The guys are coming to get me! Look that one even has a hoe in his hand! He looks dangerous. Will he smash my head with the tool he has and rob me of my belongings or will he do something even worse. A shiver runs down my spine. They are climbing in the train from the tracks when the train is at a signal halt between two stations. I stifle a scream before getting relieved that it’s the gents compartment next to mine where he is boarding. They will say it was my fault. I shouldn’t have boarded an empty train. They will blame me even if anything happens to me.!
Monday, May 12, 2014; 8.32 AM… These are the thoughts running in my mind. I am so petrified that I can’t even think of chanting Gods name to soothe me which I generally do when I am scared. The date and time being of importance since it was daylight and a regularly working Tuesday morning with the peak hour crowd and mad rush of a metro. Yet I find myself scared and anxious.
I got into a train halting at a signal near my station of boarding. Since it was an extended platform and because the train had just arrived from the yard, rush was about to start pour in only from the next station. The one from where I boarded was a temporary stopover after the train had departed from the yard. This explains the ladies compartment to be empty even at the peak morning hour. Only someone as foolhardy as me would board it in with the greed of getting a place to sit and repent later. The 4 minutes were enough to scare the wits out of me and I secretly made a promise to myself that I am never attempting this again and that I would rather travel in crowded locals where ladies literally manhandle each other! Yes. Even in the first class compartments.
What bewilders me is the realization about the paranoia that has set in. My subconscious is constantly in a state of terror after all the news of loots and rapes in broad daylight. I did not accept that I was scared before life encountered me with these 4 mins. How much ever I love the spirit of this city, how much ever I would love to be able to spend my life here, racing daily, I know in my heart that the instances have scarred me forever and imbibed a fear in my mind. Fear of being mugged, fear that this city is not safe for females. I keep on looking for lecherous creeps and constantly try to prevent myself from getting ‘accidentally’ touched or poked. This, only when I am in a crowd. I never prefer traveling alone.
This was not my state of mind half a decade ago when I used to travel peacefully alone for work before dawn cracked. There was peace and there were no disturbing thoughts. Instances have grown so much worse during this time that they have made me paranoid. Paranoid to travel alone, paranoid that someone is constantly staring at me, paranoid that the city ain’t safe anymore!
The sad truth.