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’.