Moving out of the house for work is like preparing for an Everest Climb. I am unsure if this happens with me or with every mother who travels. I deliberately took the last flight out.
I was uneasy. Firstly, because of hectic work schedule and secondly but I can say foremost – travel to Delhi. I had almost two sleepless nights before my travel. It was not the first time that I was to travel to the capital city but someway the thought of it made me cagey.
With a long wait at the runway finally the flight took off at 10.30pm.
I landed 5 minutes past midnight. I quickly checked for cab availability on the phone but to my astonishment there were none available. Paid taxi stand had a serpentine queue .It was already 30 minutes past midnight. The very thought of going alone in the cab to the address where I have never been was enough to make me nervous. To ease out my anxiety I started conversation with a girl ahead in the queue and inquired if she was going my way but our destinations were in opposite direction. This also added to my restlessness.
Once I boarded the cab I switched on the location tag. By now sweat was dripping down my forehead. I rolled the window down as I was feeling stifled which the cab driver didn’t like and he kind of scolded me. For a person like me who is not used to high tone this Haryanvi accent scolding parched my throat. The map advised us to take the first right and my driver didn’t like the instruction AT ALL. He ordered me to switch off the map as he was aware of the route. I argued that he would know but I don’t and successfully kept the map on. He snickered, making me shift a little.
I have lived in Gurgaon for good four years and also driven all for various errands. I tried to figure out anything known but this city has changed beyond imagination. I was not bothered about Infrastructure planning of the city as my strong infrastructure was falling into pieces. As we turned towards DLF Phase 3 there were no streets lights and it was completely deserted, one thought that came to me was- Disha , breathe your last ! Although I am an atheist but trust me I chanted all the mantras that I remember , hanuman chalisa , Sai mantra , Ganesh mantra even the school prayer . By this time I had no clue where I was heading although the map kept reassuring me that I was on the right path. I kept messaging my husband frantically and asked him to keep the phone on until I reached my destination. I reached the guest house and the driver was generous enough to remove the suitcase from the cab considering my bandaged hand. I was suspicious even on this gesture.
Guest house was a huge bungalow. Once you stay in Mumbai larger places don’t excite you. The caretaker responded to the bell and directed me to my room. I looked at him from the corner of my eyes and I found him suspicious too. I froze for a second. As soon as I was in the room I locked the door and checked several times before I turned to keep my luggage. I changed and slipped into the bed and made those customary calls and messages about my safety and comfort.
I did everything but sleep. I kept twisting, doubted the efficiency of the AC as I was sweating, drank liters of water, and checked the door. Finally, the day broke and I jumped to open the curtains. When the day is up, insecurities go down.
The published Info-graphics by NCRB 2014 show the crime rate in Delhi, which is thrice the national average of 229.
I had meetings lined up for the day but taking Public transport was terrifying. My past experiences while commuting for work brings shiver down my spine. I chose Uber over public transport.
My three days trip went very smooth without any hassle. Then why I freaked? Surely, bad experience of public transport earlier which I NEVER faced in Mumbai. . I can still feel those hands groping me or the auto driver going on a deserted road just to scare me, or a blind man sitting next to me and feeling my breasts. Delhi is framed as rowdy, insensitive towards women, unsafe, male dominant and above all rough and rash.
Also, check this article published by DNA : http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-how-safe-is-delhi-for-women-an-average-of-100-gangrapes-reported-every-year-after-december-16-incident-2156507
No city or place is safe for women and we need to be extra vigilant but experiences I had in Delhi are enough to never opt for public transport. I will travel to Delhi several times again because of work and family but every time it scares the shit out me.