Alone? yes, alone.
As a twenty-three year old working woman, I think I have the right and the freedom to do a lot of things alone. Yet, every time I step out of the studio or home, I’m asked, “Are you going alone?”
“No, I’m going with my own personal bodyguard, because I’m the goddamn princess of England.”
Of course, I’m going alone.
It is not the first time I’ve been asked the question, nor will it be the last. But it still irks me.
Am I not supposed to be going out alone? Am I not supposed to walk on the roads unchaperoned? Is something going to happen to me? Will a pot hole gobble me up or will I get electrocuted by a stray wire if I walk on the streets by myself?
Having grown up in a nuclear family and then with a single parent, I have always done a lot of things single-handedly, be it going to buy the milk in the morning or walking to and from the bus stop to college. As that progressed to work, I got myself to and from work, walking alone on the streets of Mysuru.
This ‘alone’ question is hardly raised when in college or at work. Because, I think the world assumed it was safer walking on the roads in a school uniform. It was not. I have been harassed on the streets more as a school girl, than I have been as a grown woman.
When the query is posed to me, I get defensive. Because it makes me think about my safety, more than I usually do. And that is horribly damaging. Am I supposed to be afraid every time I step out of the house?
Then immediately my mind springs back, why must I be afraid? I am not born with a body guard to chaperone me around the city. Nor do I need one. In my own way, I am going to try and claim the outside world, to make it safer for myself by merely walking around, alone. So, yes I will be going alone. I will also be watching movies, eating at restaurants, travelling and living alone. Because, why must I be afraid?
My mother posed the same question to me today. And that really got my goat. I was hardly a kilometre away from my house and she wanted me to not walk alone in the rain. Why? Because it was past 7pm and raining.
We fought and I walked home, alone. And it took me less than three Britney Spears songs.