It had been exactly 15 minutes since the bus started to move and it had to halt at a petrol pump for fuel. Immediately as the bus halts, many of the fellow passengers comprising mostly men, get down. The fuel filling takes less than 3-4 minutes, yet there was an urge to get down. It struck me as it had not been a long ride so far, for one to have a need to stretch. You, me, all of us have observed this time and again. Our brothers, fathers, and husbands get down the moment a train halts for a few minutes at an intermediate station. The women folks stay back, looking after the bags, the kids, and themselves, and waiting for the men to get back. Waiting to hear what all was being sold at the stop, any particular activity that happened while being out there…
This is not just about a bus stop or a train station, but also about the lives of most people and society. When you go out, you have stories unfolding at every nook and corner. Sometimes you are a witness to the story and sometimes you are the story. There are challenges, fun, events, and eventually experiences awaiting. Experiences that can be yours only if you are part of the story. These stories reflect in your social life when you retell them to others.
Leaving apart a tiny percentage, most of our society has women folks waiting at home, taking care of the household, and missing out on the many lives the men get the opportunity to live each day. I do not say this to belittle the homemakers, as that is no easy task in itself. But that task doesn’t bring you first-hand experiences as frequently as venturing out brings. From the littlest of things such as crossing the road while a camel-driven cart halts the traffic, to witnessing a person exhibiting a sigh of relief on not missing the train, to people selling their stories on the road in the form of balloons, and roses, pen, toys, etc. Eventually, a life with little stories and art may become mundane.
So to all my fellow readers, men or women, don’t confine yourself within any boundaries. Step out. It may not be for work, but an easy walk on the road outside, buying an ice cream all for yourself, exploring the neighborhood and the city a little more than yesterday, and just observing that there are so many stories unfolding at each turn. It’s only one life that we have got, and there is so little time to explore the ever-expanding Universe.