The satellite cities of the capital are as metropolitan as the capital itself and are home to urban citizens who make up the fabric and culture of these towns. Whether we speak of Noida or Gurgaon, the residents are entrenched in their lifestyles and are deeply opinionated when it comes to their hometowns.
This Independence Day we asked these urban citizens, the things they want freedom from and we weren’t entirely surprised by their responses. Considering this has been a sensitive time for the populace in general, whether we speak of women’s safety, fiscal developments or the subtle feeling of unease, this question of what people want freedom from, brought forth honesty laced with angst to some extent.
We spoke to Sonalini Chaudhry, a resident of Sector 61, Noida, a publisher who now owns an apparel store in New Delhi and she said, “I want freedom from expectations, from pressure to conform to norm. I want freedom from internal misogyny, from toxic women who can't digest your independence and must trash you at every opportunity they get. And, of course, I want freedom from sick marauding eyes that talk to my chest.” Gone are the days when the context of freedom only meant nationalism, people associate freedom with a sense of being.
Here is what food blogger and food stylist, Deeba Rajpal shared with us, “All these years gone by, and of late things seem to be at their worst. Why is it so difficult in this day and age to get our basics right? I want freedom from small mindsets, corrupt practices, poor quality produce, pothole ridden roads, piles of garbage and everything that is of poor quality, we as a nation should now be beyond all that!” As a long-time resident of Palam Vihar, she hasn’t seen much change in the mindset of people or the infrastructure of her locality.
In a similar vein, Anamika Singh, Tea Sommelier and resident of Phase II, Gurgaon, went on to say, “We live in a society that moulds us to its requirements! I want Freedom from being Judged! I want Freedom of Expression that has gone to the dogs because we live in Fear! Freedom from social norms coz the rules have been laid down by the society! Freedom from the political chaos in the minds of people who influence others without knowing facts and figures! Freedom from Social Media Stone Pelting! The age we live in - Let's join the dogs and just bark!”
Largely vociferous, the looming concerns over security of women was evident in our conversations with these accomplished ladies, that however changed with gender and age demographics as we spoke to Varun Pratap, Founder of Quirk, a brand marketing agency, who expressed his concerns of the fiscal changes initiated by the current government. He said “though I realize that a lot of the changes are for the benefit of general citizens, as a young entrepreneur, it is very dissuading to conform to the changes in the system. The taxes don’t seem to be appropriated correctly, as I don’t see a change in the quality of my life, I live in Suncity in Gurgaon, the Rapid Metro has just been completed and starter functioning but the state of the roads has been left in shambles, who is responsible for this and as a busy citizen I shouldn’t have to put my energies into fixing basics! I want freedom from having to chase what is owed to me! On a lighter note, I want freedom from a life that’s all about work!”
In a similar thread, Vishal Singh, a senior captain at a South Delhi restaurant and a resident of Greater Noida went on to share, “I want freedom from my job, I want to be an entrepreneur, own a business, since I am just 27, I will work and save till I am 30 and then be free from the confines of a traditional job! I also want freedom from the commute I have to face from Greater Noida to Delhi, with no Metro and no flyovers, I am either slogging or commuting!”
Everyone has their own perception of what freedom means to them and the real need to be free germinates from one’s immediate life circumstance. Whatever it is that you want freedom from, this Independence Day, we hope you get what you wish for!