Tanvi had fond memories of Goa. She had been to Goa a few years back with her office colleagues. She lied at home that she was going for an important office meeting to Mumbai. She also pulled in a few friends to lie for her so as to make it look real. Her mom was convinced and never doubted. It was three full days of freedom in Goa. Late night parties, full on booze, masti with friends that also included male friends, disco nights, and adventure water sports. Three days passed by in a whiff and the nostalgic memories of fun always remained close to her heart. Goa meant freedom for Tanvi.
She decided that her next destination would be Goa. It was a long drive of 1,813 kilometres spanning and included crossing two states – Gujurat and Maharashtra. Tanvi took it as a challenge to complete this journey in record time. She researched on the route to follow taking valuable insights from Google Maps. She decided to drive non-stop only taking breaks when Nature and hunger calls.
In India it is difficult for women on the roads. Men proudly pee almost anywhere. Just turn and pee. Women, on the other hand, have to control and look for an appropriate place. Again, most of these highway dhabas have very sad arrangement of toilet. Such toilets are mostly unclean and unhygienic so much so that one has to cover her nose with a duppatta while peeing. Government, though recently became conscious of sanitation, has still a long way to go in making India a country with even minimum sanitation facilities. Well, till those golden days comes, we women have to make do with innovative products like pee buddy (it gives you freedom to stand and pee) and aka hand sanitizer.
Did you know that there are around 300 million women and girls in India who defecate in the open and are subjected to regular violence, sexual assaults, lewd comments, and even rape? And all this happens while commute distance to and fro, from their home to either bushes or public toilets. There is impending scare even in the most basic requirement of life. And then, we talk about women safety in India. Sanitation problem in India is widespread and threatening. It is not just a matter of hygiene, it is much beyond that. It is about the basic right to live and about women safety. Such an appalling situation!
Tanvi was driving in her red car whom she lovingly calls her ‘dhanno’ and feeling nostalgic about all that she had experienced, people she had met, and life lessons she learnt. In fact, in some ways it was good that she got fired from her job and she gathered the guts to leave at the house in that heated moment of her life. Today, she is living her dream. But, what about the dream of those women who struggle everyday even for to go to toilets. Do they even acknowledge that there is a word called dream? Is freedom from scare a possibility for them, ever? Random but relevant thoughts were crossing Tanvi’s mind when she was driving past these small towns and villages.
Read the previous post here – Chapter 30 – Fantastico Love Story – Fall In Love With Yourself
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