We invited bloggers to tell us their dreams and fantasies for their city. What are the top ten,
twenty, one hundred things that you wish your city just let you to do?

Many of you have emailed us. Thankyou for dreaming, wishing, sharing:

We open the wish list, right here! Do keep sending them in!

" I wish there were more women.. not just in my city but on the planet. I wish more women were not afraid (of men, of society, of being physically weaker) I wish more women would discover their potential and be themselves.

I wish to be able to walk late at night in my city and find atleast 50% of the population, at that time, to be women. "
- Soumya

I wish to...just be myself... not think about who's watching me.. if i want to just sing to my heart's content.. swing about and walk the streets.. laugh... express myself.. without anybody misconstruing anything i do or say!!!!!
Kripa Jagrajan

Complete my work for the day even if it means reaching home at 11 at night (safely, and without having to get nagged by my people of course!) That would be my dream come true.- Amrutha

i would like to walk down the street, wearing whatever i want, without being stared at, or verbally harassed, or laughed at, or scowled at, or looked at as if i were an alien.

i would like to feel safe walking alone at night.
i would like to feel safe walking alone during the day.
i wish i could hug my male friend without getting stared at.
i wish i could swim in a bikini.- anon.

I would love to grow accustomed to being myself.- anon

Well, I would love it if I could see women walking down the streets with their heads held high. Not looking at the pavement, not looking around because they're uncomfortable, jus STRAIGHT AHEAD.-Archana

I wish i could dance in the middle of where ever i was when i heard a
good song ..
i wish i could kiss my BF without having 50000 eyes peering at
me..thinking im a loose woman with no morals
i wish i would sing at the top of my voice while window shopping
i wish i could take off my pullover without worrying abt my top coming
off as well, n my stomach showing, n men ogling at me
i wish i could just scratch my breast or arm pit or whatever if it itched
i wish i could stand on MG doing nothing ..without fear that someone
would recognise me ..or think of me as a pick up
i wish i could go to a tea/pan/cigarette stall at any time of day or
night n not have only men flock around it n make me feel like im
intruding their space- Nazia Masood

I wish I could take a walk or a ride on my bike in the night (midnight even) through Chennai or or Kochi, without fear- asha menon

To go out at night without getting my parents all worried.

I dream of walking through the street, skimpily clad, with no leering glances, my hair uncombed and my manner free spirited , at any god forsaken time of the day or night, without having to think twice or ever ever considering myself the weaker sex, who is obligated to be vary of ones movements for fear of 'inviting trouble'.
i dream of just standing by the sidewalk without reason or purpose.
i dream of sleeping on the pavement, breathing the starry heavens.
i dream of lurking in the shadows of the streets.
i dream of a passing thought, while sitting cross-legged, drinking in the coolness of the concrete.- Manisha Sharma

I wish I could walk down my road, without feeling the weight of a hundred eyes on me/- Sanjana

1. i want to get wet. drenched. all of me wet with rain. and run.
2. i want to walk sideways on the pavement.
3. i want to be able to wear my silver hoops with "SEXY" on it.
4. sit under a tree and read. -Pallavi

Make a plan for the night , wear what I want to ,go where I want to , how I want to, come back when I want to and not worry about violation of any kind- Yamini

I wish I could come and go from my apartment at any hour and not have my landlords tell me that I might be mistaken for a prostitute.- Theresa Lacey

I have a dream, i dream of a Calcutta which is safe. safe so that i can roam through the streets without having to look behind with fear in my eyes. i have another dream, i dream of equality i dont want to be discriminated because i have a vagina or i belong to a different caste. i also dream of an india which can be called utopia. i want to talk to my mashi. i dont want unwanted male attention being inversely proportional to my clothes and i want to have the freedom of choice and expression without being called a "slut".

these dreams are not made up to sound great, i blog about them regularly. i love my city and everything in it ( like a true blue calcuttan) just that some things have gone wrong. it does not make my city rot but my city is not as safe as i would want it to be, i want to change that aspect keeping everything the same. a few things have gone wrong here and there, i just want to undo those changes.
- Anwesha Haldar

I want to be able to walk - slowly, calmly, deliberately, alone.
through the streets at midnight, just so I can see the moon and the stars and write my poetry, without constantly fearing for my body.
Tharunya Balan

I want to walk through the city without feeling like I'm pushed to the edges. Without having to side step for the men who don't make room for me. To feel like I own the street the same way they do.- Abigail crisman

i would like to wear a swimming costume if i go to a beach.
Nisha Chandwani

i want to wear a swimming costume (skirt/shorts......anything with my legs on display) without waxing. lets those curlywurlies show!. i really really want that. and i mean without waxing for 4 months....like right now. my legs resemble a mans. really.
yes so my wish is : to not wax, just for a bit, and yet wear everything that "requires" glossed up legs, arms, underarms...yes. i want that. And to wear a bikini on the beach. its a personal limitation strengthened by stares and glares.- Pallavi Sen

To be treated with respect,
To be considered an equal,
To have men look at me as a real person, not an "ownable" object,
To not have men undress with me their eyes,
To let go of the anger and fear I harbor toward street harassers,
To walk freely without anxiously second guessing who is following me, teasing me, or about to grab me,
To enjoy the sidewalk once again.

