What happens when a gynaecologist, a poet and a man walk into the room?

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With four lovely performers and three speakers, Hidden Pockets and Krantikalli for #Sep28 campaign took this initiative to bring young people together and talk about Women’s Health and the City. The best part was that we had a gynecologist with us as a speaker. Dr. Suchitra is a medical officer for Family planning Association of India at the Delhi branch. Having a gynecologist among us made the audience very excited. The youngest in the crowd was a 16 years old performer.

The event was conducted at the Playground Creative House in Defense Colony, Delhi. The event started with two of the lovely performers reciting their poems. Brindalakshmi through her poems voiced the need for Red Lipstick, as if every women in the room was dying to put the red lipstick but was scared.  Anuradha recited her poetry in Hindi wherein she connected various different women and their struggles with health. Ankita spoke about body shaming and loving our own bodies while Amia brought a young adolescent’s anxieties into the room. The room was filled with an aura where we all had some questions to be answered. We all could connect with the poems, and we all connected with each other.

To the make the evening more interesting, we had our speakers next.  We had three speakers, Aisha from Hidden Pockets Collective, who mapped public health centers, and is a single women staying in a metropolitan city, went first. Second was Nitin, a man in a women’s meet, who spoke about how important it is to be a part of such discussions. As a partner, a brother and a friend, he wanted to be more engaged in these issues and be more sensitive to such issues. And third was the gynecologist, Dr. Suchitra.

 

 

The conversation was mostly focused on discussing public health centers and how difficult it is for women to access health centers, followed by sharing of experience on how it felt to visit Family Planning Association for the first time. Nitin shared his experience about visiting clinics and understanding how important it is to visit these centers with your partners.  And then we had the gynecologist talking about safe abortion, about how it is a women’s right to get a safe abortion and also about myths related to abortion.

Slowly the audience in the room started opening up. And then one by one we had the women asking questions. There was an excitement as well as seriousness in the room. Excitement because women were finally asking questions directly to a gynecologist and seriousness because all were paying attention to what the doctor was saying. The questions were related to periods, methods to contraception, pregnancy, safe abortion etc..

The audience also got to know about FPAI (Family Planning Association of India).  FPA India envisages sexual and reproductive health for all as a human right, including gender equality leading to alleviation of poverty, population stabilization and sustainable development. They have clinics around India such as in Delhi, Agra, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. We got to know how  FPAI follows ‘No Refusal Policy’ and also about how it gives importance to “after care” post having abortion and helps the person in understanding choices to contraception.

To sum up the beautiful evening, we had our performers recite their amazing poems. By the end a few still had questions, few looked content and while a few others were still in that fascinating aura.

Hidden Pockets Collective would like to thank out host partners @Krantikaali for helping us conduct this event in Delhi.

Pic credit: Riya Singh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Health and The City

When was the last time you ventured out in your city looking for health services? Where do you go? Whom do you talk to? Do you think your city reflect your tensions and worries?

Hidden-Pockets and KrantiKālī invite you to “Women’s Health And The City”. Come join us and let us seek answers for these questions. Come, share your stories with us.

Please register here to confirm your spot on the day of the event!
https://goo.gl/forms/pExWnb5J5YOIlxQ32

Who is this event for?
Young Women (Health Seekers) : We want their personal stories, stories related to how do they navigate their city, are they comfortable navigating the city. Have they ever visited public health centres? Are they comfortable navigating public health hospitals? Any personal experience on accessing public healthcare services. Why was it good or bad?

Young Men : It would be awesome to have 1-2 men on the panel who can talk about their experiences. If they have any personal stories where they faced problems while meeting the doctors along with their partners.

You can even participate as:
Speakers: So we are looking for 3 kinds of speakers – Health seeker (women), Health service providers and men (their experiences)

Health service provider: Personal stories on how is it to interact with women who visit the clinic. Do single women come? What are the major reasons for them to come to the clinic. Basically the experience of the doctor.

Poets: Poems on women navigating city (Feelings she goes throw),
Seeing the city from a woman’s eye
A woman’s relationship with her body
Anything that connects woman, her body, her health and city

Cost: Free

Age: 18 and above

Gender: Any

For further details and clarifications please feel free to send in a fb message.

