“THE GIRL IN THE HIJAB”
By- Dr. Aparna Govil Bhasker
It was midnight as I stepped out of Mumbai airport. I had had a busy week at work. This was a week that pulled me down in many ways. Certain incidents in the week kept me wondering about the lot of women in our country. How women not only fail to question certain norms, but feel compelled to conform to outdated traditional values even if it comes at a heavey price that they may have to pay.
It was midnight and I desperately wanted to get home at the earliest and get some rest. At the prepaid taxi counter I was informed that I will be getting a “woman driven cab”. As I stepped out to find the cab, I was pleasantly surprised to see this young girl in Jean’s and shirt and a hijab that covered her head. She greeted me with a warm smile and we started our journey together. “Mam, I am not very familiar with the roads of Mumbai, please do guide me”.
At 12.30 am in the night, I was being driven home by a girl in a hijab who was crazy about driving cars and was completely okay with driving around the city alone, in the dark hours of the night without a care. I asked her if her family was okay with her work and she just said that, it didn’t really matter… she just loved to drive.
Normally when I sit in a cab, first thing I do is to ask the cabby to switch off the music. But, yesterday, while I felt emotionally depleted, her energy was infectious and it changed something inside me. I needed a sign to tell me that all is not wrong with this world and there is a lot to be hopeful for. She loved Bollywood music. We kept the music on and chatted along the way. At the end of the journey, I told her that I was proud of her for being so brave and a million dollar smile lit up her face.
It lifted my spirits as I realized that women across the world are breaking barriers one step at a time. The journey is long and the destination very far, but it is heartening to meet such lovely women for whom breaking barriers comes naturally. They make us hope that all is not wrong with the world and it indeed is going to be a better place in future. May their tribe grow.
I guess inspiration is all around us, we just need to open our eyes and hearts to find it.
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