For men to actually look me in the eyes and not ogle my breasts, legs, butt,
For men to grow balls and develop some decency (for the love of humanity!),
For women to own their bodies and their physical space,
For women to protect and cherish their rights.- Laura Neuhas

You have those times when you just cant seem to get through the day but somehow u do. only because days brings light & life with them. the nights, however, haunt you and all you want to do is take a walk or drive around...maybe stop for a cup of coffee...i dunno bout other cities doing so, alone in Delhi, is a mortal sin.

From the time of growing up, we are dependent on parents, friends, relatives... just because we cant even think of stepping out of our houses alone at most times. sometimes, even in broad daylight. and then people wonder why are women in Delhi so 'spoilt', we aren't. Its just that we live in terror each day.

I wish i could stop being dependent on others for everything in my life. is that too much to ask...that too in the capital of our country? pallavi malhotra

To walk alone and not be accosted by strangers who've assumed that I need a lift, a conversation, a friend, a lover.

To step out on Holi and not be afraid of water balloons or chunks of ice

To not worry about getting home safe each time I go out with friends.
To not have to keep looking over my shoulder.

I wanna run wild, on the streets, on the grounds, in front of my house
not when they ask me to run on a race in the meet , nor when I jog in the park
I want to sit idle on the park bench, on the road side, on the beach, on the benches in front of the corner tea shop
I wanna stare!
I wanna hang around!
I wanna whistle in the crowd, inside, outside, in the wilderness of my loneliness
I wanna see the moon rising in the dark sky lying down on the riverbanks, not sitting on my terrace
I wanna swim, as they all do, taking off their outerwears, not caring about anyone else, no not in the pool, in the rivers, in the lakes, in the sea
I wanna drench in the rain, without an umbrella, not accidentally, but for the sake of it
I wanna day dream standing on a crowded aisle,
I wanna walk back from work on a lonely night, and have my dinner @ the
I wanna dance on the pavements,
I wanna go theatres, whatever rating the movie has
I wanna walk slow, when everyone else runs around
I wanna sing, hum, play on the streets, race my bike, catcall, hip-hop, shout, laugh,
I just wanna LIVE!
:) Suman. S

My dream for my city is to be able to walk down the street in a skirt without anyone honking or yelling out a window at me.

I would like to go for a run whenever I please in my city
I would like to share a healthy discussion about sex
I would like to feel proud of every aspect of my body
Sowmiya Ashok

I want to be relaxed and not chew my nails out every time a female friend is out late at night.- Uday Prakash

I want to be able to not treat every man/boy with suspicion.- Ratna Apnender

Hang out, loaf around, goof about, do total lukkagiri, in any corner of my city without anyone physically molesting me, verbally assaulting me, hauling me to a police chowki, questioning me or analyzing my dress sense, my loud laughter, or why I’m there at that late hour of the night.

I want to sit on the grass in any park in my city or saunter down any sea front promenade in my city and be able to stare at the trees or the sea without being stared at.

I want to be able to enjoy my city’s many spaces without being held hostage to acts of consumption – that is, I may want to buy that cup of coffee because I want to drink a cup of coffee but I don’t want to buy that coffee because that is the only way I can find a place to sit and relax for a bit.

I wish I could find a clean and available place to pee in my city – so that I can enjoy my city outdoors more without having to cross my legs all the time and be in a hurry to go home.

I want to have the right to be out in my city anytime of the day or night without fear, without retribution, without holding my pee and I want everyone else in my city – rich or poor, hawker or homosexual, old or very young, disabled or fat to have this right too.

 Sameera Khan/journalist, writer & researcher/ age 38/Mumbai

I wish i could walk down the street without worrying if any part of my body looks too "inviting"

i wish i had a zap gun to shock every person who gave me unwanted attention

i wish i had a necklace that shot a blinding light at the wandering eyes that lingered too long at my breasts

i wish i never felt bad about myself because of the way some sexually repressed man looked at me.

i wish that there were as many girls and women hanging around idly on the street as there are boys and men.

i wish there was a way to make men see how it feels to be objectified and humiliated every single day. That it is just as much of an insult as it is to be demeaned and disrespected by a corrupt employer or slumlord.

i wish that more men would join the struggle against gender-based violence.- Surabhi

i love walking. i want to be able to take a walk anytime anywhere on my own, and not have to get someone to come along with me depending on the time and place.-Vrinda

I wish I could stand at a crowded bus stop, waiting for a bus, without being made to feel by the leers of passers-by that I was out selling myself.- Tanushree Parial

I want to confidently refuse a lift from a male friend and go back by myself even though it might be late in the night...

I dont want to fret and look at my watch every time i attend a late night party.

I want to travel across this wide and diverse country with my backpack for company and not safety worries...Manjusha Vijaykumar

"If Wimbledon could do it only in 130 years, we should prove to our country that we can accomplish the same in less than half the number of years it took our erstwhile rulers"
Wimbledon has realized and equalled the prize money for both Male and Female participants shedding its 130 Yr old custom of Men being paid higher prize money than Women. What am referring to in my above statement in not in monetary terms, instead its to stress the equality that Men and Women should enjoy in this World be it in Rights, Rituals, References or as all you women dream in Roads too and at any point of time at that.
"Let us strive and succeed in making the difference" ~Vicky.

