Share on Tumblr

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lonely Girl, Going Home.

23rd January, 2 am, a strange city.

    I'm out at a friend's hotel catching up over drinks and eventually realize time has swiftly passed by. I decline all offers to be dropped home knowing that once I step out I will get a rickshaw. My hotel was just 2 kms away. At the least I could walk it. How bad could it be? 
      It couldn't be. Except, it was 2 am, in an unknown city and not a soul in sight. 

Cold crisp winter night, eery silence and a lonely girl. My toes are exposed. No shoes, just flip flops. I pull my jacket closer to me, cover my head with my stole, I suck in the cold air and decide to walk. Ignore everything and keep walking, hoping that a rickshaw will stop by. 
   I walk a few meters when I hear tires. I see high beam lights to my left, I know the car will stop beside me. I can hear it slowing down.I pretend not to notice and keep walking. Keep walking till I can't tell if I'm shivering from the cold or fear. 
They stop beside me, roll down the window " Do you want us to drop you somewhere?" Two young men in blazers ask me. " No, I'm okay. Thanks" I reply  'please go away' I prayed.

" Look, it's really late and there's no one around who could help you. We will take you wherever it is you're going, no problem"

" Errm, if you really want to help, then help me find a rickshaw."

" Don't think you can get one at this hour. Listen. Come with us. We'll drop you safe and sound"

The severity of the situation looms over me. No rickshaw, need to go home. Either I take a risk by getting in their car or take a risk by walking.  With a silent prayer in my heart, I get in their car. 
" I'm Amit and this is Piyush. Where do you have to go? " they ask.

" Radisson. Oh and I'm Mehreen " 

" Mehreen, don't mind us asking but why were you out all by yourself?" 

" I was meeting a friend, thought I'd get an auto as easily as I did the last time. Didn't happen"

" Are you okay? Did anyone hurt you or harass you? Are you hungry or thirsty? Anything, let us know. Hope nothing bad happened to you while you were out. Be safe Mehreen."

Ironic, you could probably be the trouble you are warning me against.

They kept asking me questions of my well-being. I didn't know what to think of this, are they probing me out of concern or .....

 We reach my hotel. I have never been so delighted to see hotel security guards, valet and bell boys in my life. 

" Okay Mehreen, here you go. Take care and please be safe. Bye "

I nod my head vigorously, take the elevator, unlock my room and light a smoke to calm my nerves. 

You're okay. You're fine. You were lucky as fuck.

I envelope myself in the comfort of my duvet. 


I know what you are thinking. This girl needs one tight slap across her face or needs to be grounded. I took a risk. A chance I once claimed I'd never do, just like any other girl  because I feared the implications. I agree, it wasn't the smartest move on my part. Here are two guys who genuinely helped me without any selfish intent. If anything they were constantly worried about my well being but I was so distraught that couldn't see this nor was I buying it.

After being harassed, cat-called, felt up, irrespective of day or night,it's really hard for a woman to trust unknown people.The time after sundown is such that it invokes all kinds of fear.  I didn't believe there would ever be a situation where the kindness of strange men would prevail at such dark hours. You can't blame me for this and I know I'm not alone in thinking so.
It did make me ponder on a Vogue Empower short film called ' Going Home' starring Alia Bhatt that circulated on social media. ( Watch it here ). Just like every other girl, I too believed that this type of feminine utopia would be a dream. The ideal world. Till it actually happened to me. 

I'm not saying that it's still safe out there, nor am I encouraging anyone to take a chance. The conflict I am left with is much greater. I trusted someone and they withheld it. I am so grateful that even now when I think of it I still wish good things for them because good work shouldn't go unrewarded.

However, it did make me realize that going home safely was not impossible but would I do it again? Despite the partial ' restoration in faith ', I still wouldn't.

خُدا حافِظ


  1. no matter what if you were afraid, you shouldn't have got into the car. :)
    no matter what if you were afraid, you shouldn't have got out of the hotel alone. :)
    no matter whatever the work was, you shouldn't have put your life on a risk like that. :)
    It's good to know that you are fine and writing about it. tc

  2. Glad you met such wonderful souls, but I would still be vary of going out alone at night in India. And a lot depends on the place too. I hope someday it won't be this scary.

    1. I was lucky. Despite that, I too would be cautious. Strangely, now more than ever.