Here is one of the biggest reasons I love to travel. I get to live a life; a life where I'm not perpetually watched and judged. Where I don't feel mentally groped and violated for just being me.
I feel pretty, flattered and above all Free!
I don't quite know how to start this one so I'm gonna go to the basics. We girls in India are constantly told how to dress, how to behave and how to be good girls in the eyes of the society. Why? Here are the lousy excuses I've heard
- This is India baby!
- You know how men here are!
- Why are you inviting trouble?
And when I've tried to reason it, I've been told Indian men are frustrated! Frustrated? Was I just told that Indian men are Frustrated? Really? Seriously? Wait a minute! Aren't we one of the world's largest population? I just heard on the radio that we will beat China by 2020! And we are the exploding population country inspite of the female infanticide. And correct me if I'm wrong, child birth in India is still happening through sex right? So most of my population is screwing my country out of proportion and yet they remain sex starved? Highest rate of prostitution and yet desperate? Most with stashes of pornography and yet depraved? This doesn't add up does it?
I can't put my finger on it so here is my open letter to understand my men better.
While I'm in any other part of the world, I feel absolutely normal if I'm eating alone in a restaurant or having a drink alone in a bar. I can go watch a movie alone. I can take all kinds of public transport at any time of day or night. I can wear what I feel like. For some days, just a few, I am me! Unadulterated me! Unapologetic me! And no! I know what your conditioned minds are telling you to think. I am not doing anything, not a single thing to get any attention of any kind. I'm just living my life, eating my food, having a drink, taking a walk, travelling and enjoying my moment in the clothes and attitude I'd like. Period.
My dear Indian men; I was so embarrassed when I met people from across the world asking me if India was safe for women, and I had to hang my head low and answer with a sheepishly low volume "No".
No, it's not like men don't approach me or try to flirt with me seeing me alone in certain places, they do! But you know what the difference is? They don't make me feel bad for looking nice. They don't make me feel threatened if I say no. They don't make me feel like just because I'm looking nice and sitting alone that I'm inviting them. And some truly want a good conversation, that's all! And just because we have had a great conversation for a while, I don't feel obligated in any way.
It is so liberating! Just my simple freedom! Does so much for my self esteem, my confidence.
Hey you Indian man; when you find a girl interesting or attractive, why do you make us feel bad for looking good? Why be all creepy? How is our feeling harassed a method of you giving us a complement? Why won't you say something nice in a decent manner and make us smile instead? And if we smile and say thank you, not be pathetic and clichéd and think you "got" us?
It's a vicious circle you see? You all keep making us feel uncomfortable for looking nice, so because of parental or societal pressure we keep wearing more clothes. You molest us and violate us anyhow still, so protective people around us tell us not to go anywhere. And then since you don't see any of us you are stamped as desperate! And girls like us hate you with every breath and are praying to god something horrible happens to you. And the strangest phenomena is that now there are groups of you who do this and think it's cool or funny.
Men are men and women are women all over the world. We all want the same basic things, a good home, someone to love, respect in society and above all to be accepted just the way we are.
Why can't we just remember one basic fact? Before being a man or a woman, we are humans. I mean some of you men like being fashionable and some don't right? Some of you wear shorts cause its hot right? Some of you are friendly and some of you are not. Either ways you are being you right? Or is every breath you take a desperate attempt to get the ladies? Don't you have passions and ambitions of your own? Don't you like to pursue them ? Are you expected to quit being you because of your marital status? What if you were pinched, rubbed against, shoved and violated in ridiculous ways just because you looked attractive to somebody? By somebody you'd hate to be touched by? Against your wish? Or made to start wearing something because it was your fault you got molested?
Can you imagine our world? You expect us to look pretty and not all at the same time? You want us to be weak minded and then cheat on us because we are boring. You make cheap jokes about the sexual harassment policies in the office and yet can't understand that you just need to mend your ways. You won't let your wife dress sexy but will check out every attractive girl hoping she was yours.
Oh I love travelling! To get away from most of you. To just read my book in a bar, eat my food in a restaurant without being stared at, to just lie down in a park and stare at the sky, walk around aimlessly, talk to strangers pointlessly, discover wonderful people and do all of the above Solo! Yes I travel solo across the world, unafraid. And it kills me to confess that everytime I step out of my home, I'm insecure, afraid and avoiding any contact with any of you. My family only worries about my comfort when I travel but when I'm here, at home, they worry all the time about my security.
My hope worthy Indian men; I beg you, no I implore you, please just grow up and be mature in your ways because I'd love to see my country and so does the rest of the world without fears in our heads. Just be the wonderful men you are totally capable of being and live your life and let us live ours.
This post was originally published on Travelling Boots.