Freedom Calling Safety!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

She was beaming with happiness as it was the day she had been waiting for, for the last 3 months impatiently! Riya turned 18 today- an adult! She will now have her driving license (though she'll have to convince dad a thousand times before he lets her take the car alone anywhere), her bank account (no more child accounts), a voter i-card (whom to vote is a secondary issue) and most importantly FREEDOM! The thing she had been waiting for such a long time. 

She had been so jealous of her elder sister, Maya, for past four years. Maya used to narrate about her college, all the fun she had with her friends at the parties, her journey to Goa. Now mom will have to allow her for everything. She'll not have to ask for permission anymore as she wasn't a kid. yes, she'll be back home when all of her friends will. No more caging her up, she got wings today and she'll fly high!

To celebrate her birthday, her friends threw a "surprise party". It wasn't much of a surprise party as she had demanded it weeks in advance. She bought a new dress also for the occasion. The party was over soon but some of her friends planned to go on a long drive in the pleasant breeze of Delhi winter nights. Soon, they stopped at a place near a cool hangout joint to enjoy the view and the guys, Ram and Prasad brought out beer bottles. She had never tried one so she hesitated. Shilpa, her closest friend said, "But this is the time to enjoy life! Now you are an adult!" "Come on, don't be a baby Riya! lets have some fun", Prasad teased her. She is not a baby anymore, she thought, and she didn't wanna be an outcast either! She took the bottle and gulped down some in a hurry. It was bitter but she couldn't say it, no one else was. 

Soon, a bottle turned into two, then three. She was losing her inhibitions, she felt more free, more comfortable. She could do anything right now - she finally got her wings! She wanted the world to know it! She thought of Maya, how jealous she'll be when she hears about how much fun Riya had - she could imagine her jealous pitiful face. Her thoughts were perturbed by her phone ringing. The screen flashed Mom with a very pretty picture of her. She looked at her watch. It was past 10 - her deadline for getting home. She avoided the call, the phone kept on ringing several times. She danced to her ringtone. The freedom was taking its toll.

At 2, the car stopped outside her colony. The main gate was closed so she had to get down and walk her way home. The lane was secluded with dim light but she was walking to the beats of music playing in her head. Suddenly, a voice came from behind, "Hey chammak challo! Kahan chali?" She turned around and saw 4-5 guys walking towards her. She started walking faster, she was still away from her home. She tried calling her friends, but her hands were shivering badly. They started abusing from behind and kept on following her, she tried to run faster but she wasn't in her full senses and the road seemed to be never ending. Finally, they pulled her from behind - one of the guys grabbed her and the other one snatched her phone. The other one slapped her , she tried to shout but the voice didn't support her. She felt herself choking up - this was the end. Mom, dad and Maya's face started revolving in her mind - wish they could be here - right now!

Suddenly, as one of the guys started towards her, she heard loud noises - the voice of her friends. They saw her from a distance and started running towards her to save her. The watchman heard the noises and came to rescue. As so many people gathered, the creeps ran away. She was safe now! She couldn't believe it. She thought this was her end - of life or soul. Ram and Prasad dropped her home. Her parents were waiting at the doorstep - worried. As she saw her mom, she hugged her and started crying. Her mom took her to her room and tucked her in her bed and Maya sat there holding her hand till she went to sleep.

Prasad explained to her parents about what happened. After dropping her, they saw her purse in the car, so they came back to return it to her. Had they not come back, things would have been so different! Riya's world might have collided. They admitted it was their mistake - they shouldn't have made her drink and should have dropped her home on time. Riya also realised that freedom was fine till it was in limits. Her chase to freedom might have cost her her life today! She wasn't wrong just adamant and was being a rebel but against whom was she fighting? Her own family - who were trying to protect her from such an incident! If her friends wouldn't have come to return the purse, who knows what might have happened to her! They all were relieved that she was fine today - that's all that mattered.

But not everybody is that lucky - not everyone's friends might come back to return something! I wish She had Smart Suraksha with her then. She would have felt safe - she could have contacted someone and be assured they will come to rescue her. The Smart Suraksha App is an Android Application that aims at making the women feel safe. This App, at the press of a single button, sends your message of help to five pre-chosen contacts from your contact list. An additional feature of this app is that along with your message for help, it also sends across your location even if the GPS on your cellphone is switched off. I wish anyone in a similar situation will have Smart Suraksha so that what happened with Nirbhaya never gets repeated!

Few lines for Nirbhaya - "Khoob ladi mardani, wo to jhaasi wali raani thi"! RIP Nirbhaya!

I am participating in the Seeking Smart Suraksha contest at in association with Smart Suraksha App.

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