The Desi Girl’s Guide To Staying Safe While Using Public Transport
Most of my salary is blown up on shopping (thanks to the mall right next to our office), so I obviously can’t afford an UBER, let alone a chauffer-driven car. Public transport is my only option ’cause gone are the days when I could just whip out my phone, and book a cab ride.
Besides, when you’re living in a city like Mumbai, you’d be considered an alien if you haven’t travelled by a ‘kaali peeli’ or the local train at least a few times. Public transport is what keeps Mumbai going, but you need to be careful. especially if you’re a woman using it.
Here’s the desi girl’s guide to staying safe while using public transport in India.
1. Get used to your bus or train schedule by using the M-indicator App, so you don’t have to wait around while creeps keep looking at your midriff peeping through that cropped top. Download the M-indicator app RN!
2. Keep the amount of money that you will need for your journey in your hand in order to avoid opening up your bag on the ride.
3. Avoid giving out personal information to anyone in a crowded place, because you definitely don’t want any stalkers waiting at your door step or creepy messages on WhatsApp.
4. Be aware of the people around you. If you spot something fishy, then you might as well play musical chairs and shift to a different seat.
5. Many a time, the cab driver or the rickshaw driver will strike up a conversation with you. My advice: plug in your earphones and pretend like you can’t hear them in order to avoid the conversation all together.
6. Use your voice! If someone is acting inappropriately, make a scene and yell if you have to to grab the attention of everyone around you. When else will your cricket screams come to good use?!
7. In case of any emergency situation, make sure you carry a small pepper spray and Swiss knife with you at all times. You know, in case you have to ninja fight some perv on the streets!
8. Always check your seat before you get off the bus or train. You don’t want to leave that expensive lipstick behind.
9. If a ticket collector asks you to flash your ID card or ticket, make sure you get the deets on him as well. Check his ID card to ensure he is a legit TC, and not a fraud.
10. Keep your mobile phone out of sight. Plug in your earphones and drop the phone in your bag; you can control a few settings through the earphones itself.
11. Avoid zoning out during your commute, whether it is reading a book, scrolling through Instagram, or even taking a nap.
12. If you are sharing a cab or a rickshaw with strangers to save some moolah, make sure you are alert about what they are doing and that they don’t have bad intentions. And definitely pull those ear plugs out. Justin Beiber can wait!
13. If you are travelling alone late at night, keep a buddy or a family member on call, or keep texting them about your location. If you are tech savvy, you can even share your location every 10 minutes, or have them track your phone.
14. Make sure to keep your bags close to your body and your elbows out when moving through a crowd in order to avoid being touched in the wrong places.