It seems problematic to me, how Indian girls are never taught to be alone. Well, we understand the fact why we are not allowed to do it alone because of our parents being so sensitive and protective about their daughters. This conditioning was one of the reasons it was a bit difficult for me to do things alone while moving to a different city. It’s been 7 years since I have been living away from home. I was never used to going shopping alone or going for a movie alone or eating alone. It gave me goosebumps while seeing others do these things! I had never imagined I would do such a thing in my life.
I still remember the date- 10th August ’13! It was the first time I had gone alone to have a meal all by myself. I hoped I would not bump into any familiar face. People have their own perception of people who eat alone, i.e. they think are losers. I definitely did not think of myself as a loser and didn’t want people to think about me that way either. As I was having my meal, the waiters gave me strange looks, and the people seated next to me were muttering about me and laughing. I guess, they thought they could not be heard. At first, it became a bit difficult to sit there and eat. I even thought of cancelling the order and going back.
But then, I thought to myself that I have to stop this need to explain myself. I realize that people will only understand from their level of perception. This self-pep talk gave me courage to continue with what I had decided. I sat with my head up, unapologetic and finished my meal.
I still go to the same place many times, then order my favourite dish and eat alone. One fine day, the restaurant-owner even appreciated me, telling me that I was the first girl he knew who had her meal sitting alone in the restaurant. I still cherish those words; it reaffirmed my belief in me.
Well, I have begun to think it isn’t such a big deal to go solo sometimes. I remember a friend of mine saying “Don’t be dependent on somebody. Chuck those people who talk about you behind your back.” I hold this advice close to my heart. It helps me fight the conditioning of society and drives me to do things on my own.
I guess, this post is an attempt to be that friend for someone else.
About Dhara Tiwari:
She is an engineer by profession, an independent one. She loves to travel and is crazy about food.