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A journey sans the fear

Rajitha Menon, DH News Service Dec 31 2017, 12:17 IST

When you are confused about which party to attend, you know it is December! The month-set-aside-for-celebrations is drawing to a close and revellers are determined to make the most of every single remaining moment of 2017.

But amidst all the fun and chaos, there lurks danger and no one knows it better than the women. With travelling after dark becoming a dangerous gamble even on normal days, what are the ladies doing to keep themselves safe while they commute to and from parties on New Year's eve?

"The list of dos and don'ts is always a long one when it comes to women commuters but it is better to be safe than sorry," says Sruthy Srishankar, an MNC professional. "While it is better to travel with someone during night, in case of unavoidable situations, go for the tried-and-tested methods like sharing the cab's location with family, speaking on the phone throughout and not opting for cab sharing services," she adds.

Since all your five senses (even the sixth one for that matter) have to be on high alert while travelling alone, it would be a good idea to not take a cab when you are even remotely tipsy. Never sleep off in the cab, don't quarrel with the driver, always opt for a populated and well-lit place for the pick up location and be aware of what the driver is saying in case he is on a call. Also never keep all your money in one place and keep the window open so that your screams are heard (yes, it helps to be paranoid).

Says Pranwesha Kundu, fashion blogger, "After what we witnessed last year, I too feel scared about stepping out at night, especially on New Year's eve. I carry a pepper spray in my handbag whenever I step out, especially during the night. It gives you a certain level of confidence to fight back. All of us are entitled to our independence and we should not let fear dampen our spirits."

Major cab aggregators have come under a lot of flak for the increasing number of untoward incidents happening in their vehicles. New entrants like 'Lithium Urban Technologies' and on-demand driver service provider 'DriveU' are doing their bit to ensure a safe commute for women.

Rahm Shastry, CEO and founder of DriveU, says, "Women partygoers will need to plan for their rides after New Year celebrations. Public transport and cabs will be in high demand. Should they have access to a car, they need a designated driver who won't drink that evening. Better yet, hire a background-verified professional driver from services such as DriveU."

Citizen groups and students are also coming forward to make the streets a safer place for women. Says Anurag Shukla, student committee member of 'S.A.F.E (Students Against Female Exploitation)', "This initiative was started by a senior student of IFIM in 2013. We have set up a helpline number (9611216822) for phase 1 in Electronic City and women can give us a call any time they feel unsafe anywhere in that area. Quick response teams and tie-ups with security agencies have ensured prompt responses from us."

All said and done, quick thinking and gut instincts still seem to be the staunchest allies in adverse situations. Remember - if you feel it isn't safe, it probably isn't.

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