I stay in Gurgaon and use Uber on a regular basis to commute for work. This Saturday, I decided to book Uber, just like every day, the only difference was that I was travelling from Delhi to Noida. Since it was a comparatively long journey, the driver and I got talking. This driver may be in his late 40s or perhaps even 50. He seemed to be a kind and gentle chap talking about how a lot of things had changed in the recent past, not to mention how convenient these cabs are for the masses. I couldn’t agree more.
However, our discussion started to take a different turn in the next 10 minutes. He constantly defended the Uber case that happened last year in Delhi stating that Ola had bribed the woman to enact the situation. He even went onto say how the new generation was mannerless and got drunk all weekend.
“Aur aaj kal k bacche to kapde bhi bahut chote pehente hain, madam”
“Aisa to nhi hone chahiye na?”
I tried to convince him that a woman’s choice of clothing does not define or in any manner support that she’s inviting rape. But he kind of stood on his thoughts. At one point, all I wanted to do was reach my destination safely.
“Ma’am maine kitno ko unke ghar tak pahochaya hai, kai bacche to itne hosh me nhi hote ki ghanti bhi baja sake, un sab ka maine dhyan rkha hai.”
“Aur to aur ek ladka mujhe abhi Hauz Khas pr mila uski haalat itni kharaab thi ki uske dost bhi usko apne saath le jane ko taiyaar nhi thi. Usko cab me ye bol k chodh gye ki hum doctor ko bula rhe hain aur fir main le kar gya usko hospital tak.”
“Aap to samajhdaar lagti ho, aap hi batao shobha deta hai kya ye sab?”
I wanted to say a lot but kept mum. I stayed silent for the remaining trip but it still got me thinking. What is right and what is wrong? Are we always going to blame women for rape? As responsible citizens, isn’t it our duty to be a little accommodating? It is okay to party but losing senses to the point that the cab driver faces so much inconvenience, it that fine? I think not. Where are we heading? Are we ready to bring changes in ourselves to make this a better place to live in?
As I was about to leave, he blessed me I don’t know why. I did not give him a 5 star rating, I didn’t feel like but that particular conversation lingers in me even now. It’s a Monday afternoon at work and I can still not stop myself from thinking about it. Would I ever be able to feel safe in my country? Will my country be able to learn what it takes to be responsible?