Here’s Why I Can’t Step Out Of The House Alone At 24 Years

Safer Roads for YouEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #SaferRoadsForYou, a campaign by Safer Roads for Gurugram and Youth Ki Awaaz to understand the behaviour of road users and advocate for the importance of road safety. Join this conversation and tell us about your experience on Indian roads here.

My name is Vinayana Khurana, and I’m a postgraduate student from University of Delhi. I am a woman with disability. I have cerebral palsy, but that is not my identity – I am much more than that. I am a writer, a poet and an avid traveller. I love to travel by car and on my wheelchair. In fact, my motorised wheelchair is my best companion, and I love to travel independently.

As a young Indian woman, though, I really don’t feel that the roads of my city – New Delhi –  are accessible to me and my wheelchair. The issue isn’t just about roads in India being physically accessible – that’s just one part of it. Just stepping out of the house, for people like me, needs to be encouraged to a large extent. There are social barriers in place, which prevent people like me from using roads freely and independently. These are often a result of the physical barriers that we’re not ridding our roads of.

“I have cerebral palsy, but that is not my identity – I am much more than that.” – Vinayana Khurana, 24

At 24 years, I haven’t yet tried stepping out of my apartment, alone. There are several reasons for this – and none of them are being talked about enough. For instance, it was just yesterday, when I went out with my mother, I encountered so much to discourage my venturing out. I was on my wheelchair and as usual, the traffic was really harsh. The roads were so uneven, I could not move my wheelchair easily.

Added to this is the fact that over 1,37,000 people were killed in road accidents in 2013 alone –  more than the number of Indians killed in war altogether, according to a post I read. And that’s just one of the reasons why my parents feel it’s unsafe to let me go out, alone.

I wish that my city could be more accessible. Currently, it even lacks proper footpaths, for me to move with ease. There are so many laws to protect pedestrians like me on the roads, but they’re not properly enforced. It makes me wonder, if this is the capital city of India, how much worse the situation in other Indian cities could be.

I sometimes wish my city was more like the cities abroad – where wheelchair users can move freely and the way they want to. They have planned their cities, markets and pavements in such a way that a wheelchair user can use it easily. After all, isn’t living independently and without fear for my life in public spaces a right granted to me by the Indian Constitution?

It is high time now that we bring a change in the country’s infrastructure, with the needs of people with disabilities taken into account. I want better laws, more inclusive provisions that guarantee my freedom of movement and give me a life of dignity and independence. I want my Acche Din now, not tomorrow. I have to stand up for my own rights or else, who will?

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below