How safe is Bombay, really?

By Shernaaz Engineer | Thursday, July 26, 2007 11:21:37 IST

Most women have developed a defence mechanism by which they know how to deal with this…

Certainly, by most accounts, Bombay is a safe city. So its inclusion as one of the safest cities in the world, courtesy one of those ubiquitous surveys that pronounce all manner of things, isn’t surprising.

Women, particularly single women, would happily testify that as far as Indian cities go Bombay makes them feel exceptionally easy at most times of the day or night (and especially the latter). The public transport system works efficiently, women can roam around freely till fairly late, and they can stay in hostels or as paying guests without too much of a problem.

It isn’t as though eve teasing doesn’t exist. Take a walk down any of our railway stations or try getting into a crowded bus and you can be rest assured there will be unwarranted attention and intrusion by way of a Johnny who tries to get too close for comfort. But most women have developed a defence mechanism by which they know how to deal with this.

The police, although not entirely helpful at all times, does play its part (in all fairness) to keep the city woman-friendly. Ask any girl who comes in from the North, especially Delhi, and she will confess that she feels like a free bird in Bombay. Just last week a friend was visiting and waxing eloquent about how confidently she can carry herself through the day and well into the night, entirely on her lonesome ownsome, without worrying about being molested or mauled.

Which is why the recent incident in Chembur, where a ten-year-old girl was badly hurt as the result of a bizarre eve-teasing accident, is serious a blot on Bombay’s reputation. According to television reports, the boys who were rashly driving the car that hit and hurt her, have been let off (a bit too easily) on bail, while the little tot and her family are devastated. The police appear to be taking a fairly easy-pleasy what’s-the-big-deal approach, when they should be cracking down firmly on the offenders and sending out the signal loud and clear that behaviour of this sort is unacceptable.

Surely we don’t want Bombay to go the Delhi way?

Shaky Foundations

The tardy approach to building repair, reconstruction and construction in Mumbai is truly horrific. The tragic crash in Borivali was preceded by the one at Grant Road where a young Parsi girl who had stepped in to buy celebratory sweetmeats from the store on the ground floor was caught in the collapse and crushed to death. Now, we’re told, there’s a cement scandal that undermines the safety of new constructions. What are we creating? Death traps for the denizens of the city? And why is this being allowed?

Naughty at 40

Salmaan Khan and his surfboard abs! His is the sort of uber cool ‘cutty’ body you could sharpen kitchen knives on. But the real star of ‘Partner’ is Govinda, with his gregariously goofy ways. Go see!

Landed Gentry

How much land does a man need? Not much, going by Amitabh Bachchan’s recent decision to donate the tainted acreage he had acquired by dubiously declaring himself a farmer! Incidentally, he isn’t the only one to have done that. But he is, perhaps, the only one we know who has come forward to return the land. It’s an appropriate act of grace, befitting his superstar status. So while we squirmed when he stooped a little too low, shouldn’t we salute now that he is standing up for the right thing?

Shernaaz Engineer is a journalist for over a decade. She freelances for many magazines and newspapers

  • Pratik

    Good Article