Saturday, November 2, 2013

Survival Mumbai 411

     Have been a Mumbai girl all along , I have my unconventional way of getting by in Mumbai. "The insomniac city" sometimes falls for a little catnap ,but If your tread carefully , Mumbai has a lot to offer. Hope my tips will help you venture out with confidence.

       The world is going crazy ,with humans turning into animals  we're backtracking into evolution . Mugging , molesting and murder, it’s all we read in the news today. It’s only  natural to worry about your own safety. Come to think of it, you should. Only then will you wake up and be prepared.


#In the Mumbai local

         A sea of people around you , sounds like a safe place , right? Correction , the local train especially during peak hours is breeding ground for molesters. If you find yourself in a situation like this where people are too close for comfort then do the following :
         If you have a backpack , which you must if you are a women , then wear it like an armuor. This will protect you from leaches who are looking for a chance to grope. If you don’t have a bag pack then hold your purse like a bag of groceries. Also if you feel if someone is trying to get fresh with you , start hurling loud abuses , the bad kinds at that . Don’t worry , people around wont judge you , it’s the one thing we Mumbaites don’t do, is judge people. For all you know  your abuses will discourage the molester and could save another unsuspecting victim from its trauma.

      If taking the train at night , don't travel in an empty compartment , contact the railway police on your platform and they will arrange for an escort  for you.

 Molested on a local train in Mumbai

       At all times avoid practicing your acrobat skills on the footboard of the train. Traveling on the footboard of the trains is just not safe, there have been countless incidents where people faced serious consequences. Robbed , hurt  , or in worst cases even lost their lives. 

#On the streets

         Chain snatching is a highly common practice these days  , with the gold prices hitting the sky it’s an easy way to make money .The chain snatchers have a set  Modus operandi ,they come in pairs riding on their bikes and generally operate in the afternoon in lonely alleys . They  target  unsuspecting people walking on the road, approach them from the rear-end  and before you know it , they are off with you chain leaving you a few grand’s lighter with some serious scars on the neck.  To prevent yourself from getting robbed and getting seriously injured do the following:

Simple, don’t wear flashy expensive jewellery that catches attention.
 But if you must , then don’t venture into the lonely roads on foot , hail a cab.
Just to be be extra cautious wrap a scarf or a dupatta around the bling.

Mumbai-Thane top chain-snatchers list

#After Hours

Avoid traveling alone , especially to unfamiliar locations, but if you must keep the following in mind:
         For e.g. if your alone in the lift , or in a parking lot , or in a lonely neighborhood and if you feel slight bit intimidated do this : fake a call , and start screaming (sound legit ) like a mad women and say this out clearly (PREFERABLY IN HINDI ) You %$^^$%#$(whatever your comfortable with) ,  you are dead meat , you have no idea what you’ve got yourself into , my father is the joint commissioner of police. he will hunt you down and make your life hell.                                             
        No one wants to mess with the police , so am pretty sure once they learn that you are a police officer’s kin, they will back off.

  #Avoid cyber footsteps 

             As much as it is fun to announce to the world that you have a life by flaunting your whereabouts in the social circuit, avoid it at all costs. There was an RJ interviewing a felon on the radio the other day . During the interview he explained how the new age thieves use the social networking sites to get information about their potential targets. So put a leash on that “check in spree” you never know who is stalking you.

 #Train in self-defense  

            According to The National Crime Records Bureau every 20 minutes, a woman is raped somewhere in India. Having the delusion that it can’t happen to you or that it’s something that only happens to other people is the kind of attitude predators depend on. The more informed you are, the better prepared you will be in the event if you are targeted by a predator.
My instructors always said, "Once you are trained in self-defense , it easily translates in your posture. Your body language screams confidence and you don’t seem like an vulnerable target to the attacker."

There is an amazing short film I came across on self-defense , hope this inspires you to signup :


           We all know how effective pepper spray and  Swiss-knives are when it comes to combating  danger. But how many of us actually carry them around? If you do , great but what if you don’t ?
Then you need to learn to improvise your everyday things into effective weapons.

 A pen or pencil : If used with force and targeted into vital areas such as eyes , neck or groin , It could cause some serious damage and could buy you some escape time.

 Belt : You can just lean back and take some well-aimed swings at a potential attacker.

Heals : A good hit could knock the daylights out of the attacker.

