It was a team event. Most women like yours truly, refused to participate, at least initially. Then some of us agreed to cheer for others and then well, went on to play.
What an experience it was! To feel the ground beneath your feet, to feel free and competitive, and to be part of a game, though most of us did not know the ‘T’ of Throw Ball.
Some body said, ‘it has been 20 years since I played any game’. ‘Me too’, joined another!
Most of the women were not used to sports, may be a little bit of running in school times but definitely nothing after adolescence. No wonder then that the game was clumsy at best except for the spirited fresh and fit youngsters who knew what they were doing.It was great to watch them, more enthusiastic, better trained, and more in groove with themselves taking the lead, it was great as well, to be able to do whatever was possible, if only to stand by and cheer like John Milton said, ‘They also serve who only stand and serve’.
Yet the outdoor experience was fun. It was a great time for some female bonding, across departments, away from the digital screens and the classrooms and the usual pressures of teaching.
I was thinking of the very ‘womanly hesitation’ to get out and be yourself.
Hitching up sarees and hitting the ground does not come easy, overcoming consciousness of the body, the appearance, risking the look to look dirty, unkempt is not easy either, but then when the girls got down to play the game, there was obvious cheer and much celebration.
Where are the public spaces for women? Where can our girls go out for a walk, or go running or just get together and play a game without being objectified?
Where are the public places for just walking,sitting down and chatting or trying a game of badminton or kho kho?
The simple pleasures of living are denied to most women, yes, especially women!
Public toilets are still a luxury in our country, perhaps its too much to expect spaces for public recreation!