JUSTICE AT LAST, read the newspaper headlines. A college girl, raped by two men outside a call center finally gets justice. Chalo, finally something good in the newspaper. At last, the government realises the need to fast-track all pending cases of such horrific crimes against women to send out a message to the perpetrators. Or does it, yet?
But WHY AT ALL do women in Delhi have to go through all this? Prejudices and stereotypes…Perhaps some people still haven’t moved on from their conventional patriarchal mind sets. Given the heaping number of migrants from the conservative fabric of our society pouring into the ‘progressive’ cities, the situation gets even more pitiful and has reeled out of control in today’s time. And I hate why it is always women who end up being portrayed as ‘objects’ of sexuality. Wait! What’s the time? It’s already 9! I better get ready for work.
“Bhaiya, Okhla chaloge?” And just like every other day, I sat in the auto thinking about the long day ahead. As I was checking my phone I couldn’t help but notice the auto wale bhaiya looking at the rear view mirror more often than would be deemed necessary. I am pretty sure he wasn’t looking at the ‘not-so-busy’ road behind us. As I stepped out of the auto and headed towards my workplace, I realised how ‘we Delhi girls’ had become so used to such random and, at times, derogatory stares.
Office was unusually good today; two targets completed and boss, not all that cranky and to add to it, an invitation to a party in HKV that very evening. I was so excited that even the half hour inefficacious wait at the auto stand could not dampen my spirits. On my way towards the metro station, I saw a group of shady and dubious-looking men smoking and laughing (quite wildly, I must say!) in a dark corner by a tea stall. Knowing that a Salman Khan or a Akshay Kumar won’t appear out of nowhere to save me from these ‘repulsive goons’, I rummaged through my handbag, looking for my pepper spray.
Delhi Metro during office hours is no less than a nightmare with its overcrowded coaches and the wrestling bouts one needs to win to ‘earn’ yourself a spot in the metro. Now the problem with the Metro is that guys might intrude into your personal space ‘unwillingly’, but most of us tend to think otherwise. Screw Indian mentality.
“OMG, What should I wear? Isha was saying that she’ll wear her white gown. Should I also wear my maroon gown? No no, dancing would be difficult. Should I wear my crop-top with jeggings? But Sanjana might also wear a crop-top. She always does. Oh wait! I’ll wear my mini skirt. But that would be too short. Now that might provoke mom to go on about the ‘dress appropriately’ lecture. I don’t think I can listen to that lecture again….
As I entered the bar, the party lights and the wild frenzy of people dancing deliriously, made me hesitate for a moment. Pepper spray. Check. Informed Dad. Check. Phone has battery. Check. Okay, Time to get the party going! Two shots down and dancing to ‘Cheap Thrills’; I’m having the time of my life!
“Shivani, one more shot na?”. Temptation. Confusion. Should I or should I not? Most of the crowd is wasted and it’s already late. Have to go home alone. Will I be okay? But everyone is drinking. Shaurya is six shots down and he doesn’t seem to care one bit. Why should I have to think so much?
“Can I drop you home?” I politely refused. I am an independent, young woman living in a modern society with no orthodox restrictions. Why should someone have to drop me home? It is almost 1 am, I think a cab will be just fine. While I wait for my cab, I look through all the women safety helpline numbers, and somewhere deep down, I’m hoping that I won’t have to use them. Informed Dad yet again. GPS working. So tired. If only I could sleep in the cab. But that is probably the last thing I should do at this time of the night. Rapes. Cab. Late night. Girl. Even a child can join the dots.
So, is Delhi safe? I am still haunted by this question now and then.
Women of perhaps ‘the most urbanised’ city of the country still feel insecure while travelling alone. Rapes are often accounted for by men being evoked by the short dresses of girls. At a time, when gender equality is being preached everywhere, women still find it hard to escape the traditional mindsets of a society largely dominated by men. Eve-teasing is something that most girls have grown used to. But, is the ‘Rape capital’ being made the scapegoat for women crimes? Delhi is the most media-targeted city in the entire country and hence, very often takes the brunt of the masses. After all, the higher you rise, the harder you fall.
The Delhi Government is pitching for 33 per cent reservation for women in the police. Ladli Scheme has been implemented to encourage education of girls and the Kishori Scheme for providing adolescent girls a healthy and disease-free life. The Government has also promised to release more funds to ensure better outreach of programmes of Delhi Commission for Women. Why do we simply ignore these? At almost all places in India, the situation is not much different and possibly, even worse if we consider the villages and rural towns. Fingers are not pointed at these places just because they are not worth the ‘hype’. Isn’t that unfair? The decision is yours to make.
Saksham Gupta is a Chemical Engineering Student at IIT Delhi. He loves football and is a true Gunner at heart. He is also an avid writer of stories and poems. He believes in keeping his spirits high at all times.
Mallika Singla is a Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology Student at IIT Delhi. She is a Potterhead and wanted to go to Hogwarts as a child. Reading and writing come naturally to her. She loves being happy and making others happy.