Of Men and Space

I walk around the block with five minutes left to catch my train
An almost everyday routine
And yet somehow almost every day
Three men with their morning newspapers,
Crinkled smirks and eyes
Create a wall between me and
The effort to walk past them always goes in vain.

I finally get a seat on the train
Of course, the one next to the man who spreads his legs
Wide enough to be able to get an excuse to touch
The apparently invisible women sitting on either end
And yet have the audacity to ask us to move
For another man to scooch in
As if the spaces for men never cease to end.

I play hopscotch on the narrow footpath
To get to my destination
But there is always this man with his eyes
Going up and down across me as if
He was trying to tell me with his gaze
That why does he think I can create my own path.

I move to the left to get past
But there seems to be no space
I move to the right
And it’s the same case.

Fight for space was the cause of wars
While nations won and lost decades ago
I continue to fight for it every morning
Amidst a crowd of those who make me feel bodiless.

Anisha Reddy is a journalist from Bengaluru. Amidst hunting for stories, she finds time to string together personal experiences into a poem.

Featured image: Unsplash