Friday, 18 May 2007

Expecto Patronum!

"Patronus" is Latin for "protector".
The Patronus Charm. When literally translated, the phrase "Expecto Patronum" means, "I expect a guardian."

The recent move by the Karnataka Government to issue a ban on women working in night shifts has stirred up a hornet’s nest. This Patronus charm by the Government has the public divided as well. There are those few who are up in arms against a move they call retrograde. There are others who laud this move in the name of security for women. With the recent spate of untoward occurrences in this city, the latter argument does hold water. However, this issue far flung implications.

Bangalore is touted as the Indian Silicon Valley. One look at the infrastructure here and I can do nothing but laugh. The mention of the word Bangalore always conjured up pleasant images in my mind – Green, slow, lovely weather... But Alas! To look at Bengaluru that way now seems to be a pipe dream.

Thanks to my internship in Bangalore, I have realized one thing. The Bangalore beyond Brigade Road, Forum and all the other zillion malls is very different. A stark difference from the sophisticated, trendy, suave image it portrays.

It is ironical that many parts of this Silicon Valley is often plunged in absolute darkness. Although I live two minutes away from my work place, having to walk back home after work send shivers down my spine. There are a number of issues. In the pitch dark, you don’t know which pothole your leg is going to get into, you don’t know which vehicle is going to speed at you and leave you dead, you don’t know which freak is going to grab your wallet or even worse, attack you and keep up the notoriety this city is fast acquiring. All this if you are a man. Women, worry about protecting yourselves against maniacs who will reach out for you from a speeding auto or a bike apart from the long list.

Double jeopardy if you have to travel by auto. Why? The automen are so damn choosy about where they will drive you. Believe me or not, I had to ask 27 autos before I could finally get one from Cox Town to Safina Plaza, approximately five kilometers apart. Maybe the automen, like the IT crowd in the city like to earn big bucks. Surprisingly, NO. I had to hunt equally for an auto that would take me to Marathahalli – a one way trip from my place would cost you 85 – 100 bucks.

Alright, I thought of taking a bus. I had seen those posh red Volvos- automatic doors, low steps and good competition to the red buses in London. I quickly learned that they ply on very few routes. I have no issues traveling by the “normal” bus… just that I don’t know where they go to coz all the name boards are in Kannada. Strange, for an IT Hub.
It is quite unsettling for a first time dweller in Bangalore to figure out routes. Even a person with a good sense of direction would get lost in the maze of one ways in the city. I still travel nervously back from a dinner or a movie, clinging to the hope that the auto guy will drop me home, safe and sound, coz I have no clue whether he takes the right route. And I don’t want to let him know I don’t know the route either. So I sit with an unperturbed countenance and a knotted stomach!

I am not saying this does not happen in other cities. But Bangalore prides itself on being the IT hub and this certainly does not go well with the image. I lived in Bangalore as a kid. I always thought I would settle down in the Green City. This blog entry is a knee jerk reaction of sorts, probably, the Bangalore I have always known and the Bengaluru now are so disparate that it is too much of a rude shock for me to take.

Back to the gender curfew issue. As a woman, it is not possible for me to take a stand. If I say no, the next time I go to register a complaint at a police station, I can picture a few rude words and poking remarks from a frustrated official. If I say yes, what happens to the independence and career growth potential of a woman? Wouldn’t it be more like saying, “Oh God! I’m so scared of these goons, let me stay indoors and protect myself even if it means taking a hit at my promotion chances!” Wouldn’t it be more like succumbing to the big bad fellas?

It is easy to give case study solutions like, it is the responsibility of the employer to protect its employees. Things don’t work that way. No, I’m not being a pessimist, I’m just saying there is only so much that even an employer can do. If you are stuck with a maniac of a cab driver, well, at that point in time I’d probably say, “To hell with my promotion and job! I need to live a peaceful life!”

At the end of the day, the sad truth is that either way, women are stranded between the devil and the deep sea.


  1. Completely true.. i have lived in this city all my life and i have seen it growing worse each year! Good luck for the rest of your summers and call me if you need any kandu help :)

  2. IKnow this is off topic, but I am currently interested in XLRI for their PMIR program. Do you by any chance have any information about Lodging or Commuting near campus? Also, any information regarding the application process would be helpful. I am an NRI residing in the USA and any information would be helpful. you can e-mail me at Also the new Harry Potter book comes out in July 21 over here, you guys probably have to wait longer.

  3. hey Aarti, read ur blog..the posts are very interesting.. I like the way you read and link the articles in ur blogs without repeating them..they begin on an abstract mode (esp for a not so die hard fan of Harry Potter), but tend to touch upon topics of relevance- they sure do make u think a lot..I also got to how we think alike on various sure we can have some discussions (during our vella times) @ XL.. keep blogging..- Nita