Wednesday, 6 November 2013

It's all about being Smart !!

[ This post is one of the top 15 posts chosen by BlogAdda for the Contest. Details here.)

Sad it is. But it’s a truth too - that we live in a country that wakes up to the news about women harassment and problems day in and day out. And even after all the uproar, all the rallies, all the candle light marches, every single day something or the other happening in the country makes your skin crawl.

Somewhere a woman is raped, somewhere else a child is brutally killed after the animalism on it, somewhere a woman hears catcalls behind her, somewhere a woman has to keep adjusting her dupatta to avoid filthy gaze of men around and everywhere these women harbor fear in their hearts. As a woman, it feels like loss of my right to live without any kind of fear. Yes, my very fundamental right of being a human being seems to be at a loss.

I stay in Ahmedabad. Thankfully, I haven’t come across any unfortunate incident myself, but who hasn’t heard about them. After all, considering today’s circumstances, no place in the country seems to be a safe haven for women.

So what do we do? Stop going out and stay within the confines of our homes. But then, is safety guaranteed within our own homes? I guess not. I told you. It’s the loss of my fundamental right of living without fear. But, haven’t you heard, ‘Change starts from within.’ It sure does. If nobody helps, can we ourselves not help ourselves? Can we not stand for ourselves? Can we not take our steps? We can. So, given below are some safety tips I can hand around to my fellow Ahmedabad women. But, I guess, looking to the situation this country is in, any safety tip handed down could work anywhere.

Creatively pursuing, I am putting down the list of smart tips (in no particular order of importance) starting with the letters of my city - Ahmedabad. I know you would have noticed, but why take chances ;)

Alertness always works
Hold Hands
Make smart choices
Decode the surroundings
Access to Safety devices
Being brave
Activate those vocal chords
Do not be a show-off

A – Alertness always works
Remember, the times when your mom told you to be alert all the time when you were young. Ladies, this works even today. May be more now. So whether you are hopping on a rick during late nights or just walking down the road, let those grey cells be active always. Nobody, but you can sense the danger first. We are great with sixth sense, remember? Trust it. I know, Ahmedabad isn’t a place to be worried all the time, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

H – Hold Hands
I do not mean literally holding hands.. jeezz.. By holding hands, I mean ‘Support’. Yes, support fellow women when they are in trouble. Meekness doesn’t work in today’s times. So next time, you see a woman being troubled by some miscreant or an autowalla haggling with some girl in distasteful manner, go stand by her, fight him along with her. Atleast make a call to the police if matters run out of hand. Chances are that others would join in as well. I know people of Ahmedabad are very helpful of women in such times. They would join for sure.

If this helping others keeps on happening time and again, I don’t think determination of a handful of dirty minded can last against the goodwill of thousands.  

M – Make smart choices
I know we are smart ;) but how about having some smart gadgets on our smart phones installed. Something like Smart Suraksha App that could be used so easily and effectively.

Now, Google has done a great service to womankind by inventing Google maps. Use them when you are travelling to a new place. Don’t just sit inside a taxi and let them take you for a ride. Ask the driver to take a particular route seeing the map just to let them know you are well equipped.

How about keeping the phone numbers of some key people on speed dials? I know we all have them, but in times of urgency, these things tend to slip out. Just thought of reminding!

And yes, do not forget to keep ICE numbers. Don’t know what’s ICE numbers? ICE stands for ‘In case of Emergency’. Just store a few important contacts beginning with ICE. May be having ICE numbers is not a very popular phenomenon, but, God forbid, if anything untoward happens, atleast the people who would know about ICE can inform about your condition to right people.

E – Educate
Yes Girls, education is the key in here too. Seems education is the key to everything ;) So, anyways, by education here I mean, making women around you aware of the possible dangers and ways to fight them off. (You are free to read these tips out to them. I know, I know its shameless self-promotion, but couldn’t help it)

And by women, I don’t just mean the women in your family. That young girl who comes to clean your house, your watchman’s daughter and even your regular sabziwali gets counted too. Of course, we would tell our daughters to be safe and teach them ways for it, but what about those unprivileged who haven’t been taught by anyone from their families. Don’t forget them. Hand them some safety tips too. They might in turn share your tips with their friends in villages or small towns from where they come. I bet you would be doing some a lot of good ;)

D – Decode the surroundings
If you are going to the parking lot of those malls alone, make sure, you are not distracted by your phone while walking down. Check your car before entering it. And once you are inside, drive off immediately. You can check your make up in the mirror later. Some such practical tips can help ward off potential danger.

I am sure you would have heard about letting your whereabouts know to your family on the phone once you get inside a cab or autorickshaw so that the driver wouldn’t play around. You might as well be doing that. But at times, in a huff-puff we might forget using a language that the driver should be able to understand.

