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Here’s an account of sleeping in the open in Delhi, which was an initiative by Black Noise to reclaim public spaces.
Blank Noise is a community that wants to put an end to the sexual harassment cycle in India. It has come up with a new initiative, which is called ‘Meet to Sleep.’ It asks citizens across the country to come to public spaces, like parks or other free spaces and sleep. The idea is to reclaim public spaces, without fear.
Last Saturday, they held their ‘Meet to Sleep’ meet in Delhi. I saw it on facebook and joined in. I like many others have never slept in the open. Delhi is ofcourse is not a city where public spaces are kind to women.
I reached Deer Park, where it was organized at 2:30 pm, with a shawl, a pillow and a bedsheet. The idea is to join the group and sleep. That’s a way to claim the public spaces. As, I reached there were already 5 to 6 girls lying around.
To be honest it was not a very easy experience because you don’t see women easily lazing around in parks or other spaces. Honestly my eyes were on the onlookers who kept staring. However, I too spread my bedsheet and put my head on the pillow. I also had a book with me.
Slowly I forgot about the eyes that stared us, I looked up to the sky and the winter Sun. It’s strange that how, I have never experienced the beautiful winter Sun, lying in the open ever. Nature was created for all, but how we started giving up spaces for one reason or the other. I am born in a free country. But I have never slept in the open, watching the sky. I started reading. For the first time, I experienced what life was meant to be and what we made it to be.
Another girl arrived and shared my bedsheet. And we started talking. We both realized how beautiful female bonding can be. You just don’t need to bother about anything, but just bond in a level, you cannot bond with someone else. That afternoon at Deer Park, Delhi, turned up to be one of the most beautiful afternoons I ever spent. Lying under the Summer Sun, with 8-10 girls, two boys included, reading and talking not to forget the snacks, I kept grabbing , I realized like everyone, that we need freedom of movement. In a city like Delhi, which is not considered a safe haven for women, not many would dare to sleep under the Sky, or seen in public spaces late at night. But, the world belongs to both men and women. The more women come out, the more will follow; because when I saw five women around me sleeping after sometime, I stopped thinking about anyone else and blissfully turned to sleep.
That’s the power of claiming what belongs to us too. Let’s start doing it, once and forever!
All images via Facebook
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
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