The Fifteenth: On Being Independent

A couple of days back when I was travelling back home from college on the train, a lady came around and started selling homemade chips and wafers. I didn’t buy any, I already had stuff to eat but I made a comment to my friend about her, “I’m glad she doesn’t resort to begging when she could’ve.  It’s nice to see someone independent.”

It’s a refreshing change to see people working hard for their own livelihood when I see an almost equal number on the streets. When I was younger I was greatly disturbed by small kids and women begging. Then I read two news reports, stating that the ‘beggars’ actually have plush four bedroomed flats in South Mumbai.  The other report told us how kids were given out on rent because the beggars had found that bawling, snotty kids fetched more money that if they went alone.

I was horrified and disgusted and started viewing all beggars in the same way. Then I started rationalizing, they have two hands, two legs, they could very easily find jobs as construction workers or something. I once saw a small girl of about five years come and beg on the train, and when someone offered her bread, she put it in her pocket. I was terribly disturbed by that, that poor child had obviously been told that she had to get whatever she got. After that, I hardened myself against such things.

Now, as I see these people who sell stuff on trains, from old ladies who look sixty to young boys and girls who aren’t more than ten years, I feel a sense of respect for them. They may not go to school, or they might go to a night school, but they’re not dependent on anyone for their life. They’re not part of some begging chain that dupe hardworking middle class people.

I’ve always admired people who were independent. I want to be one of those people when I grow up. Before I get married in the distant future, I want a house of my own and a stable career. Having kids is a great things but I have complete everything I want to before I settle down for eighteen years of taking care of someone. I want to do many things, experience many things, see places before I die. And I want to do it with my money, I would rather not burden someone else with my dreams for then they don’t remain dreams.

Being independent does not mean being alone. I think it means that you can be yourself without wondering if it’s okay or acceptable or even right. It means being liberated.

“Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

― Coco Chanel

“I’d rather die my way than live yours.”

― Lauren Oliver, Delirium

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”

― Jane Austen, Persuasion



Until Next Time,




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