I HATE BEING A WOMAN IN DELHI!

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Picture credit: 965malls.com

It is terrifying being a woman in Delhi.

I have been waiting to watch a film all week but the film I wanted to watch was based on “Arushi’s Murder Case” and it did not have really good reviews so no one agreed to tag along. I waited almost a week and then I decided to watch the movie by myself.
It isn’t that bad to watch a movie on your own, is it? People can judge me all they want but I am quite secure or so I thought. As I walked out of my house I immediately called a friend, who wasn’t well and therefore couldn’t watch the film with me. I then called my erstwhile guitar teacher who is also a famous cricket commentator now. He agreed to meet me at the theatre but did not want to watch the film I wanted to watch. Anyhow, I was late for the film I wanted to watch so I checked BookMyShow’s app and tickets to “Birdman” were available. Great, I thought, now all I have to do is reach the mall on time.
I got into the car and immediately locked the doors from inside, I then took off my heels to ensure I could drive confidently. I set Google Maps to the mall where PVR is. I don’t drive a lot and haven’t ever driven a lot so I am not very good with roads, neither am I a very confident driver, especially when I am nervous. I am not a bad driver. If I know where I am going and it’s daytime I can drive like a charm.
There were several trucks on the highway and I had tied my hair up and worn a hoodie to make sure I don’t look like a woman from outside the car, I know it seems lame but it makes me feel weirdly secure. If they see a woman in a car, who know what they will do?
There was a lot of truck traffic on the way and a policeman stopped me (I am terrified of traffic policemen too), it wasn’t for anything serious, the traffic signal wasn’t working so some policemen were directing traffic.
I finally reached the mall and it was now time to park. The first basement was full so I had to go down to the second basement which was quite empty. I was petrified. I looked inside my bag frantically to see if I was carrying my pepper spray, but I wasn’t. I wore my heels back peeped outside the car in an attempt to locate the lift lobby before getting out of my car, it was nowhere to be seen. I felt a lump in my throat. I swallowed it and bravely got out of the car and rushed to the nearest lift lobby I could find. The security guard and a couple of men stared at me, the glances made me extremely uncomfortable but I walked nonchalantly into the waiting area. I was relived to see that a couple also walked in a few minutes after me. I suddenly felt safer.
I reached the 3rd floor and it was now time to book tickets. My friend hadn’t reached because he was coming all the way from Saket. I called to tell him that we were only getting front row tickets for Birdman’s 8:45 PM show. The other option we had was to watch the 11:10 PM show. That would be too late for my friend as he was planning to take the metro to get back home. “What do we do?” I asked. “We have the option of the 11:10 PM show and I can always take a cab back!” he said. It seemed fine to me and I went to get tickets. I was at the counter when the Manager said tickets of the second last row for the 8:45 PM show are available. I was very pleased and called to let him know. He said he would be there shortly. I went into the theatre before him as the film had started and he joined me.
It is always hard for me to focus on a film when I have missed the beginning. Anyhow, I tried to focus but I kept calculating in my head how long the movie would be and when we would be out because the idea of going home alone was freaking me out. I decided that I am going to ask my friend to drop me to the basement and then we would drive up together to the metro station where he could get down and I could go my way. I was also thinking that I must get cash out as I have to pay for parking.
The movie finished at 10:55 PM and my friend immediately realised that he must rush to the metro. I told him that I would have really liked him to drop me to the basement which he said he would do but since he is much younger than I am I did not want him to be unsafe either as he had a long way to go too. I told him I would be fine and went down with the other people who walked out of the theatre.
Most of them got down at the first basement and the lift was almost empty. There were a few men in the lift looking at me and I felt my heart would explode. The lift read “-2” and I got down, I was so frozen that I couldn’t find my car. I used my keys to located it but I could feel the clock ticking, I must leave now. I must leave NOW. It was like a time bomb, a sword of Damocles hanging over my head. I must leave, it is getting really really late.
I found my car, got into it and immediately locked it from inside. I realised I had forgotten to get cash out. I usually have 1000 rupees in my wallet but because this was an impromptu trip and I had just given the money to mom, I had nothing. I frantically looked inside my bag to find something. I tied my hair and covered myself in the hoodie again. I kept searching and only found change, 24 rupees were all I had. I was really hoping the parking would be 20. I reached the exit barricade and pulled over to the side. My hands were trembling. How shall I approach the guard? It is so late? I really don’t want to go back into the empty mall to get cash out. Then I suddenly thought of an idea. I would ask them to keep my DL or ID and would come back the next morning for it. When I told the guard my house was an 30 minutes away it is night time so I really don’t want to go back into the mall and get cash, he said he would have to call his supervisor to see if he could do something. He came back a minute later and asked me for my ticket. He took it away. He came back and told me that I owe them 50 rupees. He also offered to pay the 26 rupees for me. “Really? Thank you so much bhaiya! I will come back to pay you!” I said. I was extremely pleased with his kindness. “I must take him a box of sweets to thank him for being so nice to me!”, I thought.
I set Google Maps again, locked the car and began the drive back home. I don’t know what it would be like to be inside a torture chamber but my shoulders felt heavy. I felt like there was a big boulder on my head. My head hurt, my heart was beating fast and I kept looking at the clock. All this waiting around had cost me 30 minutes. It was now 11:30 PM. The SAT NAV said it would take ½ an hour to get home and I was dying inside. I couldn’t listen to the radio because I wanted to be absolutely alert. I spotted a lot of “Thekas” and drunk people but I kept driving on. There were absolutely no police check posts to be found anywhere. I remember when the “Nirbhaya Rape Case” had happened. A million check posts had suddenly emerged. Today, there were none. ZERO. The traffic policemen from earlier were also missing. I kept driving focussing hard on directions. Suddenly crazy dogs that bark at moving cars comforted me. The seemed like the sane ones.
The roads were only covered with taxi and truck drivers. I was reminded of an incident when one of my friends had told me that a truck driver’s assistant had once toppled a man over breaking his leg. The truck driver then got in and killed him with his truck because he did not want any police related complications for breaking his leg. I felt more burdened. It was like I was in the movie SAW and I was about to be killed. It was as if I was expecting or fearing for something to happen. As I got closer to my house the burden seemed to be lifted off of my head and shoulders. However, when I reached my society and got to the basement parking, the fear was back. I kept thinking in my head, “I don’t even feel safe in my own society!” When I got into my lift and got home I cried in relief.
My phone suddenly buzzed: NDTV News Flash: “Eight year old girl’s body found in a shed, police suspect rape and murder.”