*Feminist Fist Bump*

Podcast: Own your city: Pune #makeyourcityinclusive

What are some of your favorite spots in the city? Which places do you enjoy going the most to in your city? Hidden Pockets presents,”Own your city.”

This is the first of a series where we will talk about unique and exciting spots in a city that happen to be favorites with the women living in those cities. So where will our first stop be? It is none other than Shaniwarwada: Pune.

“Kaka, mala vachva”, “Kaka, mala vachva” are the first words you’ll hear as you enter this haunted palace called Shaniwarwada. For everyone, who is wondering what these Marathi words mean, it simply means, “Uncle, save me”, “Uncle, save me.” This is the first piece of information our intern, Aishwarya shared with us. Mind you, Pune is her most cherished city. You’ll see how she does a great job of proclaiming her relentless love  to Pune and Shaniwarwada all through this podcast.

This spot has been popular for centuries altogether and it continues to attract people of all generations and from all walks of life. If you are a history buff, an arts enthusiast, an architecture lover, a tourist or simply a seeker of knowledge, this is your go to spot.  If you haven’t already made this trip, don’t worry! This is your chance to get onto a virtual trip by listening to Aishwarya and transposing yourself to this mansion; feeling no less than our Mastani leaping out of the saga Bajirao Mastani.

Stay tuned to listen to Aishwarya describe the scintillating beauty of this mansion and the enamor exhilarated by the edifices therein. Don’t miss a moment of this talk if you want to have this fun filled virtual tour. I am excited to make this trip. Are you? So fasten your seat belts and let’s get ready for our very own city, Pune!!

Host and Voice Artist: Aishwarya Chordiya
Pic Credit: Being Punekar.
Music Credit: Audionautix.com and Bensound

 

P.S.:  Every 2nd Friday of the month we would take you to a different place in your city.
Join us to explore these places 🙂
Contact us if you want to narrate your city’s stories @ aisha.george@hidden-pockets.com

#makeyourcityinclusive: Delhi’s Jal Adhikar Scheme ensures water for all

“Do not, my friends, become addicted to water. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence!”- Immortal Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

It is a dialogue from a telling scene of the plight that people face due to lack of access to water. In this 2015 movie Immortal Joe is the character who rules over the population. He controls the population by controlling the access to the water supply.

Similar was the situation of the slum dwellers and the residents of the irregular colonies in Delhi before the introduction of Jal Adhikar scheme. Delhi Jal Board tankers or private water suppliers were the Immortal Joe to the slum dwellers up untill now. Brawls and fight to get access to water from those tankers was a regular feature.

“Children climb up the trucks to put the pipes into the tanker and sometimes fall down leading to serious injuries and adults also tend to hurt each other physically when struggling for water,” says Ved Prakash, a residence, who runs a general store in the near by market. as per a report in YKA

The irregular colonies and slums till now were kept away from getting water connections. According to the Delhi Jal Board website there were a number of conditions based on which an area, society or individual gets a legal connection. “Water supply shall not be provided unless arrangement for proper disposal of waste water exists.” being one of those.

The Delhi slums and the irregular colonies which house a big population of the city, has access to none till now. This picture changes with the announcement of the Jal Adhikaar scheme on 29 Aug 2016 by Kapil Mishra the Water Minister and the Chairperson of Delhi Jal Board. As per the scheme now the Jhuggi Jhopri (JJ) colonies are entitled to individual connections apart from the common pipeline. A plan for sewage treatment plants evades the clause of the presence of proper waste water disposal system to gain a legal connection.

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Twitter had different reactions to the scheme.

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On one hand where the scheme guarantees access to water to the JJ and irregular colonies, and villages, it also acknowledges the presence of the unauthorised colonies giving them an authorised status of sorts. It also brings in the concept of equal distribution of water irrespective of the profile of the area.

Water is an elixir of life. Life without water is unimaginable. And this scheme, at least in conception provides a human status to all its citizens irrespective of the economical background and the area one belongs to.

Although it is a step forward to think of cities in an inclusive manner by providing one access to the basic necessities of life, only time will tell if the policy will really be effective. After all a good policy with bad implementation serves no good.

