Come 15 August and the entire air of the nation is redolent with fervor of independence. So what is this independence? At GoMissing, we often use terms like freedom, independence, free spirited, liberated to describe our travel philosophy. On the eve of our country’s 69th Independence Day, we got into a discussion on what Independence means to us. We debated on the shackles that bind us and whether travelling is liberating. On our travels we show our travelers the way, but on these questions, we thought our customers were the best people to show us the way. We asked our seasoned travelers four questions-
- What were they doing on Independence Day/week?
- What Independence means to them?
- What shackles would they like to be free from? and
- How does travelling liberate them?
Thanks to Romila Rawat Negi, Ranjita Das, Santosh Bhat, Shubika Rana, Sreevidya Kompella, Nandita Saini, Nisha, and our very special, enthusiastic, energetic young travelers Saoirse and Naoise Saini Tope for their insightful responses! Thanks to all our travelers who did not wish to be named yet responded with answers that resonated with our thoughts about independence, our country and travelling.
Santosh Bhat, a salaried professional
On the Independence Day, I will be running an ultra marathon in Mumbai. To me Independence means several things, it is independence to travel anywhere in the country without fear, it means equal opportunities for all and freedom to manage our own destinies, freedom to express yourself and so on.
Travelling is indeed liberating! New experiences and our natural surroundings always remind me that I am lucky to be born in this country with so much bio-diversity.
Sreevidya Kompella, a GoMissing traveler from Singapore
There are various events planned at schools and the Indian High Commission. We are planning to attend those programs today.
When I was little, independence meant not having anyone tell me what to do/what to wear/what to eat/what to think and I thought that when I grew up I would be independent and “stand on my own feet”. But I realize now that there are shackles we wear willingly and with pleasure – they are of responsibility and authority and care – they define our self worth and are important to who we are. If you depend on others, they depend on you too – it doesn’t diminish you. So I think it comes down to choice, if you have choices, you are independent and it is as much a state of mind as a literal situation you are in.
It’s awesome that we live in a free country and are in situations where we can make choices, but too many people don’t – even to this day and even in our own country. A girl can’t stay out after 7 without everyone getting freaked out, that’s not free. Those are shackles we must be free from.
Dr. Vipin and Ranjita Das, Medical professionals
On this Independence Day, we will be doing what we love doing—TRAVEL!
Freedom and independence, in simplest form is the power to be yourself, to do what your heart desires and say what your mind gathers. I am thankful to this country for giving me the right to live, express, criticize and opine, unlike so many other countries.
We have always taken the concept of freedom and independence for granted. Being from an erstwhile troubled part of the country, there were occasion in the past when we were forced to be indoors on joyous days such as these. We ruefully watched rest of the country in all its colours, while we stayed in confines of our home. That occasion made me realise what independence meant for us, for every citizen – to feel empowered and safe.
If I am asked what shackles I would like to be free from, I feel lucky cause I can seriously think of nothing apart from freedom from crowds and traffic!. The constant desire to wander, travel and quit work is always there, but that we all know is utopia!
Nandita Saini, Program Head at an IT Company
On Independence Day, I will be travelling with a group of bikers to Sach Pass and then onto Chandrataal, Manali and then back to Delhi.
Independence to me is the freedom to think, act and be. It means a responsibility towards maintaining dignity and integrity of “I” – I being myself, and then expanding to encompass my loved ones, family, friends, various communities, city, state, country and if possible even the world. It means pride in who “I” am and what “I” represent. It means being accepting of various shades and expressions of “I” – all of the diversity – not just the cultural diversity, but also the diversity of thoughts and opinions and self-expression. To me, there isn’t a country or a people that represents this view of Independence better that India.
If there is one thing I would like to be free of, and would like to see everyone be free of, it is judgement, stereotyping, resentment and lack of acceptance for any form of diversity.
Romila Rawat Negi, a banker and a dreamer
I plan to spend the Independence Day being Free, ie, free from the routine. I may read a book, go for a long walk or take that bike ride in my beautiful Dehradun.
Independence for me is knowing what I want to do and doing it without stepping on someone else’s toes. To me it means improving myself without giving up my true identity.
You ask me what shackles I would like to be free from. I quote Vrushali Telang, author of ‘He Loves Me Not’ as she sums it up very well for me – “As an educated woman of independent India, I often ask myself, Am I really free? Free to just BE? Can I be comfortable with myself without pandering to my ever-nagging inner critic? Can I say exactly what I want to without getting bothered by what people might think or say about me? Freedom starts with the Self. As women, our greatest enemy lies within us. And it is only when we strengthen the Inner, say NO when we mean NO, can we truly be Free.”
Saoirse and Naoise Saini Tope, aged 15 and 11, students of Sardar Patel Vidyalaya
Sairose: I will celebrate Independence Day at my school and later in my neighborhood.
Freedom means to be able to do things without other people’s uninvited inputs and judgments. But at the same time, it cannot be unlimited. And if I have the freedom to do what I want, then I must also respect other people’s freedom to be. I would like to be free from pressure to take decisions that I don’t agree with and I want this for everyone. I would also like to see people be free from judgement, and also for there to be no terrorizing or bullying.
Naoise: I am going to fly kites and have fun. I will attend the Independence Day function in my colony. And then I will sing “Jana Gana Mana”. Independence means something that is free.. like a bird free from its cage. I would like to be free from homework and classwork. I think everyone should be free from bullies.
Shubika Rana, a sales professional
I will be celebrating the Independence Day at home with friends. To me freedom is to live life on one’s own terms, to be fearless in our surroundings. The only shackles that I want freedom from is fear of being unsafe in my city.
Traveling, discovering a new place is liberating. Even using public transport in a new place with ease is liberating. So much to see, learn and experience; people to meet. exploration does mark freedom in every way.
My plan is still tentative, but hopefully on this weekend a getaway to the hills may happen. Independence to me means the freedom to be-self expression. When you talk about shackles that we need to be free from, inequality is something that comes to my mind. Inequality in all its shades and hues need to go away.
How are you celebrating this Independence Day Week? Come with us on GoMissing New Delhi Cycling Trails that show you Lutyens Delhi, heritage sites and green Delhi like you had never seen before.