Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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opinion

Late-Night Demons In The Rearview Mirror

It's a nightmare on Delhi streets for women who have to stay late at work

Late-Night Demons In The Rearview Mirror
Late-Night Demons In The Rearview Mirror
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

An abiding memory of my college days is fighting my way into a bus, avoiding a sea of groping hands, then struggling to the front through a thicket of bodies, using an umbrella to clear a path. If I was lucky, I would find an empty seat, hoping that the male passenger sitting next to me—if it was a male—wouldn't get uh... adventurous. After college, I would brace myself afresh for the 15-minute walk from the Dhaula Kuan circle to the multi-storeyed flats on Sardar Patel Marg; on most days, I was followed, even though it would only be late afternoon. If I was absolutely alone, I would stop and confront the stalker, waving my weapon, the umbrella.

Five years later, I joined the Hindustan Times. Now my bus journey from Sardar Patel Marg took me to Ferozeshah Road from where I would walk the length of Kasturba Gandhi Marg. In the evenings, when I retraced my journey, I would brace myself again.... Two-and-a-half years later, I moved to Mumbai, then Bombay. I suddenly realised that Life didn't have to be a Battle, that I didn't have to fling myself into a bus or train, and that an umbrella was intended to shield one from the natural elements. I could travel from Santa Cruz to Nariman Point and back without fearing the worst; later, staying at a working women's hostel in Colaba, I could travel all the way to Prithvi Theatre in Juhu. After the orderly, disciplined cantonments of my childhood, this was my first taste of civilisation again.

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