5 simple things to do to know your city better

Every time technology fails you become a little more human! You talk to people, you ask, you navigate your way and take charge of your situation. After I moved to Delhi, first thing that caught my attention was her vastness. It is literally 4 cities, and this is minus the NCR region, mind you. It’s so huge that even Google maps cannot help you give the exact markers. I am always hungry for knowledge. Be it bookish, tech related, on food joints or about the city. It just helps you feel a little more connected to your surroundings.

Here’s a list of 5 things (that I did and) that you could do to jump out of the virtual and into the real world and find out more about your city.

1.Walk more often

Not just because it’s good for your health but because it’s the best way to experience your city. When you walk you have control over your pace and over your sight too. There are things which we tend to miss when travelling in an underground metro, or in a motor vehicle. We miss the minute details that our city is made up of. Walking let’s you take things by the stride. It makes commuting more fun! All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes, it’s carefree, it’s cost free and a mood uplifter!

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2.Taste the street food

Food gets known by the city and city by its food. Street food lends identity to the city. It also helps you explore more, since finding the right joint to eat the famous cuisine, is also a task. It makes you explore lanes and visit places that you might not visit otherwise. It tickles your taste buds and makes your soul happy. The more you explore your city, the more you explore yourself. You get to know what you really like and expand your boundaries. You become more open and accepting.

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3.Learn about the history.

Once when in Chandni Chowk, I took the lanes opposite Jama Masjid, I ended up walking in the old lanes of Shahjahanabad. I felt as if the history textbook was coming to life. Similarly, there could be times when you end up finding more than what google or a textbook tells you about a particular place. The historical past gives you answer to the present conditions at times. Or sometimes the past and the present are so different that drawing a connection becomes difficult. It’s like a puzzle that you need to put together to get the whole picture. And you need to be out there in order to find the missing pieces. It’s a bidirectional learning relation. The history should intrigue you enough to go out and the city let’s you live through history!

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4.Talk to people you cross your paths with,exchange stories.

It’s not just about the place, it’s also about the people who live there or have been living there since generations. The more we talk the more we get to know about the locality, about the culture and start feeling a sense of belonging to that place. A random hi hello can lead you to stories so fascinating that you can be left gaping.

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5.Play PokemonGO 😋

I am serious! The Poke-stops reveal spots that just make you go, “Does this place actually exist?” And you walk a few steps to find it standing right there. There are places that have been right under our noses but we have never paid attention to. Or never did we think we will find a temple, or a fountain if we walk 10 more steps from our regular walking zones. Well it happened with yours truly, trust me!

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The more you read, the more you learn, the more you go out. You will see how diverse your city is in food, in culture, in people. You start belonging when you start knowing! It’s your city, c’mon own it!!

I am rushing for my walk now!

See you on the street eating, walking or exploring. Someday, somewhere !

 

Photo Courtesy: Instagram @aabra_ka_daabra

We built this city through clicks and scrolls: 5 Mobile Games on City building.

“We built this city on rock and roll” by American rock band Starship not only leaves me grooving to the peppy beats but also makes me wonder how would it feel to build a city. Cities fascinate me. Every time I see the structures around; the roads, the buildings, the architecture, the malls, I think of the amount of planning that goes into building one.

Build one and own it! It’s our city. It’s our country. The connect, the oneness you would feel with the city then would be greater! But how do I build one?

Not to worry, Games come to rescue!

What I cannot do in real life because of the lack of knowledge and resources I can always do it through games.

And the game developers have been pretty generous to provide it for free.

Here’s a list of 5 Freemium games which can help your fantasy of becoming a city planner come to reality through a few clicks and scrolls.

 

1.Simcity Build It

“Build your city and bring it to life” is the tag line. What would be the feeling if we do it for real?

You are the Mayor of the city. You build it, you run it, you face real life epidemics, you manage disasters, you have citizens to take care of. Compete with your friends and be the best mayor with the best functioning city.

It’s more like the Anil Kapoor starrer Bollywood movie Nayak of games. Be the Nayak of your city yo!

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2. Megapolis

It is about building a well planned city which is multiculturally diverse. This game is sounds so Delhi!

