Sometimes, life presents us with situations where we have to break free from our fears. It could be a time when you choose to be courageous or a moment when you have no other option but to face the danger head-on. Can you recall any such incident when you were sweating and trembling with fear but still braved the situation and came out triumphant?
You'll have an adrenaline rush reading these Quora answers of people who shared their experiences where they stood tall in the face of frightening situations.
1. I work as professor in an engineering institute. Almost 6 months ago, a close friend and colleague started receiving abusive SMSs. The unknown number started asking her for sex using deteriorating words. Like any other woman would, she blocked that number.
Though in her handset, the SMSs from blocked numbers used to get saved in a spam folder. I kept on reading her spam folder and realised that the stranger had started threatening to morph her pictures and post it in our college. He also threatened to kidnap her and sell her to a brothel. She, being a single mother, felt targeted and insecure.
So I forced her to involve police. The response of police was pathetic. They started asking humiliating questions as if this was our fault. We spent everyday 3–4 hours at police station. I worked out few of my contacts. FIR was done but nothing worked out. It was my friend’s birthday when the psycho stranger crossed all limits of vulgarity and harassment with a flood of texts and calls on college landline number. And one day he started hurling abuses and threats to harm my friend’s daughter.
Through police progress and call records we came to know that same person was abusing and harassing more than 50 women across Gujarat. Majority of victims were teachers and professors. I stated this information in my tweet. Surprisingly, Smriti Irani ji and our CM Anandiben Patel replied. I passed on details to them. To my surprise, their PAs also called up and informed about progress of case in few minutes and assured that by end of the day we will get good news.
Within less than 2 hours of the tweet, he was caught. The psycho got the details of women from college websites. He was an ITI guy, married and had a poor family background.
He was brought to our city and we went to meet him. He cried, asked for mercy. But what he did with my friend and 50+ other ladies was a crime.
He is behind bars since then and has not even received bail. Police has recorded complaints from all 50+ victim ladies across Gujarat. Soon the hearings shall start in court. We are determined to fight till end. We are happy that we fought for our dignity. My friend’s confidence has increased
- Bhumika Desai Shah
2. I belong to a small town in India where there were no schools for girls after 10th. For studying further, we had to enroll in a boys school but no girl used to go there because it's a a boys school after all.
After finishing 10th standard, I, with my 3 other girl friends opted for physics, chemistry and mathematics for higher secondary and we were facing difficulties in studying by ourselves.
So, I took the decision to go get admission in the boys school. The other 3 girls also supported me. We talked about it with the principal, bought the uniform and started going to school with swag. Some teachers were surprised, others were shocked.
I secured first position in the block. I have learnt that 'start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible'.
- Prachi Jain
3. I was going back to my college after the semester break. As the train was late, I was waiting on the platform. While waiting, I saw a foreigner standing. I instantly felt the urge to talk to her. So, I gathered all the courage and asked her where she was going. She responded well and I found myself a partner to pass those minutes.
We talked for about fifteen minutes. Then I went to buy a water bottle from a nearby shop. When I came back, she was talking to a man who was about 6' 3" tall. He had big moustache and messy hair. I went there and started listening to their conversation and quickly realised that he was drunk. He held her bags in his hands and was asking her to go to a hotel. He also told her that the train was cancelled and she should come with him. Anyone could tell that his intentions were not right. To my surprise, that girl was smiling. Maybe she didn't understand what the man was saying. She waved me good-bye and began walking away.
He moved towards me and took out a big knife from under his clothes. I was shocked. I don't know how but sensing danger, I began talking loudly, almost shouting, in order to attract people's attention. To my relief, people noticed his knife and started gathering. Seeing this, he ran away and shouting that he will bring other guys.
Quickly, I lifted bags of both of us and started walking in the opposite direction with her. I explained everything to that girl and asked her to come with me. I found a policeman and narrated the incident to him. Then we boarded our train. When we were departing, I explained to her why she should not trust strangers. I could not believe that someone who was travelling in foreign country could be so negligent. She thanked me. I ran towards my train coach with all the strength I had.
4. I was 14, and walking home from school. A well-dressed man who looked like he was in his early 20s was walking towards me. I was lost in my own thoughts. As our paths crossed, he reached out and groped my chest. The moment this happened, I was confused for a second and stood there, frozen, not knowing how to react. I wheeled back, only to see the guy walking away casually. He didn't even run, because he assumed I wouldn't do anything.
Some people stopped their cars, asked me if I was alright, landed punches on him, verbally abused him, and even offered him advice. He ended up in tears and apologized. People talked me out of filing an FIR because they said it would be a hassling affair. I believed it and moved on. One less pervert in the world.
- Agratha Dinakaran
5. When I was in the Marines, I knew a guy. He called me one day and said, "I just saw some paperwork. You'll be getting sent to Japan for 6 months soon, unless you want to be sent to Camp Lejeune (where I had lots of friends). But if you go there, you will join a unit that's going to depart for Iraq in December, and there's going to be a war (this was almost a full year before the Iraq War started).
With this information I spent a few weeks thinking about the various possible outcomes of this decision, and in the end I opted to go to Camp Lejeune because if there was a war, I knew I might make a real difference to a few good men. I'm very smart, fairly strong, and have always performed very well under pressure, and I knew that I could save some lives that might have been lost if given the chance.
Today those guys have wives and kids, and that's a really incredible thing to me when I think about it from time to time. I chose not to go to Japan a year before the war even started, and now those children exist.
- John Brown
6. This happened when I had just finished my 10th. I was 14 years old and enjoying summer vacations. One day I had to visit one of our family friends. I went there, but after a few hours got really bored, so decided to visit this school friend who lived within walking distance from our family friend’s place. It was 2 PM and really hot. After a few mins, I saw a Maruti Omni coming towards me from the opposite side. Suddenly, the car stopped and one of the hands came out to pull me inside.
Out of reflexes, I crossed the road. By this time, my mind had registered the danger. The vehicle starting moving onwards and I felt relieved. But, after a few seconds I realized that the vehicle has moved on only to take a U- turn.
I started walking really fast and even thought of entering someone’s house but didn’t.
Then I saw a small shop. I went there and started buying random eatables. Then out of somewhere a kid came and told me “Didi, few guys are coming for you, I heard them talking.” I started shivering. The shopkeeper seemed stressed. I asked him if he could help me and if there was any female member in his family. He was very reluctant and said there was none. By this time the Omni has reached the place where I was standing. One of the guys came out and asked for cigarette from the same shopkeeper.
I said “Aapko tameez nai hai, how dare you smoke on my face and put your hands on my thigh”. He was such a shameless creature, he said he wasn’t doing anything and signalled one of his friends to come there. Now, 2 grown up boys were smoking on my face. But, I did not flinch or showed any sign of weakness. Then, out of nowhere a lot of people started coming out of their homes. As soon as the cheap guys realized this, they started walking towards their vehicle. Suddenly, it came to my mind that I should note down the vehicle number. As soon as I turned, I saw that all the people from the vehicle were standing outside their car in order to cover the number plate. But, at least the situation was under control now and I knew I was safe.
- Bhawana Bhatt
7. This was way back in 2006. It was the beginning of my first semester of engineering. A friend and I had to go for a sleepover at another friend's place, so that we could give final touches to our robotic car for a robotics competition. So, we decided to meet up outside the railway station at about 4.00 pm and take a train to our friend's place. We met as decided and started climbing up the flight of stairs leading to the railway bridge. The staircase was very dirty, littered with rubbish and tainted with tobacco spit stains.
While we were walking up the stairs, I noticed that a well-dressed man in his mid-sixties was sitting on one of the stairs, his head bent low. I stopped and told my friend that this man looks from a good family and wouldn't sit on the filthy stairs. He would probably be sick.
A small crowd had gathered around us by now. Without wasting a single minute, I started requesting some people in the crowd to lift the man . I decided to not wait for an ambulance and took him to a hospital in an auto rickshaw. To my dismay, not a single person budged. I saw a hefty fruit-seller standing near the staircase. I walked up to him and grabbed his wrist, dragged him to the spot and gave him an order to lift the old man. I rushed to an auto-rickshaw, made him stop and told him that we wanted to take this man to a hospital. I didn't wait for the driver's consent and instructed the fruit-seller to place the man carefully into the rickshaw, with his head in my lap.
