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Some journeys inspire you, some refresh you, and some are magical. This piece is about a woman's journey to independence, and what true freedom means to her.
Some journeys inspire you, some refresh you, and some are just magical. This piece is about a woman’s journey to independence, and what true freedom means to her.
As I make my way to Malone’s Irish Bar, sleepy and tired, I somehow feel a sense of relief at my first dissertation submission for the session. It has been three months already, since I came to this enchanting city. Three months full of new experiences and diverse emotions, and meeting some of the most interesting people.
I still remember it like it was yesterday that I walked out of the airport, the chilling cold breeze lifted my spirits with the excitement of the year to come. And a warm smile on my lips.
Winter has set in. 3 pm, and it is dark already. As I come to the entrance of the Meadows, I halt suddenly.There is a sense of anxiety that overpowers me. I am familiar with this feeling, but have not felt it since I arrived in this city. I wonder why there is this shiver in my spine, and suddenly, the quiet loneliness fills me up.
I wonder why there is this shiver in my spine, and suddenly, the quiet loneliness fills me up.
My brain has already set in action the reactions to this anxiety – all my senses are heightened, my heart is racing, and I keep looking over my shoulders. As soon as someone come close, my body flexes.It is my brain’s automatic self-defense mechanism. A result of my years of trying to protect myself from the cat calls, stares, light brushes, groping…the list is endless.But I wonder: do I really need it here?As I slowly cross the quiet, dark path, people cross me from all directions. Oblivious to the fear that has grappled me. I cross a young couple, much in love, and as they smile at me…I wonder again if my fears are warranted. I have already experienced many a times how different this city is from back home.People here care to look out for you even if you are a stranger, they try to protect you, and advise you.As I head close to my destination, I see cars and huge crowds of university students out for a fun evening at the end of the term. Slowly, I start to relax. Although the automatic response to dark nights and lonely stretches may take a while to curb, this city I now call home has given me true independence.
Although the automatic response to dark nights and lonely stretches may take a while to curb, this city I now call home has given me true independence.
As I walk down to the entrance of Malone’s, I am not scared or anxious anymore. Cautious, yes. Some habits probably take longer than others to overcome.But I realize…I am free. The kind of free I had never known earlier. Where I am not on guard at all times. Where I am not protecting myself from everyone around me. Where I can walk free no matter what time of the day it is. And experience the beauty of my city, rather than looking over my shoulder every other second.At last, I am free to explore and experience this amazing city I have fallen in love with.
I am free.
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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