I befriended a new native in the city yesterday. She’s fairly new to the city, having stayed here just for the past four months. In this small span, she has already fallen in love with the city. What sets the city apart for someone whose hometown is the Pink City of Jaipur?
“The weather for starters. It’s so pleasant here!… And, then there is the safety of girls.” This left an undeniable ring in my ears. As the heinous crime in our neighbouring metro city is creating uproars from every corner of the country, I am left ruing if our city a safe haven for the girls still? Mumbai, like old-timers would recollect, wasn’t always this way. It was safe for girls, no matter what time of the day. The nightlife of Mumbai has always been envious. With so many friends, youngsters and the party-minded going about the city as the night jostles with the slowly fading darkness and paves way to the morning, the crimes on the fairer sex has been few but grave.
From cop to students at one of the prestigious management colleges in India, they have all crossed the line. One friend who studied in Mumbai few years back and hasn’t yet traveled in the locals since then, says that “Molestation is common if you are travelling in a local and it’s peak time of the day.” The girls are more courageous and have learnt to handle the jerks of society in broad daylight now. But, what happens when it is a secluded corner of a city or if it’s slowly growing dark outside?
A slow panic has engulfed across the nation. After Nirbhaya’s tragic incidence gripped us in a never foreseen panic, this violation of a 22-year-old photojournalist in the heart of Mumbai has left us shell-shocked. Our famed hospitality is tossed out and has sunk in the deepest pit of the neighbouring Indian ocean. We as Indians can no longer be proud of the heritage we are leaving behind with heaps of papers and their multitude of stories, narrating crimes being committed on girls across every corner of the country. From a poor, downtrodden to the suave urban woman, no one is safe. At least, not for now.
What about our own city? Not long ago, in 2007, a call centre employee lost her life protecting her virtues from the cab driver. The city woke up to a frenzy the next day as the papers splashed the news across our shamed faces. The city has learnt its lesson the hard way. Various I.T companies have become more wary now. The constant sight of police around their naka-bandis anywhere, out-of-the-blue is reassuring. Maybe, the government would indeed make an example out of the many accused who are awaiting their verdict in the umpteen rape cases. Maybe, the courts would be harsher, laws stricter and girls, safer than ever before in our country. Amen!