A glimpse of new experiences in Mumbai This story is inspired by my own experience in Mumbai in December last year. I was new in the city so I used to travel in men’s compartment in the train along with my friend. There were very few women in the men’s traveling compartment (In Mumbai, there are women only compartments and mixed areas which are predominantly male). I felt stared at a lot, maybe due to my fair complexion (by Indian standards). Although I wrote about the hijab experience as if it were first day in the story, I actually wore it on the last day. It felt incredible to walk around wearing it. It gave me a sense of freedom to not be self-conscious and just fully experience the moment.
I was reminded of this experience during Professor Assani’s lecture on gender and Islam. One of the interesting topics raised during the lecture was, contextual interpretations of the hijab; Is the veil oppressive or liberating? A quote that I found interesting was:
Prophet! Tell your wives, your daughters and the women folk of believers to draw their veils closely around them. This will facilitate their being identified for who they are and will save them from molestation….God is forgiving and merciful. Surah 33.59
I was inspired to write a picture story and enjoyed reading Rokeya Hossain’s short story “Sultana’s Dream”. I thought that writing in such a simple way, as if a child had written the story, was a true case of less is more. The use of simple vocabulary, minimalist narrative and unadorned drawings, lets the message speak for itself. Here I attempt to mimic her style and recount my experience of wearing a Hijab for the first time.