything from the movies, I am assume. Good for you.
Salman Chenghazi
Feb 04, 2013 09:08am
I doubt you for judging her being Pakistani, coming from Pakistani origin is not being Pakistani. You too need to refrain from blind guess. Besides, supposing with all the element of exaggeration and you being an exception, do you deny every day incidents that women have to face while being out in public? I seriously doubt so.
Feb 04, 2013 09:10am
What's wrong if the author says that she has never harrassed like this before? That is her own personal experience that she is narrating. Not sure what your position as a traveler from age 13 was (that you get harrassed like this all the time in India or you never get harrassed) but surely you can appreciate what the author is saying. I am sure she was referring to the Indian men she met and was accosted. Nothing wrong in that. This is not necessarily against India or Indians. It is just her experience that is probably different from Birmingham where her experience with Indian men is different. Tha's all.
Feb 03, 2013 10:38am
wonder how much of it is true
Feb 04, 2013 08:22am
I live in Bangalore and this is really surprising! Bangalore has one of the lowest crime rates in the country for a city that size. I've met women from all over India who reside in Bangalore and say it is safe. Its not that safe to venture out in the night alone, but safe compared to high testosterone Delhi. I am not the one to gloss over women's problems and consider myself a feminist. I am really suspecting this Author's honesty here..
Feb 03, 2013 04:39pm
As a native Bangalorean, who would travel all by herself from age 13 between Mysore and Bangalore, it comes as a surprise that a seemingly well travelled author calls it" I have never been harrassed like this before". Also, please refrain from "These Indian men" types of talks. As a Pakistani I would think you will be more aware of the pitfalls of stereotyping.
Feb 03, 2013 01:08pm
90% is true. Change the place names such as, india with pakistan and so on....
Taqi Ramzan
Feb 04, 2013 06:57am
three wheeled rickshaw and four wheeled rickshaw symbolic and euphematic ,,,,,,but very well written ,,,...
raw is war
Feb 02, 2013 01:01pm
you are joking, right?
Feb 02, 2013 02:07pm
Great piece. I talk about this all the time, and its sad that so many times people miss the memo on this.
Cyrus Howell
Feb 02, 2013 03:12pm
“Men that treat women badly have often had bad relationships with their mothers.” No. Not really. Not in either case. This is simply a case of Mistaken Casual Relation aka mullah reasoning.
Feb 02, 2013 04:22pm
Such a brilliant piece of writing. It is true and funny. You are such an icon Miss.Mirza. Thankyou
Feb 04, 2013 06:01am
"On the bus I was the only woman, there were seven men." "driver moved me to the front of the bus as I obviously couldn’t be trusted to spend seven hours on my own with my Rod Stewart autobiography on two seats so he had to keep an eye on me. It was like going on a school trip to Dudley Zoo." I think driver was trying to protect the lady from any mischief by other men, keeping in mind the horrific rape by 7 men in a bus in delhi. Well.. what you say... humanity thinks one way.... british thinks other way...
Feb 02, 2013 06:41pm
That was a bit of an eye-opener..........................nicely done.
Feb 03, 2013 02:34pm
I live in Bangalore and the general reaction of men about single woman could be true. But I also happen to be in IT industry, and deal with lot of real foreigners and fake foreigners (of desi indian/paksitan origin), and what i have noticed is that american desi are generally proud of their respective country and if any shortcoming of which they are aware, try to hide it. Desis of british origin generally hate their respective country/people/history and almost everything. They seems to think they are of superior race and spend their time ridiculing desi people. There's something terribly wrong the way they think. Its just my opinion. I could be wrong. Not to be taken as personal attack.
hassan kamal
Feb 03, 2013 04:51am
james bond was an orphan....who according to Vesper Lynd thought "of women as disposable pleasures, rather than meaningful pursuits."
Feb 04, 2013 01:43am
visa versa....really?