Jacket



Picture By Arushi Rawat

I pass by the Jamia Milia Islamia campus almost every day to college; a wall there says 'Ideas are bulletproof' in graffiti, reminding me every morning why Malala's philosophy didn't die even after a bullet tore through her.


At my college gate, I see girls get off and stuff their jackets into bags, it's 43 degrees and the middle of May, but the cloaks of protection are the first line of defense drilled into our heads.


My friend just spent half an hour booking and canceling and booking and canceling and booking and canceling and finally saying - this driver looks decent, you know? Let's go. A ride home should've been 15 minutes, but my city's pace picks up every minute. I wish her luck for an hour in traffic.


I see an empty car in the coming metro, but it's not the women's coach. My stomach turns, and I let it go, shuffle my way to the end of the station.


The tracks cross a patch scattered with blue and yellow tarp sheets and a boundary of garbage dumps; they look like gold mines in the sunset. I spot two children in the midst of it and remember the tarps are home to someone.


I'm almost home now; the sun is nearly gone. I cross the Jamia Milia Islamia building, the black graffiti roughly invisible now. I shiver as my bare arm touches the cold glass window.


My station is here, I get off, and now it's all autopilot. Make my way down, exit, and cross over from where home is near.


It's 38 degrees, still the middle of May.


Like clockwork, I stop just a few steps before, unzip my bag, and shrug on my jacket. I'm now ready to go home.




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