A masked form zips by on a scooter. I look, I stare. It’s a girl. A scarf is tied around her head, hiding her forehead and face, leaving only a small visor-like gap for the eyes. Is it the pollution? I doubt it. Is it? By any chance? Bunkum, says an inside voice.
Why are girls everywhere wearing masks or veils? Why are they making a self-imposed purdah for themselves? I see this happening in small towns and large metropolitan cities, with their supposedly liberated social values and modern God-alone-knows-what. Actually I am zero in all matters concerning girls. So help me out, poor, doubt-obsessed, blogger uncle-ji.
Is it to escape something unsavoury episode they went through, may be, when still innocent of the ways of the bad world? Let say small town girls wear it to get some privacy for themselves, so that they can do what they please (like going to the movies) without being identified and witch hunted.
But girls in a city like Bombai? The girls here are all bold and “apunko-marega-tho-hum-bhi-do-jhapad-marege-types.” Or is it a propaganda aimed at stating our girls are not protected, not allowed the freedom to discover their own world? What then of the strident rhetoric, issuing out of beautiful, lip-stick-and-mascara-ed parvenus of gender freedom and equality? Have they achieved anything?
Or are they still an oppressed lot, made to sacrifice on food, education and a meaningful life. If true, this is sad.