. i wish my friends would not have to be silent and pretend being 'normal' even when being 'stared' at, every time we go out, only to make sure a scuffle would not ensue. -Krishna

I would love to fly over the city, in a hot-air balloon or a parachute.- Amelie

i'd like to be able to not have to think before
wearing my tank top, or even go out without a
dupatta/chunni (i know it's done a lot but i still get
self-conscious at times!)
Even more, i'd like to be able to hang with a guy in a
bar, without people around 'knowing' that i'm sleeping
with him --- funny (how else to take it?) story here:
one of my neighbours saw me in a local bar with a
friend of mine who was visiting from NYC and
subsequently 'warned' my husband - in a joking manner
- whether he thought it was wise to work such long
hours ... I walked around feeling a little like i was
carrying a big red A on my chest ... but then have
gotten over it & even been spied doing the same thing
:) Atiya Hussain

i second that. i was in madya pradesh last week
shooting a documentary with a japanese american
friend of mine and everywhere we went, the men -
not the women - would ask me in hushed hindi
with a snigger if i was his 'escourt' heavy subtext
and wink nudge - or what our relationship was to
each other, straight off - sickening really that there is
no concept of manners in little india - how is it any
business of theirs to dare ask me personal questions
and also how extremely pathetically narrowminded
to think there can only be one relationship between
an indian woman and a foreign national travellling

so yes. i'd like to be able to travel any number of men
of various nationalities without being given the 'look'
Natasha Hemrajani

I wish I could walk down any street whenever I want, day or night-Prasheila

I wish I could sit on the beach all night and listen to the music the waves make ..- Uma

"i wish Bangalore got a woman's touch as opposed to masculine
monstrosities in terms of architecture, public spaces, etc. "

"i wish all the women i knew can return home late in the night without me worrying about it."
Kunal Ashok

I wish I could just walk out onto the street without having my "game-face" on! - Aviva Dharmaraj

1.i want to DANCE! in public
2.i want to able to sing aloud (ive done it once with this delightful girl) in a BEST!
3.make a dancing chain(hands on shoulders of person in front) and walk down haji ali! dance down.
4.make two nipples on the nipple area of tshirt. this is cos i was made to "delete" the word from an article i once wrote for the malhar mag. it was about BNP. "pert n*****s are not a sign of promiscuity" - Pallavi Sen

i wish i could stretch. i long lumbering warm fuzzy full bodied stretch. like a cat. without thinking about how im looking and am being looked at.

i want to grab my boy and hug him and kiss him cos i love him but im a bit afraid to. in public. they might haul me up for inappropriate behavior. (anon)

'walk around without a bra!'- sangita shirali

Love the roads at night, always hold myself back in the middle of the night…I wish I can just let go.- Shweta Baxi Tyagi

Would love to walk on the streets in peace without being rubbed and fingered or stared at by men. maya

I want to be able to walk down the street naked. I want everyone else to be naked too. Stark naked. There will be no room for an issue.
- anon

I wish Gandhiji's dream of a truely free india becomes a reality -
when a lady wearing all her jewels is able to return home safely all
alone in the middle of the night!~Anand

I wish there were women as nightwatchwomen. Not because watch men are unsafe, but because we have no concept of a nightwatch woman?! Imagine
saying “ watch woman!!”- Jasmeen

There are so many things that I CAN'T do - at least not without a deep sense of unease - purely by virtue of being a woman...
I wish I could wear tank tops and skirts while travelling by public transport on those scorching summer days.
I wish I could walk into a bar alone and nurse my drink, occasionally eating some peanuts, without attracting curious stares, without looking "available."
I wish I could buy condoms without a second thought.
I wish I could travel the country without filling my bags with salwar kameezes and dupattas.
I wish I cared less about my body, about whether or not I looked "fat" or "cheap."
I wish I could go to the gynaecologist without the mortal fear of being "lectured" for being sexually active and yet unmarried.
It goes on and on and on...Aurina

I could walk alone at night with just the moonlight and no fear.
Be a part of a concert and not worry whose hand is where..just enjoy the pure thrill of being there. Tejal

1. I want my husband, father or brother to never ever feel the constant need to protect me.
2. I want to never ever desperately wish I had a male escort while walking on a deserted road after dark.
3. I want no parents to feel the rage, anger and guilt that my parents feel when I encounter abuse on the street.
4. I want pepper sprays to be a thing of the past. -Preeti Raju

i wish .....in my city gorakhpur all person speak up..! on women violence and discrimination....(chuppi toro)- manish

I would like to see my city as police station free city.( i mean no necessity of tht)- Sudheer

what i really want is to walk in this city, at any time of the day be it morning, noon or night without

a)anyone slowing down their car and presuming that if a girl is walking then she HAS to be fair game

b) school boys thinking that whistling at a woman and singing songs is a rite of passage which they cannot do without

c) i want to walk without looking over my shoulder all the time. Delhi is a beautiful city and just for once I want to walk, taking in the surroundings, admire the trees, the buildings and the chirping of the birds without wondering if the man behind me is actually the creep at the previous bus stop who was staring at me.- Nikita

1. Be able to take a nice book out to Cubbon Park by myself, sit on a bench, and read in peace.
2. Be able to ride a bicycle to work without feeling like I'm on a suicide mission- Debbie Gross

i want to wear a lakhnawi dress without a slip underneath.
i dont want to be looked over when i wear tight tops.
i want to wear short skirts, dresses no matter my figure.
i want to shop on crowded streets without worrying about groping.
i dont want to think twice before going out on the eve of holi.
i want to hang around a disco/pub without looking 'available'
i want to m
ove about any way i want, without adjusting my top/jeans. i dont want to worry abt my cleavage showing. -varsha chandwani