Shivangi

14 thoughts on “I HATE BEING A WOMAN IN DELHI!

  1. Confidence is all what seems to be missing in you. It’s time to grow up!
    When somebody stares at you even at wee hours, you should stare back & they will get nervous.
    It’s time to bring revolution, but not to be afraid about it.

    • Dear Diksha,

      I am plenty confident. My post isn’t about confidence, it is about the current situation in India and how it makes women feel. I have been molested before and even though my molester threatened to kill me I lodged an FIR against him and he is in Tihar Jail now. I am the daughter of a very senior police officer and my father has taught me to be absolutely fearless. He was the one who encouraged me to stay at the police station for 15 hours in order to ensure that the FIR is lodged and the man is identified on CCTV.

      Coming to my point, no one should feel this unsafe in their own city. No one should feel threatened. No one should feel they will be violated if they go out alone at night. I will not lie, I am terrified and TRUST ME IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY CONFIDENCE Diksha.

      Love & Luck,
      Shivangi

  2. Dear Shivangi,

    I am glad that you have the confidence to take a stand for yourself. I have not gone through any bad circumstance. May be this is the reason I am not afraid to hang around in the night. What I understand is that little caution is all what we need to take care to be safe. Such circumstances can also happen anywhere around the world where there are strict laws.

    I understand there is a big percentage of girls who feel insecure, but it’s time to project girls in a more bold, confident and independent individuals. The message portrayed in the article scares a girl to watch a movie after 8; expects it to wear a hood etc; nervous girl who forgot to carry pepper spray and even money yet a tech-savvy girl who is using Google maps to reach the destination. I am unsure whether such a nervous, scared person would be able to use pepper spray when the need be. Anyways, may be she will figure out some way to escape.

    Its your opinion about the city with what you have gone through. I salute you to be fearless in expressing your thoughts. I still insist you to not feel terrified, but to be prepared for such situations. Random thought: Judo etc.

    Good Luck,
    Diksha

  3. You still don’t get the point Diksha, I am not denying that such incidents do not happen all over the world, they do but we all know how people are in India. There isn’t any fear of the law and that is what my problem is. I have been practicing taekwondo since 6th grade and I am not afraid to use pepper spray but WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO KNOW JUDO or WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO CARRY PEPPER SPRAY? WHY? Why can’t we make our systems strong enough so no one can dare to break the law this recklessly. A really good step was taken when courts were fast tracked where rape victims were concerned. When the “Nirbhaya Case” happened there used to be check posts every where at night, where are they now? Everyone waits for something big to happen before steps are taken which is what concerns me. Trust me, I am terrified to travel alone at night but that doesn’t stop me from doing it. Am I safe? HELL NO.

  4. Shivangi.. Ignore the comment. We are humans and more so in a city that violates women in most forms, it is natural to feel unsafe and be scared. I dont leave my house after 9. What does that make me a coward? I would rather be one then. I am all about being bold, wearing whatever i like and return home as i please but if the circumstances in the city where i live isnt such, i wouldn’t be an idiot running around doing all of those. Its always better to be safe than sorry.

  5. I got ur point completely Shivangi.

    However, if you get so scared, then its best to avoid such late nights. No point in makin urself go thru such trouble. Of course anything can happen to anyone, but why beat the hell out of yourself just for a movie? is the movie worth risking it?

    Having said that, if women get raped, men get mugged too in the nite. Trust me, crime can happen to anyone. Am especially scared coz i am a mumbaiite and i hv seen none of this in Mumbai. Guys need to be careful too.

    Besides, no system can be strong enuf or fool-proof. We just need to stand up for each other like humans.. Law will always be there and systems will always have a flaw, but if at the grass root level, even 1% of the population (which as per stats is more than the police force) take charge and standup for each other, there will be amazing amount of change..

    So Shivangi, the next time you want to do a late nite, you have a friend in me who can gladly assist/escort you.. will be my absolute pleasure..

  6. Somehow, what diksha has picked up the point is convincing too. We all know the city is not safe for women. We can’t wait for the laws to get strict, but we need to change our outlook. Let’s take a pledge to not be afraid from bad people, and be prepared to fight back so that they should be afraid to see a women on the street 🙂

  7. Interesting thing to note is that people want to fight back but don’t want to be prepared for it. Like why not learn martial arts, hang out in groups & so on. Stats says such incidents happen in day time too. Instead of waiting for strong laws, we need to change our perception and change other’s mentality for girls. We are strong and we will be out anytime we want.

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