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My Delhi ‘cab’ ride

Having lived in Mumbai for more than 20 years, as all Mumbaikars do, I too took certain things for granted. One of them was travelling late night. It was during my visits to Delhi that I realized what a privilege it was. 

I have travelled to Delhi several times. But it was only when I was in the city, first as a student and then as a journalist on an assignment, that I was brought face-to-face with horrors of travelling in Delhi ‘alone’.

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Though the Uber case has brought to the fore the lack of trust even among organized radio cabs, it seems they were never too reliable. 

In 2011, on a visit to Delhi for work, I just happened to text a friend to get some direction. It was around 20.00 hours and I was travelling to Noida from Connaught Place and had to take a halt to pick-up some goodies. Mind you, I was travelling in one of the most reputed radio cabs then in India. And I opted for it than an auto as I had used their services in Mumbai several times. 

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When I texted my friend for directions, she asked me what was my mode of travel. I said Radio cab. She simply said: “Since you use a smartphone, switch on the GPS option on your phone and if you don’t know how to do it, then please call someone at home and keep on talking to them till you reach your destination. And in between keep on telling them where you have reached or the place you are at.”

This apparently helps in two ways. First, in case of any mishap the person you are talking to knows your whereabouts and two, most importantly, the cab driver knows that you are alert and someone is tracking you. 

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I still did not take my friend’s advise seriously (humans have an innate ability to trust and always think nothing bad will happen to them) until the driver suddenly decided to change the route. Instead of going through the toll, the driver said he is taking a different route as it is less crowded. Before I could react, he had already changed the route. 

This was only the second time in my life that I was praying to God, pleading for my safety and at the same time promising never to travel alone or travel late (even if it was just 8.00 pm). This situation also forced me to actually hope for a male companion and i have never felt more vulnerable than that. 

But after the Uber incident I was wondering if this incident was waiting to happen. 

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