. I want to go to a concert and the market place without
worrying about being groped
I want to be able to tell a new male acquaintance that
I live alone with female roommates without worrying
about compromising my safety
I want to get wet in the rain without worrying about
my nipples showing
I want to work out and play squash in a white t-shirt
without being stared at once the sweat makes it
Sowmya rajaram

I wish to walk around once without being virtually raped.
I wish to feel free even while I am walking through the crowds.
I wish to work in a non-gender-biased environment in my city.
I wish to proclaim loudly that I am equally Mentally Strong and Technically Updated like my Male colleagues.
I wish to feel the open night breeze run through my hair on the city roads in my city.
I wish to walk through the crowd without the fear of being touched... in my city.
I wish to taste that dish served by that food stall guy in those secret alley's in my city.
I want freedom to Eat, Drink and Wander around in public without any Fear in my City. -SVETA TARE

I would love to go jogging at the beach or along carters without being conscious of the fact that "too much of me" is moving ....

I would love to wear my white shirts more often without thinking twice before wearing them.. in the fear of everything being transparent at the end of the day....i hate carryin those files just to cover my bust..

I would love to feel secure and comfortable past 8,the next time i am waiting for a friend on the road...

I wish i could still wear my short tops without having to stretch them till they completely cover my tummy..

................................so many things to say....most of them seem to be the "wrong thing" to do....

PS i hate it when anybody say" are you sure you want to wear that?"....i am always sure.. - Shreya Pilgaonkar

I could sit on the promenade, reading, without the searching stares, without the raised eyebrows or the none-too-discreet gestures.
I could leave the house in my tracks and ganjee, without worrying about whether or not I will be whistled at or groped.
I could sit in an auto without holding my bag tight against my chest.
I could walk without the insistent honking of a car drowning out my music.
I could run without first checking that I have on the most supportive bra ever known to womankind.
I could stand, sometimes, for no other reason than the fact that I want to.
I could eat pani-puri on the streets, just by myself, without always having to wait for someone to come along.
I could take an auto at night through the smaller lanes, so I get home earlier, instead of having to go all the way around.

I WISH....
that within the walls and spaces, within the streets and the alleys, within the chaos and the sudden startling serenity, within the madness of urbanity, within its rare silence, I could be me. Just myself in my city.- Chinmayee manjunath

1. Go out late at night to watch stars, go for a drink, come back from a friend’s house …
2. Ride my bicycle through whatever territory I want at whatever time of the day or night
3. Feel safe in a taxi by myself
4. Wear short skirts when it’s very hot without being stared at
5. Not wear my sunglasses at day time to stop people thinking I look at them ‘provocatively’
6. Eating ice cream without feeling obscene
7. Kissing my boyfriend in public when I feel like it
8. Riding a rickshaw without hearing kissing noises from guys on the side of the street
9. Lying in the park reading a book without someone coming up to me and asking me ‘which country’ and liberally continuing onto more private issues effectively spoiling my day
10. Being alone in an open space/landscape without feeling unsafe

My wish is very small!! I often stay awake late and in between my work, I st and in my balcony and watch the quiet, deserted, and beautiful road in front my house. Once in a while I find a man walking with his hands in his pockets, or with a cigarette in his hand, softly whistling or lost in thoughts walking along. I want to walk all alone, past midnight on the lonely streets of my city, enjoying its beauty without its crowds, without its noise. Just go for a long walk all alone without the fear of violence!! I REALLY DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH OF IT IS THE INSTILLED AND INTERNALIZED FEAR WITHIN ME AND HOW REALLY THREATENING ARE THE ROADS IN THE NIGHT. I HAVE NEVER WALKED THE ROADS ALONE PAST MIDNIGHT!! - SHARADA

I want to not worry about my legs being unwaxed and wear a skirt, without being gawked at by men and women alike.
I want to smile at a man without being afraid of him harassing me.
I want to smile at people without them thinking I am a lunatic.
I want to live.
I want to be me.
I want to wear a burkha and sit in a theatre.
I want to go for a movie on my own.
I want to sing while I walk without being thought of as inviting.
I want to not worry about my bra strap showing.
I want to not have to wear a bra.
I want to be able to sit in a park alone and not be harassed.


I want to play and run along with my son on the
roads in my colony and also playgrounds.He wants it. I
enjoy it.- Madhuri Kalpa

1. i wish there were no such terms as 'skimpy' or 'revealing' when it comes to clothes...clothes are just clothes
2. i wish i could wear whateeever i wanted to wherever..be it office..or when im going by bus, auto..anything!
3. and i wish i could go for late night cycle rides anywehere...not just in the universty of hyderabad!
3. i also wish there was no friggin dress code in offices/colleges
4. and i most certainly wish bangalore city becomes less crowded and less polluted and LESS expensive!!!
5, n that people got married only when they felt like it...with no pressure of time or age or body clock or any of the crap!
6. and that my wokr timings got better so that i could have sent this list two days ago >:|
Chitra Badrinarayan

  1. I want to go out with boys and not hear my mother's voice in my head warning me to "not let them try anything!".
  2. I want to laugh out loud in the street and not have people throw me disapproving looks.
  3. I want to be able to hug friends without worrying about what they're thinking.-Tharunya Balan
I wish I could kiss my man deep and long, without having to pull away because someone's staring.

