Sunday, October 27, 2013

Home: A Safe Haven?

It was ironic that she died at home, when everyone warned her of the dangers that lurked outside.

Home was a haven, everyone said. Elsewhere in the world, there were robberies, rapes and murders taking place. But home was where one could forget that one lived in a cruel world. Home was where one was safe. One could shut the door on all the negativity and the horror that prevailed outside.

They forgot that trouble often does drop in unannounced.
Across the street from their home was her husband’s new office and barely 200 m away was the local police station. Children played outside her plush ground floor apartment. The neighbours were home too.

Help was close at hand. She was surrounded by it, and yet she died struggling and fighting for her life, alone in her last moments.

This happened in 1995, so a number of the safety measures that are considered hygiene today had not yet been learned by society. It is only Experience that teaches us the lessons we know.

She was a family friend of ours, a gentle and kind lady whose personality, from her simple slippers to her cotton sarees, was far from flashy and never gave an inkling about the wealthy family she hailed from or was married into.

No one could have wanted her dead. She had a kind word for everyone. She never raised her voice when talking to anyone, not even to the servants that worked in their home, the man as a cook, the two women as general help. She would relay instructions to them in her quiet voice, and they would go about their duties respectfully.

And so her routine went on. Her husband went to his office in the morning, coming home for lunch in the afternoon, then heading back to the office and returning home rather late. Their only son was working for a bank in London. But she was not one of those that spent her day idly, pining for the two men in her life. No TV serials or kitty parties for her either.

She spent her time reading. And teaching English speaking to some underprivileged children.

That day, her husband had had lunch and had returned to the office. She had settled down with a quiet book, when there was a knock on the door. The security guard of the building later revealed that it was the cook with one of the maids and two unknown men.

What happened next was a knowledge that the hapless woman took to her grave. But the police speculated that perhaps the four asked the woman for the key to the safe where the husband kept the money, and when she refused, they must have hit her on the head with something heavy. They then stuffed her mouth with a rag to prevent her from calling for help, and tied her hands and legs. They also ransacked the bedroom and the kitchen to find the hidden key. But they found nothing.

Furious with her, they must have attempted to strangle her but she passed out before their eyes. Fearing that the commotion might be heard by someone, they grabbed the gold jewellery and left hurriedly.

The post mortem indicated that she was alive for at least half an hour after they left. The report surmised that she must have been in considerable pain. The slow decline had begun. Her life was being snuffed out. But it wasn’t peaceful.

How she must have thought of her husband and son, and wished she could meet them one last time! Had someone come to her aid then, she could have received timely medical attention. Perhaps she would have been alive today.

I was quite young when she died, and honestly, I never gave her much thought in the years since she died. But when I heard about the Smart Suraksha app, just like that, her face rose before my eyes.

And I thought of her.

I wish she had Smart Suraksha with her.

I am sure that if she had had the Smart Suraksha app, she might have lived. Her life would have had a kicking, struggling, fighting chance. 

At the press of a button, the Smart Suraksha app enables one to alert five pre-set mobile numbers besides the police to the fact that one is in danger and needs help.

Additionally, it also enables the police to trace one’s whereabouts regardless of whether the GPRS is on or not.

After she died, there were the usual things people said to console one another. They said, she was a good woman, and God has need of good people. Some said that she was in a far better place, removed from the misery and the pain that afflicted the rest of us.

None of this meant a thing to her husband and son who were devastated by her death. Nearly 18 years later, there must still be a large hole in their lives where she once was.

I am participating in the Seeking Smart Suraksha contest at in association with Smart Suraksha App.


  1. Sad that she met such an end. I hope no one ever has to. :( And I do hope this app helps people who find themselves in such unfortunate circumstances.

  2. felt bad to read this :(
    I really hope this app comes to rescue of ppl atleast now !
    It shivers me when I think of such happenings



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