When I was a girl, of merely eleven years, my freedom came from power cuts at night. At precisely 11:20 every night, power went off, plunging our tiny street into darkness. There she was, the apple of someone else’s eyes. Stood before our door, begging my mother, ‘Can your little one coem out for a walk?’
And we’d walk. Till well past one at night. In the darkness, no one knew that I’d been asked to stay behind, and witness the love affair of an older girl. Delhi fluttered, like fireflies. In candles and dying electricity generators. They’d take off, on an absurdly loud bike. It’s breath filling our lungs with fumes and the promises of young adulthood.
There was no redemption in being the cover for someone’s love life. You stood, and sat by the corner on streets. Waiting for electricity, and light. Just in time, they’d ride in. Full of love, and covered with sweat. Their bikes heaving through the night. The lights would come on, all at once. And young girls, like me, or like you, would crawl back home. For a night of sleep, and someone else’s wet dreams.