“In a city like Delhi, which is so unsafe for women, can you imagine what would be the state for a disabled woman?” These words by my father sunk so deep in my heart, that I wasn’t ready to travel all by myself.
I am a student of Delhi University and I never missed a single lecture in my graduation days. I felt that it would be the same when I applied for post graduation. But I was wrong. My parents told me that they wouldn’t be able to take me to college regularly because it was really far from home. My mother was confident enough that I can travel alone, but my father wasn’t. And so I missed out on attending college altogether. This is the story of my life, more or less.
While my brother, who is a Class 12 students gets to travel alone all the time, that’s not the case with me. It is hard to understand whether it is because I am in a wheelchair, or I am a woman or a mix of both. My parents are quite supportive in general though, and I suppose their fears are legitimate. Imagine, being in a wheelchair, and somebody tries to help you getting off it. The person can instantly take advantage of you, and touch you inappropriately. These are the things that I fear, too. However, I can’t live in my home forever. I need to step out alone, but for that, my city needs to be much safer and sensitive.
The embargo on movements affects my life in many ways – my studies, my career, my social life, and stops me from reaching my full potential. However, it is not my fight alone. The safety of women must include all women – rich or poor, disabled or non-disabled and trans women. Each woman must be able to live her life independently, and with dignity.
Why does a woman need to fear the society, who are ever-ready for pulling down woman, with words such as ‘ what can she do?’ or “ women in wheelchairs are more vulnerable”. It is never about how the world see you but rather how you see yourself. I have strength and confidence to travel alone with my wheelchair. I hope one day I’ll proudly post on my Instagram, “travelling alone in the cold winds of December”.