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Tea Leaves

My way on the highway -- an Indian road trip

Lone women face violence on India's roads, but we should brave our fears

I wanted to celebrate my 40th birthday by overcoming my biggest fear: Driving a long distance on an Indian highway by myself. (Photo by P. Sarkar)

The tollbooth attendant wore a dark green shawl. Half his face was covered in a gray woolen scarf and his puffy eyes hovered past me, looking for the man he expected to see in the car I was driving.

I was on the Yamuna Expressway, a six-lane highway that connects New Delhi to Agra, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. I was driving to Fatehpur Sikri, once the Mughal Emperor Akbar's capital, and then on to the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra, the epitome of love and longing, which Akbar's grandson Shah Jahan built for his beloved Mumtaz Mahal.

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