Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mumbai for WOMEN




IS MUMBAI FOR WOMEN? 

My answer : In India Mumbai is the only city FOR women. No other city can claim to be as safe as AAMCHI MUMBAI.

I recently attended an INDIBLOGGER meet TIMES OF INDIA'S initiative MUMBAI FOR WOMEN. It got me thinking why do I feel so?  I was neither born nor brought up in Mumbai... I am from Kolkata. 9 yrs ago I got married and I shifted to Mumbai and have been living here since then. 

In Kolkata, eve-teasing was a day to day occurrence, it happened everywhere... where ever we (my friends and myself) went. Be it waiting for the metro, gates of my college ( Loreto college) Romeos waiting and mumbling. At times it was even difficult to decipher what exactly they were trying to say. Honestly, I was cool with it and at times even enjoyed it. The only things that made me  lose my cool was when they tried to touch. It had been quite a number of times. Readers must be wondering maybe I wasn't dressed properly. Well I used to wear jeans and an over-size round neck T-shirt all through out my college.

Mumbai to me had been refreshingly different. There were no eve teasing I witnessed...No sexual advances of any sort. People are busy with their own lives. Few months ago... soon after the Delhi rape case incident, one of my women-friend  threw a party in a pub Firangi Paani. I was there till half past midnight,we were five ladies. We danced and we had fun. In that same pub there was group of young girls dressed fashionably in short dresses and low necklines and without any male escort. Like all pubs there were lot of men/boys too,but not even once did I see any man trying to intrude their privacy. 

Autos can be a real pain in our rears in Mumbai, but at times of need they are around. My mother in law is a slip disc patient. As there were no taxis available outside Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, we had to take an auto.
The auto driver, MR Sandip Bacche gives free rides to the blind, Donates money to an old age home, Raise funds for the treatment of a sandwich vendor.Most importantly old people and aging women are his first preference.

Whatever little I know about Mumbai, it's an extremely safe place compared to most of the metropolitan cities in India and even cities abroad. Okay, I agree there are eve-teasing incidents, rape cases but even the safest cities in the world too has it. Women in Mumbai are comparatively safe on Mumbai roads. But are they equally safe in their own homes?

In a conservative, less educated household a woman is nothing more than a lady who's suppose do what she's told. Domestic Violence is an epidemic and widespread predominantly against women. There are husbands, fathers who are habitually assaulting and making the life of the woman miserable. My maid gets beaten every night by her drunk husband. I have pleaded her to report to the police but she refuses every time. Why??? "He loves me a lot.. He just turns violent only when he is drunk" ...which is nearly every night. He steals away her hard earned money to get drunk and then come home beat his wife to a pulp.

Women are said to bear with all atrocities silently that makes them prone to rape and domestic violence.There are so many cases in Mumbai itself where fathers, Uncles, Neighbors or Cousins have raped minor girls. Only a few get reported to the police. According to a study 80% of the cases are where the rapist is known to the raped. Women in Mumbai are to be saved from these animals. My maid says she feels safer on road than in her own home.

Rapes are everywhere but I blame the movies for our current plight. All women centric movies are about sex. Be it fashion, dirty picture, heroine, aiyya. Women shows-off and the movie sell. The movies that don't have very important women roles have item numbers where they have double meaning songs.... Very vulgar moves and very exposed women dancing...as examples...chikni chamelli, munnie, fevicol se.... and the list goes on. 

Just talking about it won't solve things. We need to change the mind set of our men which can only be done at the root level..... that is our home.

There are so many things I just fail to understand about our society and about our mindset. There was a time when I used to work. My husband and I returned home from work, nearly at the same time. My husband would get fresh and would watch TV, while i laid the food on the dining table and after dinner I would clean up. There is a gross inequality in our own homes how could we teach our sons to treat women equally outside.

We Indian wives...keep following our mommies, grand mommies footsteps by keeping our husband and children's health before us. The sacrificing wives that we are. There our times we forget to look after our own health. We always under-estimate the enormity of our health issues. I lost my grandmother (breast cancer) and my mother (heart attack) because of that. 

Love for cooking and cleaning and household duties doesn't come with X chromosomes. I am a woman and I hate to cook . But as I am a woman I am expected to love cooking, stitching etc.


I am trying to do my bit. As a mother of a four year old boy. I am trying to teach my son that women is not all about cooking cleaning and beauty. We  are smart individuals too. And every woman deserves respect and equal treatment. I hope he'll grow up to be a good man , a great husband (like mine) and a wonderful father like my dad.