Night Rider and Solo Backpacker
Originally from Faridabad, 29-year-old Meenal Sharma, studied in Delhi and moved to Mumbai for work. Even the recent rape at Shakti Mills, hasn’t deterred this compulsive cyclist from pedaling through the night. “I love the freedom cycling allows; and you don’t even need a license. I know the city better than people who’ve been living here for years.” She cycles every alternate day, either early in the morning or late at night when the traffic subsides. “At night, I usually start after 10 pm and continue till 3 am or 4 am. I prefer cycling alone, because when you’re with a big group, you end up taking too many breaks.” Isn’t she concerned about her safety?
“After living in Delhi for nine years, I find Mumbai very safe. In Delhi, I can’t imagine cycling at night; smaller lanes don’t have streetlights and everyone has something to say to a woman who ventures out alone at night. In Mumbai, if someone bothers me too much while I’m cycling, I shut them up Delhi style and they go away. It wouldn’t work in Delhi.
Mumbaikars are more curious about my cycle than me.” And why wouldn’t they be? She rides a Fuji Roubaix 1.0. that costs Rs 90,000. Although she is brave, she avoids small lanes and sticks to the Western Express Highway or main road at night. She also rolls up her hair and tucks it in the helmet so people can’t tell whether she’s a man or woman. She’s now planning a solo backpacking trip to Kerela, to see Alleppy, Kochi, Thekkady, Kumarakoam and Munnar.
Kinky Bachelorettes and Celebrating ‘Hangover’ style
Just about a month and a half ago, 29-year-old Rashmi Surana and her friends organised a crazy bachelorette party for their friend. They booked a suite at The Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba, ordered a naughty cake and played a few games.
The list included a “do you know your partner’s sexual preferences?” test, to which they matched her boyfriend-turned-fiance’s responses. They also got her to dress up all kinky, use flirty props and dance to their bidding.
Well, that wasn’t all; their night had just begun. “Next we went to Poly Esthers and gave her mad dares to do. At one point, she was giving some stranger a lap dance; at another, she got a peck on her cheek from someone. We also got her to dance on the bar top. We were so drunk, I can’t recollect everything, but one of the dares surely included giving all of us a free round of drinks. We got home at 5 am.” As for safety, they had a chauffeur at hand.
28-year-old Pearl Jain, had partied enough in Mumbai. She wanted a beachy getaway to celebrate her last few days of freedom, and picked Greece.
“In India, I could only think of going to Goa, but that’s where my wedding is, hence Greece! We’ll spend two nights at Athens, for all the food and shopping; it’s probably my last all-girls trip, so I’m looking forward to total debauchery in Mykonos, which is known for its party scene. We’re planning to go to Cavo Paradiso, Tropicana Club and we’ll probably check out some gay bars too. The trip will end with us soaking in the sun and pampering ourselves at spas in Santorini Island.”
Pearl has a penchant for hosting parties and madness; she organises poker nights on most Fridays, and reserves Saturday nights for house parties and catching up with friends. If she can’t control her urge to travel, and has no one for company, she’ll do it alone. “I made an impromptu plan to go to Scotland, booked tickets, travelled to Edinburgh and the highlands for five days during the Easter holidays. It’s the wildest thing I’ve done.”
Does she regret it? Not even a bit.
Will Dress Up Will Party
She prefers sporting shorts and spending her leisure time painting, reading, candle making and travelling, but come night, 35-year-old Mreenal Deshraj wants to dress up. She has no qualms wearing something backless or off shoulder and flaunting her bod. Oh and let’s not forget those killer five-inch heels!
“What you wear is a personal choice; women who are uncomfortable wearing such clothes are usually conservative or can’t carry it off. I work out a lot,
so I am very comfortable with my body.” For her, parties happen once a week, but she has a strict rule, she must have a pick up and drop. “You don’t want to be stopped by cops or step out in such clothes at night, so if my car isn’t available my friends have to drop me and I would do the same for them.”
27-year-old Anisha Shah prefers having her vehicle too, but the lack of one doesn’t prevent her from moving around the city.
“Earlier, you could be out even at three in the morning and not care; it’s not the same anymore. I am a lot more alert whilst using public transport at night and carry pepper spray.”
Unlike Mreenal, she dislikes dressing up, but loves to dance.
“I’m not a party animal, but I land up at all the party places because I love dancing and being with people. As a dance instructor, I’m surrounded by house music, so for nights out I prefer alternative, rock and lounge to help me unwind.”
Every time a case of rape makes the headlines, fingers are generally
pointed at women.
How do you draw the line between taking precautions and giving in to societal pressure? Tweet your views @PoojaBhula
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