Of fear and being terrorized..

I guess it was October last year when I was asked to travel to Delhi to get my visa done for an onsite travel.My manager had traveled to Delhi to get his visa done earlier. Getting the visa done for that particular country where I was going to meant waking up as early as 3 A.M and standing in queue from 5 A.M and waiting for your turn at the consulate . My manager , took a evening flight from Bangalore to Delhi and chose to spend the night in the airport lounge. Early next morning, he took a taxi to the consulate in Delhi and stood in line at around 5 A.M.

“I stayed at the lounge and slept there”. “But you can stay at the office guesthouse for the night and take an early morning taxi to the consulate ” , the manager said.

I knew nothing about Delhi. How far was the airport from the office guest house? How far was the guest house from the consulate ??

So when my turn to get my visa done , I was petrified. This would have been my first visit to Delhi on my own. My earlier stay in Delhi was in 2004 , I was with the husband then . And there is so much written on blogs and media on how unsafe the national capital is for women.

How on earth am I going to take a taxi at an unearthly hour in a new city at 3 A.M ???

Should I ask the husband to take a day off from work and accompany me to the consulate???
That would mean all 3 of us going to Delhi, the husband, me and the son . The very idea seemed so silly.

And then I really prayed and hoped that I would get to club my visa appointment with that of a male colleague. I really hoped that his passport that was stuck at another consulate arrived on time , so that if we ever did that visit to Delhi, I could travel with him.

By sheer luck, my papers were verified and I didn’t have to make personal appearance at Delhi. The visa arrived through courier.

I was reading this blog post at IHM’s today and I got reminded about this incident

Isn’t it sad when women feel traumatized and terrorized in their own country??

That you don’t feel safe about travelling to your national capital.A capital that is in news every now and then for gang rapes, murders and women going missing .


Security Champion

Clutching the jolna pai against my chest, I hurry my pace , looking left, looking right every once in a while. Its a busy road, dark , no street lights and its 7:30 PM and its pouring .

Many a thoughts run through my mind.

“May be I should have asked the cook to fetch the veggies”

“May be we should have eaten the brinjals again today, the only veggies left on the fridge”

“I will use my umbrella to protect me ”

“Can I even run ??its pouring and my sandals slip”

Just random varied thoughts .

Just too many men around me, From vegetable vendors huddled together to men visiting the local bar.

And with every running man on the street , my worries only multiplied. Would he misbehave and then run , .. the pouring rain making it all the more easier for him.

Very Very unsafe I mutter to myself.

And I breathe easy only after having entered my apartment gate

At work, I am the security champion for my division.I am supposed to make a list of assets and keep list of vulnerabilities , evaluate risks, calculate residual risks blah blah ….

Vulnerable , risk ….. all these words thumped on my mind , that 30 min when I went out in the dark while it was pouring.

What makes a woman so vulnerable. I was fully clothed in a modest salwar, a loud red pottu across my forehead, my hair held in a tight ponytail ..

But then it has nothing to do with your clothing . I reminded myself.

You are just vulnerable, being born a woman in this nation

Sad !!! ain’t it.

The madness and the hoopla

Last afternoon, the M-I-L and me sat on the auto , only to be disturbed from our thoughts by a loud happy yell from a girl that happened to pass by on a scooty with her daddy. “Chota Bheem bag appa ” she screamed pointing out to the bright blue bag that was on my lap.

This morning, the boy and I did our usual play in the play area. A little later , a 6 year old came along with his daddy .Th boy built a small tower with his plastic blocks and declared it as “Damyaan”.”That is Damyaan” he said. We gladly gave in , the boy, my son and me built Dholakpur, we drew trees on the sand .The boy’s daddy obliged and drew a Chota Bheem much to the amusement of my 3 year old and that 6 year old

Last evening, we happened to shop at the Chota Bheem store in JP nagar.I was trying to reason it out with my son that he already had a mini Chota beem toy that came as a free gift from Pepsodent and that he was free to choose Raju , than a Bheem toy again.I raised my head and there was another daddy that was grinning listening to my argument with my son.

For the last few months , I have only been seeing Bheem around me. First it was a winning strategy to release the movie during summer, then came the tie up with Spar,then came the life size Bheem , then came the water bottles,T shirts … today Bheem is everywhere , there is no way you can escape from the mania.

Today, I was trying hard to recollect what is it that I was crazy about when I was a kid. All I could remember was how Mahabharatha and Ramayan managed to retain the top slot.And I was wondering why nobody back then ever thought of a merchandise.Imagine the kind of money the Chopra’s and the Sagar’s could have made if we had toys, labels and T shirts of the characters. But then clever marketing was something unheard of back then. Today the urban middle class has money, and the potential to purchase. And then comes foreign MBA’s that come up with clever tie-ups and winning strategies.

“Make hay while the sun shines” seems to be the mantra. I do not know how many more years Bheem will manage to captivate the kids.

But then all I can wind up saying is that Bheem has managed to go where no other Indian cartoon has gone before. He sure has mesmerized the kids of this generation .

“Jam Jam Jamboora” … clever marketing hain poora” !!!