Aerosol  or deodorants : Use it to spray in the eyes of the attacker or in a serious situations simply flick your lighter on and, holding the flame toward the attacker's face, spray in a forward direction. Use only in used only in dire emergencies, if and when your safety or life is being threatened by an obviously violent and potentially psychopathic freak.

Cola bottle: Vigorously shake it and open in the attackers face , this will disorient him for while,
buying you an exit.


Dupatta or kerchief : put heavy objects like keys , coins or anything that you can get your hand , put them in the center of the fabric twist is and use this to seriously hurt the attacker.


#Build a low cost tracking device under 1k  

            Get an old working ,no fuss, sturdy phone (eg. nokia 3310). Turn off its ringer , vibrate and light settings. Charge it to maximum (one cycle could yield 1 weeks battery life). Load it with a sim that is on a life time free incoming plan.

Turn your bag inside out , cut the base lining fabric of your bag so that you can access the space between the lining and the base of the bag. Wrap the phone in a thick napkin and insert it in that space . stitch it back skillfully , only leaving a gap big enough for you to access the phone for its next charging cycle or in case of emergencies.
#This could help you to make emergency calls in case your primary phones battery dies.
#This could help you track your bag in case it gets stolen.
#Or in worst case if you get abducted , you can still be traceable with the help of  signal sent out by your backup phone. learn how (p.s. make sure you set reminders to charge it from time to time)
I have a cousin in the capital who is the mother of two and she swears by this trick.


#Speak up , Report.

If your personal space is compromised, if you are stalked, harassed or intimated, I suggest that you report. It’s better to raise your voices and stop the crime in its tracks. Today’s molester could be tomorrow’s rapist and we don’t want that from happening now, do we?  The Mumbai police is really friendly to women (p.s. trust me I say this from experience.)
Check out these really fun videos by The Mumbai polices for women’s safety awareness campaign:

(for some reason couldn't link the videos directly on the post )

#Follow Your Intuition

        The best weapon you have is your sixth-sense. Although every animal is born with survival instincts, humans also have the ability to add judgment and everyday experience to our base intuition. This should make us superior to animals, but our judgment can sometimes get in the way. If we can’t explain our “gut feeling” in a logical way, we tend to brush it off as paranoia. By trusting your intuition, you will be able to learn the difference between real fear and worry. If you have a sense of foreboding, don’t second guess yourself. It is better to be safe than to ignore your instincts and become the victim of a violent crime.

#Get tech savvy : 

         Learn to exploit your Smartphone beyond Facebooking , and Candycrushing. With a emergency apps like Smart Suraksha , in times of trouble all you need to is hit one button and an SMS containing your location would be sent out to 5 of your per-listed contacts along with the police. it could be a life saver in dangerous encounters or medical emergencies.
(p.s. make sure you explain the mechanics of this app to your friends and family so that they can respond effectively if at all an SMS is ever sent out to them)

#General dos and dont's 

Get your own food and drinks whether in trains , buses or in clubs.
At home install a safety door , accept packages and mail through the safety door only if possible.
To sleep well at night , keep all valuables in the bank vaults.
Verify your house help , drivers , contractors etc.
Don't be a sitting duck and go asking for directions, that makes you a vulnerable target, get Google maps! 
 When out, loose the headphones , they impair your judgment.
Know your neighbours , you never know when u might need their help.
Have emergency contact's on speed dial
And to wrap it up,
Stay Smart , Stay Safe.

I am sharing my Smart Suraksha Tips at in association with Smart Suraksha App


priya singh said...

some very insightful tips ,
this is my first time here ,
loved your style ...

ajeet ramani said...

Resourceful ideas ,
I loved the videos on the Mumbai police , it certainly makes them look more approachable , nice touch .

Disha Kotak said...

thanks for stopping by priya,
am glad i could help .

Disha Kotak said...

I certainly love them as well Ajeet.

bushra M said...

The best thing I loved was your ways of defense! Those heels will surely knock the predator dead :D Lovely post dear....All the best :D

Anmol Rawat said...

low cost tracking device (Thumbs up for that)

nice tips Disha :) I really hope girls start following them. After all they can always give an edge and help them in the need.

anitaexplorer said...

Really nice, Disha!
Very elaborate with so many tips. This one ought to have been amongst the winners. Anyway, congrats for your Smart Suraksha win! :)

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