An unending pathway reiterating “there are miles to go before I sleep” (how else will the 360km stretch be covered), the icing to the trip being the condensing set of clouds all fumed up and fiery, ready to burst aloud any moment, the curvy narrow highway pacing up to somehow escape the anticipated landslide in the Western Ghats– the artist inside lurked way beyond its limit to halt in the middle of crazy monsoon showers, only to witness the raging waterfall on one side and the empty valley compensating for it with the forest echoing love messages by couples on the other! My first long bike trip made me fall in love with the unabashed South India. It was real and surreal, dramatic and pragmatic, most definitely daunting but also inundated with heartwarming self-love. ‘This indeed is the institution to self-discovery and freedom, hail Mangalore!’- my excitement was contagious by this time.

We truly are stuck between the misogyny of inverted power structure between men and women.

The scrumptious Chicken Sukka and Kori Roti hosted me in their regal South Indian authenticity and I couldn’t stop wondering when was the last time I felt this exact level of fulfillment. With gratitude in our hearts and the inexplicable beauty to overwhelm, we set out to explore the heritage. The night before was duly spent in a wholesome planning of the places we’re covering and the entourage to ensure we get the maximum sightseeing before the unpredictable showers hit hard again. I chose a knee-length, comfortable, cotton, blue and white striped dress for a simple fact that this would go perfect with my St. Lawrence Church visit and the pictures to follow, of course. With one of my group members being ultra-religious so much so that he wouldn’t proceed to the next destination without covering all the temples in his stretch, we paused at one of the majestic, magnanimous city temples. I love temples in general, however, this was a moment which could outweigh either of my religiousness (if I walk in) or surrender before the staunch Hinduism practitioners who’d not spare one inch of my body draped in that knee-length dress, judging the appropriateness of my existence in that inappropriate attire.

My first long bike trip made me fall in love with the unabashed South India. It was real and surreal, dramatic and pragmatic, most definitely daunting but also inundated with heartwarming self-love

Otherwise exuberant and stern, I really broke down watching these bare-chested men with the red long tilak adorning their foreheads and floaty dhotis projecting their succumbed manliness, guard the entrance, labelling me an Outsider with their looks. And just then, my partner held me by my left arm and gently directed me towards the entry to the temple. I remember counting the four minutes and the 37 seconds I spent inside feeling like a lifetime of prison. Had it not been the liberating visit to the Church thereafter, I would probably have sulked for days.

We truly are stuck between the misogyny of inverted power structure between men and women. After the regressive set of ruling years, women have finally spoken up about not willing to be ruled anymore. And we’re seeking a balance with clearly no intention of inverting the power structure and create a society with the women ruling the men. That’s all there’s to it for real- And this theory truly comes across as no-nonsense rationality. However, the energy to speak up against all the discrimination and bondage has gotten a certain sector to believe that we might be avenging ourselves against all these years of stillness. And that in turn, is leading to vague attempts at holding grounds for power, a make-me-feel-good set of prejudiced activities to take pride in the authority of masculinity. Why else would a culturally vibrant city of Mangalore abide the men entering temples to ensure their upper bodies are unfurnished and the same rule has the society looking down upon the ladies not fully clad? What is this shield of virility that celebrates the males and dishonors the females?

I don’t believe we are giving enough importance to the revered ‘equalism’ with as much a necessity to the misunderstood ‘feminism.’ We clearly are failing ourselves, especially as Indians when we let a mighty school in Pune roll out a notice asking the female students to wear a particular skin color innerwear with a particular length of their skirts. We are shameless because we are watching the videos of transgenders trying to have us ask the men to behave and not the women to dress a certain way, we are getting the videos viral and concurrently comparing rape cases depending on which one garnered more attention from the Bollywood fraternity.

I don’t believe we are giving enough importance to the revered ‘equalism’ with as much a necessity to the misunderstood ‘feminism.’

I was taught wrong that mini- skirts and halter- necks provoke rapes when I saw for myself not even the minors, infants, Muslim women in Burkha, men at work being NOT spared. Maybe the begotten, rag-hearted gospels of religion come across as intimidating to me for once but I know they wouldn’t be able to stand five minutes of scripture discussion I’ve literally thrived upon right since childhood. Be it their judgement of my origin or the lack of sensitivity towards human emotions, I’ve learnt that I got to hold my head high the next time I walk in the temple door in a saree, or a gown. I’d still be better off than those goons calling themselves the messengers of God in the broad daylight with their demons coming out when nobody around’s watching them assault and rape children within the same premises of the temples.

My Religiousness is my religiousness to believe and follow, none of yours to dissect!

This was first published here. Views are the author’s own. SheThePeople doesn’t take responsibility of articles submitted voluntarily by our audience to bring new angles to a debate or narrate a personal experience. 

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