One of the things I hate the most is being told “I told you so!” On most occasions, I am usually this all-assuming, wise, mature adult and all of that. But the one time I know that I definitely, most certainly do not want to make a bad decision is when I’m stepping into public transport. In Delhi. The error margin is obscenely low. Irony of the matter is, if things do go wrong, my parents won’t say anything anyway. It won’t be a situation that warrants words.
The Uber cab rape incident, like the Nirbhaya incident, makes me fear for my life. And every other girls’. Sister, friends, colleagues, boyfriend’s crazy ex, even that sworn enemy from grade 9. There’s no definitive safety left for a girl in Delhi. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not a Mumbai-kar trying to take the city down. I’m a dil-se-Dilliwali, born and brought up, chaat-loving and mall hopping Delhi-ite. I’ve lived through the coming of age rituals of being whistled and leered at. I have had bikers zoom past a little too close when the road wasn’t exactly jam-packed, even had a no-name relative dance a little too close in a marriage procession. I learnt early on in life to call, or if needed, fake-call family religiously if I was taking an auto alone after dark. What I didn’t learn, however, was that a bus or a GPS equipped, workplace contracted, registered-driver driven cab was a threat too.
I can’t help but ask myself – do I have no choice but to drive myself around in the unbearable, road-rage inducing Delhi-Gurgaon traffic? Or if I decide to go metro hopping, should I have to rely on pick-up and drop-off favours to and from metro stations?
It felt pretty stupid when my mother said I need to put my foot down and tell my VP I’ll leave work at 9 everyday and work from home till late if need be. Somehow, the stupidity of the situation faded pretty quickly after the gang-rape in a bus circling the crowded South Delhi neighbourhoods. I think my VP shared the sentiment. The Uber cab incident justifies my family’s dislike for the monthly, Meru-facilitated, late night team dinners.
For those of you who are looking for a conclusion/suggestion/strong-worded appeal to the government/citizens/rapists, there will be none. This is a 450 odd word piece typed out of pure fear at the prospect of potentially interning in that city next summer and having to deal with the late nights that will be imperative. And it is being published so that those of us who thought we had safety covered think about it again.
Go buy that pepper spray. Delhi or not, these are tough times we live in.
Manisha is a member of LSD. She wrote this hoping that the idea of safety does not keep changing in the future as rapidly as it does in the present.