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Out on the streets
Juili Eklahare | Thursday, 12 January 2017 AT 11:07 AM IST
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We talk to women about the streets and roads that they are afraid to take and how they look out for themselves



The recent Bengaluru molestations have raised the question of the safety of women in India again. And with that, there is a surge in movements and marches in different cities calling for women to “reclaim public spaces”, “walk alone” and “right to loiter.” All this in a bid to show to the moral policemen that there can’t be any restrictions on the movement of women and that they are as free as men to walk where they wish to.

Most of these movements end with “sit down” with the participants talking about their experiences, expressing themselves through poems, stories and so on.

In a city like Pune, which may be a little safer than other cities in the country, we chat up a few females to find out if they would walk alone on the streets at any hour, if there is any particular stretch that they would rather avoid.

ALWAYS ON ALERT
The interior route near Race Course that goes to my home from office, is the one that really scares me. If you’re taking that path alone, there are high chances of getting followed or comments passed at you by some men around there. I experienced this once.

So I never take that road any more and pick another way to go home. The Bengaluru incidences have certainly made things a little scarier, and the chances of such cases  happening in Pune are high too. I usually take a cab home and make sure to carry a pepper spray. I am always alert, wherever I go, whether it’s day or night.
— Rakhee Yadav,
26, Software Engineer


NOT SAFE IN CROWDS ANYMORE
Chandani Chowk is really deserted and I avoid it during the night. If I absolutely have to, then I make sure to go before dark, and if it’s too late, I ask a friend to come along. With the mass molestation, I don’t think it’s even safe to go into huge crowds any more. I am going to think several times before I step out to celebrate this year’s Ganapati fest or New Year’s Eve.

— Eesha Kulkarni,
21, Architecture student at Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture for Women


ARMED WITH PEPPER AND CHILLI POWDER
There’s a lane near Bhujbal Park in Kothrud which is very lonely, even during the day. My friend’s chain was snatched there once. Thankfully, nothing worse happened. I have to pass by that lane many times, but I avoid it now, especially after 7.30 pm. I have to take a longer route, but my safety is more important. I try to come back early and carry pepper and chilli powder with me every time I go that way.
— Pratibha Mohod,
45, Homemaker


BEING OGLED AT
I feel unsafe at Swargate as the crowd there is very different. I mean, the people there just ogle at you, irrespective of what you’re doing or wearing. So when I pass through that area, I sport a different attitude. I am also slightly insecure about what I am doing and who is watching me.
— Mrunmayi Pedgaonkar,
Std XI, Fergusson College


‘COVERED’ AT ALL TIMES
Pashan and Sus Road is a pretty scary place to be, especially in the night. It’s seldom crowded and there aren’t even any police around. I used to live there earlier and on my way back from work, my dad would pick me up from a half way point.

When I am taking a cab home or any other destination, I talk to someone on the phone, a friend or a family member, giving all details, loud enough for the cab driver to hear; such as where I am or whom I am with. Even if I don’t have reception, I pretend to talk on the phone, to let the driver know that I am covered.
— Rashmi Date,
30, Businesswoman


The author can be followed on Twitter @juilieklahare
 
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