First off, I’ll start off by wishing everyone a happy Women’s day! There is nothing as befitting as a story of female friendship, however fleeting it may be,to celebrate this day.
So many times in my life growing up, I’ve been let down by girls I thought were the closest thing I could have to a best friend. I have grown up to have better friends and readjusted my expectations which ensured I was in for fewer let downs. Somewhere down the lane, you realize that women themselves hold other women back. While I have had my share of good girl friends and one or two frenemies, I’ve never seen camaraderie of the kind that I see everyday in public transportation.
As a daily commuter to work, I spend at least two hours a day in a private bus and when you are travelling for that long every day, you start to observe the little things that are happening around you. While I hated having to spend time commuting back and forth, the trip has started to give me a lot of perspective on things.
Let’s not call it something like the sisterhood of the public commute or anything cheesy like that and make this trivial. I first noticed how women root for each other while on a crowded bus at 6 in the evening.When you are rushing to get home, you really don’t have the luxury to wait around to get into a less crowded bus. I was standing somewhere in the front of the bus, wedged against a seat and a man who was enjoying the bus being so crowded, a little too much. As I was struggling to move away from the “situation” without making a big fuss that I just didn’t have the time or energy for (I know it wasn’t right of me to hold back like that, but I’m sure other women like me can understand that there are just some days you just can’t bring yourself to make the fuss that was needed), another woman saw how I was fidgeting and with a gracious smile, readjusted herself so that the tiny space she was crammed into, could accommodate both of us. In turn, once this lady got off the bus, I saw someone who was struggling with the same situation as I was and helped her to stand near me and the smile I got in return was one I’ll never forget in my life.
Another day, another crowded bus. I was standing at the halfway point in the bus and suddenly, I notice this tapping on my shoulder. An older man was insisting that he needed to get out through the front door because he had to push a long way through the men to get out. When I retorted saying that “I really didn’t care, he couldn’t push through the women to get out and that there were just as many women he’d have to push through to get out”, he kept insisting. All the women standing before me (every single one of them), raised their voices and went, “Mole, don’t move for him”, “You can’t let him go through here” and the occasional “Even if you let him through, we are not moving”. While it might seem rather brash a response (or not), almost all of the women in the bus are regular commuters and they know of all the men who make the most of a crowded bus to cop a feel (or more).
For me, seeing women standing up for other women they hardly knew, just because they know how the other might be feeling were big gestures that made me feel a little better about the current scenario in our society and gave me hope that somewhere down the road this camaraderie might seep into our lives every day; that women will stand for each other and will hold each other up and tell other that it is okay to #daretobebold. This is my wish for this Woman’s Day!
Do drop me a line and let me know what you wish for Woman’s Day! 🙂