So it was yet another normal visit to the market. Cars honking unnecessarily, bikes whooshing by so fast that they almost squash my foot, and the goons riding them leering at me as if they’ve never seen a girl before in their life. But still I walk on keeping my eyes on the ground for fear of accidentally setting foot on one of the numerous little heaps of trash littering the sidewalk. I laugh to myself as I realize the one similarity between the trash on the ground and on the riders of those foot squashing bikes : they both stink. I keep walking with my parents on the busy road while wondering more about how I could degrade those nasty hogs in my mind to let out my frustration, I can’t call those people ‘men’ because they hardly act like a man should. I imagine shouting obscenities at them every time they set that insulting look upon me and then cringe to think of the possible consequences because we are talking about an act which is inhumane and you cannot expect civility from animals, otherwise I wouldn’t have been thinking all these things in the first place.
My wondering acts as a good distraction from other disgusting things and we finally reach the store. My parents get the things they wanted while I thank God to be out of all the noise and commotion. During the billing, the owner of the shop looked at me and asked me about what I do. When I replied that I’m in college he beamed and told us that his daughter is in her final year as well and just got placed in Mumbai. My parents congratulated him and said that he must be so very proud of her. But his reply was even more appalling. This is what he said , “Yeah it’s a good thing but I’m not going to send her that far away in a big city like that all alone. If my boy would have got placed in Mumbai then it was an altogether different thing, but she’s a girl. You cannot send a girl away alone on her own in a big city like that! “
The statement revolted me. I could sense that similar anger rising up from my gut. Why is it that it is always the girl who has to give up her dreams. I get that the owner made that decision because he loved his daughter and didn’t want her to get hurt given the fact that we live in a country where a woman gets raped every 16 minutes. I get it. But why do we have to live in this fear. Why do our parents get worried every time we leave our houses alone. Why ? Because we are women ? Why do we women feel the need of caging ourselves in the limited safety zone of our homes while those wolves roam the streets. The world belongs as much to women as it does to men then why the disparity ? How much more of this macabre of abuse ?