I wish I could book a room for two without being looked at oddly.

I wish it wasn't necessary to always travel in groups to be 'safe'.

I wish I could travel without worrying about what to wear and who will say what.

I wish I could walk around in a loose and comfortable bra.

I wish I could wear transparent clothes without a slip in the scorching summer heat.

I wish I could walk out of the house before sunrise without a worry in my head.

I wish I could stand at chowpatty, look out at the sea and sing my heart out.

I wish I could wear tight, short, dressy stuff in the local and not be stared at.

I wish that I could walk along the shore at Marine Drive late every night, alone, without anything but the moonlight, and anyone but my shadow.-Riya

I wish smiles were innocuous. I wish I didn't have to analyze whether a man's smile was friendly, or not. I want to smile back without an implied invitation.- Sujata Bhat

1. I want to sit with a friend without being termed anything demeaning...at any hour of the day!
2. I want to get back from work and be able to go for a walk
3. I want to wear 'airy' tops in sweltering Delhi heat
4. I want to sit without wondering if people, sitting behind me, are gawking
5. I want to take the right of men (in my life & otherwise) to tell me what to do/ wear “for my own good”
6. I wish people wouldn’t press themselves on me in public transport…even when I am clad in a suit!
I wish I had the freedom to be on my own & just be myself…
-Pallavi Malhotra, 23, Delhi

You have those times when you just cant seem to get through the day but somehow u do. only because days brings light & life with them. the nights, however, haunt you and all you want to do is take a walk or drive around...maybe stop for a cup of coffee...i dunno bout other cities doing so, alone in Delhi, is a mortal sin.

From the time of growing up, we are dependent on parents, friends, relatives... just because we cant even think of stepping out of our houses alone at most times. sometimes, even in broad daylight. and then people wonder why are women in Delhi so 'spoilt', we aren't. Its just that we live in terror each day.

I wish i could stop being dependent on others for everything in my life. is that too much to ask...that too in the capital of our country?

I wish I could wake up and walk out to get my paper without stressing about the "right clothing"
I wish I could walk on the road at night with out looking back.
I wish I could ask for contraception at a pharmacy- irrespective of the gender of the salesperson
I wish I could walk to the swimming pool from the dressing room in my swim suit ONLY
I wish I didnt always have to wear a bra
I wish I didnt have to glare back at random men on the road as much as I have to
I wish I could buy wine without getting odd looks
I wish I could take myself out for a drink alone at a bar and not look available
I wish I could stand anywhere on the road for however long- without feeling the need to change positions or look down
I wish I could just walk. Whenever, whereever, however.- anon

  • that i could wear high heels and feel sexy - and not have to worry about whether i'll be able to run away in time

  • that my city did not view me as just a body, i wish i could get rid of the feeling that to be a woman is to be a body, i wish i could forget my body

  • i wish i could sing out loud the songs stuck in my head - and not have passing men think i am singing the songs because i am attracted to them

  • i wish i could own a bright bright bright neon red car, drive alone at midnight, turn up its stereo to the max, make it wheels screech on the tar - and no one bats an eyelid when they realise the driver is a girl

  • i wish it was possible for me to bend down to pick up things that happen to drop - and not have to think twice about it.

  • i wish i could let myself fall asleep on the bus after a tiring day - and not have to worry about whose groping hands will wake me up

  • i wish for the day to come when i feel empowered enough to bargain with auto wallahs after dark, i wish i could spend that extra money on icecream- PRIYANKA


Last march 8 (Women'sDay), we had a blog-a-thon that asked you to blog stories of street sexual harassment. It began with an announcement on this blog that was picked up by bloggers across India, and soon in different parts of the world. We shared stories we had never shared before, sometimes stories we thought we had long forgotten, stories that we had often wanted to bury. We read each other, we linked to each other and we linked back to the Blank Noise Project blog. We were touched by each other's stories, moved by them, and, we like to imagine, drew strength and sustenance from the the long, cross-cultural chain of shared experiences.

It's this strength that we're asking you to share experiences of, on March 8th, 2007. The baton is handed over right here, right now! Announce this on your blog and on the morning of March 8th, 2007, share with us a story (or two, or five or...) of fighting back?!

When did you flip a situation so you could resist, when did you give back as hard as you got? When and how did you choose to confront? When did you become an Action Hero?

Action heroes have formed the theme of the last few Blank Noise interventions and it's this spirit we ask you to share and celebrate on March 8 , 2007!

So announce the blog-a-thon, and on March 8, share your action story!

If you are a male blogger and wondering how you fit in, tell us about an Action Hero you know!

To participate:

1. announce the event.
2. blog your story
3. email us about it and we will link you right away!

Please email us at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com/ subject titled Action Heroes Online.


Blank Noise!



HOLI ACTION! DELHI -Thursday, March 1 .Where: Lajpat Nagar, meet at 3Cs theatre complex in Central Market .Time: 7 pm

photos by Harneet Bhatia!

'I want to run wild on the streets at night'

That's my fantasy. The thing I most wish I could do in my city.

What's yours?

What are the top ten, twenty, one hundred things that you wish your city just let you to do? Email us your dreams for your city. Stay anonymous if you choose. We will post it on the blog after Feb 28/and may use it for an audio piece.

Please email us at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com. While we believe that there should no deadline for dreaming and wishlists, we would appreciate it if you start dreaming and mail us right away! Last date- March 1. 2007.


