The ordeal of women passengers with app-based cabs shows no signs of letting up. On Monday night, a cab ride back home turned into a nightmare for a young woman lawyer in Bengaluru. The Ola cab driver allegedly asked her uncomfortable questions and nearly forced her into smoking a cigarette. He asked her if she was married or single, whether she drank or smoked, and why was she out late at night.
The woman complained about her horrifying experience on Ola's social media page. "Around 9 pm , I booked an Ola from Vittal Mallya Road to Hebbal. The ride started out as another normal ride - non intrusive and the cabbie minding the roads," she posted. "However, once we reached the Hebbal flyover, the cabbie turned left (the roads that leads to the Outer Ring Road) instead of going straight to Kodigehalli. This did not set off any red flags as it is common to take the ORR and turn towards Kempapura near Nagwara," her post read.
From this point, her comfortable ride started turning uncomfortable. "The cabbie from this point started asking me questions like - Do you drink? Are you a housewife? How come you are out so late? He also reiterates that he is 25 years old and I can't be much older. I was beyond stumped. He missed two left turns and ultimately turned only when I kept asking him to turn around. I messaged my mother ( who isn't in town) and a friend and sent the cab details," she said.
SMOKE ONE FULLY:- At Mariyannapalya, the driver abruptly stopped the car and stepped out to get two cigarettes. "When he got back, he told me that I have to smoke one fully. I kept the cigarette in my hand and gave him directions," the lawyer said. "Finally when I reach my house, I asked him to stop, but he went a little ahead. At that point, he tells me that I have to give him a 5-star rating. I was rattled and did it simply because, to me, it meant the end of this ride and I will be home safe."
"Then he demanded that I give him my number. He said something in Kannada which I only partially understood to mean - I should call him every time at this hour if I wanted a cab. I gave him my old number and a fake name and thought that was the end of it," she said in her complaint.
LIVING IN FEAR: - However, on Wednesday, she received a message on her phone from the cab driver. "I received a WhatsApp message on my phone from the cabbie on the number through which I booked the cab," she said. "I am a lawyer but I realised that being a woman is dangerous even in a city that has been my home for 20 years. It's the worst kind of fear to think one will never reach home and something horrendous will take place," the woman said, adding that she lives in fear as the accused knows her house address and phone number.
Meanwhile, cab aggregator Ola has assured the victim that action will be taken against the driver and he will be suspended. The victim is yet to file a police compliant.