The Art of Walking on the Road
Yun Hi Chala Chal Raahi.....
I went on a road trip with two girls and it was different from going out with an all-boys-gang. Something that I am familiar with.
I have always loved exploring cities at night. But it was the first time I felt unsafe while walking down the road at midnight. While we were on the road, my friend mentioned that she could never take a walk in Delhi at this hour.
It’s an unsaid rule that women will avoid going out alone when it gets dark. But when you think about it, it’s a strange thing that we have normalized this.
So I called up a few friends to understand their perspective on how men and women live in two different worlds.
Jigyasa and Diksha- The Simran(s) from DDLJ
I started earning money and realised that life can be so much fun when you have no responsibilities. I went on a road trip almost every other weekend. As easy as that. But it wasn’t as easy for my fellow female friends.
Jigyasa takes inspiration from Kajol in DDLJ. To convince her parents to let her go on a trip, she has to go through an entire process. It starts 2 months before the trip.
It includes proving her worth as a good child before she can go. And it’s never sure if she is finally allowed to go or not. Her parents can say ‘NO’ to the plan anytime they like.
Diksha mentioned that her parents refused to let her go on a girl’s trip. Her mother believed that it wasn’t safe for four girls to travel to a new city. So Diksha invited some of her guy friends as well.
This made her mother even more furious because going out with guys on a road trip will be a violation of family values. CHECKMATE!
“Jaa Simran Jaa! Jee le apni Zindagi” is still a dream for many girls.
Manvi has got the skills of a Ninja. She is attentive, suspicious of her surroundings, and always has an exit plan.
Manvi, Garima, and I once went to a party. While we were on our way, she stated some ground rules for us. She also suggested we should have a Codeword in case of any danger.
At first, she had a look around the building to check the entries and exits, before entering the house. Next, she shared her live location with one of her friends. She also took time before picking anything up to eat or drink, in the fear that it might be spiked.
She then got paranoid when Garima spent more than 5 minutes in the washroom!
Arushi is a Rebel
Arushi was walking around the Delhi University campus road with a guy friend. Both of them had a cigarette in their hand.
They were stopped by a policeman. He asked for their names and colleges. He then started explaining to them how they were destroying their lives. His pep talk went on for a while but both of them patiently listened.
Arushi could see that most of this gyaan was directed towards her guy friend and not her. He was giving her a strange look while all of this was going on. He then moved to Arushi and said “Aapko tou ek din maa banna hai, yeh sab aapke liye theek nhi hai”
Arushi was angry but couldn’t say anything. As a sign of protest, she refused to throw away the leftover cigarette in front of the cop, despite being told multiple times.
Riya shouldn’t go out
Riya moved to a new city for college. She was finally free and went out every other night. Her neighbors were concerned about this.
The neighbor aunty advised Riya that if she wanted to go out, she could just take a stroll around the society at night because it was safe. It was a gated society and no one was allowed to enter without permission.
It so happened that one of the security guards complained to Riya’s neighbors that boys often visited her place. He also added that when these boys left her house, their clothes were different from what they were wearing earlier that day.
When we were told about this, we made it a point to mention our outfits to the guards, before taking the lift in her building!
MIDNIGHT WALKS IN DELHI
Walking around Delhi at night is an amazing experience. 'Women Walk at Midnight' is a group that organises walks for women across the city.
They walk in groups, listen to old Bollywood songs, take some snacks from 24/7 outlets, and have fun. Walking in groups makes the fear go away. The main idea behind this walk is to normalize their presence in such places at all times of the day and night.
I think it’s safe to say that we live in two Indias. We live in an India where I have been walking on the road late at night all my life, yet we live in an India where it’s still a privilege for many.
I think the good thing about this generation is that we are not scared of anyone and we don’t take no for an answer. Change takes time , and people are making efforts to make a difference.
The plan is to reclaim the space one walk at a time!
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