Was That a Victory?
I was riding a bicycle, and my children were clapping for me, which caused my neighbors to emerge and see what all the commotion was about.
Was that a victory? Let me take you back.
Like many other children, I liked to ride bicycles.
I have two sisters and one brother, and although we come from a middle-class Indian family, we couldn’t afford a bicycle.
So, we’d rent one from a local bike shop for one rupee and ride for hours. Sometimes, even the air would escape from the tires, so I’d revisit the shop to reinflate them again and again. Such was my madness about cycling.
My siblings also liked riding, but I loved it the most. Even when I became a teenager, my love for cycling remained. In fact, it grew.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to cycle anymore, because of the popular saying, “Log kya kahenge?” which means, “What will people say?” Our society was in such a way that if a teenage girl rode a bicycle, people would think that she was with no manners. And let me tell you, this was the mentality in the 1980s. Now, society has changed, but some people remain the same.
I eventually got married and was blessed with three children: one son and two daughters. More recently, they wanted a bicycle, something we could luckily afford, so we bought one. My eldest daughter and son ride it in front of our home, but my youngest, who is three, is still too little. Instead, she walks behind my son when he is riding.
Watching my children cycling, I feel very happy. Sometimes, I used to think about running quickly, taking the bicycle, and riding it. But again, I was reminded of the saying, “What will people say?” Because a married woman riding a bicycle, and a child’s one at that, is regarded as shameless.
Nothing has changed, except the noun–from a shameless girl to a shameless woman. It took courage to turn a deaf ear to those words, and one day start riding.
My children, seeing me ride with joy, clapped. Those sounds brought out my neighbors and their children, who widened smiles met me from their doors. Was that a victory? Yes, for sure!
The moment when I left behind all the sorrows on my heart’s shore.
Now, no more negative whispers roar.
Because of that, I have the hardest core.
My love for cycling is now even more.
One of the happiest hours is in the mornings, when I rode. When there aren’t any people around, nor are there crowds, my bicycle and me go all along the road.
Now there aren’t any obstacles anymore. Was that a victory for me? Yes, for sure!