At the age of 20 years, Keshav, a boy from Samastipur decided to explore India for a reason and then he picked a bike and started his journey of 9000 kms starting from Delhi to cover the Golden Quadrilateral.
The Reasons in Keshav’s word
In the past few months, India has seen more chaos than order. It’s given birth to more questions than answers. Students running wild in protests, television show anchors blaring out loud in debates where everyone seems divided, politicians claiming the promise of good days rubbishing any finger pointed at them & a violent form of speech take its baby steps into the much beloved social media space.
Everyone seems to be angry, everyone seems to be dissatisfied. But that’s the picture they want me to believe, isn’t it?
Not really. Amidst the chaos, we’ve all forgotten what still remains unresolved. Between all this talk of nationalism & political correctness, we’ve let go of that one issue that continues to affect us all.
We’ve dismissed this issue like a sensational article from a buzz website. We’ve all stomped our feet in protest for this issue, we’ve all raised our candles for peace & then we’ve taken a cab home back to our lives in a dysfunctional society that can talk much, but do little to make the streets of its own neighbourhood safe for a woman.
Gender disparity has come a long way, you say? Then you need to widen your gaze.
While we have women on top positions in the corporates, we cannot deny that men give up on chances to cite the reason for their success to be their sex appeals or seduction tactics. While we dearly love our mothers & wives, we still expect them to balance work and business all the same.
While we don’t frown upon women wearing whatever they want to wear, we still objectify them in closed spaces among friends. We might be progressive men, but we’re all just closet male chauvinists.
Awareness helps, protest marches help too. But nothing helps better than educating your fellow men & women. I’m not a teacher, so I don’t have a class of students I can preach to about gender equality. But I can talk to a teacher & inspire him or her to do that. I can talk to a student from one of the many colleges in our country & simply ask him to point out and correct the little actions of misogyny him or his friends might be unintentionally engaging in. A positive conversations is the best mode of transport for awareness & education.
I realized that there’s a message that needs to travel all across the nation. So I picked up my bike, packed up my tent & stove. And I set off on a journey of thousands of kilometres across the landscape of my heartland. The goal was simple – start the right conversation. I wanted to make people talk about what ails them, how they looked at the problems that everyone keeps talking about.
Are the conditions in my own country as pathetic as the news channels portray or is the real story far too different?
As it turns out, the reality is quite different than we’re made to believe.
Gender equality is about one mind-set at a time. My journey is to create conversations for her; what she faces every day, what she fears every day, how she protects herself and what situations are creating this need for protection in her environment. That’s one side of the coin, the other side is creating conversations for him; how he understands the issue of gender equality, and does he even find it valid, what he thinks of women around him & what his take on eve teasing is. The Answering Road’s objective is to remind you of what seems forgotten, the conversations that have been foreshadowed & lead our society, our younglings to answers they’ve been seeking for years.
It’s time we stop stopping at the questions. It’s time we stop believing what’s sold to us in the garb of sensationalism. It’s time for us all to seek answers. This takes me to the last segment of my campaign, for us. Real answers, for us all.
Sponsors for Keshav’s trip are Barterstreets, Rentomojo and Croof