Action Hero Nomita Khatri

Location: Succorro, Goa, India.

I walked from my apartment up to and then past the Succorro Church and onwards on the road hugging the Church deeper into the same area. I chose not to walk alone. I invited a (male) friend to walk with me and did that because of the anxiety I was feeling at the thought to having to traverse, what ended up being a completely unlit part of my planned walk. Had I been on my own I might not have chosen to walk that particular pathway.

I noticed the surprise (and care) of passing motorists on the dark patch of path we walked. I noticed that while I was the only woman walking the streets, in the areas lit my street lamps, I did not feel out-of-place. At the thela we stopped at along the way I listened to the track that was playing on the radio. The singer (a woman) asks her "pia" to "kheech mere photo" in a constant refrain. Chilli bhajji's were being fried hot and served to an all-male audience (excluding myself). There were times I knew I felt safe walking with a male friend, simply because I was looked at a lot more especially as the evening wore on. Curiosity prompted the looking - it not being common in villages off the tourist circuit to see a woman walk after dark. I did walk cross a nallah, to find deep in the shadows of two trees standing side-by-side two boys, with a new bottle of alcohol and recently filled glasses. Did I feel threatened? No. I did remind me of the ways in which I would find ways to do what I was told explicitly not to as a teenager / young adult. On the walk back, the drinking twosome, had swelled in number to about 5 boys a lot louder than before, cell phones and drinks in hand. There was a perceived uncertainty in if they ought to react or respond to encountering me walk past without changing my sauntering pace.

Before my Walk Alone I felt a sense of freedom, release, anxiety. After the event I felt rested, grounded, energetic.

I think I need to walk thrice a week again - to allow the thoughts of the week to settle in me as well as make that connection to myself while I walk. It needs to be an unthinking part of my weekly/ daily rhythm.

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