Numbers are a funny thing. I’ve never liked them. Despite having wrestled with advanced mathematics for four years, I still can’t multiply 13 by 54 without feeling slightly dizzy. Trigonometry has given me more sleepless nights than the girl with the fish tattoo. A log table is as good as the Matrix – a fuzzy block of numbers which some can supposedly decipher to find the diameter of the goddamn moon.
It’s not just the mathsy stuff. I’m usually suspicious of numbers in every context. Numbers don’t lie, they say. That’s a stupid thing to say, isn’t it. Dogs and doornails don’t lie either. People do. And numbers are what they use, calling them statistics, data, research, theories. GDP growth, unemployment rates, cancer mortality, insurance premiums, they’re all numbers. Facebook’s main revenue source, the little ads in the corner, are by far the worst type of ads (something like 3 in 10,000 people ever click on them), but numbers can still make billions for Zuck’s plumber.
Something such has been going around news websites and blogs recently. It proves – with numbers – how Delhi is actually safer than New York or Paris. It seems reasonable on the face of it. It compares stuff like rapes per 100,000 people, and Delhi comes out looking like the garden of fucking eden. I’ve never been to New York, but even if it’s not as notorious today as it used to be, I’m sure it has its seedy side. By any means, we don’t have a monopoly on perverts. But the point is, not everything can be measured by numbers. And just because something can be, it doesn’t make it important, or relevant.
Maybe Delhi isn’t that bad for women through that frame of reference. But maybe it’s worse, if you factor in things like how many women stay at home, how many rapes are reported and how many instances of molestation are not. Whatever the numbers may say, it’s not as black and white. It’s about people and their emotions – how safe and comfortable they feel walking home alone at night. And that depends on how many times they have been followed, “eve-teased”, whistled and commented at, threatened, while they try not to get themselves raped. It’s something rather difficult to measure, or change, with numbers.
What can bring about change, however, is real action. Like the Gurgaon Police ordering women to head home at 8 pm. That’s the kind of strict measures we need. Such a pain they are, those sluts going to pubs and staying out till ten-thirty and all. It might be even more effective if Gurgaon just bans all women. At least the rapes-per-100,000 statistics would look fantastic.
Although going by another number, the sex-ratio of newborns over the past decade, Gurgaon will probably take care of this little woman-problem pretty soon.