Don’t just rattle away in your crisp English accent or your mother tongue about your whereabouts. Use a language you know the local driver should understand. If you are travelling out of town and you are not sure, ask the driver himself what place exactly you are and then speak it in the phone. 

A – Access to Safety devices
I know that you all know about carrying a bottle of pepper spray or a deodorant or a small Swiss knife so they could become our guardian angels in distressing times.

But, there’s a catch in here. As our trademark trait, we carry huge bags where things once lost can hardly be found. I know, I know, we can’t change that. But having such devices in our loving bags and not being able to find them on right times would be so unfortunate. Isn’t it? So, the least we can do is keep these safety devices in some small pocket of our bags which can be easily accessible. One small crevice in that large bag which should not be stuffed with anything else except for that life savior instrument. Not a big price to pay. Right, girls?

And yes, I saw a video of a campaign called ‘Seeti bajao’ under which women carry a whistle which can be used to drive off those hooligans. Seems so effective, isn’t it? But remember, the golden rule – keep it accessible. How about keeping that small whistle in your jeans pocket? If your purse gets snatched off, atleast you would have the whistle to alert people around.  

B – Being brave
At times when we actually need it, all the bravery and other such blah blah inside us goes into hiding in the Himalayas. Natural it is. But if we stuff the positivity and bravery inside our minds, possibility is that it won’t ditch you last minute.

Train your brain to act quickly under not-so-easy circumstances. Cook up some harsh incidents inside your brain and also plan a way out the mess. I know this sounds like a crazy advice but trust me, it works. It works when needed.

How about learning a few tricks of self-defense? May be master a kick or two to be used in case of emergencies! Atleast a basic course could help the grown-ups if you are not prepared to take a full-fledged one.

And for your little princesses, it wouldn’t hurt to enroll them for learning karate along with those salsa classes, won’t it? After all, it isn’t a bad idea to teach our princesses to be warriors when needed.   

A – Activate those vocal chords
Yes, girls, shout out loud. The moment you sense danger, use those vocal chords to the maximum. If you are being harassed in any way, raise your voices, literally. Raised voices deter the confidence of miscreants.  

D – Do not be a show-off
I know Ahmedabad is running the race for becoming a buzzing, happening city. People are changing. We are changing. All good. But in this race, we might be inviting troubles. How about keeping that bragging about all the shopping you did at the new AlphaOne mall or the pricey food you enjoyed at The Grand Bhagwati all by yourself atleast when you are taking a cab or any public transport? How about keeping heavy cash and valuables out of sight from maids, drivers or such other people? I am not saying they can’t be trusted. They can. But why lure troubles? Why take chances? So isn’t it sensible to be sensible and not be a show-off?  

Okay, so these were nine safety tips I could connect. And coming to the last but not the least, all I would say is:

Life is too short to experience everything yourself. So learn from experiences of others. (I am not being philosophical suddenly) What I mean is that there are so bloody many instances happening around us; don’t turn a blind eye to them thinking they can’t happen to you in a city like Ahmedabad. Accept the fact that misfortunes can hit any shores. Even ours. From every instance you read or hear about, don’t just whine over the situation. Try to gauge the nuances of the smartness that might have avoided any unfortunate incident that happened to others. Learn.

After all, it’s all about being Smart, isn’t it? ;)

P.S. - I am sharing my Smart Suraksha Tips at in association with Smart Suraksha App.


  1. Jyotsna this is very interestingly penned. The tips are all smartly jotted down. Girls must book mark these smart suggestions. Well thought out of post.

    1. Thank you for reading Usha.. Your comments are always motivating :) :) And yes, I hope these tips would be of some help to girls out there..

  2. Very good tips... Must keep these handy.
    The second para of this post (the one that begins with "somewhere"..) touched a big nerve. Very well written!

    1. Hey Sreesha, thanks for reading and appreciating. Glad to have you here :)

  3. Ahmedabad is a happening city, nice to read your take on the city. Very well described with those alphabets.

    1. Yes Indrani, Ahmedabad is a happening city. Have you visited here any time?? And thank you :) Glad I could do something nice with my city name ;)

  4. I really appreciate the way you used Ahmedabad's spelling to help people. :) It's really sad that women have to be alert all the time.

    1. Thanks for dropping in Renuka. And yes, it is indeed a sad state of affairs for women :( Here's to hoping that things improve in future !!

  5. Love the way you write. And it was a really creative way to jot down the tips :)

    1. Hey Sidharth, welcome to my space. Glad to have you here. And thank you for the appreciation :)

  6. Loved the way you have shared the tips Jyotsna :)

    1. Thank you Khushboo.. Hope they would be of some help to others :)


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