August 15, 2022 marks 75 years of India’s independence. Celebrating the same, we have with us, Meghna Menon, a volunteer at Prajnya, who has submitted a piece titled, “I dream of an India…”
This week, I picked up Lies Our Mothers Told Us: The Indian Woman’s Burden by Nilanjana Bhowmick. I was reading out the first few pages to amma, and both of us shared glances because we knew, how, in a million different ways, paid and unpaid work was a woman’s responsibility to shoulder in an Indian household. “But at least you are allowed to work. Back in our times…..” was a familiar echo that always came from different nooks and corners of the room. I do partially agree, we have indeed come a long way. India has come a long way. For a few years now, in classroom spaces, over and over again, we have had conversations that go on for hours together about our identities and social locations; these are days that seem bleak and not very hopeful. But there are days, when there are beautiful sunsets and people I love, that I dream of what India can be, for me. These are days when we talk of feminist solidarity, resilience, love, and joy. These are the days when I take the metro train from Vadapalani to Meenambakkam in the evenings and watch women exchange familiar nods and smiles, paint their nails, and finish off the food in their tiffin boxes. These are days when I see a bustling crowd of children in Pallavaram market buying popcorn. As we inch closer to celebrating 75 years of India’s independence, I dream of a country that is a lot more forgiving, kind, and empathetic. I dream of an India that makes me feel safe, loved, and hopeful. For India, I have immense dreams, and I know that I can always find the things I cherish about the country in the people I surround myself with, in the places I visit, in the auto rides that take me back home, in the food that is gobsmackingly delicious (from the Onam Sadhya to the roadside panipuri), in Shah Rukh Khan in the 90s and in the SPB songs that my grandparents play on the radio in the night. As we celebrate 75 years of independent India, I hope I always find joy in these little things.
We, the Prajnya Team, would also love to have you send us a small text or art project or voice recording or video, telling us what you cherish about India, what your dream for the country is, and what makes you optimistic about India as we inch closer to celebrating 75 years of India’s independence. You can email or share your contribution with us via Google Drive at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or via Whatsapp at +91 97908 10351. We look forward to hearing from you!