Neha
January 1, 2 am - a night I'd never forget... when I felt that the entire world had collapsed around me and I stood there, bereft ad helpless. I didn't know what to do, who to call. Tears knew no limits and life seemed to have lost its meaning. I called him. He was there to listen, to comfort... he was with me. And not only then, he has always been with me ensuring that I stand strong. In fact he is one of those few people I consider my Support System.

He is one of the strongest person I know... a real fighter - a person who'd not deter from calling a spade, spade. In fact, he is a source of my strength too. At a time when I was all lost, confused and shattered, he encouraged me to stream my energies and know the real me. 'You have to write and continue writing... you write really well and I will make sure that you always write!' One of the first appreciations and a great source of motivation when I became active on my blog space here. I receive a call every time I publish a new post, telling me he loved it. I know that he reads and rereads my posts and forwards my blog link to every friend. And if I catch him in between writing a comment to a post, he flips the screen and asks me to read them later.

And then, there are those days, when he waits for me after his shifts ; we go out, have paranthas or gol guppas.... and talk endlessly with all those high-fives in between. Whenever I call him, I am greeted with 'haanji', something that I am so used to now, rather than the usual 'hello'. The other day he said he will kill me if I don't get all Ruskin Bonds I have and needless to say, I have been forgetting to get them for him for the last four weeks now. I am not even able to open my mouth to explain and he'd retort, 'rehne de, excuses na dena... I will kill you now!' All I can do then is smile. And then, there's this party we have planned that is long due and of course, he has something to say to that too - 'aap toh badde log hain...time hi nahi hota!' He's someone with whom I can talk, share, crib, agree and disagree with no inhibitions or fear. At times, I fear his scoldings, but I know they are all for my benefit. He is one friend who has and will always be there, I know.

It was like any other day on Wednesday when I called him at around 2 in the afternoon. But on the other end, I heard a different voice... of another friend. He told me that Gagan has had an accident and he is in the hospital in a critical state. I rushed to the hospital only to know he was still unconscious and doctors were not saying anything certain. It's been 2 days since then... Gagan is still in the ICU, unconscious. I have not seen him till now, because may be I won't be able to bear seeing him that way.

I feel helpless, and I guess, in front of His ways, all mortals do. But I know one thing for certain... where everything else has limits... prayers don't. Today, I need you all, my blogdosts, to pray for Gagan. He needs our prayers. His family needs them. Prayers have the power to make miracles happen. Please pray that he recovers soon. When I go tomorrow to the hospital, I will go and see him. And I will take all your prayers along with me.

Gagan, I know you will read this very soon and might as well want to kill me for this also. By then, though, you will have all the Ruskin Bonds with you. Of course, then we have to plan our party and not just plan, but actually party this time... like I wrote on that picture - We rock together! You'd better get well soon... all of us are waiting... !

Blogdosts, the credit for my profile picture on Blogger also goes to Gagan :). (Dekha Gagan, I don't only take credit, but give it too :) )

Labels: 28 comments | edit post
Reactions: 
Neha
Are we safe? In the comfort of our homes, within the secured walls of our work places, while travelling in those public buses filled with so many of our kinds, while shopping in the busiest of markets...... are we 'women' safe??? My male counterparts might say that amidst all the terror activities all around, nobody is safe. I agree. But what about us, the fairer sex, who feel threatened with every uninvited glance coming our way?

I, too, have been subjected to such situations and have felt victimized. Of course, there is the option to stay as safe and alert as you can, but both these terms are subjective. With the number and kind of cases you hear and read about everyday, you feel angry and at the same time, helpless! There are perverts and sick people all around us and we have to share the space with them. We don't know them, we cannot recognize them... all we can do is protect ourselves to the best of our abilities. There are some rules I follow, which I want to share with you (forgive me for sounding like a dadi-ma :).
  1. Prefer travelling/commuting with someone, especially during late hours; else avoid going at all! I know I'm sounding like an old granny, but that's too small a price to pay for our safety, trust me.
  2. Carry a self-defense weapon always. I, too, have been carrying a pepper spray on me for the last four years now - a gift my brother gave me on Valentine's Day! And I have used it once in Gurgaon! Whenever I am travelling alone, it is in my hands and my cell phone in the pocket! It's the best weapon that works from eight feet away!
  3. Be alert even while you are in an auto rickshaw or cab. I was returning from Noida and was on a call when the auto driver took a left into a dark, lonely by lane. I asked him to stop immediately, while he said it was a shortcut. I yelled at him and finally, he returned to the main road... rather hesitantly.
  4. If you hire car/taxis frequently, do that from one trusted company only. Staying away from home, I require one frequently especially for going for weddings, receiving family etc, which usually are around late evenings and at those times, I make it a point to book one in advance from a place I have known for years now (however, I still am on my guard).
  5. Do NOT wear clothes that are revealing, flimsy or too short/tight, if you are going out alone! Wear it only when you are with friends, preferably male friends in the group and that too in your (or friend's) car. A friend's wife argued that doing this was taking away our freedom. Why can't we wear what we like, whenever we want to? The answer is simple - you sure do not want unwanted attention or invite any trouble for yourself. If you are going for a party, why not carry a dress and change there, rather than travelling to the venue all dressed up in a cab or auto? Again, don't return alone!
  6. Avoid empty/dark lanes or roads. How much ever late you are getting, take the longer busier route.
  7. Do NOT take lifts from people you don't or you barely know! I was negotiating with an autowala in Defense colony market when this gentleman (???) called out to me saying that he knew me and we had met before. When I denied knowing him, he introduced himself and insisted on dropping me to my destination. When I further refused and walked away, he followed. I immediately sat in the nearest auto and made a quick exit.
  8. If you feel you are being stalked/followed, trust your gut feel and don't hesitate to call for help. It's happened with me also. In fact, the last time it was in Lajpat Nagar market a few weeks back. I walked up to the entry area where there's security and hung around there till I felt safe enough to leave.
  9. Change your routes and timings frequently. You never know when it is being taken note of!
  10. Even when you are in your work place, be alert and awake. You sure have heard of incidents in these places. And if anything untoward happens, call for help immediately.
  11. Try joining some karate classes. A couple or two of those stunts will sure make you feel safer and more confident.
  12. A woman has that sixth sense to know and tell the intentions of a man. And I believe in that completely. So, believe in yourself! In these times, when trusting people you know is so difficult, trusting strangers is out of the question!
  13. Never pass or stand close to a halted car, especially if is dark. (Courtesy: Vartika :) )
  14. Join groups like http://www.fight-back.net/ and http://blog.blanknoise.org/. And don't just join; be active and participate. Till now, even I felt that these are not meant for me; but now I have every reason to be there, take a stand and fight back against all those perverts who think that they can get away with anything that they want! I don't know what big a difference can I make; but even a small effort will help me look into the eye when I face the mirror. (Thanks Ani, for all your info on these :). )

This post must have raised quite a few brows and I understand those well. But this is the least I can do for others like me. However strong a woman may seem, she'll feel helpless and confused when faced with such situations, when you have lesser time to react. However, there is one thing that you need to keep in mind always. Never compromise at the price of your honor. Forget what the world will say. It's your safety and honor that is MOST important.

And blogdosts, I will love to hear your ideas and opinion of how we can make ourselves safer. Your tips will sure help us not feel alone in a bad bad world!

Labels: 27 comments | edit post
Reactions: