Well, it’s been only about 3 weeks since my last post, but so much has changed. I said I’d move forward with no regrets, and I’m actually doing it. The past few weeks have been about me, and it’s been wonderful.
Since coming home from midpoint, I’ve joined a proper Hindi class along with my lovely roomie, Lorenz, and we are really enjoying it. Perhaps it’s the geekyness coming out, but we’ll both admit it, we like class, we like going to school again, we like learning and studying and practicing speaking another language. It’s been really great to be in the class because things have really been clicking even more than normal lately (I’ve even seen two Hindi movies in the past few weeks – Agneepath and Ekk Deewana Tha and have got a pretty good understanding of them both if I do say so myself) and just in general, it makes me happy. In addition to that, I’ve also found a tabla teacher for myself and had a lesson, which was difficult but good. It’s always hard switching teachers/starting with a new teacher, but is nice when it works. And because I happened to be with a group of musicians and had my drums, also got to have a jam session with a guitarist who is learning north Indian classical music as well. It’s times like those that remind me just how much I love music and how much I love other people who love music as well.
Unfortunately I’ve also spent a lot of my time the past few weeks being sick. Sickness is something that has plagued me, literally, for the entirety of my time here. I’m doing all I can to fight it off and stay healthy, but sometimes it’s really hard, like right now. I just hope looking forward that I can manage to stay healthy for the rest of my time here. I just have too many places left to see and things left to do in my short time to spend most of it sick in bed!
Speaking of seeing new places, I have trips galore planned out for my time left here. While working and getting my work done has been very important to me throughout (and still is) I’ve realized the value in playing more and allowing myself more me time. Traveling makes me happy, so thus, I’ve decided to travel when possible and be smart about it.
Aside from all of these things, there has been one incident that did give me a small scare and honestly made me more upset than anything else has yet to make me here. Let me set the scene for you: I was coming home alone late one Monday night by metro. The nearest metro stop is literally a 5 minute walk away from my house and I’ve never felt unsafe walking home from there. This particular night I had made an unwanted new friend on the train who happened to be getting off at the same stop as me, and instead of getting the auto he said he had to take home, he proceeded to walk with me for a bit, asking for my number and not leaving me alone, even after I had plainly and forcefully asked him to leave me and let me walk home without his company. After finally shaking him I continued to walk home, a little quicker than normal. I turned around once to see a young boy walking the same way as me, presumably not following me, but I hurried my pace just to be sure. Soon, the young boy had become two young boys and I was feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Since there was no one else around, I just continued to walk, picking up my pace yet again. The boys then jogged up closer to me, and I sort of stopped and turned, not to have my back to them. They were then walking even with me and staring me down, so I asked the one closest to me in Hindi क्या देख रहे हो or what are you looking at? The boy a little ahead of me then grabbed at me – I’m not sure if he was grabbing at my purse or at me, but either way, he grabbed, and I lunged back and swung at him. The boys took off running, and I took off running after them, but then stopped, because what was I going to do when I caught them? Beat them up? And what good would that do the situation? Mostly I was just furious and in shock and wanted to get my rage out on the person that caused it, but again, what good would that do anything?
I’m more than okay physically, and don’t think I was actually in any physical danger, but am more just shaken up. I am enraged that this happens and am just beyond disbelief that this is simply “the way it is”. I understand that I am a foreigner in a foreign culture and can’t possibly comprehend the way things work all the time or why things are the way they are, but I just cannot accept that this is the way things are because I’m a woman and I just have to accept that fact. There is a serious lack of respect for women (who are not motherly/grandmotherly in age/appearance) and while I understand that exists I am just not satisfied with the response “that’s just the way it is” and to leave it at that.
I’ve always been passionate about the rights of women and girls, but I think looking forward I need to take experiences like these and formalize them into action for myself and others. I don’t know what that means to any extent at the moment, other than caring for and loving myself and my fellow woman better.