Yearning for Divorce Day

I met P around 2.5 years back.

The relationship bloomed and was cemented over walks to the nearby lake to photograph the rising sun, late night auto-rickshaw rides from railway stations, and mid-night walks in the campus on full-moon nights.

On bad nights, P sat right next to me, at my desk while I worked my ass off all night in the lab – when I was the only one in lab and there was one particular shady character who had taken to saying Hi often and creepily. Those nights felt safe solely because of P’s being close at hand.

I don’t remember when the wedding happened – it was just natural that I married P.

I made a habit of impulsively going away to explore nooks and corners of the city at the golden hours for photography – because P always tagged along uncomplainingly, let me wander off on my own, but stayed accessible in case “bad people” walked into the frame uninvited. I would proudly show off P as my personal body-guard to over-concerned Uncles who take it upon themselves to preach “good sense” to young girls who wander around alone!

Our marriage shines during vacations. Jaipur, Alwar, Beijing, Jodhpur, Rishikesh – the experiences would not have been the same without P’s company. I am sure the camaraderie and good times would only get better and more.

I might be a feminist who believes women can do it all alone – but I would feel handicapped without P.

At Jaipur, I could not have visited the beautiful Galtaji temple without P with me sending sublime signals to the auto-rickshaw driver that I am not vulnerable. At Alwar, I would not have imagined visiting the serene Siliserh lake if I did not know that P would defend me in case the auto-rickshaw got way-laid by rowdy elements. If not for P’s reassuring presence on the Jodhpur trip, I would not have dared to climb random fortification walls just to see how it feels to be a Rajput soldier keeping watch over a sleeping city while watching nautical daylight grow into the golden glow of a sunrise. I can not forget the alarm I felt at Rishikesh when P, who was standing on the rock beside me, slipped and was getting carried away by the gurgling Ganga’s strong currents. I do not remember any other time where I forgot about my personal safety and ran along the rocky river bank to rescue P, unmindful of the risk of my slipping and falling into the river myself.

You can see where this is going, right?

The relationship I share with P is strong and beautiful with many a unique moment shared. I should have nothing to complain about this marriage. But it doesn’t feel quite right – I do not like this feeling of dependence – though only for my self-defense.

Frankly, the marriage holds simply because of my love for travel – travel with loads of privacy and spontaneity thrown in. I would not hesitate even a second to annul the marriage if I could stay sane staying indoors.

My life would be closer to Utopia the day I feel confident and safe travelling solo without P in my pocket. That was no mistake – I did say in my pocket.

I yearn for the day I can confidently travel with my right pant pocket empty – without P alias Pepper Spray sitting snug in it;  without distrust being the default feeling at men walking behind me on a deserted road; without wondering if I’d have to press the spray head at a man who has been curiously watching me photographing a beetle. I yearn for the day I can gather the courage to ask for divorce in this marriage.

Some people tell me that every girl should marry Pepper Spray and that I am being stupidly idealistic when I say that I want out. Or girls should just stay indoors and stop complaining. But hey, men do not get offered Pepper Spray’s hand in marriage, nor do they get told they can stay in the safety and coziness of indoors! If Pepper Spray is so good, why do I not see or hear or read of men carrying it? Pepper spray is male and against same-sex relationships perhaps?

Oh yeah, people do give me another option. They tell me that I can get the divorce easily if I have an affair with someone else – a real husband – a human one. A husband who himself has been bitten by the travel bug and has the means to indulge me in my greed for travel. Only, that feels totally wrong to me.

Making Pepper Spray of a person? That too one who might not necessarily be equipped or qualified to defend me or himself in tricky situations? How unfair!

I know that Divorce day for this particular marriage might never come.

Whether or not I take another husband [I so wanted to use that expression. . after reading so many instances of men taking many wives 😀 ],  this particular marriage is for life.

But I dream on. I yearn for divorce from Pepper spray and his brothers – swiss-knives, safety pins and training in assorted arts of self-defense.

And I raise a toast to the unlikely divorce..

