“A wonderful day to spend among women in leadership” said Rashmi Karthik an attendee of Women #BreakingBarriers Bangalore. Breaking Barriers is now coming to Pune, Panjim, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Chennai. Register now to attend!
Some journeys inspire you, some refresh you, and some are just magical. This piece is about a woman’s journey to independence, and what true freedom means to her.
As I make my way to Malone’s Irish Bar, sleepy and tired, I somehow feel a sense of relief at my first dissertation submission for the session. It has been three months already, since I came to this enchanting city. Three months full of new experiences and diverse emotions, and meeting some of the most interesting people.
I still remember it like it was yesterday that I walked out of the airport, the chilling cold breeze lifted my spirits with the excitement of the year to come. And a warm smile on my lips.
Winter has set in. 3 pm, and it is dark already. As I come to the entrance of the Meadows, I halt suddenly.There is a sense of anxiety that overpowers me. I am familiar with this feeling, but have not felt it since I arrived in this city. I wonder why there is this shiver in my spine, and suddenly, the quiet loneliness fills me up.
I wonder why there is this shiver in my spine, and suddenly, the quiet loneliness fills me up.
My brain has already set in action the reactions to this anxiety – all my senses are heightened, my heart is racing, and I keep looking over my shoulders. As soon as someone come close, my body flexes.It is my brain’s automatic self-defense mechanism. A result of my years of trying to protect myself from the cat calls, stares, light brushes, groping…the list is endless.But I wonder: do I really need it here?As I slowly cross the quiet, dark path, people cross me from all directions. Oblivious to the fear that has grappled me. I cross a young couple, much in love, and as they smile at me…I wonder again if my fears are warranted. I have already experienced many a times how different this city is from back home.People here care to look out for you even if you are a stranger, they try to protect you, and advise you.As I head close to my destination, I see cars and huge crowds of university students out for a fun evening at the end of the term. Slowly, I start to relax. Although the automatic response to dark nights and lonely stretches may take a while to curb, this city I now call home has given me true independence.
Although the automatic response to dark nights and lonely stretches may take a while to curb, this city I now call home has given me true independence.
As I walk down to the entrance of Malone’s, I am not scared or anxious anymore. Cautious, yes. Some habits probably take longer than others to overcome.But I realize…I am free. The kind of free I had never known earlier. Where I am not on guard at all times. Where I am not protecting myself from everyone around me. Where I can walk free no matter what time of the day it is. And experience the beauty of my city, rather than looking over my shoulder every other second.At last, I am free to explore and experience this amazing city I have fallen in love with.
I am free.
Embracing Pregnancy Through Self-Portraiture
Fighting Cancer: Part II
What I Learnt About Myself On The Deaths Of My Estranged Brother & Mom Within A Year
As An Urban Dalit Woman, Here’s How Solo Travel Has Empowered Me
Get our weekly mailer and never miss out on the best reads by and about women!