On reaching the hospital, we were told that only ESIS card holders (people covered under the government-run health insurance scheme) were admissible to the hospital. I decided not to waste time arguing and continued my search. The man was stiff and was frothing profusely by now. I was frantically searching for any health centre or even a nursing home. The rickshaw driver told me that there was a nursing home about a few minutes away. About half a minute away from the nursing home, I looked down at the old man's face. His pupils had dilated. I saw him take his last breath.
This was the first time in my life that I had seen someone die in front of me. I knew deep down that he had passed away but I hated to admit it. We reached the nursing home. I rushed through the doors and frantically called out for a doctor. A young doctor rushed out of one of the rooms and I told him about the situation. He said that they were a nursing home. I pounced on him and said that at least check. He agreed and we ran and reached the rickshaw. He felt his pulse, checked his pupils and declared him dead on arrival. I wanted to cry. I was at a loss for words.
- Shruti Ghurye
8. I guess it was back in 1974. I found out my cancer (lymphatic) had reoccurred and that I was pregnant the same week. The doctors recommended that I abort my son, as in their opinion, I would not make it to term without chemotherapy.
I made it, and my son, Brian, was born. I was only allowed to nurse him for two weeks, and the they started chemo. The first few months were difficult. Because of the chemo, I was not allowed to hold him for more than a few minutes at a time. He grew up to be an Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal (bomb) Staff Sargent in the Air Force and died in 2014. He chose to be a bomb specialist, as that profession saves lives, unlike most other military professions. He was a joy, very adventurous, traveled all over the world.
I think I made the right decision
- Carol Philo
9. When I was 21, I woke up one morning to a girl screaming and banging on my door. I opened the door and saw a girl about 17 years old, she was begging me to help her and as she turned away from me I noticed that her shirt was ripped down the back and there was a huge streak of blood across her back but it wasn’t her own. I didn’t even really think about it, she was so young I had to help her.
As he drove off, I continued to follow her into the apartment he’d just come out of. Once I got to the door I saw her boyfriend laying on a pullout couch. He wasn’t just covered in blood, he’d been stabbed so many times that blood was pouring out of his body. He had just enough energy to sit up, reach towards me and ask for help. Within in seconds he fell back onto the bed and I just knew he was already gone. She kept staring up at me begging me to save him. I grabbed her and tried to explain it wasn’t safe to wait in the apartment.
One other neighbor in the complex called the police. Once I got her to leave with me, I locked us in my apartment and tried to calm her down. She sat down in my apartment and started telling me what happened and begging for reassurance that he’d be okay.
Apparently she woke up next to him being stabbed and couldn’t figure out why.
I remember looking at her and thinking about how her life would never be the same, I wanted to hug her, I wanted to cry for her but I knew that I had to act like it wasn’t as bad as it was. I knew she couldn’t process what she’d just been through so instead I talked calmly and told her he was okay.
- Brianna Kirtland
10. I am a Journalist by profession. While I was travelling back home from office in a local bus, I was standing near the driver’s seat. I noticed an old woman, in her mid 50’s, dressed in a old saree. She looked like like a maid or a beggar. She had a small child with her who was in deep sleep. When I saw the kid’s face, he looked about 2 years old, fair complexioned, wearing clothes like he belonged to some well-off family, while on the other hand, the woman didn't look like his family.
I then asked where is her daughter to which she pointed at some back seat which I couldn’t see as the bus was already very crowded. I stayed quiet for few minutes and without her noticing, I pinched the kid to see if he was really sleeping or unconscious. To my wonder, I found that even after pinching several times, the kid neither cried nor woke up. I was sure that she was a child thief. I informed the driver and conductor about it. The driver was smart enough and stopped the bus midway and asked the woman about the child and his mother. She got nervous and tried escaping but couldn’t. We then informed the police who arrested her and investigated about the child and finally after some days of struggle and visits to the police station, the officers found the real family of the kid who belonged to Gurgaon. I felt proud that I could help somebody.
