A search for some old photographs led me to some of my old Web albums, which in turn led me to some other pics that revived some old happy memories that were lost in some corner of my mind.
Somewhere in the year 2010 to 2011 I happened to be working for an Oceanagrahic institute. Although my job didn’t have much to do with my specialized subject, I didn’t mind doing it because it was something new, interesting at times and moreover I enjoyed the company of people at the Institute.
The best part of that year are the memories of our adventures back home from the Institute. We were a bunch of 3 females which later grew up to maybe 5 or 6, thanks to the success rate of the group.
Well after a whole days work, we ladies had to travel back home which was almost a 1 hr distance. Now imagine your self tired and then squeezed up like a sardine in a bus packed with mackerels…(oops I meant men😁😁). Sometimes it felt like a concentration camp, where you were forced to breathe in different smells of perspiration coming from varied sources. The worst would be in the rains……even if you entered the bus dry, there was no guarantee you would be dry when you exited. In our side of the world the Monsoons can be so intense at times, that it practically rains inside the bus.
So that was it ……We ladies had enough reasons not to be commuting on the otherwise considered safe public transport. We rather risked our lives with a few strangers than going through the ordeal of the public transport. So we began Hitch hiking. And mind you in a couple of months we were experts at the trade 😂😂.
We formed are self into an association named….All India Lift Association (AILA) and Namz was the appointed the president. The other 3 regular members being Doms, Deeps and Jolta. We had our own set of rules and responsibilities were distributed amongst us.
Our location was a mango tree, a couple of metres ahead of the bus stop. We ladies would align ourselves in a line, stretch our hands out and start our business. Many factors were considered before hitching. Our requirements were based on the group strength. If we were just 3 of us….Then small cars like alto, Maruti 800 would do, a bigger group would require something like an i20, Innova etc.
Then came safety….Now we ladies though desperate to get home, we wouldn’t always compromise with safety. Firstly we would prefer a lady driver ( which very rarely happened). Infact many lady drivers would just pass us by with an stare as though saying…”look at these girls risking their lives for a free ride…. And then they cry that they were attacked ??”.
Next we checked the registration of the car, we only went for local cars. It’s a myth though that locals are safer than outsiders. Nevertheless we stuck to rule except for a few occasions where we did stop some outsiders.
The moment the car stopped, one of us would have to make the deal with the driver. “Where are you headed to? Can you please take us along?” If it was a cab then it was the bargaining job…..”How much?? Too much ??” Etc etc. Now during the conversation we had to quickly scan the vehicle, the driver and decide whether it was safe. If the majority of the group found the situation unsafe…..then the deal was dropped. How?? Simple……😁
Us:…..Where are you headed??
Driver:… Margao…..( Scan result >> unsafe,to scary, drop the deal)
Us: …Oh sorry we’re headed to Vasco.😁😁😁
We would just change our location.
If everything looked safe we agreed on the deal, but the next dilemma was, who would sit next to the driver??? Now if it happened to be a handsome guy, then all of us would shy away 😂😂 ( making the dude feel even more great). If it was a not so handsome type or an uncle type then we were not so reluctant.
Initially we were a little hesitant about what we were doing. The crime rate against women was not a new issue afterall. But with time we grew bolder and damn shameless 😁.
Finally are endeavors took us through various experiences. We travelled through many cars which ranged from the humble Maruti 800 to the posh BMW 😎. ….. Believe me it’s true.
We experienced various personalities. Some would not utter a word through the entire journey…..and in order to maintain the silence, we group members would be talking in whispers. Then you had the other extreme that would enjoy chattering throughout the entire journey. I hated when we were interviewed to details….Where are ull from?…. Where are you’ll working? ….. Qualification?…… Surname?…… Salary?……Uhh 😵😵. Those are the only times I used to regret taking the lift.
There were times when we used to get certain vibes which made us feel unsafe along the trip. In such situations we had another plan. One of us would pretend to call up her brother on the pretext of asking him to wait for her and in turn she would kind of update him about our exact location, description of the car, registration number if known etc. This natak was done hope that any vested interest in the mind of the driver would be dampened.😎😎
Today I know how to drive and although not many people have asked me for a lift. …..I have on many occasions given people a lift (90℅ only ladies). And I do understand the risk involved in both taking a lift and offering one. But at times you can’t help it.
I miss those days, those trips, I miss my buddies ….The AILA ladies. Every time I pass that mango tree on the highway, I still notice some girls (and boys too) hitching and at once it brings back memories of the past.
I wish our juniors good luck….Just remember be safe. 😁
AILA was also a classic example of how women can face great challenges, if they work together.
Here is an old post written by our AILA president, many years back which I came across yesterday. It’s a very funny one. A must read if you’ve read through my crap 😁😂.
Until then long live the memories of our sweet AILA .