FEMINIST. Aren’t we all one? Well, no. ‘Hypocrite’ is the right word for us. I’ve been claiming myself to be a ‘feminist’ since I learnt about the existence of any such term until last winter. A shivery night of the last season has pushed me into this state of utter confusion. Confusion, regarding what I declare myself and what I really am. Let me now introduce my reader to the cause of my perplexion.
As long as I can recall, some urgent occupation made me decide to travel at the most inconvenient of the hours, that is, 3 am. Despite the dense fog and chilling wind, I reached the station with my luggage. It is now important to make my reader aware of the peculiarities of a train running in a short route like mine. It, often, has a separate women’s coach (To be noted, only ‘a’ single coach. How impartial!). After surveilling all the coaches, my dad advised me to sit in any of the general coaches (dozen in number) as the ladies coach was overcrowded. Fortunately, I got the always-in-demand seat for a comfortable view of boundless fields and rivers. Seat right infront of me was occupied by a family of three and those on my side by two young boys. I was not very much satisfied with the ambiance (any Indian girl would never be, as they put it). Passengers hastily adjusting themselves on their respective seats followed by the customary siren indicated me that in a minute or so, I will leave my hometown for a minimum of a couple of months. I had nearly started to delve into my trail of thoughts when a group of three boys jumped into my coach. There, there my unconscious self sensed the trouble. Let me assure you that there was no signal of danger but I think, an Indian girl never needs a reason to be defensive about herself. Without giving a second thought to it, I got up, adjusted my kurta concealing it from the ravenous snares of men (in my head) and rushed to the “single women’s coach” of that train. As soon as I bumped on it, the train started moving. Amidst women of all ages and all kinds, I managed to get a seat to insufficiently accommodate myself on. It was strange how comfortable (just mentally) I was to be away from the goons (as we are suppose to believe every strange man to be). That seat full of discomfort kept on reminding me of the equality I think, I believe in, the equality I failed to exhibit.
Throughout the journey, I kept asking myself, do I really believe in equality of both the sexes? Am I really a feminist? The confusion itself conveyed to me, the answer. In that moment of self-developed fear, I considered myself inferior. I let the weak and vulnerable side of me take over my sane side. That was the moment I gave up.
Now, this is where my reader needs to be most attentive. What would be your first reaction if a group of strange men approach you? Why do you always ask a female stranger for help and not a male one? Why do you reciprocate a woman’s smile and misunderstand when a man does the same? Maybe, because of some fears that we believe, exist. But isn’t our generation known for doing things extraordinarily? In order to use the freedom that we actually have, we need to free our minds of this imaginary fear. In this episode, there wasn’t any oppressor, there was just the victim, a victim of her own fears.
So, next time, will you think before passing by the general coach to step into your regular women’s coach of metro?
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