City-based art teacher Padmapriya Kannan has come up with a project titled Women Travellers to document the emotions and expressions of both urban and rural woman while taking public transportation
“We generally talk about women’s safety in public transportation but don’t address the kind of emotional stress they undergo while travelling on bus, train or share autos. Most of them feel insecure and uncomfortable and later, this turns into fear. Perhaps, this feeling of insecurity would have developed in them from their childhood. I have heard stories about how girl students couldn’t escape from the ‘bad’ touch or abuse while travelling on buses or trains. And this had left a lasting impression in their mind,” says Padmapriya.
So far, she has collected stories shared by her close friends. For getting more inputs for the project, the youngster plans to travel and meet women from across Tamil Nadu and document their travel experiences. “The experiences differ as they travel between urban, suburban and rural areas. They might be more comfortable and at ease while travelling in public transport in villages. I get to know a clear picture once I complete my project,” she tells us.
Some stories are sad, some are empowering and memorable…One such story Padmapriya has documented was shared by one of her close friends. “My friend had to travel from Chennai to Mumbai to study various types of fireflies. Instead of booking a sleeper or an AC coach, she decided to travel in an unreserved compartment. Travelling such a long distance in an unreserved compartment is not an easy feat. She was scared throughout the journey. But once she returned to Chennai, there was a huge difference in her attitude — she wasn’t scared anymore and her perspective about life changed,” recalls Padmapriya.
The journal will be having stories, drawings, and photographs taken by Padmapriya. Her focus is not just women travellers but women who are working in the transport sector as well. “There are female bus, auto and cab drivers, and conductors working among us. They will be having interesting stories and experiences to share. I hope my journal will help women overcome their fear while travelling in public transport," she remarks.