- Travelers, a far away land, a rocking holiday and a bunch of young married women……hold on…..sounds like what…out of the box? Women without their guardians?
And, that too, taking control of their own lives for the very first time….a fact which didn’t go down too well with a few of our ‘protectors & providers’.
I know women traveling alone for work or pleasure isn’t an alien concept and the scenario may have changed, although, sometimes i tend to forget ….we are part of the so called progressive, yet hypocrite society, where’ permission’ is requisite specially if you fall under the category ‘female’.
Frame it! It was ‘modernity vs morals’ , raised eyebrows vs “can’t i make my own decisions?” , ‘prejudiced apprehensions ‘vs ‘let’s break the stereotypes’, ‘how can a woman go alone without her man vs ‘why should boys have all the fun?’ . An initial struggle with a few ,( barring the three of us) the entire euphoria eventually culminated into a ‘trip of a lifetime’ and a much needed ‘self nurturing’ break.
Holding back the ‘thrill of the moment’ was a bit difficult, however, the flamboyant, free spirited ‘me’, for the past few years had been silently but eagerly waiting to encounter an opportunity like this. With several failed attempts…most of which never advanced beyond ‘flights of fancy’, had already filled me with the recurring thought that ” it may just not happen”. Nonetheless, the dream remained vibrant & alive.
So, when my friends popped up the question, it immediately triggered my long cherished desire to travel and more importantly, be on my own. And not just travel only , the thought held a deeper significance rather. A decade of motherhood , raising a set of twins, and all that life jolts you with, the women in me was longing for an enthusiastic ‘escape’. Though, I wasn’t a caged bird, a getaway was long pending.
But as they say, nothing comes easy. Unwanted suggestions poured in.”Why don’t you plan for a trip to Haridwar instead of going abroad”? , one of the males mocked. The other said it wasn’t a feasible idea for us since we would not be able to reach a consensus and might end up being incompatible. And its not a good idea for women to tarvel alone.
The challenge was accepted there itself.
I had made up my mind and I was clearly aware that a yes won’t come easily since looking after the children in my absence was a big debate. I was asked to change my decision as it might not suit others in the family, and for a moment i felt i had still to grow up being an adult, to be able to take my decisions. I did have my share of discussions and heated arguments. But the rebel in me was ready for the faceoff.
In all that exhausting chaos there was another strong woman who came to my rescue, held me high, raising my spirit all the way. It was a pleasure knowing there was one like me.
And when i took up the cudgels for that ‘mandatory’ consent from the elders in the family, half the battle was won. However, taking decisions before consulting, didn’t go down that well with them. But now the speculations had been buried and that nod was achieved. Nevertheless, the effort was exhilarating.
However, it was pretty much ‘revolutionary’ on part of another friend, who had made up her mind to be a part of the journey despite the shock & surprise at her decision. Someone who had never stepped out before, anywhere without her ‘man’, was doubtful, yet ready to take the plunge. A rigid mother in law with deep rooted values and her approval…a major issue, the permission with a smile, was far from expected. Adding on to that, an elder brother,who had long back replaced her father, burdened her with doubts & cautions, in his bid to halt her voyage to happiness.
But obviously, because she is a woman. And she is supposed to adhere and abide to the family norms and the society at large. She has her husband, her brothers, her sons to decide for her. Roaming freely in another country with a set of friends was not acceptable.
But she had made up her mind. There was no stopping. The convincing sessions were over, tickets were booked, the paper work was finalised, and our feet firm, amidst wide eyed eyes with dissent.
The arduous task was anyways achieved with some ifs & buts, some typical moral instructions and the rest had to be ignored, avoided and forgotten.
So, we were a ‘pack of five’ mavericks, beaming with excitement, for our maiden adventure, overcoming all possible obstacles. The following five days were a once in a lifetime experience. The strength was enormous and somewhere we had achieved nothing less than ‘impossible’. We were much more elated to have chosen this opportunity more than the destination.
The ending to the fairy tale trip wasn’t less heartening either. It had so much to offer . The timid sheep had transformed into a lioness. The one who was the most cautious had turned more confident & fearless. I had in the course, unknowingly, added a lifetime friend to my list. Not only that, but encountered many more facets of womanhood and acknowledged & accepted people as they are, apart from an overdose of fun.
Here, I take the liberty to thank them for bonding, inspiring and entertaining to the core. My strength doubled because of you. I have an everlasting memory because of you. Last but not the least, i have so many smiles because of you.
One trip, five days and i was richer in many ways.
But believe me, it wasn’t easy convincing our close ones, and adorning the wings of freedom. Don’t you have men and women around you, who still have two thoughts sending the woman of the house alone? Aren’t we still subjected to morality & responsibility when it comes to demanding a piece of ‘sovereignty’ ? Let alone the idea of a trip abroad with friends.
For us, ‘freedom’ may be propagated, but isn’t practiced much. A fearless, enterprising, self sustaining woman, still disturbs the psyches of a large section of society.
And for all those women hoping for a time like this….go ahead and command your wishes. It’s just not only about a journey. Responsibilities are by choice….family may be a supreme priority but then it’s not a crime to be generous to yourself once in a while. I know of so many women who yearn for such offloading but do not have the courage to speak for themselves. One doesn’t necessarily need to be a rebel to fulfill one’s desires. At the end of the day, freedom & bondage are a state of mind and you don’t have to be a feminist to achieve it.