The Story of A Delhi Girl has been edited by Ruhaan Shah.
As I got ready for a party, I put on a dress and sent a picture to my friend, who would approve it. While I struggled in winging my eyes with the eyeliner, Miraya was calling to remind me that I am late. Reluctantly, I told my mom I was leaving. At this point, I foresaw questions. Typical story of a Delhi girl. “When will you come back?” to “don’t you think that dress is too short?” After ignoring her concern about my dress, I rushed out of the house before she could ask me anything.
The party was fun, like always. The DJ played Chainsmokers, which tingled my skin; the bass thumped in time with my heartbeat as though they were one, filling me head-to-toe with music. I liked the song. Over the roar of the music, everything seemed distant and hazy. The song got louder, and I did not exactly feel like dancing. I had no choice, though, but to join the crowd of sweaty people jumping in a huddled group. The party did not seem to finish, so I had decided to leave. After I had forced Miraya to leave, we had to push our way through to get out. I knew she would complain throughout the ride home about not letting her stay and that I owed her one. I did not care because I was more afraid of the drunk gang that usually hung out near my house.
She dropped me a street before. Her mum was waiting to give a lecture about ‘Sanskaari bachche.’ I presumed my mom would do the same. I started walking as soon as I got off. My feet throbbed painfully in the heels. I suddenly felt like the bush behind me was somebody. I do not know if it is just Delhi, but I feel like everything in the dark slowly turns into someone with bad intentions, and every bush seems like a person.
After telling myself I imagined things, I slowly adjusted my dress to make it ‘appropriate’ in our society’s eyes. While I pulled my dress down, my cleavage showed, forcing me to open my hair even in the heat. I walked faster and reached home after pretending to be on the phone, yet, I did not feel safe. While I impatiently waited for the lift, I pressed the button numerous times wishing it would come just that instant. After reaching home, I gave my mom a hug, and it was a moment of relief, for her and me.
I am sick of being afraid, vulnerable, and weak. I am not going to take all the blame or pretend like women do not share my fear all around the world. Before you patronise my fear and blame me, you should know this. I do not apologise for the way I dress or the time I come back home. It is necessary for everyone to feel safe while walking at night, or at any point in the day. Not because we are feminists or progressives, but because we are all humans.
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