What’s Freedom To You?


Liberty & Freedom were the words that came up when I looked for synonyms of ‘Independence’. I think it’s safe to say that an Independent country is also a ‘Free’ one. But considering a country as diverse as India, where people worship Rajnikanth in temples, cricket is a religion in itself and over a thousand dialects of hundreds of languages are spoken: ‘Freedom’ can be subjective.

To my mom, women being able to choose their own husbands nowadays is Freedom. To my grandfather, easy access to education and free information is Freedom. On the other hand, it’s us. The millenials. We were born into an Independent India. We didn’t have to struggle for our basic rights like our elders did, and somewhere along the line we began taking these rights for granted. Nowadays, the trend is to rant about how restricted India is, ON Independence day. As a friend of mine put it, “It’s like complaining to your parents on your birthday!”

The spirit of Independence day is to remember the sacrifices made by our ancestors for our generation to live in a free India. We need to show gratitude for the fights, revolutions and bloodshed that went behind the liberties that we inherited by birth. The Freedom, we think we are entitled to.

Well, are we grateful? I don’t know about you, I sure am. But…. Yes, there’s a but.

…But does that mean, we shouldn’t strive for more? 70 years post Independence, we should have definitely crossed some mile-stones. We should have had a constitution that progressed with time and accommodated the changing needs of its people. But sadly, we are stuck somewhere in the past, with laws that still don’t consider marital rape a crime and consider same-sex marriages one!

Instead of progressing we have regressed on many fronts, putting our forefathers’ fight for freedom to shame. Today, we censor public opinion according to the ruling leaders (sacking pahlaj nihalani), we ban things as and when we please (Beef, ripped jeans or sleeveless clothes in colleges), we lynch people who might follow a certain way of life or belong to certain minorities (Gowrakshaks), we collectively pass judgments as we see fit (arushi murder case, salman khan runover case), we don’t value human life (’82 Sino-Indian war: Deoliwallahs), we monetize on religious sentiments, we categorize emotions as right or wrong and punish people who work against these set categories, we repress dreams and kill aspirations when they aren’t in tandem with the norms. This is what we’ve become merely 70 years after we won “FREEDOM”.

Should we be thankful for the rights and liberties we inherited? Yes.

Are we entitled for more rights and liberties? Also Yes.

Speaking of Freedom, here’s what my friends thought we need freedom from:

  • Freedom from Chauvinism
  • Freedom from an unhealthy lifestyle
  • Freedom from feeling unsafe
  • Freedom to eat beef
  • Freedom from Patriarchy
  • Freedom from moral policing
  • Freedom from gender bias
  • Freedom from Intolerance
  • Freedom from the past mistakes
  • Freedom from State capitalism
  • Freedom from too much freedom
  • Freedom from weak and incompetent administration and management by our leaders
  • Freedom from wanna be activist who don’t fully have the grasp of the case they are fighting for.
  • Freedom from your own insecurities
  • Freedom from financial debts
  • Freedom from racism and regionalism
  • Freedom from curfew at home
  • Freedom from my husband’s tantrums (Not sure if this applies to everyone!)

In other words, it’s time for an UPGRADE. An upgrade in ideals, norms and laws. An upgrade in the way we function as a society. An upgrade to become a better people. The one that our forefathers aspired for.

You could either accept the reality of today as your fate, or raise your voice and ask for what you feel is Freedom. You could comfortably sing “Saare Jahaan Se Accha Hindustaan Humaara” today, without meaning a single word of it; Or, you could free yourselves and India from the prejudices, injustice, corruption and hypocrisies.

The question remains, “What’s freedom to you?”, and more importantly, will you work for it like your forefathers did?

Top of Form


I’m Not Asking For Much.

Some days I wish, I could just be,
Plain and simple happy,
Is it really too much to ask ?

To feel the love and not the scars,
To lie with you and count the stars!
Is it really too much to ask?

To scratch and scream and giggle and cry,
Free of all those hypocrites,
Who do nothing but pry,
Is it really too much to ask !

Oh I’m tired of pretending,
This mask is too much to bear !
I want to laze around, just for a day,
Do nothing and be at peace;
And try ….just try, not to care!
Is this really too much to ask?