Unlike Simcity Megapolis concentrates mostly on the infrastructure and the architecture of the city. The city is divided into 4 parts North, South,East and West each having it’s unique architecture. North has modern buildings, East has more traditional architecture of Europe, South has architecture from Spain, Italy, and Morocco, West has western Europe architecture.

North Delhi takes you to Mughal era, South Delhi to the Tughlaqs and the Lodhis, East and West Delhi are new settlements, more organised and planned. For a Delhiite this game is very close to reality!!

Aquapolis-Build-a-Megapolis-Android-Game-App

 

3.Fallout Shelter

How would you react if i say you have to build and underground city? We already have metro rails which run beneath the earth surface, but to have an entire city full of people? Nah, doesn’t sound doable!

Well Fallout Shelter enables you to do so. It is an award winning game that enables you to build a state of art underground vault. An excavation beneath 2000 feet of bedrock is used to create a brighter future underground. Meet your fellow dwellers, interact with them, help them find jobs, see them flourish and create a happy dwelling for yourself. Sounds fun, isn’t it?

In short, be social, be helpful, be happy!

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4. City Island 4: Sim Tycoon (HD)

“Grow a small village on one island to a megapolis on multiple islands.” the description reads. It’s not just city building it’s Real Estate, eh? Sounds cool.

It also offers you to change weather conditions, day and night cycles. Woah that’s like too real an experience, bruh!

You can try your hands at this to see how real estate works. Get to know the investments, the profits and loss and the mathematics involved. A real time, real estate game this is. Get to know the life of  real estate agents, the boards of whom we keep passing every now and then all around Delhi.

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5. ANNO Build an Empire

We have a colonial past and this game makes you become one!  Yes you are building your empire from the scratch. You get a Christopher Columbus or a Vasco da Gama-ish feel when you play it. I am not a great fan of colonisation but the idea of building a settlement is fascinating.

It is a strategic building game by ANNO, one of the world’s most successful city-builder strategy games. You are bringing up a civilization here, manage resources, become a city planner, acquire more power and chat with the ANNO community as you play.

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Games are definitely cool, the idea mind-boggling and may be city building on games can help us come out with alternatives for the cities that we inhabit? But we will never know till we try it right? May be it’s time the government took a look at some of these games in the app stores. It could be an interesting way to get the complaining citizens and even the others to actually get involved and contribute instead.

So what are you waiting for? Choose the game you would like to play and go build your Rome in a day!

I am rushing to build mine!

Have fun, bruh!

Be independent like a Kite, woman: Delhi on Independence Day!

I woke up to the overexcited, shrill voices and laughter of the kids in my locality. Perplexed, I moved out to my balcony to see kites in the sky.

Ah well! Today is Independence Day! I told myself.

Flying kites is a ritual people look forward to, on this day, here in Delhi. I don’t know about the historical link between the two but I relate kite flying to ‘freedom’. High up in the sky the colourful bits of paper fill me with hope. These are positive and free spirited images that I relate to .

And when a free-spirited soul like me is asked  to stay home, I feel my freedom gets curtailed. Whenever I am asked to be back home before sunset or whenever I am alone in the public, I am being asked to be fearful of the night, of the darkness. But the fact is that I love the night. I love the moonlit sky. I love to just walk around and be myself. Being the wanderer that I’m, I decided to go for a different trail for my evening walk as any other day.  Besides, and what better day to feel more ‘free’ and ‘independent’ than on the Independence Day?

I along with a friend went to the Satpula Lake complex, a 14th century water reservoir which is devoid of any water but has a beautiful park around. It was full of people flying kites and lots of women too. The clear sky, the moon overhead, wind blowing across and lots of people around as the night befalls. This is the sight I was dying for. I repented not carrying my camera. I wanted to capture this unusual phenomena.

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Image: Wikipedia

We walked towards the reservoir which is a ruin the local guys use as a meeting place and playground. My friend and I were the only girls there but we were very comfortable around and didn’t feel intimidated. They minded their business and we were completely absorbed in the moment. Without the presence of people it would have been a spooky experience, I must say.

We got out of the park, started walking and took a detour from inside the lanes of Khirkee village, instead of taking the main road. Khirkee is home to migrants, labourers and corporate workers alike. Any time you wish to look for an accommodation, people would suggest not to live there because there are too many men, and it’s not ‘safe’ for a woman living on her own. It’s dirty too. They were not wrong in pointing out about the number of men considering that we found the lanes to be full of men.

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On asking whether there is any other way to reach the main road, an elderly man said, “It’s not a properly constructed road, you might not like it.” But then we insisted and he guided us. There were narrow lanes and the buildings were so close that you could look into each others dwelling. We simply followed the people and we were out on the main road. We were the only women apart from one or two locals who live there. We did NOT feel unsafe at all. The men were helpful and courteous. The presence of people was a great relief.

While walking back I saw a kite entangled in a tree above. It defined the situation of women and public space for me. The rumours are like the thread that stops women from venturing out. By listening to those we propagate and reinstate fear.

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To achieve freedom, I will have to feel free. I will have to come out and own the space. I will have to tell people that yes, I exist. Yes, I will take the risk. Yes, I will venture out. Why? Because I live in a free country and I am free. I am free of any burden of fear, moral and societal obligations, people’s judgements. Only then will I achieve freedom in real sense. It was my attempt to be a little more independent on Independence day. And I observed that we will have to be like the kite.

Just keep flying high, do not bother to look anywhere else!

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 Photo Courtesy: Pallavi

Goats of Delhi: “What’s life in a metro?”

Walking along the footpath, I met this goat.It was looking at me as if trying to say something. It wanted to share its life’s struggle with me, I felt. I clicked this picture as a remembrance of the glances exchanged.

Goats are docile creatures who are never considered a part of the popular cityscape. But they do exist, roaming in parts of the city. I cross them daily but never paid much attention. But I felt it’s time that I include them in the frame and see what they have to say about their life in a metro.

I started noticing my goat buddies, and each one had a story to tell.

 

1. “Life in a metro” – The family guy

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“I am the oldest one among 3 siblings. Yeah these 2 fighting behind my back are the younger ones. We have recently migrated from our village in search of greener pastures.  But what we find here is only a jungle of concrete. The people here are machinic in nature, they run to their offices in the morning get back late in the evening. There’s no life here. I think we will go back to our village where people at least have control over their time.” – The Family Guy

 

2. “I am cool like that”- The loner!

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Photo Credit: Jasmine Lovely George

“I am a loner. I don’t have many friends here. I pass my time observing the people. It’s fun! Everyone here is glued to their mobile phones. It seems as if the phones have tamed humans and use them as a mode of transport. I feel I am better off whenever I see friends walking together and not talking but looking into their screens. It’s a zombie world, I swear!” – The Loner

 

3. “Life is a race and I have to win it”-The Competitor!

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“Life in a city is about cut-throat competition. It is about “survival of the fittest.” It is a race and nothing else. That’s what i am doing now. Can’t you see that, eh? Now move let me concentrate on the fight.” – The Competitor goat

 

4. “Life is great.”- The Happy-Go-Lucky

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“All I need is food and water to survive. I get it here. See how green the grass is? I simply love it! The sun is a bit too harsh today. But it’s summers what else do you expect. I take life as it comes. One thing at a time. Leisure and pleasure are the two most important things for me. That’s it.” – The Happy-Go-Lucky

 

5. “Start living and stop existing.”- The Wise One!

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“Every day post work I sit here under the open sky, and enjoy some alone time talking to myself!” – The Wise One

After my walk with these goats, I realised that life in a metro is too demanding and everyone is busy. So busy that we tend to lose connect with ourselves. It could be useful to talk to ourselves, introspect. Ask ourselves the questions – “Are you happy? Is this what you want to do with your life? It’s important to be happy. it’s important to know yourself.”

As for me, “Mmmeinnn *bleating* Now shoo, let me think!”

 

Photo Courtesy: Instagram @aabra_ka_daabra

एकल हूँ, बेचारी नहीं : दिल्ली और सिंगल वुमन।

मैं पिछले साल से दिल्ली के एक मध्यम वर्गीय इलाके में विभिन्न  पहचानों के साथ रह रही हूँ। मैँ एक मध्यम वर्गीय, परिवार से अलग रह रही, उच्च जाति की, एक  कामकाजी, एकल महिला हूँ। मेरी रोज़मर्रा की ज़िन्दगी के अनुभव मेरी इन पहचानों पर काफी निर्भर करते हैं। मैँ किस तरह से अपनी दिनचर्या बनाती हूँ, किन लोगों से मिलती हूँ, कहाँ और कैसे आतीजाती हूँ और किस तरह से मैँ दिल्ली जैसे बड़े शहर में अपनी एक छोटी सी जगह बनाती  हूँ। अपने 3 साल के अनुभव से आपको बता सकती हूँ की मेरी एक पहचान जो मेरे इस जीवन की बाकी हर वास्तविकता पर भारी है, वो है मेरा एकल होना। साउथ दिल्ली के एक जानेमाने इलाके में, मैं एक मकान की दूसरी मंज़िल पर बनी बरसाती में रहती हूँ। उस कमरे को बरसाती कहना शायद गलत होगा, क्यूंकि उसमे ज़रुरत का वो सारा सामान है (और शायद थोड़ा ज्यादा भी) जो की एक आधुनिक जीवन व्यतीत करने में मदद करे। जब मैंने यह निर्णय लिया कि  मैं अलग रहूंगी, उस वक़्त मैं ज़िन्दगी के एक मुश्किल दौर से गुज़र रही थी। मुश्किल दौर शायद अभी भी जारी है मगर समय ने उस पर पर्दा गिरा दिया है। कभीकभी कोई उस पर्दे को झटक कर खोल देता है और कभीकभी मैं खुद ही उस परदे के पीछे छुपी सच्चाई का सामना करती हूँ। खट्टीमीठी, ऊपरनीचे, सर चकरा देने वाली सच्चाइयों के साथ; ज़िन्दगी सुखद है। 

आपको  इतनी लम्बीचौड़ी कहानी इसलिए सुना रही हूँ ताकि आप मेरे सन्दर्भ को समझ सके। मेरा मानना है की हालांकि हम सबकी वास्तविकताएँ अलग हैं मगर हमारी संघर्षों को समझ पाने की क्षमताएँ काफी हद्द तक एक है। मेरी  २९ वर्ष की ज़िन्दगी में  घटनाओं  की अहम भूमिका रही। पहलीजब मैंने अपना सुविधापूर्ण, आरामदायक घर छोड़ने का निर्णय लिया और दूसरीजब मैंने अकेले रहने का निश्चय किया। आपको बता दूँ की आज जब पलटकर देखती हूँ तो लगता है कि घर छोड़ने का निर्णय अकेले रहने के निर्णय से काफी आसान था। एक महिला का ख़ुशी से एकल और अकेले रहना समाज के लिए कितना बड़ा काँटा है, इसका मुझे अभी तक आभास ना  था।  शुरुआत हुई मकान मालिक से (जो की मुझे पहले से जानते थे)

बेटा, अकेले रह लोगी?… अच्छाशादी?… क्या काम करती हो?… महिला मुद्दों परअच्छाभाई महिलाओं के लिए तो बहुत काम होता हैहाहाएक काम करना अपने पिताजी से मेरी फ़ोन पर बात करवा देना..”

पिताजी से बात करवा देना” – यह सुनकर मैं थोड़ी दंग रह गयी। यहाँ मैं आपको फिर से याद दिला दूँ कि मैं एक २९ वर्षीय, कामकाजी महिला हूँ। मुझे समझ नहीं आया की मेरे मकानमालिक मेरे पिताजी से ऐसी क्या बात करेंगे जो वे मुझसे नहीं कर सकते? क्यों उन्हें मुझ परजो की  उनके सामने बैठी हैउस पर विश्वास नहीं, मगर फ़ोन से रही एक मर्दानी आवाज़ पर है? क्यों मेरे मन में बच्चों की तरह माँबाप का दहशत भरा गया? मेरे मातापिता की मेरी ज़िन्दगी में काफी अहमियत है, मगर हमारा रिश्ता कभी भी दहशत का नहीं रहा।

ये सिलसिला सिर्फ यहीं खत्म नहीं हुआ बल्कि रोज़मर्रा की ज़िन्दगी का एक हिस्सा बन गया। धीरेधीरे मुझे समझ आने लगा की इस शहर को मेरी जैसी अकेली रह रही एकल महिलाओं को देखने की आदत नहीं और यह हकीकत हमें जैसे कोई अजूबा बना देती है। अचानक से आपकी ज़िन्दगी जानपहचान और अंजान लोगों की विचित्र कल्पनाओं का हिस्सा बन जाती है। आप भले ही गुमनामी के साथ रहना चाहें मगर आप हर वक़्त निगरानी में  है। 

मकान मालिक – “कैसी हो? उस दिन जो लड़का आया थाभाई है तुम्हारा?” 

काम वाली दीदी – “आप दिन भर अकेले क्या करती रहती हैं?.. बोरियत नहीं होती?”

नवविवाहित दोस्त – “तेरा सही है यार, कोई टेंशन नहीं, कोई ज़िम्मेदारियाँ नहीं

प्रेस वाला भैया – “कितनी घंटी बजायी दीदी.. बड़ा बाहर रहती हैं आप.. मैंने बाहर से देखा की आपके कमरे की बत्ती जल रही है..”

सामने वाले मकान के चौकीदार भैया, जो कुछ कहते नहीं पर एकटक निगाह से मुझे तब तक घूरते हैं जब तक  कि मैं गाडी से उतरकर घर का दरवाज़ा बंद नहीं कर लेती।

मुझे कोई शिकायत नहीं क्यूंकि मैं जानती हूँ कि यह सब लोग मेरे शुभचिंतक है।मेरी छोटीबड़ी ज़रूरतों में यही मेरा परिवार है।मगर मुझे यह भी पता है की ये लोग मुझे एक समझदार व्यस्क की तरह नहीं देखते। उनकी नज़रों में मैं शायद एक नादान बेवक़ूफ़ औरत हूँ जिसे नहीं पता की वो क्या कर रही है या क्या नहीं कर रही है।ऐसे में सब मेरी ज़िम्मेदारी लेना अपना फ़र्ज़ समझते हैं। या मान लेते है की मैं वो आवारा हूँ जो ज़िम्मेदारियों से मुक्त है।क्यूंकि उनकी नज़र में ज़िम्मेदारियाँ सिर्फ पति और परिवार से जुडी होती है।  ऐसे में यह परिकल्पना भी करना की कोई अकेले अपनी देखभाल कर सकता है या अकेले व्यस्त रह सकता हैउनकी बुनियादी सोच को झंझोड़ कर रख देता है। इस माननेमनाने के चक्कर में पहचान सिकुड़ कर रह जाती है। पर्सनल और प्राइवेट जैसे शब्दों का फिर कोई मायने नहीं रह जाता। जो अधिकार शायद मैंने सिर्फ अपने मातापिता को दिया था उस पर सब अपनाअपना हक़ जताते है। जिस ज़िन्दगी को मैं निजी रखना चाहती हूँ, समाज की निगाह में उसमे निजी रखने जैसा कुछ है ही नहीं। और यदि कुछ हैतो दाल में ज़रूर कुछ काला है।

क्यूंकि एकल महिला परिवार के दायरे के बाहर ज़िन्दगी तलाशती है, समाज के नज़रिए से वो एक विद्रोही से कम नहीं। हमारी सोचया काली है या सफ़ेद मगर ज़िन्दगी इस काले और सफ़ेद के बीच में कहीं है। अच्छे और बुरे के पैमानों में तोले तो एक एकल महिला अच्छे के खाके में नहीं समाती और बुराई हमारी नज़र में है। यदि सर झुकाकर चुपचाप रहती है तो बेचारी है और अगर दिल खोल कर हँसतीबोलती, मनमर्ज़ी करके दुनिया घूमती है तो शंकास्पद और सम्मान के काबिल नही। आप खुद ही सोचियेएक तलाक़शुदा महिला, पति से अलग रह रही महिला, ‘शादी की उम्रपार कर चुकी एकल महिलायानि की वह औरतें जिन्होने अपने लिए शादी के बाहर कोई निर्णय लियाके बारे में आपके मन में सबसे पहला ख्याल क्या आता है?

