Freedom? What’s that?

For the first time in my life, I could not immediately begin writing when I was given a prompt. The prompt was , “What does freedom mean to me.” This made me ponder. Why can’t I write about freedom? What is stopping me? Why this block? After all freedom is such a simple word no?

And it struck me that I was scared of the word freedom. Because I truly don’t know what it really is.

The dictionary defines it as the quality or state of being free. But am I really free? Do I really have the freedom to be me?

Freedom to me would be the breaking of bonds. The bonds of my own mind first of all; which stops me from being me by saying, “Oh what will people say? Are you really willing to displease all those people by your decision?”

So okay, I will marry who ever my parents want me to. I will get married even if I don’t want to or am not ready to. And I will stay in a marriage even if it an abusive one, because what will people say?

To me freedom is being free to love who I want, irrespective of gender, as long as I am not hurting anyone. I want the freedom to be able to say to hell with your stupid religious sentiments that create more hate and intolerance and to hell with laws that impinge on personal life.

To me freedom would mean being able to write what I want to, without fear of being penalised for telling things the way I see them.

It would mean the ability to dream, to aspire, even I come from an unprivileged background knowing that there is a chance that my dreams can come true.

Freedom for me as an impoverished child in an ashramshala would be the knowledge that the resources that are my due, reach me and not a minister or government official’s pocket. Freedom would be enough food, so that physical hunger is not a cause for me to give up my dreams to become a better person.

Freedom to me means being free of the constant threat of rape and worse every time I am out late, every time I take a cab alone…. every time I am a woman.

And since I do not know these kinds of freedom in India, I am afraid of being free.

 

This blog post is a part of #LetsDiscussFreedom Blogathon. I would like to thank Charu from https://themomsagas.com/   for introducing me.

I would now like to introduce Cheni Adukia from http://cheniadukia.wordpress.com/ and recommend you to read her views on the prompt, ‘What Does  Freedom Mean To You’.

 

Putting others in our boxes

Today as I walked from the library where I conduct my creative writing classes to the auto rickshaw stand, I saw an old couple and a younger woman talking on the footpath. Judging by their body language they were either neighbours or close acquaintances; not family though. That kind of closeness was missing.

They were speaking loud enough for me to hear.

“We go to Dr.A.”, said the elderly gentleman.

“Oh!” said the younger woman, who I guessed to be in her 40s. “Why don’t you go to Dr. B. He is at XYZ hospital.”

“We are perfectly comfortable with our present doctor and satisfied with his treatment.”

“But you must visit Dr. B once. He is really very good.”

“So is our doctor”, said the old man a trifle impatiently.

With that they were no longer in my hearing zone and I went on my way pondering the innumerable times I have had similar conversations in my life.

How many times have well meaning friends and relatives tried to tell me that every other doctor is better than mine; every other home remedy is better than the ones I use; every other place is better to shop at than the one I patronize; every other author is better than my favourite one.

Why do we always try to force an opinion down people’s throats even if we are aware that it makes them uncomfortable?

Why do we need everyone to fit in “our” boxes? Why don’t we like it when other people’s boxes are of a different shape and dimension to ours? Why do we need them to come into our comfort zone even if it means that they have to leave their own?

Is it because we are afraid of them being different from us or because we are scared to be different from them?

What do you think? Do share your thoughts in the comment section.

 

This post was written in response to the prompt, “Write about an interesting conversation you overheard recently” for Friday Reflections

 

Friday Reflections is a link up hosted by Shalini at KohlEyed Me and Corinne at Everyday Gyaan. 

Here’s how #FridayReflections works:

  1. Write a post using one of the prompts for the week provided below.
  2. Use the hashtag #FridayReflections. Please follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group.
  3. Add your link to the linky below.
  4. Use our #FridayReflections badge to encourage other bloggers to join in too.
  5. Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.

Prompts for 5th January 2018 – choose any one:

  1. Write about an interesting conversation you overheard recently.

  2. “As long as you feel like a victim, you are one.” – Morgan Freeman

  3. Picture prompt – credit (Corinne Rodrigues)

My word for 2018

 

Sometime ago, Corinne Rodrigues had blogged about her word of the year. The concept intrigued me and as I read about it, I realised it really made more sense to have a word or phrase around which you want your year to revolve. What is Word Of The Year all about? Corinne has explained it very well in her blog and I am going to quote her here.