I know, I can be happy alone,
Though you insist it can’t be true.
But today I don’t want to tag along,
I want to be far! Faraway from you!
I wanna dream and write a senseless song,
I wanna hope that through this mess, confusion, tears, expectations, pressures;
I emerge tough and strong.
But I wanna do this on my own ..just let me .. won’t you?
Is this really too much to ask ?

I know that I can find my way,
Inspite of what anyone might have to say,
You impose your thoughts on me ,
You trample on me and prance around;
But not today ..not today!
I know…I know you care for me
But for once I “need” you to let me be,
Is it really too much to ask ?

I believe that I have made myself clear,
Today I’m not gonna ask twice,
I know what I have to do,
I’m just gonna be myself,
No matter what the price!


They say dream catchers keep away the bad dreams.

The nightmares that don’t let you sleep. Leave you twisting in fright.

But what about the nightmares you live everyday.

No, not the ones that lurk in the darkness, hidden below your pillows.

The ones that stare at you in the eye in broad daylight.

Like the time you were called a randi for wearing shorts on the streets.

When unknown fingers traced their way along your thighs.

When they tried to pry them open by force.

Or how about the time, when you were denied that promotion because you had a vagina.

How they squeezed every last bit of life out of you, but stole your reward.

How they snatched your dreams and trampled on it.

Or wait.

How about the time your uncle PLAYED with you, when you were too young to understand?

And the shame, the guilt and the anger that followed, all the years after!

That once when you were marked unclean, because obviously God didn’t like bleeding women.

All the times you were taken for granted. Your voice shut out.

The days when your boyfriend thought it’s okay to vent out on you. Just, leave a mark or two. After all, you could just cover it with a little foundation here and concealer there.

Or that time, when your husband raped you and everyone you told thought it’s OK.

What about these nightmares?

What about the false promises and hurtful words?

What about the scars that they left on your skin, reminding you of your helplessness?

Will the dream catcher take them away too?

Will it?

Ahmedabad Diaries: What Happens In Ahmedabad Will Make You Fall In Love With It!

The reactions when I told people I’m travelling to Ahmedabad for the weekend was, “What! Why? There’s nothing there to see! You will be bored. Oh, you will regret your decision!”

But I had made up my mind and I wanted to visit this Gujju city once and for all. As soon as I typed “Things to do on in Ahmedabad”, google gave me a fairly long list of places I could visit, to my relief!

Armed with this list of Things to Do in Ahmedabad, I set out to this seemingly somber city!

And guess what? I fell in love! This slow paced city has a charm of it’s own & I would definitely recommend everyone to pay it a visit.

And if you do decide to go to Ahmedabad or AMDAVAD as the locals call it, here are a few things you should definitely do!

Visit To The Bhadra Kaali Temple


Ahmedabad is a known for it centuries old temples that are strewn all over the city. I chose the Bhadra, Kali Temple because it’s at the heart of the main city and is well connected to all the other major tourist attractions.


Make sure you visit this place early in the morning around 8, when the pooja (worship) is conducted, I promise it would be the perfect headstart to your day.

Lal Darwaza (The Red Gate)


The Lal Darwaza leads to the home of the then ruler, Ahmed Shah. The area around the gate has long since been converted into the local market.

IMG_1551Flower market near the gate

It’s always buzzing with people and it’s utterly chaotic, messy & insane and awesome at the same time! You can find souvenirs, food, clothes and all kinds of little take-aways for a steal here. It’s best to visit the place in the evening when the market is liveliest.

Bhadra Fort


Fun fact, the Bhadra Fort was built by a Muslim ruler but has a temple at it’s base dedicated to goddess Kaali! You will find many such instances in Ahmedabad where temples and mosques share the same ground, which is so fascinating.

IMG_1565Chambers at the top of Bhadra Fort


This fort has now been turned into a Municipal court so most entrances to rooms are sealed, but you can still find many hidden stairways, rooms giving you glimpses into it’s grand past.


Sidi Sayed Mosque


The locals recommended us to visit this mosque, which was at a walking distance from Bhadra Fort. Known for it’s beautifully carved grills at the back of the mosque it was definitely worth the visit.


The maulana (religious leader and caretaker of the mosque) was kind enough to tell us about the history of the mosque and the architecture. Oh and we got a scolded for entering the gates with our shoes on, so be careful to take them off before you enter the premises!

