What is the point of 62 years of independence if there’s no one out there to assert their liberty, to whine for their freedoms and demand their rights? Social activists, mahila mandals, politicians, actors – they’ve all had their fare share of grumbling and now it’s our turn to jump into the bandwagon. Freedom, here we come!
We want freedom in the classroom. Freedom to stand up and say “Sorry ma’am, I’m sure you think obsessing over the ramblings of dead Greek scholars spells bliss, but I beg to differ” and skip out of the class without fear of being dragged into the principal’s office by the ear. We’ve all come across teachers who angrily insist that no one is compelled to sit in his/her class and those not interested can walk out anytime but something tells me that the day we actually take them up on their offer would be the end of our budding education.
We want freedom in public. To sing our favourite song to ourselves on the metro, to do the moonwalk in the middle of the vegetable market, to try and run down the escalator going upwards. To do all this without being subjected to glares, open mouths or urgent calls to the mental ward of the nearest hospital.
We want freedom from “fashion” in all its glossy-papered, televised forms. The freedom to wear polar bear caps with little paws you can snuggle your hands into, green tees with purple salwars, slippers without the trademark PUMA or REEBOK stamped on them, peacock earrings and orange spectacles. To just get up in the morning and let your hand decide what you’re going to wear, not the thought of your stiletto-ed college-mates.
We want freedom from roadside Romeos. The freedom to walk down streets without being subjected to whistles and Govinda songs and eyes that scan with the efficiency of an x-ray machine. To not feel the necessity to burden our bags with pepper sprays and pen knives or sweat it out in Kung Fu classes. To not be forced to enquire about their ma/behen at home.
Most importantly, we want the freedom to just be. To live, and let live. To chart our own course and not be asked to fill in the footprints left behind by others. The freedom to fly, to soar, the freedom to be free.