Making “us” visible

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While the second phase of the project “Network & Neighbourhood” was coming towards its closure we decided to do it differently rather than having a flat ending! Till date we conducted various workshops, seminars, meetings and classes inside Khoj, the ending we planned in two segments – first of which was the two days cycle rally. Even though few of the magazine launches were carried out on the streets and painting done on various corners of the locality articulating presence of women; the rally helped in thrusting our physical presence. Young jubilant women stepped on the streets, challenging the very set up of the patriarchal systems, through their presence, noises, laughs, talks – all in public. Thus breaking the norm of – women should be on the streets with a purpose only, we took the street for a leisure ride; women should be quite in public and should restrict their emotions, we laughed, talked, walked, cycled, we were joyous, happy . We let out all our emotions flow, profusely.

The rally started roughly at around 9:30 in the morning and included all the contributors of our project plus those interested in participating in it. Though the share of girls were more, we did not limit it only to them but also allowed boys accompany our girls. Two consecutive Sundays witnessed this small endevour of ours, an action towards reclaiming the streets. The alley ways of Khirkee- Hauzrani was lightened with the presence of women and draped with their voices of freedom and enthusiasm. Even if for an hour and for two days these girls were able to forget all the boundations, that they are otherwise burden with, and unveil their happiness and wish to move freely in public without being questioned about their presence. Along with it what was more important was the togetherness that both the girls and boys relished. They moved together through the lanes of the locality, competing, instructing and enjoying each other’s company without the fear of being watched or pointed at. There was mixture of expressions – confusion, disgust, delight, surprise – on face of the onlookers and the passer by. Some mockingly laughed at us, quite possible an expression of – what are we trying to establish through the rally? Some did not even bother to slow down their cars or bikes and rushed through the rally. Nonetheless there were also some locals (both men and women) who were extraordinarily supportive. They paved the way for our girls to move uninterrupted, some even stopped their vehicles and waited until we passed. Their (local men and women) facial expression were their words of consent and satisfaction.

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