By Roshalda Paman:
You know, you are back in Delhi – when you alight amidst a familiar stink, all alone among a congregation of beings, a woman announcing pending arrivals and departures, as the red of the digital clock ticks. You know, you are back in Delhi when you try to free yourself from the shackles of swarming crowds, your feet tracing a path memorised.
You know, you’re back in Delhi, when sneaky faces approach you and grin from autos at Paharganj – “accompany us”,they say, you just ignore them and access the foot over bridge. You know, you’re back in Delhi, when youngsters are being robbed off by officials, fined five hundred bucks (or anything that’s in your wallet shall sing) for not buying a ten buck ticket – Yes, you know, you’re back in Delhi, when on witnessing the scenario, you are stopped too, but when you greet them with a piece of paper, they don’t bother, they let you go, without even caring to cast a thorough look.
You know, you are back in Delhi when innumerable eyes follow you, “what a lass”, “what a piece of ass”, the thought of them, seem to enter you, infect you. Yes, you’re back in Delhi, when as you exit the station, the auto wallahs tend to charge you hefty amounts – for a girl in need is profit indeed – I did rather wait than being a bait, and travel via metro, all over the city, all around. You know, you’re back in Delhi, when they call you back, laugh themselves on their over — priced charges and succumb to the notion of ‘bohni’ instead.
You know, you’re back in Delhi, when the cold breeze of invitation brushes past you, as you make towards your destination, the autowallah holds conversation after conversation, as if you were a lost friend found! Yes, you’re back in Delhi, when he proclaims that ‘Ola’ ate his business – literally – you smile, he steps on the brake, you both halt at a red light – only to witness the Great Gate addressing you, as if you were someone it had singled out from the rest of the crowd.
Yes, yes you’re back in Delhi when you’re treading along some road next, and the flooding crowd ogles you, for your bra strap was hanging out that instant. Yes, you know you are back in Delhi when you still have the guts to move on and on and on – “tits, cunt, ass, fuck” – it echoes in your mind dear viewers and witnesses, why not say it loud instead. Yes, you’re back in Delhi, when on the very first day you realise, that people here, tend to say what they believe, and a few ‘ultra masculine’ of them, won’t think twice before putting forth a slang, it doesn’t matter if it hurts, or if it harasses.
Yes, you’re back in Delhi, when people expect you to wear a bra for your ‘nips’ are hard, yes you’re back in Delhi, when a visible bra strap of the very same bra, won’t be granted a sight of respect or regard. Yes, you’re in Delhi, when you can act, talk, walk like a feminist, yes you’re back in Delhi when all you can’t do is put forth your thoughts as a woman that you’re.
Can you admit, one of your breasts is shapely, while the other one is saggy and large? No, you did rather buy a pump up bra. You know you’re back in Delhi, when you bend down to pick up something and the crowd shall have best of your butt, you know you are back in Delhi, when you realise the food here is great, but you can’t relish the banana that your mother put in your bag when you were embarking on a journey, for people shall smirk at that sight, with you being victimised, for a mere illusion that supposedly meant that you were blowing someone – shit!
You want to steal a glance at my armpits, you wag your tongue at the mere sight of my navel, the pervert in you always wants to get a whiff of me, pity you shall never ever know of the infinitesimal venus in me, in entirety. Yes, you are back in Delhi, when you finally arrive at the room you have rented, the owner is good, the neighbours are great, the food is tremendously delectable, for hey, everything can never ever be bad, you can’t forever complain.
You know you’re back in Delhi when you lay down to rest, and suddenly realise that your period has arrived, you rush downstairs to purchase tampons instead. You know when you’re back in Delhi, when the shopkeeper hands you the tampons, hiding them carefully in a paper bag, for they are something so distasteful, something of an abhorred nature, aren’t they? You know you’re back in Delhi, when you free the packet of tampons, liberating them, making way to your place, flaunting them clearly in your hands and you know you are back in Delhi, when everyone’s eyes have widened and jaws have dropped at the sight of you, but fuck everyone, I am not a feminist, I am a woman, nothing has ever bound me, I know I am in Delhi, I shall not be oppressed, I shall not be victimised, I shall liberate my essence, I shall own you instead!