Gurgaon has made me so afraid of being alone. I can no longer walk alone, eat alone, shop alone, grab a cup of coffee alone, spend a day about town by myself, all alone. I am afraid: afraid of the stray dog on a barren road, the men walking hand-in-hand, the man standing all alone, the groups of men lurking in every corner not afraid to scream out loudly,
“Baby, Item.” I am afraid of being judged, of myself, of not being able to react in time, of a gun pointed in the wrong direction…
And now, most of all, of losing my free spirit. That once picked me up and took me wherever I wanted to go, unafraid.
Sunday, found me at the Rajiv Gandhi Renewable Energy Park. It’s hard to imagine a patch of green occupies the hollow between the concrete and crass- there is soul in Gurgaon after all. I am tempted to grab a cuppa chai at the solar-powered cafe, that serves slow-food but I am anxious. Everybody looks up to stare a girl walking alone…
I take the narrow path behind the cafe, and into the green. It is as if my eyes cannot see the leching men, and only the vast expanse. My ears cannot hear the stray whistle, and only the sound of middle-class Indian families playing cricket in the grass. The sound of a million birds in an endless tree. The sound of water- yes, there is a pool of water- and a plastic bottle floats in it. The sound of children playing catch, lovers whispering in hidden tunnels made of grass, fathers and sons, and mothers watching on.
I walk along under the trees, and over the grass, and up the bridge, and down the waterfall- and into the park (where the slides and swings help generate solar power) and past the many Sunday faces.
It is much easier when I am moving.