Thumbing down the city

Sarojini Nagar market. Thursday. 15th Feb.

I'd been here only two days before: getting new curtains, socks, sunshine, weird banana split. And here we were again, carrying a map, pens, pamphlets, letters saying 'Dear Stranger....'

It is a little awkward - street actions in places where we also hang out. Abby mentioned the awkwardness last time at PVR Saket, after we gave out letters to strangers, wore red reflective tape on our chests, forming a 'KYA DEKH RAHE HO?' and then, we calmly sat down at one of the open-air eateries and proceeded to order.

It felt funny. To go from 'action hero' to ordinary. To go from staring back, confronting the non-existence of the lone woman, even in 'okay' places like PVR.... to sitting down, eating. As if nothing had happened. As if, handing out folded letters to strangers was an everyday thing for us.

We'd got used to disappearing soon after the intervention, heading out for coffee, a drink, dinner. Heading away... Why did we not stay on?

Because we had, mentally, separated our own personas? - our aggressive, blank noise persona, and our normal, relaxed-on-guard passive persona?

Did we need to change that? Perhaps. At Sarojini Nagar market, again, we did.

We began with sitting at a small restaurant where we formed a little pool of bemusement as we spread out a large map of Delhi, stapled it onto a sheet of hard chart paper, wrote 'Harassment Hot Spots' along the edge, brought out an ink-pad and pens, folded letters, ate rasmalai, waited for others, and returned to the same place later.

The plan for the evening was to mark out each area of Delhi where a woman has been sexually harassed. At the same time, we were doing a variation on the 'dear stranger' theme. Instead of handing out testimonials of harassment to men, we gave a hand-written format to women, asking them to fill in the blanks, and then give them away to others.

We started thumbing the map ourselves, before approaching other women.

"Excuse me, ma'am, do you have a minute?"

"Hi, listen, we're trying to do something about eve-teasing."

"Suniye, ek minute, please?"

"Ma'am, would you please look at this map?"

"Have you ever been harassed?"

"Ma'am, will you please..."

"Half a minute?"

"Aapko kabhi kisi ne pareshaan kiya hai? Badtameezi ki hai? Jise hum chhed-chhaad kehte hain?"

"Kahin bhi? Kabhi bhi? Yaad kariye..."

"Ever? Never? Anywhere... in the bus? On the streets?"


The first ten minutes found us rolling our eyes at each other, reining in the impulse to shake these women hard.

Most said: No.

"No. I have never been eve-teased/ I don't recall any incident/ I'm not from Delhi/ It doesn't happen in my town/ I'm too large/ I'm too aggressive/ My face is so forbidding that nobody dares."


"If somebody tries anything, I beat him up."

"So somebody did try something?"



"No idea. We only travel in cars." Or "I only go out with my husband."

"What about sisters? Daughters?"


"What about when you were younger? In college?"



We rolled our eyes. One would think we were the only freaks around who'd spent half our lives being harassed.

But what made it really frustrating was that every woman who was accompanied by a man, turned to look up at him. In confusion, for permission, to gauge whether she should speak or not?

"Have you ever been harassed?"

Look at man.

"Have you been felt up, followed, commented upon, touched against your will, brushed against?"

Look at man.

"Will you please put a thumb-print on the map?"

Look at man.

But we didn't snap - "What're you looking at him for? We're asking you!". Or - "If it happened, would you tell the man in your life?" Or even - "Do you think that, if eve-teasing happens, the girl is asking for it?"

We re-structured the conversation.

"Nowhere? Not even in buses?"


"In buses, of course. But it does happen in buses, doesn't it? That sort of thing is normal."

We asked them to mark out a bus-route. That, for some reason, was easier for them.

It was also easier to deal with younger women. College-goers, or those who hung out together, without boyfriends/husbands/fathers in sight.

One girl was particularly angry; she thumbed Gurgaon a dozen times. "Oh, everywhere in Gurgoan", she said.

Another inked Noida. Another said, "In busy markets. Here, in fact!"

There seemed to be a blue north-centre-south axis. The Delhi University (north campus), Chandni Chowk, Connought Place, Nehru Place, GK-1 and 2, Lajpat Nagar, Sarojini Nagar were hotspots.

There were funny moments too. More than one man wanted to thumb-print the map; as it turned out, because his wallet had been stolen. We had to explain that theft is not really our area of concern.

One conversation was particularly interesting (and particularly long). A woman (late thirties? forties?) with a man, began by denying she'd ever been harassed. (After looking at the man, of course).

"Nothing happens to me. You see, I've taken a self-defence course."

"You have? Did you ever get to use what you learnt?"

"Yes, I did."

"When? Where?"

"There was once this man..." (pause, turn to look at man)


"In a bus. I elbowed a man. Just like I'd learnt in karate."

"What was he doing?"

"He was behind me."

"But what was he doing?"

"Nothing happened as such. Because I know self-defence."

"Was he doing... badtameezi?"

"Yes. So I elbowed him in the middle."

"Good for you. Would you put a thumb-print on the map?"

Badtameezi. Bad behaviour. Easier to deal with. Eve-teasing. Easier to deal with. Sexual harassment?

It does not happen to us. No.

The learnings from the evening were huge. As blank noise interventions go, this was the first time we had to explain ourselves. We were not standing up, mutely challenging a public space. We were not making a statement. We were engaging.

