A pair of earphones is the most common sight on the Delhi metro, perhaps next to only the mobile phone. And have you noticed that women seem to use them most heavily?
There’s a reason why – earphones are not just for listening to music or talking to someone. They’re also for personal protection. They’re perhaps even more important than that can of pepper spray.
Earphones Better Than Pepper Spray?
A female commuter who prefers to remain anonymous says, “earphones save us from unwanted comments and unwanted attention.”
Another regular metro commuter from East Delhi’s Lakshmi Nagar says:
I am an avid reader and my earplugs saves me from distraction. Many times when you ask people to vacate the ladies’ seat, they eventually do so, but then they start uttering nonsense or muttering under their breath. That’s really disgraceful.
–Commuter on the Delhi Metro
Even men agree that earphones discourage sexual harassment. Aman, a student at Maharaja Agrasen College says:
Earphones indeed discourages eve-teasers when attempts and comments make no difference. The whole perverted attempt goes in vain.
Aaruhi, a life science student at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) says girls prefer the anonymity that earphones offer.
This is an individual choice. Still, the girls belonging to northern states of India follow such defensive response mechanisms to handle such matters. They try scarves, earphones and similar other tactics.
However, not everyone agrees that earphones are effective in dealing with unwanted attention. Mary, a PhD student at JNU says, “boys will do what they wish to do.”
And then there are other issues. Rashi Khanna, a voice-over artist says that sometimes earphones cause problems. “People using earphones don’t listen to requests of other commuters which can cause frustration,” she says.
Even when friends travel together, you will often find them silent and all wrapped up in their earphones. Perhaps that’s because in a fast-paced urban life, that’s the only way they get time to themselves.
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