Friday, October 25, 2013

Ancient wisdom, modern words

Having lived through a period when  the highlight of any Suraksha Tips given  to anyone, was "Dont talk to strangers" and "Get home before dark"  (50 years ago),  and then lived through a period of women emerging to work, and commute, where you wore fake gold mangalsutras and necklaces in crowded trains populated by expert chain snatchers,  it is very disappointing to see what we have come to in 2014.

I have known cases where a chain snatcher snatched a chain , which was fake, and then returned to the same spot the next day, to slap the lady returning from her job, berating her for wearing imitation jewellery.

At such times, it is better to err on the side of caution when deciding what care one must take for one's own security.

1.  Whenever you are travelling alone, do not accept  anything to drink or eat  from someone sitting alongside.  I've known of folks who fell quietly into a dead faint and had everything stolen including their muscle strength (due to the drug used).

2.  Carry a pepper spray in your handbag or purse. Red chilly powder also works.  A folding umbrella that opens at the click of a button is also useful. Umbrellas have been used as weapons by the women of Mumbai for donkey's years.  Blowing up something in a person's face gives you time. Possibly to get the pepper spray ready.  If you are trained self defence, even better.

3.  Ignore odd men and women who stop you to ask about addresses, and tell you that you dropped a hundred rupee note. Move on. They sometimes have accomplices .

4.  Rickshaws are the most common mode of quick transport in Mumbai.  If you are alone, sit to one side in the ricksha. And make a call (or at least appear to make one) to someone, saying how long you would be. Ensure you ask the driver loudly how long it will take to reach your destination and mention it to whoever on the phone.  Also mention the licence plate number. It is often written in white on the passenger side behind the driver's seat.  Make frequent calls and pretend to asnwer calls about where you have reached.  

5. Get out of any rickshaw, if a fellow joins up sitting with the driver in front. Tell him to get off, or get off yourself and talk loudly . Make sure you do this in a commercial area with shops around. You can always rush nearby to one.

6.  Always have some smart application like Smart Suraksha on your phone screen visible to you , when walking down a deserted road. (before i read about Smart Suraksha, I had on my phone two applications that, on pressing a screen button,  blew piercing police whistles and a siren respectively, very loudly. People even came in from the next room when i tested it.)  Do not be preoccupied texting or checking things on your phone. Most important, get those earplugs out of your ears.  You need to be aware of sounds around you.

7.   Do NOT  exchange personal details on social networking sites.  The current generation of youth has some convoluted ideas about what it means to be popular/important etc .  If you are the parent of a young man or woman , keep track of their activities, late calls and stuff. You are not in it for popularity, so be strict about things, and tell folks off when you think things are going too far. 

8.  When travelling in a elevator without an attendant, ensure you travel in a crowd.

9.  Install metal grill doors at your entrance, in addition to your normal doors.  Courier stuff etc can be handled through that, avoiding the risk of opening up your house to unknown types. Many people , can hoodwink security, and land up, under the guise of religious donations, delivery of items, asking for addresses.

10. Last but not least, dress appropriately at all times. There is a school of thought that says "I must have the freedom to dress as I please".  The same folks who espouse that, may be seen in a Church or Siddhivinayak temple in normal everyday clothes, heads covered and all that.  Why not avoid situations, where you are watched in a rear view mirror because  what you are wearing is attracting attention ?  Wear stuff in which it is easy to move; I am not saying wear hotpants instead of salwars; I know someone wearing nine yards who put the fear of God into a couple of troublemakers.   If you wear heels as part of your office wear, change to flats before you leave, to encourage quick and safe movement.

There is of course, always, safety in numbers.  But it is also about being alert, aware of the environment in which you are,  and not getting addicted to one of the most useful but troublesome contraptions of our times : cell phone games, and music with ears blocked shut.

Just wondering if anyone agrees, and how many might possibly be seething in anger at point no 10.

Ah well, at my age, I am like that only......

I am sharing my Smart Suraksha Tips at in association with Smart Suraksha App


  1. I agree with everything and even the app, but dressing to specifically prevent anything from happening.. doesn't really work. But, I agree that changing heels to flats, wearing comfortable clothes etc are very important to be mobile and quick in the face of danger.

    1. Thats why one uses the word "appropriate". What is fine in Mumbai may not be so , say, in Delhi. I've been subject to folks wearing ultra low-waist jeans and pants with short tops in buses, and when they bend either to sit or get up, you get , along with many other folks, distinct views of rear cleavages.I am not saying the girl is marked etc, but think of the cumulative effect of such displays on a mind that thinks whatever they show in bollywood movies re chedchaad can be emulated in real life.

  2. living in cities like mumbai and delhi we get used to taking extreme precautions including avoiding late night parties or late night works depriving ourselves of the well deserved fun and opportunities.
    i guess all these precautions have became inherent to us with time. hopefully one day we will not have to be that self restrictive and will live freely like our male counterparts, and may be someday pappu will become PM... pun intended

  3. Very nice reminder to ponder especially when still new to certain places...In this way, safety is guaranteed...

  4. Very useful post indeed. Thinking of sending links to all my nieces, cousins and friends. I would give a big nod to last point too. Aren't we told to be better safe than sorry? However aggressively I want to excercise my freedom of choice of dressing ,I know for sure that I do not want to get into trouble and be noticed , stalked, approached for unnecessary conversation just because my dress catches attention.
    sometimes I find it difficult to be rude to people who are being unnecessarily friendly and I do not want to be :or they are asking some personal information . I think we should also learn to be little rude to discourage people become friendly attackers ,even if they are elderly ,nicely dressed or smiling people .

  5. This has to be one of my favorite posts! And on top of thats its also very helpful topic for newbies. Thanks a lot for informative information!

  6. We are urgently in need of KlDNEY donors for the sum

    of $500,000.00 USD,(3 CRORE INDIA RUPEES) All donors

    are to reply via the sum of $500,000.00 USD, Email

    for more details: Email: