For The Love Of Empty Roads And Hazy Nights

I’ve been used to people staring at me like I’ve done something blasphemous. I had a good run of the mill routine; travel to a nearby market, hang around with a bunch of friends – smoke a little, and share puns and other funny shit. I’ve loved the idea of driving aimlessly, in C.P. at night because it is the most beautiful area to loiter at – especially in the dead of the night. The city looks more beautiful to me at night – everything is new, different almost magical. I’d take my 15 year old dump of a car, throw in some smokes and chips, kidnap a friend and drive around flipping FM stations at night.

What a life it is; when you’re ignorant, you’re also fearless. One night, a friend worriedly blurts out, that I was followed home. I was in a car, safe and unseen but stalked by 2 men on a bike. The idea slapped me across the face. It was that nasty feeling in my gut – suddenly I was reminded of all the times I never checked, or looked back, to see who has been following me. Ignorance was no more a ruse.

I had to face reality. My city wasn’t after all in the true sense ‘mine’. The idea was so terrifying. It now hurts more. I live with overtly protective parents and why wouldn’t they be, I’m in Gurgaon. It is no safer than Delhi. I can’t take my car out at 2 a.m. with my girls and drive through the city like a force of nature. I feel like a hurricane trapped in a tumbler.

Why loiter?

Because the streets were so mysterious to me, so romantic. Different paths were like a micro discovery, new areas felt like continents found. I loiter because I think the idea of a walled house is claustrophobic. For my soul has forever been drunk on the idea of roaming, loitering and traveling.

I want to run on the street at 5 a.m. But I can’t, I fear for my life.

I want to sleep on a bench and stare at the sky. But what will they take me for? I fear, they might call me a whore.

I want to dance like no one is watching in the middle of the market because I feel happy. I can’t, and I won’t. There is always someone watching.

I had to part ways, with the night and the roads. I seek comfort in the thought that someday, we will reclaim the streets and I will be my reckless self again.

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