Bhatiyarii is an army occupied area in Bangladesh which has all sort of natural beauty to it. From lakes to mountains to herb covered landscapes to sky-touching zigzag hills where once you are lost you find a way to your soul. Away from the city, Bhatiyarii welcomes you with a pin drop silence where butterfly shows you directions and the rest follow you through. That might sound ideal, but I have lived through it. One the way to Bhatiyarii, we took a taxi which could only go up to the city gate. For the rest of the journey, we had to take another taxi which could directly take us to the place. However, we changed our mind on hiring another taxi to join public transport that was very cheap compared to the taxi fare, plus it sounded more adventurous too. Under the pinching sun, we waited for a few minutes until the tempo ( public bus in Bangla language) came. There were no seats to sit so we opted to stand at the back of the vehicle, rather. That was such a choice I could never say no to. The very first experience of traveling in my life which I always have looked up to while I was in Pakistan. I have grown up seen guys hooking themselves up at the back of the vehicles when there were no seats, but for ladies that was a can't do the job kind of thing. It was a cultural taboo, a patriarchal standard of honoring women. What I was dreaming of was a silent wish, a rebellious desire only kept within. But, thanks to Bhatiyarii, I did what I always wondered for. I did what was always on my "to do" list. Not just me, but two of my other friends joined. Apart from us, there was only one lady seated and the rest of the passengers on public transport were men. They kept looking at us with admiration and inspiration as if we were some aliens coming to their land and enjoying nearly an impossible task at least by women of their society. Perhaps we were the first-ever ladies every one on the road, at signals stared at, with wonder. What might they be thinking of us? Where did they think we were from? How did they judge our friendly behavior of waving back at them and passing smiles? With the air flying my hair up and down and seeing the buzz of the city as a free bird, I deadly desired for a world free of gender-based stereotypes. The moment I was exploring a whole new way of living a life, I did not give much attention to the intensity with which the men eyes gazed us, but when I came back and hit my bed, my eyes could not stop reflecting the flashlight of cameras and men's unpleasant stare that left me thinking "does this world only belong to men", " Would this world ever be gender-free"?
This story was submitted in response to You Are a Silence Breaker.