Rutuja Chitra-Tarak

Location: Majestic, Bangalore

I was excited to do the WalkAlone at the Majestic area, for it seemed quite challenging and interesting of a public space at night than the residential area I live in. I had a friend from Egypt to join me in the walk, who had gone through an extreme case of sexual harassment last year in India, so we had to take calculated risks as well. Ultimately we ended up  four women walking together, but since even that is not common, it was still something that needed to become the norm. Being together gave us enough fearlessness to explore those lanes and spaces that I wouldn’t have tried walking alone right in the beginning of this adventure.

We began walking from Majestic bus stand and then into the small lanes that led us into closely packed residential area, with at times 6 feet wide lanes. Lanes were lit with yellow lights, but at 11 in the night, only men were to be seen onto the lanes. One of the friends mentioned how only 3 women were found during the wholewalk—one was filling water outside her house and others were accompanied by men. The number of men had decreased as we moved from bus stand into the small lanes. It also became steadily quiet and with time. Groups of men were found to be chatting casually in the. To me we got relatively few stares than I was expecting and only one significant comment from a group of 15 men. But that’s all.

We were pretty relaxed actually, casually roaming about, stopping by to check out film posters, trees, almost 6 feet wide small lanes at times... it was quite fun actually. Those lanes with double storied chawls/houses looked quite something to observe. The area is not that pretty I felt—especially in the night, the cement concretish material of the footpath, when dirty and broken gets into you. And to see homeless people sleeping right onto the foothpaths. Great time to inspect the city nevertheless.

At the end of the walk wished to walk again, somewhere else, alone.