I am a proud Gujarati, domiciled in Gujarat for all my life. And I am living in Ahmedabad since past 3 years. I always fearlessly make this statement with a lot of conviction...that “Ahmedabad is the safest place on the planet”. But off late, I fear saying this...after what happened with me a few nights ago at mere 11 p.m. on a Goddamn highway (and mind you, it’s the most popular and busiest highway) of Ahmedabad...
5th June 2012, 11 p.m.
SG Highway - Ahmedabad - Gujarat
I was merrily riding back home from a dinner at my best friend's place. It was all alright till I crossed the Thaltej circle which is pretty awake even at 1 in the night as just opposite to the circle is PVR cinemas. I moved around the circle and moved towards the direction to my home. Just a few seconds later I felt someone touching my shoulder. I looked back and it was a guy on the pillion seat of a bike... I too was riding my 2 wheeler and so I shrugged away furiously and moved a li’l further with a li’l more speed... It of course dint end there, they came near me again and teased a li'l more intensely which really enraged me and so I verbally abused them, real bad... That may be instigated them further & so before I could realize or react, the guy on the pillion seat very roughly brushed his hand on my leg and pulled out they keys from a running 2 wheeler, kicked me and zoomed off… And because he kicked, I fell off the road, the scooter fell on me and I was badly bruised. By the time I managed get up, they were already out of sight and I was there, alone on the highway with a scooter that won’t work. I was shit scared!!!!
My bad luck that two of my closest friends in Ahmedabad who lived only 10 mins away were both out of town vacationing. I couldn’t think of anyone who could come there in as less time as possible…and I was literally trembling with fear…so I ended up calling me colleague cum friend who again lives some 10 minutes away and asked her to come to my rescue… Till she came I was all alone on the highway with a scooter that couldn’t run nor could I run away coz I feared they could come back and take away the scooter with the keys they have… those 10 minutes on the deserted highway were the scariest moments of my life. Every bike that passed by raced my heartbeats coz I thought it were them again.
Later what happened, was all good… but the only reason I am writing this is coz I want to share and shout out loud to the people out that to be aware. I did not be more aware and notice their bike number, else things would be different.
Bad incidents don’t happen with only illiterate or the down trodden people or by drunken people or at high end pubs / bars / discs… it can very well happen with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
I am a lawyer, practicing in the High Court, but what could I do about this whole issue? NOTHING at all… it really upsets me but what could I do? I spoke to my friends in the same profession, my colleagues, and my seniors even, but in vain. More important is to NOT feel down trodden or to feel victimized, may be you cannot do anything about it sometimes, coz most of these accidents happen at night, and the doers are faceless or just disappear in the dark before you do anything about it... If you fall weak, things would get worse and it certainly is not the solution. I know it’s easier said than done, coz I have faced it....
But, if you can do anything at all, make others aware about things... Ill incidents don’t ask you before they occur, they just happen and if they are destined to happen, you cannot do anything about it. All you can do, is NOT be carefree, to take all necessary precautions (in my case, it would have been nothing but yet, not all incidents are similar), to BE AWARE (which I missed out on but then it all happened in a jiffy), to NOT take things for granted coz Ahmedabad is safe…
It is a cliché for sociology to suggest education is the answer, but this is a truism for good reason. I don’t simply mean by focusing on the next generation going to school, although sexual education in schools should most definitely cover sexual violence. I also mean expanding the boundaries of public discussion through information, honesty and compassion. Media images make sexual violence into something exotic: it happens in ‘bad homes’, to ‘other’ women who are too afraid to leave their partners – but it doesn’t happen to men… or so we are led to believe. It happens, ‘somewhere else’ – in other countries, where people are poor and less educated. Now you know this is not true.
Well, after all this, I can only say SAFETY is a MYTH… there is a lot more to Ahmedabad these days… Yet I would not hesitate to say, that Ahmedabad is much much much better off than many other cities in India, coz though these incidents are happening NOW in Ahmedabad, they are still not so very rampant, as compared to the numbers of such cases in other parts of the country.
BREAK-FREE it’s not your fault
LIVE FREE it’s not in your hands
KEEP YO EYES, MIND, and EARS open --- may be you can stop it from happening!