This was the idea. Mapping the city. Getting women to fill in the blanks - create their own letters to strangers, based on their own experiences. Involving them in ways that is not possible if they only look at us.

The first thing we learnt was something we'd forgotten: that it is taboo to talk about what has happened to you. That many, many women still fear the accusation (or the assumption) that they were responsible. There is, perhaps, a culpability associated with sexual behaviour, even if it isn't your own.

The second thing we learnt was that it is easier to confront, harder to draw out, engage.

The third was that even those who were hostile, were intrigued. We ran out of pamphlets and letters quickly.

The fourth was that we needed more time, more volunteers, more maps.

While we gathered round a bench later, talking about what we'd just seen and what frustrated us, a woman came up to us.

"So what will this accomplish? What are you trying to do?"

"To stop what we call eve-teasing. So many people said, 'it happens; it's normal'. Our point is to establish that it is not normal. It is not right."

"But you cannot change men's attitudes."

"We can. We can change women, at least. So that we stop putting up with it and enforce a change.... would you like to put your thumb-print on the map?"

Grinning, she held up her thumb. It was already inked blue.



Love our work and wish you could get more involved? Apply for an internship with the Blank Noise Project!

This season will be our busiest yet -- we've got a public exhibition, a new Action Heroes website, the 'Did You Ask for It?' clothing installation, and many more projects in the pipeline. To make things happen- join the team! We're looking for interns to work with us part-time during March and April. (Flexible schedule, preferred start date of Feb. 26, minimum commitment of 6 hours/week.)

What we want interns for:
  • Creative input! We'd like your help in preparing for the public exhibition at the end of March -- involves editing text/video/photos, providing feedback and brainstorming ideas.
  • Helping get our new Action Heroes website up and running -- involves editing, research, documenting and archiving tasks.
What we're looking for:
  • Commitment to the mission and vision of the Blank Noise Project
  • Basic familiarity with the organization (visit www.blanknoiseproject.blogspot.com)
  • At least 6 hours of your time per week -- starting Feb. 25 through the end of April
  • Prior video/text editing experience preferred but not required
  • Enthusiasm and a sense of humor!

What we'll provide:
  • No pay, sorry, but we'll give you a certificate, the occasional free lunch, and our undying gratitude
  • Public credit for your work, on the web and in the public exhibition
  • Working space at the Blank Noise Studio, off Nandi Durga Rd.
  • Very flexible schedule

How to apply:
Send your CV and a cover email explaining why you want to intern at Blank Noise to blurtblanknoise@gmail.com. Please mail us by the 24th of Feb.

We will be selecting some people from any geographic location
and some from Bangalore itself.


Feb 11. Bangalore. One Night Stand

This was the last of the One Night Stand production! For two weeks everyone, Paige, Surabhi, Dev, Kunal, Laura, Yamini, Manisha, Amrutha, Anusree etc etc etc worked hard on putting this event together!

As a result we had a good turn out of about 50 Action Heroes!

Here's what we do and why we do it:

Brigade road , just like any other road is male dominated- whether in numbers, attitudes and hence the power dynamics.

The railing was probably constructed so that people did not spill onto the road but over time it became the place to hang out, lean back, relax, check out, make deals, be idle. However all of this was allowed if you were male.

As a result a woman's experience of walking down the street was to look down, be anxious, and walk as fast as her legs could take her. This does not imply that every man by the railing was present to violate a woman, but in general it was just a very male dominated sight.

Of course there have been instances of a man standing against the railing and rubbing himself off on every woman passing by. I would not have known this until an Action Hero experienced it. A self explanatory video will be uploaded soon.

The point is not about the railing, nor is men vs women. We are attempting to question women's relationship with public spaces.

What if?

What would happen to the street if for one evening women took over the railings?

What if we were 50 or more?

What if our only intention was to do nothing, lean back and relax?

What if we looked back at passersby?

What if 50 women stopped walking and stood straight, firm, shoulders head and feet in one place?

What if we decided not to give way, dodge and twist our bodies for others to move?

What if, for one evening every body else moved around us?

What if?

In an ideal world there should be no reason and no need for this performance. But the fact that 50 women by the railing doing nothing becomes questionable, generates curiosity, becomes a public debate, is reason enough for passersby to get familiar with the idea.

It was a noisy exit. We left the street with an alert alarm that was almost deafening. 50 shreaking whistles down Brigade Road.

Here's what the Action Heroes had to say about their experiences on Feb 11:

Sharanya Hrishikesh

This was my first Blank Noise intervention. It felt so good when I maintained eye contact with a guy and he looked away. I felt so empowered! It was a little unsettling at first to be stared at as if I was a freak show but I soon got into the spirit. I can’t wait for the next time!

Sanaa Degaui

This was my first Blank Noise intervention and it really built my confidence. I really hope this can be carried forward in Yelahanka, where we really need it.


The whistling thing really worked for me! It made everyone curious and they actually made way for us, which in the usual circumstances wouldn’t have happened.


I think the eye contact really worked because it gave a sense of awareness, confidence and power.

A couple of days later we receive an email:

Two sundays back, i saw around twenty girls blowing their whistles through brigade and i was fascinated. I followed them out of curiosity and the last girl in the line handed me the letter addressing a stranger, signed by a girl. However, there was no contact number or email address. I asked around and finally found out about Blank Noise.



