to the Rashtrapati Bhawan , today, i.e.March 18, 2012.
I could feel a sense of suppressed calm about this future event and i took pains to get together an outfit in BLACK, which was the color code of this event.
The scheduled time was 7 a.m. in the morning and i reached the venue a few minutes in advance. Perhaps i should have discussed this with Seema, but for some reason i did not. so i did not have too many clues as to how this event would unfold.
so i sat back in the parked car and waited for things to unroll. ans soon enough a trickle of people, dressed with a piece of black started moving towards India Gate. I sat there in silence in the lovely cool morning with anticipation and curiosity.
And then more bikers, pedestrians, and people in cars started gathering. some came especially with their bikes in the rear of the car. By now a small crowd, a mass of black had nucleated at India Gate. i knew, it was not a mistake to have come. Even as i contemplated the right time to step out of the sanctity of the parked car towards the gathering mass, a fleet of Harley Davidson bikers came screeching , their head lights full on , circling the road and merging with the mass.
The next instant i was out and on my way to join the rest of the people gathered. I was stunned to see there were many young
children too. But perhaps the most unbelievable thing was the professional gear
which many of the bikers and other people were sporting.
Soon, the main organizer of the Critical Mass took charge. In fact, they are a gr8 couple which i was to discover later. Gagandeep Singh Sapra and Harleen Sethi Sapra.
By now the whole mass of people were charged up and Gagandeep blew the whistle and instructed the protesters to pick up banners which were already ready and laid on the road. As i went to pick up one, a young man walked towards me with a few printed sheets which said:
He handed me and insisted i write my name at the top and two lines, my view on Real Men. Even though i was taken back at this, the words came out easily, without any effort, and i wrote:
"Who can PEEP into a woman's HEART".
Finally the Critcal Mass started on its foot journey from the revered India Gate to Rashrapati Bhawan.
By now, another breed of people had joined the mass. Musicians and Drummers. They strapped the drums to their waists and got marching, their drums piercing the morning calm.
The enthusiasm and purpose of the momentum of people holding banners,
reverberating drums, and flitting pass on their bikes was something i could never possible have anticipated as i had set forth from my home in Faridabad in the early hours of the morning.
As the procession marched on towards its goal, the Rashrapati Bhawan, i followed the lot in a daze. Just in January this year i had witnessed the Republic Day Parade at this venue via the Television, but this was LIVE.
During the march, i saw several people clicking snaps and a few Police Vans silently observing the march.
Finally the march reached its venue: The Barricade outside the boundary of Rashrapati Bhawan. By now the drummers from Drum Circle Friends took the gathered mass into a trance
with their rhythmical and magical beating. The Critical Mass march was by now a motley mix of Cyclists, Joggers, Bikers, Expats, Media people, Drummers, men, women and young kids with their bright faces full of joy.
Besides the drumming there was singing of motivational songs by a group pf people dressed in Black kurtas which i presume were form theater.
I lost track of how long we stood there, clapping and celebrating this event, all for " KEEPING WOMEN SAFE" in our Society. The gusto of the men playing the drums, and cheering on silently was something i had never witnessed before. It almost seemed too good to be real.
And then, in a flash, protesters holding banners lined up across the entire breadth of the barricade, proudly flaunting messages in favor of WOMEN:
# WOMEN SAFE
Deadly for women
A Woman is not written in Braille. You don't have to touch her to understand her. So DON'T Touch.
My 'Dress' is not a YES
Because We have had
A crime where the victim becomes the
Am i Safe?
Y U NO Make
End Violence Against Women
Which part of the 'NO'
don't you understand?
Along with the silent but eloquent banners, the crescendo of the beating drums there were cries of heart warming songs:
Tu zinda hai tu zindagi ki jeet main yakeen kar
agar kahin hai swarg to utaar la zameen par
Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil me hai
Dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-kaatil me hai
Ham honge kamyaab ham honge kamyaab
ham honge kamyaab ek din...
man main hia vishwas, poora hia vishwas
ham honge kamyaab ek din............
And in the moment of climax, a jeep arrived at the barricade. Out stepped the proud conveners of the event and proudly exclaimed that the honorable President had accepted the petition.
This was followed by loud clapping and cheers of joy and distributing of the Petition. And finally, the moment of truth for the Women folk. Dr Nidhi Dhawan read the powerfully worded and hard hitting Petition demand.
I have a copy of the petition , but today being a Sunday, i cant include a scanned pic. will update with it soon.
And hopefully today begins a new Chapter in women's safety in our country. But the onus is on all of us, men and women to make sure that the interests of women are safe guarded and no injustice is meted out to them.
And yet, today was not just about WOMEN. It was about HUMANITY rising against injustice.
The man with the Green Colored T shirt with the message :
Zindagi jhand hai
Phir bhi ghamand Hai
Says it all. Seema, you were not there to witness this spectacular event. So, i hope you get glimpses of it from my Blog. Do leave a comment !!