I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I just don’t want to be at a wrong place at a wrong time.
It’s been 4 months that I shifted to Gurgaon for my studies. Contrary to all warnings and the disgruntled reactions I received when I had mentioned that I am going to Gurgaon, the city has been pretty good and safe for me so far. Though, I have to say that I make sure to not meander to places alone especially in the night. Basically no night outings for me, but then I never had much of it in Bombay too (talk about possessive parents’). Anyways, the point is because I don’t want to take a risk. Maybe I am over-thinking and obviously my flat mates who more often than not return home late at 12 in the midnight won’t consent to this.
I encountered this fear first time, when the rickshaw I was travelling in took a wrong turn, a path that I was not familiar with. Since, I am new here and don’t wander out much, the streets around are pretty unfamiliar to me. And it’s winter here, so at 6 in the evening the sky is pitch dark and sometimes foggy. The auto driver took a short cut that I wasn’t aware of to reach my home. Those few minutes were alarming! I couldn’t show him that I didnt know this new street, yet I knew that I was somewhere near to my place, but didn’t to dare ask him. When he dropped me I heaved a sigh of relief! I am afraid to feel that again, I never want to feel that again. I never felt that ever in Bombay! The city constantly made me feel safe. While Gurgaon is more peaceful, more greener, it won’t ever be safe for me.
That night I went to sleep with unsettling emotions. Why do I have to live in a fear? Is it because of my gender? Because I am girl and that makes me an easy target. I don’t want to live like this. I wish I lived in a country where freedom was just not political or economic. I want to live in a country where freedom is a state of mind!
Safety is not just a slogan, but a way of life. I need an existence where wrong turns don’t make me dreadful. And that’s the reason Gurgaon will never be my home. Home is where I feel safe, home is Bombay!