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Archive for the ‘GenderIssues’ Category

You were not even touched then why so much noise?

It was a tiring week with travel, work, school projects, hard work out and a long cycle ride. So, we decided to go for a late night show to catch up on missing movies. We booked a show on 7th August ’16, 10.50pm  at R-City mall (Ghatkopar) being the closest to us.

During interval at 12.15 am I went to the washroom briefly. Seconds later after I locking my cubicle I heard some male voice, that was the first alert but I thought that someone might be speaking too loud outside and forcibly let the bad thoughts out. But the next moment I realised that the cubicles on either side were occupied and there were men peeing (it’s not difficult to understand this), also one can see the reflection on the floor. I instantly realised that I am in trouble. I unlocked my cubicle and saw three men right there.

Three men in a ladies washroom at past mid night with no other woman!

This was enough for me to panic. I just murmured WTF and ran out screaming a raising an alarm. My husband was standing in the queue to get his coffee and he ran towards me to get a hang of situation.

I was screaming on top of my voice, “there are three men in ladies washroom, security you there?”.

There was a lot of pandemonium. The floor in charge came much later. He and other men from the food court inside the Inox movie area were just staring at me with no reaction. I yelled yet again to call the security and then they jolted from their kind –of- slumber. Security did sweep in but they were lost in their own indecisiveness. Each one on the floor was clueless on how to tackle the situation. Three men in ladies washroom, when she was all alone and now she is screaming – what to do?

Well I gave the solution.  I asked the security to just throw the men out of the movie hall. But the three men had most bizarre reason on why they entered the washroom. First they did not read the board which mentioned “Ladies”, second they did see but the font was difficult to read, third it was unintentional. For one instance even if I gave benefit of doubt, I wondered how come one of the three saw the board.

A woman came to me and said that I was making mountain out nothing giving the argument if I was not even touched by those men? I was totally zapped at her remark and sheer stupidity. Told her, I should get raped , bleed to death and then react -One stop solution to make it to all media headlines.

We moved out of the mall leaving the men and the security behind, still struggling to come to a decision.

Next morning I tweeted to Mumbai police and they were responsive enough. Received two phone calls and one of them mentioned that R city doesn’t fall in Ghatkopar area but somewhere else and they have informed officer in charge of the concerned area. Such issues should get addressed quickly otherwise they fade out too soon.

Few things that kept me pondering over and over after this episode:

What if there was a child, boy or a girl doesn’t matter in the same situation? I was scared and sweating but reacted immediately to raise an alarm, would that kid have done the same?

The reaction by the staff was lethargic even when I was screaming at top of my voice. Is this not a part of their training, on how to tackle issues concerned with women(or men) safety?

Not a single women security was on the floor. A night duty for women is still not a welcoming idea?

The so-called responsible citizen were mere spectators buying their popcorn and coke and a woman was trying to pacify me by saying that when I was not even touched why so much of ruckus and noise?

Pre-requisites to make your complaint more valid is, you should be touched inappropriately or raped. Just a sheer feeling of fear, threat and insecurity does not make you eligible for a valid complaint.

Anything could have happened that night, thankfully it didn’t. Myself as a woman who travels a lot, all over the country even at night for work etc I have certain protocols which I follow and I would like to share too.

When I board a cab late at night I share my route details with my family (it’s a feature in the app)

I ALWAYS carry pepper spray with me

I NEVER doze off in cab or auto, no matter how sleepy or tired I am after the day’s work

SCREAM, RUN, BITE is the mantra

I keep my google map on and not just rely on the route shown on the mobile phone of the cab driver

Report the incident, now with active social media tag the concerned authority (the way I did to Mumbai Police)

Stay informed, stay safe and react on and in time ! 

Delhi:You scare the shit out of me

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.

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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.

safe

 

I will take selfie with “My Boys”

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Here is my selfie with my boys . Yes, you read it right “My Boys”.
I am very proud to be a mother of two boys and I cherish every second I spend with them.
When I hold their hand and walk with one on either side , in a way to grab so that they don’t run on a busy street I feel immense sense of pride . Not that I am an unique one to have two boys but that my boys are my identity .
By now you might be thinking that I have some attitude or a swelled chest to have “two boys”
So , let me make it very clear . I craved for a girl child during both my pregnancies but I think it was decided  that a hyper energy soul like me should be blessed with boys so that the energies are complimented .
I have no clue how to be with girls or even bring them up. I have always been in a boys family and even now the distribution remains the same.
Mr. Narendra Modi has taken up an amazing initiative to support the girl child .

#BetiBachaoBetiPadao , kudos to you sir but tell me something what about the boys??

Do you think boys don’t need education , boys need not be protected , boys don’t need a better environment to live in?
The damage is already done. Children have someway or the other known the difference between genders. Thanks to advertisements promoting color preference , brands and clothing.
By promoting this campaign you are creating a marked difference between the genders. Few observations below will make it clear.

1. Boys are strong , girls are delicate

Yes, my son’s class teacher told him. Being on the naughtier side his action speaks louder than words (read WWF – World Wrestling Federation). Girls tease him for wearing spectacles and the only way he knows is to punch back.
The teacher then tells him this statement .
Now, he is confused . He has never seen a delicate female in his own house but a  mom who learns kickboxing .
My explanations fall flat on explaining the teacher’s statement .

2. Sexual exploitation

Most of the videos that talk about child sexual abuse revolve around the girl child. The pictures , charts and discussions all revolve around girls.Do you know that out of 10 boys almost 8  have gone through sexual exploitation. They may not even know what is happening or happened with them but it hampers their growth and behavior.
If there is a need to sensitize child sexual abuse then child also includes boys.

3. It’s not so cool to cry

What you cry like a girl always ? Are you a little baby ?
Boys find it very difficult to let their emotions roll on their cheeks. As they grow it actually takes a lot of persuasion to get them into confidence and make them understand that it’s ok to cry .
If my boy gets bold  during his cricket match he surely gets sad but tries hard to hold his tears back. It is only when he hugs me at home and then the downpour happens. He tells me that crying in front of friends is too girlie.

4. Being bullied

Threat from social media to the innocent yet growing brains is huge.
Girls , face the threat of image and name being exploited but do you know boys too are affected by this .
They get bullied , commented , threatened and even exploited on the social media. The damage then may or may not be directly physical but imagine the confidence and innocence that gets shattered .

5.Girls don’t like sun

My son’s cricket coaching doesn’t have a single girl on the field. Even football has the same state .
My son runs like a bullet and he laughs when a girl tries to run fast. This actually irritates me a lot but his explanation is that girls will run only 50 mts not long distance as they never come out in the sun to play.
No one taught him this but it’s his own observation. I do try my best not to make him think this way but rest his own inference.

I still have many more pointers which I want to mention but may be in other blog.

Being a mother of two boys I can see and observe many things very closely .
Why do we need to discriminate between a girl and a boy ?
What is the need to run such campaigns which only widen the gap between the genders?
Let a girl and a boy grow up in the same way.
If a boy hits a girl out of his aggression at play or otherwise , girl should be taught to hit back harder and not to make her feel that she delicate with a fragile body.
Every child has a right to grow, get educated , have a safe environment for development and live happily.
Be it a girl or a boy.
Yes, I’ll take selfie with my boys too.
#BetiBachaoBetiPadao toh #BetaBachaoBetaPadao