International Women’s Day Celebrates in an Uncommon Way
On the eerie full moon night of 11th March, sixteen women decided to celebrate the “spirit” of International Women’s Day in an uncommon way- by taking a tour to city’s most haunted and isolated places at the night, where even males are not safe at all. Unhotel co-founder, Shilpi Singh has spearheaded a campaign called “Reclaim My Space” (#reclaimyspace) -an initiative to make women aware of the spaces that they want to be in without fear, discrimination or gender bias.
Challenging gender stereotype and the so-called boundaries set for women, Shilpi and her team of sixteen women decided to drive on the lonely roads of Delhi from 8 pm to 4 am visiting some of the most haunted and isolated spots around the city.
What was the idea and what were the women out to prove? Shilpi puts it simply - “Ideally there should be no place where a woman cannot go, if she wishes to. Our effort is to encourage more women to travel any time of the day or night, take charge rather than be dependent on the male members or anybody else. If she wants to venture out and do something, she should be able to! We must build awareness and the infrastructure for that”
The Night Riders was conceptualised by RJ Khurafati Nitin and supported by Veena Gupta of WESS. The buzz between the women began almost three weeks before the event. The group swelled in numbers and in enthusiasm. This motley group of women from a nineteen-year-old student to a mother in law of fifty-six came together as one. No pre conceived notions, no judgments about each other - all were out to challenge themselves and have fun.
Dressed in black, a small prayer of faith and some light dinner, the women drove on the streets of Delhi covering five of the most haunted spots of Delhi. RJ Khurafati Nitin moderated the drive in his inimitable style along with paranormal expert Varun taking the women through the spooky spots, giving them some background before visiting the place and also trying to figure if they could sense a “presence” or "energy field". The group covered GK1, Lothian Cemetery at Kashmiri Gate, Bhooli Bhatiyari Ka Mahal at Jhandewalan, Malcha Mahal and the peepal tree near Dwarka Sector 9 Metro Station!
Were the women scared? Well, a bit. But it was more than offset by a feeling of liberation. They felt strong and for each, a small shift happened in their beliefs and confidence. Besides, it was a girls night out and they had loads of fun.
The Unhotel, especially its women’s vertical is making all efforts to create travel and experiences beyond the conventional boundaries for women so they can aptly and safely #reclaimyspace. If the concept interests you, then all you need to do is write into Shilpi at firstname.lastname@example.org for some specially curated and uncommon experiences.