19 April, 2021

Just Straying

The research is interesting, but the writing is choppy in parts and needs smoother transitions

Just Straying

Imagine. A book that celebrates loitering and, more surprisingly, women loitering. They could be old, young, single, married, lesbian, in slums, high rises, on the streets, in office and at home. They want to loiter, but can’t. Men, on the other hand, can and do.

Loitering, say the authors, is feared, discouraged and considered anti-social. They point out that all the words in Indian languages used to describe the act of loitering—luccha, lafanga, vella, tapori, bekar—are uncomplimentary. Deep down, suggest the authors, loitering is about many things—need to loiter, hang out, use of space, safety (especially sexual safety)—and make a case for loitering as a fundamental act of claiming public space and a more inclusive citizenship.

The research and the resultant book are Mumbai-based. But their findings are applicable to any Indian city. The authors suggest that the socialisation of women and men—to see and use space in a certain way—is problematic. Whether it is commuting, playing,...

In this article:

More from Anita Pratap

Latest Magazine

April 26, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section