That is the last day she walked alone, the walk without fear, a walk that always earned her food. She refused to walk now, stuck in her four walls. That fateful night became her Last Walk.
She started to walk alone, hanging her bag across her shoulder, swift and steady steps. She always walks in broad daylight and in the pitch dark.
Aparna works as a beautician on call, she does not own any beauty parlor, she travels around the city for her appointments .Sometimes she takes metro shifting between the stations sometimes the bus stand waiting hours before the bus arrives. But, she always walked to reach the bus stop or to the station.
She is a graduate, an arts graduate, who could not compete with the grads from engineering colleges who occupied all kinds of jobs. She is not even good in English; Aparna came from a small town, studied in English medium school which had taught all classes in Telugu except the English subject. She never has to wonder why her language is never picked up.
She tried playing in the school ground, where 80% of the ground is occupied with boys and their games. When she and her friends tried to play in the ground, they used to get name-calling, jeering at their skirts or when their duppattas swayed away, commenting on their growing breasts. It is not like every girl quit playing the sports but also not every girl felt comfortable playing amidst the gang of boys hovering at their every move. So gone for the toss the physical fitness except the cycling she used to do to and fro her college.
So she put her legs for good use when she moved to the city. She started to enjoy the walk when people are around her vicinity, not too crowded with just the right number of people on roads.
Aparna got a call for booking for a bridal makeup appointment at dilsukhnagar which is a 2 hours journey from her PG to reach on time and commute during the business hours. She had to be at the wedding venue by 4 PM and it will take at least 2-3 hours for her to complete it. So she made out a plan a day before on her route and she reached on time and did her job perfectly well as she always did.
She collected her fees, which is her entire month rent also pays her bill, she carefully kept the money wrapped in layers of a paper bag and kept inside her handbag like every middle-class man takes his salary on the salary day with utmost carefulness to secure it while going back to his home in the night.
Aparna is in the same hurry. By 10 PM she reached her final destination and started to walk to her home. She turned to the alley next to the main road; there people here and there talking and walking, the road is dimly lit. She clutched her bag tightly sensing someone is shadowing her.
She is scared even to shout or turn around, even though she is moderately built, she cannot outrun a man in physical strength, so she made up her mind if the guy forces she will give all the belongings without a fight, the thought has never ended and suddenly a hand grabbed the waist and pulled her so hard and twisted her to turn to his face, he closed the mouth of her and started to groper her, she is overwhelmed with fear and sadness taken suddenly aback to react, she started to struggle.
The road is not entirely empty they are people, mainly men, but half of them didn’t bother, a guy walking alone passed out a shout which made the human-animal to run away, but no one bothered to walk to her and ask if she is alright, as they got used to seeing this and do not want to waste their time.
She walked back to the PG shivering, her mind exploring on what happened and why it has happened. That is the last day she walked alone, the walk without fear, a walk that always earned her food. She refused to walk now stuck in her four walls. That fateful night became her Last Walk.
Writers Note – This is not an imaginary story or an excerpt from some news, but the story of every woman who has been touched un-wontedly, commented upon un-necessarily, sexualized their bodies somewhere, sometime in their life every woman who you know would have faced some form of abuse.
If we ever ask a man how many or any perpetrators he knew, the answer will be NO in their circle. But ask a woman she can point at her finger end that someone who did.
Image Source: Pexels
An enthusiast in all sorts that gives meaning or happiness.A reader, a software engineer,
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