The other day I was in a dhaba in Qasigund, Kashmir and like most other times I have eaten at a dhaba, I was the only woman there. A few hours later and back in Srinagar, I discovered a movement called #girlsatdhabas which is about desi women reclaiming public spaces.
In my eyes the need for open and public spaces is terribly important. I grew up 'loitering' on park and sidewalk benches snacking and reading books I borrowed from the public library. I mourned the lack of loiter-worthy spaces deeply once I moved to India. I lamented even more that the few spaces there were were usually overrun by men, and worse still, that the disparity in gender ratios carried into private establishments as well.
And so I love this initiative. It's simple, heartwarming, brave and effective. Sadly it was too late for me to take a photo of myself in the dhaba but follow @girlsatdhabas, share your pictures and hopefully one day we can all stop asking 'where are all the women?