Last year just before March 8, International Women's Day, the Blank Noise Project set up a blog-a-thon, linking all of you and many other readers not on our mailing list, to each other through a particularly sensitive and private subject - the re-telling of experiences of street sexual harassment. We thought the solidarity in numbers, the anonymity the Internet offers and the significance of the day itself might allow some people to tell stories they had never told before. We expected some thoughtful stories, some provocative ones, some that would disturb and stay with us, perhaps forever.

But we did not expect over 240 deeply personal testimonials to come rushing out. We did not expect 131 comments on a single post. We did not expect the media to pick it up the way they did, with coverage ranging from ragional to international.

This March 8, we're hoping to take the journey begun last year one step forward. We've heard each other's testimonials, now let's share each other's actions. On March 8, 2007, The Blank Noise Project launches an actionhero website which collects no testimonials, no stories of bit-back hurt, no stories of indifferent onlookers.

Instead this space will launch with the stories of action plans. Give us your strategies. Your interventions. The time when you subverted a situation, flipped it on its head and gave the perpetrator no chance but to stop what he was doing. Give us your success story. Tell us which action hero you are. We will post strategies and interventions from eight countries up on our brand new space on International Women's Day.

Like Atreyee Day, who described an effective way she’d coped in Kolkata, with this incident.

The blog isn't launched yet. It will be when you send in your strategies and those that you've
been able to collect.

But essentially, we're asking for:
How different women have coped with street sexual harassment/ or dealt with it by turning the tables around. In Atreyee's case the man in question shifted from being a lewd perpetrator to someone a bit more vulnerable, who shared his childhood instead - and it happened because
1. She looked beyond the harassment
2. She developed her own strategy
Tell us about the situation that didn't cow you down. Which action hero are you? Send us a
post marked 'action hero' to blurtblanknoise@gmail.com and include a brief description of
which Action Hero you see yourself as.

We're asking for the description of any circumstance you’ve encountered that you haven’t
felt cowed down or overwhelmed by; one in which you perhaps spontaneously ‘strategised’ to
overcome harassment. We're asking for which Action Hero you relate to; it could be one
specific to your culture... it could be G-Girl. We're asking for a photograph of you – we won't
put up your name if you don't want it up. Send us an audio clip if you can – that'd be perfect.

We're also looking for volunteers to help on this project:

  1. Technical support to construct the website
  2. Volunteers to collect strategies from those who cannot access the Internet or cannot write: either writing down what they say, translating and/or recording audio (if anyone has a problem accessing recording equipment, we can help)
  3. Media outreach
Please email us if you can think you can help out: this is a two-month project only and we could do with all hands on board! Especially with reaching out to people who might not be on the Internet or able to write....

We will have lots more details for you when you email blurtblanknoise@gmail.com , the words "march 8 volunteer" in the subject line.


Blank Noise Team

Bangalore. Feb 11!!

Bangalore/ Sunday/ Feb 11/ the group meets at rest house road at 4 :15 pm.
Please call Blank Noise at 98868 40612 and confirm. Get out! Get it started!

Action Heroes include:

  1. Paige Trabulsi
  2. Surabhi Kukke
  3. Soumya C. Shekhar
  4. Yamini Deen
  5. Manisha Sharma
  6. Kunal Ashok
  7. Naina Brahma
  8. Amrutha Bushan
  9. Ahaana
  10. Archana Srinivasan
  11. Sanjana Janardhan
  12. Anusree M. Jois
  13. Laura Neuhas
  14. leslie
  15. Madhu Krishnan
  16. Isha Manchanda- Video Documentation
  17. Chris
  18. Vishal Talreja
  19. Arati
  20. Tharunya Balan
  21. Chinmayee Dutta
  22. Sujata Bhatt
  23. Mahima
  24. Gayatri
  25. Priya
  26. Suman
  27. Smita Kalburgi
  28. Vivek
  29. Nivedita Kalburgi
  30. Sneha Singh
  31. Nishank Pathak
  32. Nisrin Azeez
  33. Sathish
  34. Navneethan_+
  35. Amit Belani
  36. Vasudha Chandrashekhar
  37. Naini
  38. Anees
  39. Aparupa
  40. Manasi
  41. Urmila
  42. Uditi
  43. Lara
  44. Swati
  45. Ramya
  46. Seema
  47. MunMun
  48. Mallika
  49. Kalavati
  50. Priya
  51. Neeti. G
  52. Nandini C
  53. Tanuja Mukherjee
  54. Sargam
  55. Priyanka Chaurasia
  56. Myrthe
  57. Spriha
  58. Priyanka K
  59. Huda
  60. Sowmya
  61. Pushpi
  62. Tanvi
  63. Dipti
  64. Nilisha
  65. Sira
  66. Divya
  67. Sadhvi
  68. Rutika
  69. Sharvari
  70. Sanaa
  71. Honey
  72. deepika arwind
  73. anna joseph
  74. prachi murarka
  75. nida shabbi
  76. Sharath V
  77. Pallavi
  78. Anamika Mukherjee
  79. Chitra Badrinarayan
  80. Shravanya
  81. Smriti Chanchani
  82. Vishal Thacker
  83. Sumati + 10


Blank Noise Mumbai meets at the Mahim Station on Saturday, Feb 10 at 4 pm

The action takes place between 4 30- 5 .45 pm.

The action is simple, quick and easy! All it demands is for you to be YOU.

To sign up for the event please contact us at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com
or phone us at 098868 40612

ps: details for signups only. until then- wait for an after event post!