 Jama Masjid (Jama Mosque, also called Juma by the localites)


Believe it or not, I think this is one of the most beautiful structures I’ve ever seen in my life. From the moment you step into the huge courtyard surrounding the mosque there’s an air of breathtaking beauty within every square inch.


Also built in the 1400’s it was apparently the largest mosque in the Indian Subcontinent at that time.


You will see people meditating and reveling in spiritual studies around you and inspite of Ahmedabad’s merciless heat you will suddenly feel at peace.

Gandhi Ashram


Sabarmati Ashram or, Gandhi Ashram as it’s commonly known, is the home of Gandhiji. The entire home along with the area surrounding his home has been turned into an exhibition now. I know some of you might think, EXHIBITION, Really? That’s what I thought too, but once we were there, we didn’t regret our decision one bit! It’s located on the banks of the Sabarmati river, that has now turned into a tourist spot in itself (It’s called the River Front now)


It’s the perfect place to chill on a insanely hot afternoon.

IMG_1732Getting our yummy chana jor garam made!

Once you’ve had a tour of the entire exhibition centre, you can grab a snack (we had peanuts & chana jor garam* a local dish) and sat dazed under the shade of trees right along the River Front. So blissful!

Law Garden


Okay so the garden in itself is pretty amazing but the lanes next to the garden is the real deal. That’s where you will find some pretty awesome stuff at throwaway prices!


And then once the shopping has tired you out, you can find yourself a nice spot inside law garden and take a short power nap!


Like so many others do there! (I know sounds kinda weird, but when you’ve been touristing around town and need a break, you will need this! )

Kankaria Lake (pronounced KaaKaRia)


If you visit Ahmedabad, Kankaria lake is a must visit. Everywhere we went, the first place everyone suggested was Kaakaria! And oh boy, does this place stand up to it’s expectations!


So it’s this huge ass lake that also doubles up as an amusement park, complete with rides, a choo-choo train running through the park and food stalls every where (literally everywhere!)

IMG_1802Bird Watching At Kankaria

Try and visit this place in the evening during sunsets, coz that’s when the fun begins! Since the park is full of trees, it’s a home to a specific variety of sparrows.  Towards sunset these birds, literally thousands of them come together, returning to their nests, putting on a absolutely breathtaking sight!


Apart from that there are water lazer  shows regularly organized which is a pretty awesome sight too! So in short, there’s a lot to do at Kankaria.

Food In Ahmedabad


There is food everywhere! I am not even exaggerating. While it is a vegetarian’s paradise, non-vegetarians need not worry, Amdavad has something for all. While I was there I tried and ate local food, to get a hold of the cuisine there.


A lot of chaat, dhokla, pani puri, faafda jalebi, chole kulche can be found across the city.


If you’re looking for some good non-vegetarian food head straight to Lal Darwaza.


In the evening you can enjoy some sizzling hot kebabs, keema, sea food & more!

IMG_1816 A Local Chicken Pastry
IMG_1819Crispy Fried Chicken
IMG_1824Prawn Curry With Roti

What was surprising was that Ahmedbad isn’t that big on deserts and sweets! We didn’t find much of it on the streets so we had to make do with the conventional generic  jalebis & ice-creams.

Shopping at Ahmedabad


Take my word when I say this, shopping is dirt cheap here. I got back a few souvenirs, clothes, handmade bed covers & a lot more for around 2 K.


The most famous spots for shopping are Law garden for traditional clothes, Manek Chowk for food, Lal Darwaza for antiques and souvenirs. If you are a fan of organic and khadi products you can shop from the shops around Gandhi Ashram, To go that eco-friendly way.

Travelling in Ahmedabad


Both Ola and the local rickshaws  are super cheap and affordable. At no point did we have to pay more than 150 bucks to either of them (they have an instate app for rickshaws called Jugnu. Very handly to book rickshaw rides). And the bus services are also not too bad, so you can take your pick.

Stay In Ahmedabad

IMG_1512 View from hotel lobby

We were looking for a home-stay while booking but couldn’t get through because the ones under our budget were already reserved. So we booked a room through the OYO app and stayed at a motel. It was fairly comfortable and also close to the city, no complains, nothing great.

Just a few other things

Amdavadis Are Super Duper Sweet People

You will never feel alone in Ahmedabad. All it takes is a Hi or a Hello to get people talking, and you will feel right at home. If you’re lost or need any kind of help just ask around. 3 days in that city, and I’ve definitely made more friends than I have in Mumbai! ?(No Kidding!)

