A Saturday Night.

Manjari Sharma
4 min readDec 30, 2019

I’m a 28-year-old woman living in a big city in India, in the 21st century.

It’s about half past nine and I just got off the phone with my friend. I was telling her that it’s a Saturday night and I really want to go out, get a drink maybe. The phone conversation lasted over an hour discussing my prospects of doing that because there was one tiny catch in the situation: I didn’t really have company to go out with and I don’t live in the middle of Manhattan.

We decided that I must go, that I could carry my earphones and dig my phone if I get awfully lonely (or if I need to ward off any unnecessary attention) or I could carry my laptop, sit in one corner and perhaps write a masterpiece! Okay maybe that’s a stretch.

So here I am now, standing in front of my open wardrobe. I pull my phone out to check the time one more time.

9:35 PM

I have fifteen minutes to get ready, another 5 minutes waiting for the cab, and fifteen minutes more to the pub, which means I could only get there by 10:20 PM. Then I would order myself at least two drinks, take an hour or so before I book a ride back home. Which means I’ll be taking a ride around midnight — a little drunk — alone — a bit dressed up. Sheeeeeeeesh! Are we sure about it?

“I am NOT going to change my mind”, I tell myself and I hurry up. I don’t have time to iron anything so I pick from the first few things that catch my eye. It’s a long black skirt with high slits on the side, I pair it with a dull black top. It’s showing too much legs. Mind you — I have worn that skirt tens of times.

But today that skirt feels a bit different. Tonight that skirt is being worn by an unaccompanied lady at the bar, taking a cab alone at night. I should wear a pair of leggings underneath perhaps. Nope, still feels a bit.. err, slutty? I don’t want to look like I dressed for this night, like I planned sitting at the bar by myself. I don’t want to give that impression.

Pants, yes. Grey and formal. Perfect, will look like I was at work or out for a meeting, and then I decided to get a drink before calling it a night. So now the poor skirt I so lovingly bought gets defeated tonight. A dull black top with grey formal pants. Time check;

9:50 PM

Crap. I hurry my way to the bathroom, and while washing my face I’m doing another round of quick time calculations in my head, pushing everything by fifteen minutes. I never knew I was so good at orienting my social life to the clock. Clocking every movement. I think it’s a woman thing; we get trained to do that. We’re all like Cinderellas living in a world where the person chasing us is not a handsome prince.

I don’t want to look too great. I put a nude lipstick shade and pick up the mascara hastily. I don’t even remember the last time I applied mascara, so I slap it against my palm a few times before clicking it open. And then I lean as close as I can to the mirror, carefully twirling my lashes upwards with the brush.

“Will the cabbie judge me?”

“What if I am unable to find a cab, then I’ll have to try catching an auto rickshaw instead at night outside the pub. Anybody’s worst nightmare.”

Now these thoughts are making me way too uncomfortable. Being overcharged is the least of my worries. I switch to the other eye and sneak a quick look at my watch in between.

9:57 PM

I mentioned earlier, I don’t live in the middle of a densely populated neighbourhood. I live in this quaint part of Bangalore, on the way to the airport, with lots of open land and not a lot of people. Needless to say, it gets pretty quiet, pretty early.

So now I’m done, just going to grab my bag and toss in a few everyday things: Wallet, keys, a lipstick, hand cream, a packet of paper tissues. Damn, I don’t have a pepper spray. Do I have a blade in the house? No. Maybe a safety pin then. Well that’s no good.

I glance at myself in the tall dressing mirror one last time before taking my phone out to book an Uber. “I wonder if I should change my underpants to something less pretty.”

Wait. What? I am utterly shocked at the thought that just crossed my mind. I look myself in the eye, I see a face which doesn’t look brave.

I keep my bag down. I sit down, heave a sigh. These are not the feelings I want to go out with.

I’m not brave and it’s not my fault.

The rest of my Saturday night went quietly as I reheated some leftovers from that afternoon and watched a mindless TV show called Shameless.

I’m a 28-year-old woman living in a big city in India, in the 21st century.

Fin.

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Manjari Sharma

Hi there! Thanks for reading my blogs. I like to write about thoughts and incidents that flex my brain cells. I'm also a climate action advocate 🌧️🌏🔥