Have you ever gone to Spiti? It is a valley present in the hills of the Himalayas in the north of the country, where few people live.
There is no mobile network here and this is why I go here. I go here to live my life with absolutely free and completely.
We were two young women and together our driver was there. I still remember that night when she had given us drink in the cup of paper to drink Indian wine.
Thankfully, at that time, we enjoyed tasting like bitter poison because it was fun to do so. I was sitting on the roof of the car and used to caress my body and soul with cold air.
It was almost impossible for a middle class woman to marry before she reached at the age of 30. On an unforeseen path, away from the unaware of the people and the views of your husband and the concerns of your home.
But I did not just do that because I enjoyed it. Going away from my home in a year or two in a place where there is no network of mobile, I have reasons to do so.
#HerChoice 12 is a special series of BBC based on real life stories of Indian women. These stories present the ideas of ‘Modern Indian Woman’ and the options available in front of him, his aspirations, his priorities and his desires.
Me and my husband are both artists and walking is just a hobby for both of us. But whenever we go somewhere together, my husband considers me to be responsible.
All the decisions that are made, they take, such as what to go in the car, when to leave, where to stop, what hotel hotel, how much security and everything else. He asks for my opinion but he is just enough to tell about the decision for himself.
Before leaving for me in the hotel room, they go to themselves and check the room, they first catch the menu card and ask me what I want. From locking up to lifting things – they do all the work.
I am a liability and those who take the pledge Now just do it!
Frankly, I needed a break. After the birth of my son, I felt more of it. My work and my going out was decreasing but everything for my husband was the same as before.
Then I thought I would go out alone. We both agreed that they would stay at home for a few days and take care of the child.
My first trip without my husband was that it was planned for a long time. But in spite of this, he sent me a message, or in every hour or two, I called him and asked where I reached. Is there more traffic there? Did i check this Did i see that
I’m sure it was for my safety. But every time I was briefed about giving information about them to everyone. I thought that I was being monitored, every single thing in my travels was being monitored.
And because of this, I started searching for places where there is no mobile network.
According to me, calling every little thing at home and asking whether it was eating or not, homework done or not – or answering questions about the house was not like enjoying me for a walk. I went out to roam to find pleasure.
It is true that I am from the middle class and I am a married woman of an early age who has seven years old son. But is this my identity only? A wife and a mother? And is there any such rule that a married woman should go with her husband?
When I went to Bhutan, there was a parent-teacher meeting in my son’s school. My husband went to that meeting. He later told me his conversation with a friend of my son.
They asked my husband, “Where is your wife?” My husband said, “He has gone out of town.”
He said, “Oh … for work?” “Not just like this … to roam”, my husband said.
Surprised, he said, “Really? You leave alone?” They said such a thing like I have left my husband!
My husband laughed at this whole sentence at the time and told me all this like a joke. But I did not think this was a joke.
A few months ago I met this lady and there was something similar between us. At that time her husband had gone for ‘bike expedition’ and she was telling me this thing with great pride.
I did not ask him at that time, “Did he leave you alone? I mean you left?”
He is not alone. It is strange for many people to go alone alone for their enjoyment, and it is strange for some of my family members too.
When I go to the first thing to go alone I decided not to fix my mother-in-law. But my husband understands why it is important to visit my alone. They explained my mother-in-law and they did not protest again.
My own mother has not yet fully accepted my idea of ’my own time’. I came out to roam this time so I did not tell them.
Later he called up and asked, “Where are you? I am trying to talk to you from tomorrow.” I said, “Mom, I’m out on a trip.”
“Again? Why? Where?”, He asked.
“Yes, just like that … just wanted a little break. This time I got out on the trip”, I said.
He then asked, “OK. How is your child and his father?”
“They are good, they are not with me, they are at home” I said.
He said, “O God, what kind of a mother are you? You can leave such a little child like you and go to roam? His mother is ignoring him, God knows how it feels, I do not know. How did you let your mother-in-law go? ”
I asked, “Mother, do you want me to be tied with a peg?”
This was not a new thing. This is what happened when I came out to roam alone. I do not think he disagrees with this, but perhaps because of my need of ‘my own time’ I am afraid of what people will say.
I find myself alone searching for you. I worry about my family but I also worry about it. Whenever I come out to roam, I take care of myself.
Every time my mother goes out alone like this, my responsibility and decisions are all mine. I am safe but I also dare to do something new. I am a different woman during that time.
The driver who took us to Spiti was the handsome man who gave us food to drink, and I enjoyed talking with him and drinking alcohol. He also got a good mountain folklore.
In the past year when I went to roam with my female friend and our driver left us in the hotel, he asked us, “Will you have some more arrangements?”
Maine still laughs at what he meant – he was asking for liquor or asking for a zigolo!
This kind of experience and real life happens to your family only when you remove the marriage clerk’s closeness on your own, or you see only a woman for a few days, no one’s mother or wife’s wife.
(This story is from a woman residing in West India, who spoke to BBC correspondent Arundhati Ranade Joshi, on the request of the woman, her identity has been kept secret. Producer of this series is Divya Arya