Women in India undergo a lot of trouble when they travel alone. Murders, rapes and general eve teasing of women happen on trains and buses especially while travelling alone. In such situations, women need to take extra care and be a little aware of things around them.
“Akeli ladki khuli hui tijori ki tharah hoti hain…”Sounds familiar? Geet of Jab We Met probably found a cute depressed man on a train and managed to survive the adventurous journey unscathed. Unless, you have the cute man do not follow that! Every country and culture has its own views of what is appropriate behaviour for women, and the reaction to violations of those standards can range from quiet disapproval to criminal charges and punishment. Travelling in India can be a herculean task. You cannot escape the wandering eyes of some men who get some kind of a sadistic kick out of ogling at women. We live in a country where social conservatism is still very much prevalent. And because of this social conservatism, it is important that women educate themselves of how to handle themselves in public.
Here are a few tips on how not to be a cultural faux pas!
Watch what you wear
Much of the attention that you draw is a result of what you are wearing. Try to avoid wearing tight clothes and short skirts as this will attract a lot of unwanted attention from others. Stick to wearing a salwar with a dupatta/shawl. You can wear jeans and kurta too but carry a shawl with you always.
Do not indulge in conversation with strangers
You love to socialize. Yes, we understand that. But don’t do it when you are travelling alone. Keep to yourself and try not to make a conversation with others. If someone does manage to pester you and get into a conversation, keep it minimal and do not let out any personal information.
Keep an eye on your belongings
Be close to your belongings. Don’t let your luggage out of sight. Always have an eye on them. This is India! Things disappear before you manage a “Namaste”. You need to be vigilant at all times.
Love your wallet
Keep your wallet close to you at all times. Also, place money in different parts like your back pocket or the sides of your bag. In case of an unfortunate incident, you will have some money to get out of the situation.
If you are a first time traveller, be confident. Do not give away that you are travelling for the first time. Act like you know what you are doing and where you are going at all times. Keep your head high and voice firm.
Do not borrow anything from anyone
Do not accept anything that is given by a stranger. If the person offers you biscuits or fruits, politely decline and retreat to your seat. If you have watched the railway ads that constantly run at the stations, you will know what I mean.
Do not be alone
When you feel you are in one corner of the train/bus with a man, go to an area where there are women around. If you are uncomfortable with the person sitting next to you, request for a seat change or negotiate with other passengers.
Do not carry lots of luggage. You will need to handle these things alone. So make sure you travel light, probably with a backpack and one trolley bag. Do not carry a lot of jewellery and cash.