Is Chennai safe for Women?

I do not know really! You see crowd all around you, and yet there are times when you feel that you are alone on that stretch and there is a shadow or two lurking somewhere close! Am sure this must be true of other cities too. Here’s an experience I encountered a few days back.

It was around 7.30 PM (not very late by Chennai standards I guess. Or is it?) and I was returning home from work. Its barely a few minutes walk from the bus stop to my house. Rain in chennai is a rare treat and I dare not complain about the bad roads due to the rains. Its okay as long as it rains. It had rained during the day and naturally the road I had to take was messy. Thanks to the Chennai corporation folks who have dug that road for the 4th time in less that 2 yrs, which made it even more worse.

There were’nt many people on the road and I was trying to stick to the pavement as far as possible to avoid the slime and sludge on the road. Had barely walked a few yards when I had this creepy feeling of someone closely toeing. Was hesitant to turn around and look and so continued walking a little faster which was difficult given the road condition. Now I was sure that someone was walking right behind me and was trying to keep pace with me too! Without turning around I just looked ahead to see if there was any help within reach. A new eat-out is coming up on that road and I could spot 2 or 3 heads near that building, a little distance from where I was. I had to get a little more closer for any of those men to hear me if I yelled. I walked faster to get into a hearing distance of that group.

When I was confident that I could be heard, I turned around to see a man, very small-built and shady-looking, barely 2 feet behind me. I raised my voice and threateningly asked him why he was following me and what he wanted. I was sure the people outside the building heard me and I saw this man eyeing them. He hurriedly said ‘ille, onnum ille (no, nothing)’ and darted off to the other side of the road and disappeared. And  then realised that my knees were shaking!! I stepped into the middle of the road (to hell with the sludge!) and walked home. I couldn’t care less for any cars or bikes coming at me!!

Whether the intent was theft or physical abuse, I do not know. But it leaves that bitter taste and depresses you because even today women cannot walk home freely without having to worry about the physical safety. Free India my foot!

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6 thoughts on “Is Chennai safe for Women?

  1. Yeah, free India or whatever!!!
    Women empowerment or whatever again!!!

    Most working women have to encounter this almost always, and I sometimes in all my anger and frustration wish that I had the powers of the ancient Indian women to change to ashes any man who misbehaves or even tries to. You wont believe me, just yesterday I was discussing with a colleague how Damayanti turned to ashes a hunter when she was abandoned alone in the forest by her husband and the hunter tried to misbehave with her. Maybe my history(or mythology) is rusty… but mythology says Indian women have that powers, and I wish for that empowerment rather than this so called empowerment…

    Ha ha, I left a blog myself in the form of a comment 🙂

    • Damayanthi’s ‘power’ is but a myth and will stay that way.. I wouldn’t, for my life, trade the ’empowerment’ we have today with the one you believe was there in the ancient times. Even if there are a 100 stalkers following. I prefer to handle this..

      Hey, and thanks for the mini-post:-)

  2. You live in the most conservative state in this country. Safety is something you should not expect when living amongst hypocrites, ruled by hypocrites as such. My advice is carry pepper spray. I tell every girl-friend i have to carry one and yet no one seems to care less or take me seriously. Better have some random fellow screaming in pain than be robbed or raped. That’s my take on it. I’m not a woman but i use a crutch to walk, that makes me vulnerable. Additionally any given day i carry 2 Lakhs worth of camera equipment on my backpack. There isn’t a day i’ve not had either a swizz army knife or pepper spray on me accessible when i need it. Thankfully we are men and we aren’t subject to the problems women are in the society. So much for barathi, periyar and gandhi. Hypocracy, sexism and discrimination comes first in india, rest all follows as per preference and taste.

  3. Compared to other key metros, mainly Delhi, I would say any day Chennai is a little safer! Thats purely from my experience… Whoever says that we are a ‘freed / independent nation’ don’t seem to know what these words mean! One guy in his days probably knew it – the day a lady can walk alone with no fright, during midnight is when we are completely / truly independent – But, as rationalized folks, we should find our way amidst this chaos too! So, I do agree with Dilip! In my 10 yrs of being alone, all that has helped me is ‘be cautious; always be prepared to self-defense’ – don’t rely on anyone else!!! Pepper-spray is the best findings for us; if not, carry some chillie powder with u; carry a small pen-knife – something – cut that bullshit of not harming others! we are animals; we harm if we are made to feel that we will be harmed!

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