“In case you’re wondering what this word of the year business is all about, let me explain. I came across the idea that it is better to choose one word/ phrase for the year than have a list of New Year’s resolutions that don’t work. I know it helps me to see my life through the lens of that one word/phrase and focus on it. It helps me go through the year more positively and not feel burdened by guilt about resolutions I didn’t keep.”

I pondered over this and spoke to my daughters and mother about it, asking them what their word of the year would be. Natasha who has really been ill and down for most of last year, said her word was, “Zesty” as she wanted to get back her energy and start living life again.

Nakita chose tranquillity and my mom chose sleep.

I realised that all our words reflected how we had grown over the last year and what we had missed out on and had come to treasure the most.

My word is “Me”. The minute I thought of it, I immediately felt “OMG! That sounds so selfish!” and I realised that that is exactly the reason I need to make it my word of the year. I have to stop feeling that I am being selfish every time I put myself first. I need to stop making other people’s opinion matter so much that I end up losing myself in the process of trying to appease every one.

As I said in my last post of last year, 2017 was a mean mom of a year and I realised that if I don’t take care of myself no one else will. Not because they don’t care, but because they are busy looking after themselves.

When I say that my word of the year is this small two letter word, “Me”, I am looking at so many aspects of myself.

It stands for a healthier “Me” which means no missing out on meds, regular checkups, my physiotherapy or my daily walks.  It means eating healthy and taking the time to plan my food.

It stands for “Me” as a writer, which means no excuses to not write. It means having the confidence to commit to writing everyday and grooming myself to be a better writer.

Focusing on “Me” would mean gardening and dancing and reading and playing more with my dog, Muffin. It would mean giving myself permission to be happy even if I goof up. It would mean forgiving myself for perceived mistakes. It would mean loving myself first.

So what is your word of the year? Do share it in the comments section.

My 500 Words : Day 1

I first came across Jeff Goins as a result of a Google search a couple of years ago. He and Michael Hyatt are the two people I have been religiously following since then.

There is a story that Jeff keeps telling of how he started taking writing seriously. A friend of his asked him once what his dream was and he replied that he hoped to be a writer someday. His friend looked at him and said, “Jeff, you don’t have to want to be a writer. You are a writer. You just need to write.”

The first time I read this, it stirred something in me. I started calling myself a writer and I tried to write as much as I could. I even made a visiting card which said, “Writer”. But old habits die hard. Though I really, really wanted to write, there was house work that never ended; I had to continue taking my classes as that was the only source of income and a million other reasons besides why I could not find the time to write.

But somewhere the seed was sown and I started looking for and finding small writing challenges that made me accountable. The Write Tribe had a writing challenge in October last year where we had to write nine posts in the month. I thought that was do able and I actually completed it.

Then I took part in the Nanowrimo and while I did not manage all 50000 words, I crossed 20000 and got a good part of my book written.

And just when I was looking for a new challenge, Jeff came up with his 500 words.

If you want to know more about this here is the link :   https://goinswriter.com/500-words/

I have decided to do this. I am going to try and write 500 words every day for 31 days, starting today. No scratch that out. I am not going to try, I am going to write. That’s it.

What am I going to write about? I don’t know.  May be I will blog more often or keep a couple of days a week to work on my book. Maybe I will write some book reviews. Or content for the life courses that I plan to conduct at SGS. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I will write.

I am also writing a blog post on my word for the year which I will post in some time. This is the first time that I have decided on a word for the year and my word is “Me”. When I think of me, I think of writing. I see myself sitting at my desk. (yes, I got one made!) I see my steaming hot cup of tea and my dog Muffin settled comfortably on my feet. (she seems to think that my feet are made to plonk herself on).

Then what happens to the house work and the classes? Well, the universe decided to help out and I got a couple of writing assignments out of the blue. So not only can I write, I am going to be paid to write as well and since this means I need not travel to work, I save on a couple of hours a day.

So here’s to a New Year filled with words!