Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stay Safe

An ordinary day
An extraordinarily ordinary day is what I would’ve called yesterday, had it not been for the great crowd I saw on my way back home. At first sight, it looked like a mini carnival…people cracking crude jokes, sharing laughs or just hanging around. Whatever they did, there was an undercurrent of excitement…the whole atmosphere was charged. But wait…all this beside a drain? Very unlikely…
That is when a youth ran past my ride…screaming his lungs out “A girl’s dead body has been found.”

Those words shook me like nothing before. It is another thing to see it on the news… but quite another to witness it. Strangely, the crowd went berserk as the girl was pulled out. Men started sniggering. Women turned their face away. What shocked me more was not the corpse (even that is ironical) but the reaction of the people. I couldn’t help but think; Why are we so callous as a nation?

Newspapers in India fill half their pages with reports of murders, rapes and robberies… every single day.
 People kill and they seem to take pleasure in it. Yet the common man does not even flinch at these reports. Blood curdling incidents are often passed off as normal. Why is it that we, the general public, have become mute spectators to this drama? Why have we become so cold hearted so as not to feel the sorrow of others? Because somewhere, it is not the fault of the law courts that murderers roam free on the streets. The fault lies with us.

Women and girls elderly present the softest targets. Often unequipped to defend themselves, they fall easy prey to evil doers. Though I’ve spent all my time criticizing the society and the law… I do not deem it appropriate in this case. All I want to do is to remind you of the most basic safety measures which can go a long way in keeping you safe.

Girls, Ladies, women…whatever your age may be…
You are the best meat… you know why. That is why we need to be extra vigilant. We know all of this already… been told a zillion times. A reminder never hurts.

1)      While on a road, always walk against the traffic. That way you’ll see any car before it stops. No surprises.

2)      Don’t be scared of screaming for help. Real life is not like movies, where help arrives too late.

3)      It really is a good idea not to talk on the phone while commuting from place A to place B. Pay attention to the people around you.

4)      Always have your phone in your hand. Not in your bag.

5)      You are free to travel at any time you want…but try to do that in groups preferably when the roads are not deserted.

6)      Go to clubs…party all you want… but on the way back, make sure the club people hire you a taxi. Let someone know about your location. Keep the cellphone in your hand. Do not doze off. Memorize any landmarks you see on the way.

7)      Even while going out with male friends you trust, stay on your guard. The date rape drug is all too common. Staying alert never killed anyone.

8)      If you drive alone, be wary of basements. Check your car’s backseat before you get in. Lock your doors as soon as you get in. Call your mom when you start for home.  

9)      Girls, when home alone, do not welcome strangers inside. Do not bother about being rude. Do not open up if you do not have the specific instructions. The courier man just might have fancy ideas up his sleeve.

10)   If nothing else works…RUN. Your legs are your best bet. It is unlikely that anyone will bother pursuing you. They’ll more likely leave you in peace.

The tips go on and on… there is a plethora of websites offering you advice. What really matters is that you follow it. I know it sounds primitive. But unless you want to end up like the girl in that drain, adhere to them. These tips are not specific to India…crimes against women are committed all around the globe. Even if you’re a man, help save the many women in your life. Spread the word, share this post… if it keeps even one woman safe, it’ll be an achievement.