I remember when I was a kid, I always wanted to ride my bicycle on my own. When no one was watching me to make sure if I am okay. I was eager to play older… older enough to ride cycle alone. I had my favorite pathways for bicycling such as there was a road near to my house that had three speed breakers in a row which I loved to ride through in a fast motion, it gave me joy.
It was a quiet road back then which is more packed with cars if I speak of now. It had citrus trees on both sides and some residential buildings on the back of it. While pedaling by, I loved the little part where road passed through a small mount full of bird nests and their beautiful chirping specially at dusk when those tiny creatures steadily headed back home. Around the time of sunset, that one way hilly road always tingled sun-kissed and proved a sight of natural beauty.
Thinking of such beautiful moments of childhood want me to ride a cycle again and enjoy pedaling just the way I used to do when I was little. Ironically, it has become a challenge for me to step out now and do whatever I wish for. I, a grown up woman, would be an image unwanted to be seen in the streets of my society possessing patriarchal mindset. It would not be appropriate, that I would call normal, for the people of my society to witness a grown up woman riding bicycle rather it would get many a chance to openly harass and tease.
Although the intensity of societal pressure vary from city to city but it is largely demotivating and discouraging for a woman to carry on such activities. With absolute no acceptance of what and why a woman would desire out of her simple choices, she would be blamed of bad character and would be harassed one way or another.
Despite the fact I discussed above I got lucky to be one of those residents of federal city, Islamabad, where women’s life is comparatively easier with respect to conservative mindset. People in the capital are used to seeing woman independently being on their own and also actively enjoying life just like any other man in the city. I would be wrong if I say that in Islamabad there is no woman who face harassment openly because at the end it still is a part of the same men dominating nation where women are largely unprivileged. Patriarchal mindset is largely being practiced in Pakistan generation after generation. Equality is what I seek to witness in my country… at least before I drop dead.
Anyways, my blue ride is what I was missing when I saw the partially clouded sky of autumn just when I woke up today. Sun seemed like playing hide and seek all day long… it was just the same weather on the day when I was little and unaware of the social barriers approaching my interests and choices for the stage of my life that I am bearing now.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein