Javaira Waseem is what she calls “everything at once”. Being a writer, photographer, filmmaker and an illustrator she can now add “conversation starter” to her list too.
She uploaded an illustration to her Instagram page. It was something that made me pause, it was too familiar.
I hadn’t seen this illustration before, but I was familiar with the frame. Me and almost every other woman who saw it.
It featured a rearview mirror, with the “Saffar ki dua” hanging on it. In it, we see the eyes of a driver directly frozen on the woman sitting in the back seat.
“Eyes on the road at all times” – Not for this country. Drivers are fully capable of multitasking. They can drive straight ahead while fixating their eyes on you the whole time. Even if you look back in an attempt to embarrass them into stopping – they won’t. It’ll just feed them more.
Every woman who’s ever used public transportation in Pakistan knows this feeling. You need to get from point A to point B. You have the drive ogle at you the whole time. You feel disgusted. If you have something important to do after, you still feel disgusted the whole time.
And then, every time you need to take a car, you’re already prepared – but it still feels as gross as it did the first time. Whether you’re someone that wears a full niqaab or someone that wears simple shalwar kameez or jeans. Every one of them knows this feeling.
This post comes as part of the #WhyIMarch. For people who still think women are as safe and secure as their male counterparts, who don’t understand why are women so angry right now.
If you’re one of those people, I urge you to look up the hashtag, read the stories of the women around you. Have you gone through the same thing? Yes? Join them. Have you never been through anything like that? Realise your privilege and join them in the march.
Just because you are content and feel like nothing is wrong with your life that you’d want to change, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to other people around you. Start listening to the stories around you – pay attention.