“Delhi?! Oh my God, that’s such an unsafe city! How do you survive, Beta?! I would never send my *insert female relation* there! Bangalore must be paradise for you!”
Two weeks in, this is something I’ve heard from nearly every resident of this lovely(read: chaotic) city.
Once they greet you and ask you where you’re from, the reaction is pretty much the same. Their eyes widen; a look of intense pity adorning their face. Pity for this young girl who has the misfortune of residing in the “rape capital of India”(and if you’d believe the media, the world). Pity for her to live perpetually afraid of her surroundings. Pity for her to have not experienced the freedom and luxuries that their womenfolk experience in this fairytale land, where nobody would even hurt a fly and everything is hunky dory.
Except, really, it’s not.
Feminism(or feminazism) aside, I’ve always believed that personal security is your responsibility and yours alone. You are as safe as you want to be, regardless of which part of the world you’re in. You could be living in a beautiful small town in Europe with the highest Happiness-index or whatever and still be a victim of hate crimes against foreigners. You could be in the hinterlands of UP or Bihar and still come across a kindly auto-wallah who’d leave you securely to your doorstep in the middle of the night.
Blame the patriarchy all you want, but it isn’t really going to help your case. The world is no Utopia. It is out to get you, whether in the form of fate, disease, wild animals, or even your own brethren. Expecting people everywhere to share the same views and think of every human life as equally important and consequential is impractical, as is expecting everyone to be a monster. Whether saaddi Dilli or B’lore, if you’re careless and take your safety for granted, misfortune WILL befall you.
Bengaluru is a lovely city. It knows how to treat it’s young working class, all sexes alike. But then, so is Delhi. It’s breathtaking, full of life and has so much to offer. As a Dilliwala, I can say with conviction that the city is as good/bad to you as you let it be. You need to play it to your advantage and once you get the hang of it, it can be pretty darn great. For the women that live there, it may feel safer than the crowded streets of Karnataka’s capital, full of strangers talking in a foreign tongue; ’cause for them, it’s home.
I’m not saying Bangalore isn’t safe, or vehemently claiming that Delhi is. I’m just saying that sometimes, it’s not just people that are hurt by reputations.