There’s Art Everywhere


Literally every street you look, you will find beautiful murals and artwork etched aimlessly.


Such pretty sights! Definitely makes for those insta-worthy clicks!

There will be a lot of cows And Other Animals

I don’t know why, but you will find cows randomly strolling the roads. No need to freak out, in a day you will just get used to the sight of them.

You will spot a lot of clock towers & Darwazas


Again, not like Amdavadis are too time bound, infact they follow a pace of their own. But you will tons of watch towers across the city. Ans as for the Darwazas, since Ahmedabad was home to a lot of rulers it has many guard doors or “darwazas”. Do stop when you spot one, they all have a unique story to them.


If I could, I would just go on and on about how awesome this city is. Just like every other city in India, it is crazy in it’s own way and beautiful at the same time.

And if you are looking for a getaway and explore a new city, Ahmedabad is definitely recommended!

Source for feature Image


You will find me in a million beating hearts.

In the clutter of the Dadar market,

In the chai -sutta of the rebellious city teen.

In the waves that sweep through the shores of Marine drive.

In the misty coffee houses of Matunga,

In the dingy slums of Dharavi,

In the chic bungalows of Juhu tara.

In the alluring charms of Kamathipura,

In the abusive banter of the fish mongers.

In the first rains that soak the children,

In the humid summers that drench everyone in sweat.

The groovy nights at blue frog,

The blissful prayers at Siddhivinayak.

In the buzzing streets of bandra,

Or the country-side bliss of vasai.

In every heaving-breath of a Virar local,

In the saddened silences of Tata hospital.

In the legendary evenings of Prithvi theatre,

In the infinite aimless games of cricket at the oval maidan.

In the cheers for the Mumbai Indians,

In the masked smiles of the LGBT pride parade.

From the nalli nihari and the salli boti

To the masala dosa and vada pav.

From the pillars of gateway,

To the roads of palm beach .

I’m a heaven for dreamers.

I’m the love child of chaos and tranquility.

I’m the unbreakable spirit.

I’m the euphoric emotion.

I am you .I am me.

I am Mumbai.

Look Closer!

“It’s not always black or white. It’s not always yes or no.

Things are more complicated that they seem.

Words can’t always express how you feel, and sometimes a word makes all the difference in the world. Sometimes tears spell happiness, other times smiles hide pain untold.

Some days the stars look beautiful, other days they remind you of someone you’re trying to forget.

The blazing sun may look like fire, but maybe it’s just a melting candle counting it’s last breaths.

Those innocent looking eyes behind the spectacles might have seen adventures you wouldn’t have even imagined.

That pretty boy with abs like Stallone, might’ve been fighting off demons in daylight.

Maybe that quiet old lady smiles at you because you look like her long lost lover.

Maybe your mom says she’s okay, but is not.

Maybe those straight roads lead to hell, and maybe the alleys hidden in the dark end on the stairway to heaven.

People are not just good or bad. Sometimes, there is a glimmer of love in the most broken hearts. Sometimes, the most radiant laughters hold cries for help.

Things are never as they seem you know.

So, look a little harder, feel a little deeper, hold on a little longer and you will see things for what they are.”

Most times, we just take things at face value. Nowadays we neither have the time nor the patience to scrape beneath the surface. We hear, but we don’t listen. We see but we don’t perceive. We comprehend but we don’t understand.  We sympathize but never empathize. In the hustle of everyday lives we just lose track of the smaller things. The details, the little clues that are probably the most important things in life.

Especially with people. Sometimes we fail to notice what’s right in front of us. That sad smile, that unsure text message, they tell a lot about a person, and most times we ignorantly miss out.

So just sometimes, take the time to genuinely lend your ear to someone’s story and get ready to get stunned by the truth that might be hidden within.

To Change Or Not To Change

I was never like other people.

The world always looked upside down to me.

I saw colours even with closed eyes.

I chose to see the good in people even when it hurt.

I chose to hold on, give a chance even when they didn’t deserve it.

But I guess it’s time I changed. I guess it’s time to let go.

Maybe the world needs to see a different me now.

Maybe it’s time to do what the rest of them do, blind myself, numb myself and just not care anymore.

Let the sands slip through my fingers and forget what it felt like, to be alive. Maybe…


Picture Credits: Haranish Mehta.