This is to my small, probably doomed-to-fail  “feminist” attempts at reclaiming my space from the “bad people”..

This is to my lying through my teeth to random people, that times have changed and it is normal for women to travel solo and wishing that the lie would come true..

This is to more women travelling solo..

This is to me and other ‘brave fools’ who travel solo and “inspire” others to be just as ‘foolish’..

This is to the end of the need to watch over our shoulders on every road we walk on..

This is to the end of it being normal & only sensible for women to modify their behavior to prevent being harmed by “uncontrollable criminal elements”..

This is to freedom from dependence on Pepper Spray..




19 thoughts on “Yearning for Divorce Day

  1. Cheers to it all! My parents got questioned when my sis and I along with another girlfriend went travelling to Mahableshwar for 3 days when I was 19 or 20. And yes, there were people who stared questioningly at us too. I’ve never carried Pepper spray but yes, was constantly vigilant. Now I can ease up a bit. I’m hoping to go away for a few days by myself later this year or next year.

    • The questions – I find myself unable to resist the temptation of giving seemingly absurd answers these days..

      “How did your parents let you go away alone like this?”
      “Actually, they had to plead – for some peace time – I felt pity, relented and came away”

      Autowala : “You do realize that anything can happen, right? You get what I mean?”
      “Yes. . Autowalas not as nice as you can over-charge me. I always keep 30-40Rs hidden away for such eventualities”

      Something wrong with my psyche. I’ve started deriving sadistic pleasure from confusing ppl 😉

      • Oh I totally get the sadistic pleasure! I get that too…I just wish I had been assertive enough when I was younger to give such responses. Oh well, better late than never! I love the responses I can give people in India when they talk to me about “settling down” for instance “to make my parents feel happy” and the like…

  2. I don’t know if you can get divorced from P. I do know you can take vacations without him. It depends on where you’re going. In 37 years I’ve never once met P. I suppose he might exist in some pocket near me, but he must be exceedingly rare, if he wasn’t I’d surely have met him by now. I’ve also never met anyone, parent or not, who thinks it’s somehow risky or uncommon for a young woman to travel alone to any corner of the country whatsoever.

    As an aside, hiding from life, from love, from the world, because it’s dangerous makes no sense. You might have *slightly* lower risk of violence that way, but you’d not *live* that way. The risk-reduction would be slight because most violence happens in near relations, and not among strangers. And your risk of dying from diabetes, from heart-diseases or from loneliness all increase.

    I’ll be more worried about my daughters if they’re always sitting around at home, than I will if they’re always running around exploring the city, country or world.

  3. I remember my sister asking for permission from my parents to go to Nainital with her two girlfriends. They created such a fuss that finally she had to say – Ok. I am not asking anymore. I am telling that I am going.
    The look on their face was priceless.
    Coming to the post, I guess we are basically animals and we cannot shed away the fact completely. Well, a lot of people can’t. And I think it depends a lot on your upbringing.

    • Yep. The drama, the “telling, not asking”, the reaction – all play out on repeat mode at my place. 😉
      Whether or not ppl are brought up to control their animal instincts, I think our society’s default mode of “bad ppl out there, will not go out” has just encouraged and nurtured the animal instincts to stay unchecked. If only more people would see that by staying in & safe, they are just giving over the outdoors to these animals.

  4. Lovely, lovely post. I have never ever travelled alone for pleasure – plenty on work and to all sorts of places. I don’t know if I was deluded about the state of the world when I was younger – never really gave safety much of a thought!

    • Thanks 🙂
      I guess the “not safe”, “bad ppl out there” refrain has been drummed into me so much, from all sides, that I have lost the chance to be deluded about safety. That would have been better than having the ‘alert’ switch ON by default.

  5. Haha, your writing style had me gripped till the end. Loved your approach to the whole issue, very different way to get the message across, loud and clear. Thanks for a good read!

  6. Pingback: Women’s Web: Pick Of The Week | Women's Web: Online Community For Indian Women

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