- Megha Jetley
11. I was traveling from Delhi to my hometown, which is 30 kms away from the nearest railway station. I was waiting for the bus. Then, this guy, who was the son of my dad's friend came to the bus stop and told me that he was heading towards my hometown. I talked to my dad about it and left with him.
I hit the road hard and got injured. But got up instantly and ran towards the main road. He ran behind to catch me. He pushed me hard and I fell down towards the valley on the road side. I was shouting for help constantly. So he put his hand in my mouth. His fingers were reaching my throat. I was fighting but I had started to choke. At that moment, fortunately somebody on the road heard me and replied. He ran away after that. Then I called my family. I reached home pretty injured but the feeling was of a warrior who had won some war. We took action against him afterwards.
12. It was 16th December 2014. The day started as any other normal day. We were standing in assembly which ended with the national anthem. I was in class 10th and my cousin was in primary section. We were sitting in the big hall when we heard loud noises. As gun culture is very common in Peshawar, we thought it was a gun fire. Someone was constantly firing with an AK-47.
As our school is a huge institution that runs under army, we were happy that it would be some sort of training we are going to do, some sort of fun. But things got worse when we heard loud noises of children who were crying. Our teacher locked the door. Adrenaline rush was quicker than ever in my body. I was thinking this could be the last day of my life. And then someone kicked the door, after three to four times, the door broke open. There were two men holding an AK-47 each with huge magazines. At first they opened fire at us. My heart was beating like it would come out of my chest any minute now. At first, I hid myself behind the chair.
I was praying to Allah to save my younger cousin. We were lucky, they left some of us. They killed the entire batch of 9th graders. I couldn’t believe it. The same boy who played with me, the same boy who used to mimic the maths teacher and make us all laugh, was lying on the floor, dead. A terrible boy who also pretended that he had died but received a bullet in leg. He cried and they shot him in the head.
Then some army officer rushed in to our class room. They evacuated and moved us outside. My father and brother were waiting for us outside. My younger cousin survived, he received a bullet in his thigh. When these children ran, they opened fire at them from behind, some died and some of them got injured.
In all the days and nights, I’m still feeling empty without my friends. But god has granted me another life to fulfill their purpose. Now I’m living their life and I want higher education.
13. I was walking from school late at night when two guys started following me. It was a standard route to my home and it wasn’t so long. At first I didn’t think anything and tried to stay calm, walking normally. I was scared when I noticed that the city streets are empty. At this point, one of the guys just laughed and said
“Look at her ass. Damn. Hey beauty, wait!”
I was walking faster, trying to avoid them but when I heard that sentence I felt like my stomach turned upside down. I was ignoring him, still walking in a street that barely had any light.
“Hey! Didn’t you hear me you bitch?” the first guy said while the second one was laughing. “She has a nice ass. Should we grab her for it?”
Now I had had enough. I had an umbrella with myself so I turned around to their shock and said, “Stop following me and stop with your disgusting comments or I will use this umbrella for something else than what’s intended for”.
- Lara Novakov
14. I am a 27 year old woman. Once, I was travelling back to my hometown and had booked a ticket in AC compartment. In the middle of the journey, the temperature went slightly low and I was feeling cold. So I moved out of the sitting area and stood near the restroom as it is not air conditioned. I saw an old couple has also come up there, and train was just about to halt at a station. We introduced ourselves to each other and I came to know that they were from France.
We were having a normal conversation. Within a few moments, the train departed and the lady took out her digital camera from the bag and started filming the platform as the train moved slowly. I just thought that somebody might snatch her camera. And to my shock, it happened.
In response to my shouting, people on his way got aware and grabbed him. There was a crowd by the time I reached him. I took away the camera from him, meanwhile the train had also stopped. The police arrived, grabbed that guy from his wrists and took him away. I boarded the train and handed the camera to the couple. They thanked me a ton and told that I had not only saved their camera but also the memories of their vacation.
All images designed by Rohit Jakhu.