It’s 11:30 P.M. And this night is perfect. The wind is just amazing. Moon is at its best and the Street lights! Oh these jewels! Roads are generally not the boasting type but even they can’t help but flaunt them off. Oh what a beautiful night it is! La belle nuit! But you know who’s ruining this beauty? Not a who actually – A what.
I, I walking alone, I walking alone and I am a woman.
What am I doing here this late? Of course, I shouldn’t be here! Am I nuts or what?There’s a rule woman! “Men only” – You don’t break it!
And what if I do? What if I do? What does that make me? A catcalling material? A stalking material? A raping material?
Of course, it does.
It’s 11:30 P.M. I think I have seen you pass by before. I think I marked your presence when you honked at the empty road before. I hold your interest, I see. But is this how you try to impress people? I am sorry to tell you that it doesn’t work that way. I am quite opposite of impressed right now. I am angry. Why are you doing this? Just because I am walking alone at night? Just because I am a woman? Does that not make me a human? Does that just make me a random insignificant creature to insult? Would it have helped if I was dressed in a different way? Maybe saree? Maybe burkha? Maybe the toilet paper rolled over me like a mummy? Would you have just passed by and not done these random acts of kindness then?
It’s 11:30 P.M and I think we need to sit and talk. Don’t be shy, come on! Let me unravel the mysteries of workings of your brain tonight. What do you want? What do you not?Do you not like us taking a casual stroll in our own locality? Do you not like us minding our own business? Do you not like us feeling safe and secure in our own city? Is it just your right not ours? What do you think, darling? Do you think it is a great act of benevolence to try to scare the shit out of people who have done nothing to bother you?
I like how you disrespect me. I like your high spirits and over confidence. I like how you judge me entirely based on my gender. Come on, man! Speak up! Honking is not a language, you do know that right?
I am resisting not shouting at you. I am resisting ignoring you. I am resisting not to put up a fight. I don’t know kung fu after all. I don’t have a gun. I don’t know if I can defend myself but I want to speak to you. I want to pour my heart to you. I won’t though fearing that it will all backfire. If walking is a crime for you, then you might have a hard time adjusting to me talking. What a shame! What a shame I can’t tell you how I feel! What a shame I can’t make you feel as unsafe as you make me feel. What a shame I can’t make your mother worried sick over the fact that you are going to come home late or you are travelling alone. What a shame I can’t make you text dozens of people that you have reached home once you do. What a shame I can’t make you dread this beautiful night! I see that you live here too. I see that this place is your home too. What a shame that I can’t make it a hell for you as well!
All I can do right now is to not speak. Not shout. Not react.
Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.
And pray that I am back at my place safe. Because if I am not, god forbid, if I am not…then how stupid will that be of me. It was 11:30 P.M at night, they will say, what was she doing that late? It was 11:30 P.M. for fuck sake, they will say, she was asking for it. Man! She was asking for it.