"Mom, I am leaving. I will call you if I get late from office," she said as she shut the door behind her. Her mom looked out of the window fondly at her daughter leaving for office. Her daughter is independent and can take care of herself. She smiled to herself proudly and went back to her daily work.
An everyday scene from a normal household. But now a days, if a mother hears her daughter saying that she will be late coming back from office then she fears the worst. How will she come back? What time will she reach home? She keeps her mobile phone close to her and keeps on calling her daughter after every 15-20 minutes to know where she has reached. And when her anxiety reaches the peak, she calls some male member of the family and requests them to escort her daughter back home.
After the recent rape incident in Delhi, all of us are in shock. The shock has given way to anger and anger to agitation. But what will the agitation do? The father of one of the accused has said that if his son is guilty then hang him. Capital punishment? What does it prove? The girl is fighting for her life in the hospital. Even if she lives, her whole body and life is scarred with the act. In one split second, the man will die in hanging. Wouldn't you say that it is an easy death? Why should men decide what punishment should be given for a crime committed by a man against a woman?
I travel on a daily basis in public transport. Be it a metro, auto or a bus, every man travelling in it looks like a starved animal waiting to burst out of the clothes to pounce on the woman who is available or not. Men don't think before they leer at any women. They think it is their right to do this. What they forget is that they were born out of a woman. But that will never deter them. Don't we woman have the right to live a normal life? Today, one particular incident has shaken the entire nayion. But are the men shaken? How can the society ensure that this will not happen again to us?
Shame is not what I feel for what has happened. Anger is also an understatement for what I am feeling while writing this. Animosity is what I feel right now. Condemning the act will not solve it or rectify it. We will have to ensure that this kind of an act never happens again. Ignorance is not bliss. It is the biggest evil around.
Why do we still have buses in and around Delhi/NCR with tinted glasses when it is not allowed? Why didn't the school report this earlier when this bus was allotted to them? Why didn't they get a background check done for the driver.
Isn't the safety of our children important. Are we really checking the safety of the schools we are sending out children to? Why does an incident like this has to happen to expose all the loop holes in the government? Are we aware of even one of the safety regulations?
Yesterday, I was watching the recorded proceedings of the Lok Sabha and couldn't help but smile to myself. Why? Because a simple thought crossed my mind. Politicians need an agenda to create an uproar on the floor of the house. Nothing concrete comes out of it.
Women media persons roamed about in the city since late evening till the wee hours of the morning failing to find a single measure of security by the local police. Some were sleeping and some were sitting under a tree to warm their hands and feet. One of the media persons was even teased by some youths in a passing car. What if she was not a media person and only a common woman traveller waiting for bus or auto? What then?
Today, we women travel to the nook and corners of the city to study, work or do anything else. It almost feels as if we are going for a war which is raging at the borders. Only this time, it is our own community we are fighting against.
Does the society only belong to men? Aren't we also a part of the society? Isn't our safety more important than anything else in this country? With so much economic and social development, I still feel we are living in the age of the barbarians. I believe that this crime is much more gruesome than any terrorist attack as it physically and mentally kills a woman forever.
The only way to counter all this is self defence. Don't fear to challenge a man who teases you. Don't fear to report a incident of teasing or rape. Many people watch Discovery Channel. When a tiger or lion attacks a deer or bison they all run for their lives. But if even one of them turns around and challenges them back then the tiger or lion retreats. Today, the situation is the same. If the men of the city have become animals, then the rule of the jungle needs to be followed.
I am just a common woman writing this only because I share the plight of all the women who stay in this city. It is indeed the capital of our country. Since yesterday everybody is criticising Delhi for all this. But Delhi is not responsible for all this.
It is the people who are responsible. Blame them. Why is everybody blaming the government? Aren't we all prone to break the law? Don't we take advantage of the fact that somebody we know works for the government, just to save our so-called precious time? Then why blame them now. If you have the guts to break a law then have the guts to face the consequences.
In the end, just a reminder. We are not weak. We are strong enough to take care of ourselves.
"Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you'll be travelling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey." (Meg Cabot)
Stay safe and Don't fear. Your safety lies in your own hands. Dedicated to all the women of the city.
(Paromita Majumder is a Citizen Journalist and the views expressed in this article belongs to the author)