Mumbai from the Eyes of a Delhite: Part 7
[This is the seventh in a series of blogs about Mumbai]
Living in the Crime Capital of India aka Gurgaon definitely taught me to value the safe freedom Mumbai has to offer.
I am not kidding when I say that during the two years I lived in Gurgaon, I would get back to my college hostel before dark, even as a 20-something college going girl. Come darkness, the leers and hoots of daytime would turn into bold touches and lustful grabs, irrespective of whether you wore jeans, suits or even burqas.
In contrast, I began to discover the liberty of walking back home from the nearby market at night in Mumbai. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I could travel in the most crowded locals without being touched inappropriately. I could live without suspecting every man I came across of being a potential rapist.
My twitter update, the first time I wore a formal skirt to office in Mumbai, summarized my comparative experience of three cities I had lived in:
“Wearing a skirt: In Mumbai- men watch; In Delhi- men comment; In Gurgaon: men grab.”
The hallowed image of the city however, was sullied in my eyes one day. I was taking a post-walk dinner with a friend along Bandstand on a weekday. It was around 10pm, and the walkway still had a large number of families strolling, couples holding hands and college groups hanging out. It was far from deserted. Which is why we were surprised at the boldness of two boys, whom we discovered after a while, to be following us.
When we would stop they would stop; where we turned, they followed. Discomforted at the thought of being shadowed back home, we decided to continue walking. The impudent boys began hunting down their prey with growing audacity, drawing closer and closer until one each was walking on either side of us, barely an arm’s distance away.
Not one to take things lying down, but not wanting to engage directly with them either, I pulled out my phone and dialed 100, more with the hope of scaring them off than with the expectation of any real help arriving. The police, however, were surprisingly more concerned than I had expected and promised to arrive soon. Overhearing the conversation, the boys took flight. Fifteen minutes later, my friend and I were personally escorted home by a police vehicle!
While the incident left a bitter taste in my mind, I was nonetheless more than a little awestruck with the concern and chivalry shown by the cops, not to forget their sincere apologies that we had had to face something like that in their city. Reassuring us that they are always within reach, they hoped the experience would not mar our impression of Bandstand and Bombay.
Delhites may differ in their opinion of the Delhi police, but the few interactions I have had with the police in the Capital, have been unpleasant and unhelpful. Hence, I was absolutely amazed to see, that the cops in Mumbai were not just prompt and caring, but felt personally responsible for one’s experience on the streets of their city.
So lady Delhites, if you happen to live in Mumbai for a while, trust me, you will feel the difference!
Have you lived in either of these towns? What’s your take on life as a woman in Delhi? Or Mumbai?
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Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.