Stories of Freedom
Tales of women who ride their Independence
Every minute leading up to the 75th Independence day of India has seen a thousand stories be born. Stories of hope and courage, of despair and struggle. It is a sad fact that most of the women in our country do not experience freedom like they should, being equal citizens in our theoretically equal country. But that is steadily changing.
We’re seeing an increased number of women taking their lives in their own hands to make a difference for themselves, and inspire others around them. In a way of celebration this time around, we’ve curated some powerful stories of women who’ve led their own revolutions to gain independence.
If you’ve been looking for inspiration to break free from whatever holds you down, these tales are for you. When you thank the Universe for living in a free country, send a special thanks to these women!
In India, any lady toeing the line of her 50s is expected to have nothing more to look forward to, apart from prospective grandchildren. If you have this mentality, my story is for you!
I’m Madhu, from Mathura. I turned 55 a while ago, and my gift to myself was independence! Having completed my familial responsibilities, I wanted to do something for myself. I told my family that I wanted to learn to ride a scooter - My son and husband said, ‘Arrey, par kyu? Hum abhi hain na!’, but my daughter had my back. She loved the idea, and said with a smile, ‘Mamma, go for it!’ - That was all the support I needed. Two days into my training, I had to deal with aches and pains. I took a day or two off, but got back on the field. My trainer was loving and supportive, and within no time I was zooming through the streets of Mathura on my scooter! A lot of women my age are hesitant to learn. To them, I say - don’t think: ‘Log kya kahenge?’. This is the 21st century, being self-sufficient is of utmost importance. If you’re young at heart, you can do anything. I did it too!
When Tripti told her family she wanted to learn to ride a scooter, they laughed it off. Neither her husband, nor in-laws thought she could do it - “Tum nahi kar paoge, gir jaoge”, they told her over and over again. Looking deeply into her eyes, and placing his soft hand on hers, her son said, “Mamma, aap kar sakte ho. Mujhe pata hai”. Tripti smiled, and said - “Mai kar ke dikhaungi unko”.
Having never ridden a cycle, her heart skipped a beat when she first sat on the scooter, but day after day she got better. At the end of her 10th day, there was a newfound air of confidence and independence about her. Her family looked at her with renewed respect, and her son was delighted. Her scooter makes her job as a make-up trainer easier, because she can travel to more places in a day without worrying about spending money and wasting time on public transport. Now, Tripti is eager to learn to maneuver four wheels!
When the going gets tough, the tough get going: there is no better expression for Rashmi, a single mother, and trainer at Aatm Nirbhar. When she learnt to ride a scooter from Aatm Nirbhar in January 2021, Rashmi thought only of how it would ease up her situation at home, and help her in daily conveyance. A fateful feedback call from the company in March changed her life for the better. Ever since, Rashmi had been working from home so that she could be with her baby. Now that he was 3, and she was single-handedly managing the expenses of her parents, her son, and herself, she was looking for something more to supplement her income. The job of a scooter-trainer at Aatm Nirbhar fit perfectly. Now Rashmi trains women from 5 to 9 in the morning, and works from home the rest of the day. She earns well enough to take care of her family comfortably, and has found her happiness in her independence. She is a staunch believer in the necessity of mobility in every woman’s life. She smiles wistfully as she gives me a parting lesson - ‘We often live our lives thinking things will work out a certain way, but that’s not how it happens. Life has different plans for us, and they’re not that bad!’