I toss over in bed. He pulls up the bedsheet and covers me.
“It’s 7.30 am… Time to go to college…”
I look up with half open eyes. There’s my father’s face smiling at me.
I search for my phone under my pillow and place it in his palm. He walks to the port and plugs in the charger.
I walk half asleep to the bathroom and find a bucket of warm water for my winter morning wash.
I come out much more awake than I was. I find the toast ready on my plate and my father walks in with a piping hot cup of tea.
“Yes, I’ll be there before 8.30…”
“Thank you but I have my chauffeur to drop me, see you!”
I get ready for college. The lift arrives on our floor as I step outside the door.
“The car keys?”
My father places them in the palm of my hand and smiles.
I bid him adieu at the gate of his office. He watches the car down the road, I watch until he disappears from my rear view mirror.
I take the Mumbai local train and arrive on Platform No. 2. I watch an ocean of people trek the staircase to the overhead bridge.
I toss my hair into a messy bun and adjust my bag on both shoulders. I step in a non-existent queue and find myself being taken with the crowd, fortunately, in the right direction.
Being 5 feet 3 inches, all I see is the step ahead of me and the briefcases of the dominant male population.
A train chugs in on Platform No. 1 and the competition gets tougher. A number of gentlemen race ahead and attempt to join the line in front of me until…
“Kam se kam ladki ko toh jagah do, usko kyun dhakka de rahe ho?”
The voice remains a mystery.
I walk to the desk of my professor and collect my annual test scores.
“The first girl topper… Congratulations!”
But in my mind, the episodic tape plays non-stop… Family, Relationships, Culture, Class Conflict, Superstition, Marriage, Women Empowerment, Human Rights, Mass Media…
I rewind to the words my professor spoke a year ago.
“Study Sociology for your career, but practice it for your life.”
“Thank you sir.”
Fast forward to today, I walk into the world beyond the college gates.
In my residential apartment:
I press the button for my elevator. It arrives, the daily postman inside.
I step aside to allow him alight. He opens the gates and steps outside.
I walk into the elevator and turn around to…
He is already closing the elevator gates.
I smile, he smiles too.
I sip my coffee and write a story, a story of my family, friends, professors, and strangers.
To share with you, dear readers, the beauty of living in a gender friendly world, at our home, at our workplace and in society.
Of the times we witness gender equality in society, of the times we realize the importance of men in our lives, and of the times our being is a reason for celebration: Happy International Women’s Day.
Change begins in everyday incidents, change begins with you!