I danced that night.
I should have seen it coming that night but didn’t. I should have left a note for myself to stay cautioned, stay locked up with the people I knew, stick to the familiar and certain but didn’t.
I should have but didn’t.
How could I have known that a simple act of watching the final of a cricket match in a Coffee Shop with few odd male strangers from the serving staff, India’s triumph at the end, would begin a new life altogether?
We never realize how much we are bound to the known. We may change our beds, our locations, our toothbrush, our jobs, but it’s really the way we relate to the people around us, things we say to bring them close or push them away, things we do to ‘become’ and ‘not become’, things we do to make sense and react are the things that are completely known to us and things we stick to.
I had always been taught that men and strangers and strangers who were men were out there to harm me. More so if they were from a social and economic strata which was considered lower than mine. How could I then jump into the victory dance of some 30 odd men, comprising of restaurant kitchen staff, some students, and many which I couldn’t place anywhere?
After watching them for a few minutes, with fear and with longing, with excitement cracking my bones but voices in my head putting all stops together, I began to dance to the beats of a drum.
After some time, when my energy was spent, I turned to walk back home.
A male voice called out, “hey, you girl!”
I smiled and walked away.
I have danced many nights since, to music, to breeze, to rain, and to life itself…