“I’m a prisoner in my own home,” I told my mother, when I tired of her overprotective stance after I asked her to take me on a trip to North India during the vacation because most of the people I knew had packed their bags, hopped on trains or planes and went globetrotting while I’m staring out of an iron-latticed window which I am being constantly reminded to close because of the rambunctious XY-chromosome population who are most likely to go saucer-eyed at the sight of fingertips or an eyelash batting.
“Let’s go to Lonavla near Bombay,” I suggested and my mother considered it, but deemed it too dangerous and lonesome a place to go. She said the same of the street we live on, the area surrounding my school and the church premises after dusk.
“I want to go to Udaipur or Jaipur in Rajasthan,” I continued. My mother sallied that I wouldn’t be able to survive the heat waves. “God, I’m not a vampire!” I thought to myself.
“How about Shimla or Srinagar or Manali? It snows in those places.” She looked at me like a doctor would regard a patient who had downed hemlock in front of his eyes and she warned me about border conflicts with Pakistan. “This is a sightseeing tour, not a military tour,” I felt like telling her.
“Then how about Ahmedabad or Mount Abu in Gujarat?” She told me that the wrong government party was in power there. “So much for politics,” I reckoned.
“Goa?” I made one last attempt only to get a cacophonous dual-voiced lecture from both mother and her mother about the statistics of rape and murder and beach nightlife. “If I were a boy…”
Finally my mother asked me the question of import, “For what do you want to go to all these places?”
“To write a travelogue,” I casually responded.
“The next time our parish is going on one of those European tours, why don’t you go — just you?” she asked, to be answered with a cock of the brow.
She had just belied all her restrictions.
And yet she’s not willing to let me stand in the veranda or walk to a friend’s house.