Great fields of Olives greeted me as my plane was landing in the Rome Int’l Airport. I love olives and believe it or not, these fields made me optimistic about my trip around Rome. Since childhood I had imagined the awe inspiring structures of the Roman Empire and how it would feel to be amidst them. And in totality my dream did come true. The magnificence of the 3000 year old city knows no bounds; every corner you turn brings you face to face with a monument that cannot simply be placed in this era.
I turned my imagination up a notch and began visualizing how the Romans used to live in the birthplace of civilization. The gladiators fighting in the colosseum, the roman forum full of roman philosophers, the likes of Marcus Aurelius and Plotinus. I was feeling quite majestic myself and it took quite a lot of self-restraint on my part not to pick up a sword and charge.
After reveling in the outer beauty of these wonders I went inside. The art on the ceilings, the intricate and exquisite detail on the statues were an amazing experience. You can never admire them enough, not in front of them and neither in afterthought. Each painting and sculpture had a style of their own, each different from the other. Yet there were some made centuries apart which looked almost the same, it was marvelous.
Having soaked in the many sights of Rome I had a carnal urge to move towards the smells, the famous Roman cuisine. I hogged on everything that I could lay my eyes on, Pastas, Pizzas, Gelatos, everything vanished in a jiffy. The food is definitely worth dying for; I’d happily give up everything to be amongst this kind of food for a lifetime. The varieties of Pizzas, Pastas, Meats and Gelatos available were mind boggling.
Rome is a wondrous city, a city perfect for wanderers, perfect for people who get lost in the city and not the people. You can sit and admire the beauty of Rome for hours to an end, yet every time you begin to write words will fall short. I’ve definitely marked Rome as one of the places I would love to go back to, maybe this time on a Roman Holiday.
She crept up silently from her bed and dusted the night’s madness off her self. It was an eerie hour of dawn and she began preparing her mind for the ordeal that lay ahead. She got off her tiny bed and looked out the window of her cramped little room.
The vastness of the view seemed to fight her meek existense, as if to sound out a challenge. She closed the shutters and rid herself of the prying eyes, the soul less glares. She tiptoed towards the bathroom stealing glances behind her, trying to find shadows in the non existent crevices of her dingy room. The shower welcomed her with warmth against the chill of the city.
She stood beneath the running water, a lifeless form, castrating thoughts, memories and distinguished nightmares from her mind. She was fighting it all but she knew today will be her last. She made herself a cocoon with the towel and wore her everyday clothes, a jeans, a t-shirt and the power to endure all.
She gathered her bag and left the room, her sad eyes scanned the room knowing that the room, her world might get lost today. She tiptoed down the stairs and into the open road, into the freedom.
Her clothes felt weird on her body, in reality she felt naked as she watched each man she passed by, strip her with his eyes. She pulled her clothes in tighter, afraid that they’ll be taken away in a horrible sort of way. She passed by more lecherous men and with time the glares got stronger, almost open challenging her chastity. Lewd actions had started making their presence felt, gestures of breast gropes and other horrid fantasies.
She felt like a hamster in a cage, running on a wheel to no result. Her mind fluttered in her darkness as her body took part in material erotica of the people she passed by. A crowd was approaching and as she was being justled from side to side she felt lingering touches on her breasts and bottom. Uncomfortable as she was, she had no choice, it was a ritual almost.
She remembered the senile old man who groped as she was touching his feet, the roadside romeos who pulled out their appendages even without any provocation from her side. The cars with black tinted windows who stopped beside her asking how much she took for the night. Men with their mind in the gutters, men whose head were still held high.
She looked behind abruptly and saw three men following her closely with evident malicious intent. She saw the gate on her left, it was close. Perhaps she should run but that would show her weakness. She walked on at a quiet pace, her ears rejecting the bile that came from the mouths of the men.
She saw the men catch up to her, she flanked to her right and entered the gate. She had reached college, she was safe another day, her life returned to her.
She would live for another day, her life was still safe but she would have to endure it again. Tomorrow, day after, day after day, such has become the existence of women in our horrid society.
Written on the eve of Women’s Day.