The Breakthrough Voice 18th August, 2017

Let me breathe!.

The weather was pleasant, the sun was bright and I travelled miles to breathe under an open sky.

But, the joy of it all seemed to vanish when they started looking into my eyes.

We always wish to get away from the hectic schedule of our lives and spend some quality time with family and friends. It is always a pleasant thought to go to places which take us far away from the chaotic environment, where one could feel fresh and rejuvenated and enjoy life.

A few days back I had planned a trip to Dalhousie to find solace and enjoy the serenity of the mountains with my friends. The valley welcomed us with rain, the sun shining and peeping from the pane of clouds and the wind blowing and spreading freshness all around. All of this felt like a respite in this arbitrary world. The day witnessed a myriad of tourists who had come a long way to enjoy the weekend with their family and friends like us.

However, the bad parts were the long traffic jams caused by this massive inflow of travellers. To my dismay, the pleasing waves soon started feeling chilly and the sense of calm was replaced by a pounding anxious heart while walking on the valley roads after I had a frightening and dreadful experience.

A lot of young people (18-28 years) were sitting inside parked cars along the road and playing loud music. While I was passing them by, I started noticing that each and every guy sitting inside his vehicle was staring and passing comments on women who were passing them by on the road. In that moment, I realised how this horrifying mindset and unethical behaviour is restricting women’s mobility and that we are not safe anywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you are travelling with your family, friends or alone.

For years and years, we have bound ourselves in the shackles of slumber under patriarchal clutches. In an era when we claim modernization, it is still a challenge for women to find a safe place to roam alone and freely; irrespective of the fact that we share the same right to freedom and equality as men.

A feeling of agony and shame prevails when our lives are wrapped with these restrictions and we are forced to bow down in front of these oppressive conventions. I want to urge people who have lost the virtue to respect us as fellow human beings to introspect and realise the impact they have on our lives. I want to urge and put the onus on all of us to create safe spaces for each one of us. To grant each other the breathing space we are entitled to.

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