What is it like to taste a “foreign” freedom..

“Foreign” Freedom. What is that? Why do I call it “foreign”?

I have been living in Germany since the past two months now. This is not my first stay abroad. Before this I have lived in Germany twice in 2009 for almost an year and then for a month in Bangkok in 2011. I tasted this “foreign” freedom for the first time in 2009 when I was in Berlin. That feeling that you can actually take a walk at any time of the day and no body isn’t even going to look at you, let alone eve-tease you or sexually harass you elated me. I could do whatever I want and wear what I felt like. I didn’t have to worry about my security or ask any one to drop me home safely as it got late. I was independent in the true sense of the word.

But, this post is not about how much I enjoyed my foreign stays and how I would rather stay in Germany than India. It is actually the opposite. Many have asked me why I don’t want to stay in Germany. Some say I’m a fool not to use this opportunity to flee from that pathetic land. True I love my life here, but it somehow just doesn’t feel right, it is bitter-sweet. It is like you’re in Disneyland with your most favourite toy, but deep down inside you know it, that you don’t own that toy, that it doesn’t belong to you. That you don’t feel at home here. And that is why I call this freedom “foreign”. Not because I experienced it in foreign countries, but because I don’t identify myself with this freedom. I don’t want to travel 9000 kilometres to freely take a walk at night. I want to do it right here in my own land, my own home town, the place where I grew up and the place I identify myself with.

I know many people (which includes women as well as men) migrate to other countries to flee from oppression they experience in their own. But I don’t see it as a solution. Yes, it is a individual-based solution, but not a mass-based. It is the same logic as behind Brain- Drain. You get a job, you fly abroad, you become a NRI and then whine about how shitty your country is and how well you are doing here. I don’t want to be the kind of woman who writes about women’s issues from her Mac sitting in a cosy CafΓ© and enjoying the weather. I would rather do that in my own land and see to it that every woman can do that irrespective of where they are, be it the West or the East.

I don’t want to run away or avoid this situation, I want to change it. Many of you might view this as being patriotic or revolutionary. I’m none of that. I just want to live my life and do what I want to do. Some people call that rebellion, especially if you are a woman.

I won’t hide. I will seek. I will seek the change, the freedom, the fight.

I am not giving up, I have just started fighting and I will fight till the very end.

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32 thoughts on “What is it like to taste a “foreign” freedom..

  1. Wonderfully put, glad about your decision of coming back. Welcome back and shout out to me for any support in the cause πŸ™‚

    All the best!

  2. Very impressive..I loved your thoughts of describing that temporary happiness as foreign freedom…I hope this inspires many. .All da best!!!

  3. Well said Japleen! My views exactly. Admire your courage and determination in the whole think!!! Keep it up!

  4. Each of your word delivers d very message of bringing the change in oneself which one want to see n i really applaud your words!!!

  5. Take important decisions of life based on reasoning and logic, rather than emotions. You might have emotional / sentimental attachment to your homeland , but that doesn’t mean your homeland is going to change or transform drastically just because a single individual wants it to change.

    Remember, the regressive and traditional elements in Indian society outnumber the progressive and modern elements by a huge margin . Social change is always a very slow process — you will have to wait an entire lifetime to see any substantial social change in India .
    [ ‘ Dil se nahi , dimag se kaam lo ‘ ]

  6. Dimag se hi kaam kar rahi hu and I know social change is a slow process which will take a lifetime. I might not even see it in mine, but I hope I with many like-minded people can make this a better place for the future generation. I am optimistic.

  7. though i have never been to abroad except India and that in particular for studies but somehow via your blog, i can sense the desire for being part of change in your land… Thanks for somehow encouraging cuz i believe i have the same path as you have for your land – Country

    Long Live Inspirations!

  8. what you have written here is, rather was, the sentiment of many during the protest against Damini gang-rape at jantar-mantar. there were many who quit their jobs and there were many who refused job offers in Dubai, japan, kuwait etc. but since the man-handling of the police of the protesters at india gate, the crowd only thinned. ultimately. there were barely 10 people standing at janatr-mantar. those people are STILL there because they want to make the women safe in India. when we contacted those who had previously left their jobs, they said, “we have done our bit in the protest. we were there for 3days but we have to do our jobs as well”. this attitude is from both sides. even the reaction of women has been disappointing. yes, running away to another country is not the solution. yes, we should clean up our home before shifting to homes of our relatives or neighbours or our friends. the sentiment in your blog should not limit itself to merely likes and shares and comments. this must take some concrete form.we can only try our own best to bring a change and even 1% change in the scenario or even the mentality will an satisfactory achievement. initial disappointments must not hamper us.

  9. Some of my friends shared your post on the marriage thingy on Facebook. It made up for a decent read. But personally, I was overwhelmed reading this post. It kind of connects with me at a microscopic level. While I was reading it, I felt as if I am looking at my own thoughts on paper. I have been living in Austin, TX since last 3 years, and yearn to go back to India mainly because of my loved ones being there. However, such thoughts are often labeled as impractical or emotional by many. I guess it is hard for a lot of people to overlook the comfort and luxury that first world countries has to offer.

  10. Japleen, i totally agree with you.. I am having the same experience.. Staying in Singapore, this place is one of the best places to live, a great lifestyle, clean city, all convenience, freedom to do whatever. It like a free bird. But at the same time, it feels like what is lacking in our country. If a place like this can develop so well in such less time and much lesser taxes, why can’t our country develop similarly with much higher taxes?? They have the funds, resources, everything they..I feel we should really start the process of change ourselves..

  11. I dont know where you live is in india but here I am in ahmedabad gujarat and girls come freely on scooty at middle of night from work say 2 or 3 am. I have never stayed outside of gujarat but I am seeing horrific stories in news from around the country. I think they are just isolated incidents. Buses drop passengers after midnight is very common, we just take the auto alone to get home. But I think it works both ways girls here take care of their attitude that it doesnot falsely suggest that they are of loose nature.

  12. I have started following your blog recently and I must say I really love reading your posts. You are a wonderful writer. It is a good decision…coming home. I must say no matter where you live, there really is no place like home. I come from Guwahati, Assam and have been living in Pretoria for 3 years now. I am married to a german guy and as a result also have a family in Germany. Its really depressing being so far away from your loved ones. So I can really understand the urge to come back home.
    coping with two cultures….its amazing all the wonderfully new things you can learn from each other. I guess I have come to appreciate my Assamese and in a broader sense my Indian heritage even more.

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