All I Wanted Was One Fun Weekend, But The Fear Of Being Raped Took It Away

Anjali Menon Anjali Menon in Culture Shock on 23 August, 2017

After five long days of toiling at work, the weekend had finally arrived. And for a change, I wanted to do something all by myself. My everlasting dream of going for a solo trip quickly crossed my mind. The best thing about a solo trip is that I could travel at my own pace, sit down and write my travel stories whenever I wanted to.

And hence, on a beautiful Friday night, I sat in front of the office computer screen gazing at the images of beautiful mountains and valleys I wanted to explore.

Just then, my colleague noticed my unusual enthusiasm and asked me what I was up to. With much excitement I replied, “This weekend, I am going on a solo trip to the Kudajadri hills. I could start with this one, and then go to farther places; And then start my travel blog and finally I will bag the travel writer job.” Of course, my dreamy eyes and enthusiasm had to be busted. “Are you serious?” My colleague asked me, “Do you even have a proper plan? Are you going to stay alone in a hotel? And how safe is a trek in a place like Kudajadri? Even if you go with a group, there are still going to be unknown men, how will you trust them? I know that a solo trip sounds like a great idea, but I hope you know that it comes with a lot of risks.”

I tried to argue with him and tried to convince him with impromptu fool-proof plans, but he found one or the other reason to counter me with how I could get in to serious ‘girl trouble’.

I gave up and half-heartedly switched off the monitor. When I got home, my roommate was eager to find out whether I wanted to join her for a movie on Saturday. “No, Swastika, I was thinking I will go for a poetry reading event on Saturday.” I replied reluctantly. “Oh, no worries, by the way, where is the event happening?” Swasthika asks, as she is a curiosity factory. “Cubbon park” I replied. Swasthika’s face sunk upon hearing this. I asked her what happened, and why she looks this upset all of a sudden. “You know about my sister, don’t you?” I quickly realized why she got upset hearing about Cubbon park. A year back, her elder sister was raped by the security guards after she was returning from tennis practice. And yes, it happened at Bengalurus’s own Cubbon park. The news was all over the media for a while, and as always, it disappeared in time. I didn’t want to upset Swasthika further so I cancelled my Cubbon park plan too.

Somehow, all these thoughts left me deeply disturbed.

I decided to go home and visit my mom over the weekend. I boarded a bus to my hometown at night. I usually reach my hometown early morning, somewhere around 3 am. My fifty-year-old mother does not sleep the nights that I travel. She cannot afford to oversleep as she had to come pick me up from the bus stop. She always had to be on time, and why so? Of course, there were high chances of me getting raped at 3 am. When I reached home, I quickly took a shower and settled down. I felt at peace and felt safe, now that I was home. “Go sleep for a while, you must be tired. There is still some time for the morning to arrive”, my Mom said to me.

And before I went to bed, she added, “Do lock your door tight.” I read the worry on her face and gulped the heaviness in my throat.
Editor's Note:

Share this story because isn't it disheartening that a woman cannot afford to ever let her guard down?