मेरे पास एक नौकरी है, परिवार है जो समर्थक हैतो शायद इतनी तकलीफ महसूस नहीं होती। किसी और परिस्थिति की मैं कल्पना भी नहीं कर सकती और शायद वो सही भी हो। जब कभी भी मन भारी हो जाता है तो लोदी गार्डन चली जाती हूँ। वहाँ किसी बेंच पर बैठ जाती हूँ और अपने ही जैसे अजीबोगरीब लोगों को ताकती रहती हूँ। कोई यूँ ही टहल रहा है, कोई कैमरा लटकाए टहल रहा है, कोई हाँफते हुए चल रहा है, किसी कोने में कोई प्रेमी जोड़ा छुप कर बैठा है। दिल्ली में जब मेरी साँस फूलने लगती है तो यहीं जाती हूँ। यहाँ सभी लोग थोड़ा सुकून तलाशने आते है। अगर कभी किसी से नज़र मिल जाती है तो मुस्कुराहट की अदलाबदली हो जाती है। शांति से एक कोने में मैं अकेले या तो किताब लेकर बैठी रहती हूँ या नर्म हरी घाँस पर लेटकर लोगों को हँसते बोलते देखती हूँ। अपने अनुभव से बोल सकती हूँ की मैंने अपने छोटे से जीवन के कुछ बेहतरीन लम्हे अकेले गुज़ारे हैं, खासकर अकेले सफर करके। कई लोगों ने सवाल किया की आखिर ये कब तक चलेगा? जवाब तो मेरे पास भी नहीं पर इतना जानती हूँ कि फिलहाल खुश हूँ। हर दिन इतना रूमानी नहीं जितना शायद मेरे लेख से लग रहा हो पर आश्वासन है की सहीबुरा सब मेरा किया कराया है।और ये छोटेबड़े फैसले अकेले ले सकने की ख़ुशी से मैं अभी तक उभरी नहीं हूँ। एकल हूँ, बेचारी नहीं।

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लेख : अनुभा सिंह
फोटो कर्टसी : पल्लवी

Mehrauli and You : Our Monthly Walk

Do you sometimes feel the urge to see the city, yet don’t take the plunge?
Do you feel the city of Delhi is unsafe and you can no more go out? Have you heard of Mehrauli ki galiyaan, do you sometimes feel the need to find other people who would like to walk the public spaces and share experiences with them?

If it is yes, yes and yes, then join us for this beautiful night walk from the Qutub Minar itself to the world of Jamali Kamali. What we witness it the presence of an old city amidst the bustling sound of the modernity, while still trying to make spaces for the gendered beings.
We walk from Ojas Art Gallery ( in front of Qutub Minar), to slowly following the walls of Qutub Minar complex, which also also makes a beautiful evening walk path, we stop at Bhool Bhulaiya, which has its own secrets, also a favourite among the lovers, we sit and talk about our experiences of being who we are in the city of Delhi, and how much have we really engaged with Dil waalon ki dilli. Then we brave the crowds of Mehrauli, and explore the galiyaan of Mehrauli, which interestingly enough takes us to dargah, baoli and a person who reads your future. From there, we head to Jamali Kamali and witness the beauties against the backdrop of night shadows.
If you are willing to explore your senses, we have more experiences to share with you, if you want to loiter, loiter with us, who knows, you might just find a friend.

We will also request the poets among us to share their work meanwhile we read some of the poetry around the city of Delhi and love.

Come join us on July 29.

Assembly time: 6:15 pm
Duration: 2.5- 3 hours.
Rate: Rs 500
Starting Point: Ojas Art Gallery ( In front of Qutub Minar)
Kids not allowed. (Below 12 years)

Check out our event on Facebook.
Book your tickets on Book My Show.

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Bhool Bhulaiya or Adam Khan’s Tomb.
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Mehrauli Market.
Gumnaam Maqbara, Mehrauli Archeological Park.
Gumnaam Maqbara, Mehrauli Archeological Park.

Photo Courtesy: Pallavi