Read any newspaper or website, and youll find news about the plight of Afghanistan, particularly that of their women and girls. Even closer home, most of us women living in cosmopolitan cities may not realise that the freedom and independence we enjoy if very different from that of the women living in Tier II and Tier III cities, and rural India.The concept of having the ability to make their own choiceswhen it comes to whom to marry, when to marry, if they should study, pursue a career and expand their horizonsisnt as freely afforded to women living in smaller towns and villages. Often, women in big cities find it difficult to say no, set boundaries, and speak their minds. We reached out to women from different cities, backgrounds, and upbringings to understand what freedom, particularly in their relationships, means to them. Heres what they had to say:Shreya Gossain, 34, married for five years, no kids Pune, MaharashtraThe very basis of the freedom both my partner and I enjoy is communication. We have always been very clear about what we want in life, and what we expect from each other, in public and in private. Respect for personal space is key. We have common interests, like food and movies, so we take time out to indulge in both, together, regularly. But, at the same time, we make sure each of us has the space and freedom to enjoy our individual interests too. For example, I love science and fantasy fiction, and he does not (because he thinks they can be silly and unrealistic). So, whenever a new movie, TV series or book in the genres are released, I have the peace and solitude to enjoy them at my leisure, and he doesnt bug me at all when I do. I show him the same respect when he watches critically-acclaimed movies that I find too dull or pretentious. Basically, were straightforward with each other about our opinions; we are loving, but not so dependent that we cant pursue our own interests.Tamira Patel, 32, married for 5 years, two kids Ahmedabad, GujuratFreedom is what you make of it. If you're talking about freedom with regards to time then it's when the kids are sleeping, or watching their cartoons on television. But freedom also is going out for a long drive, going to the beach or doing any kind of fun activities. Freedom with the kids is watching them play together (without fighting) and spending Sundays cooking and eating together. Freedom is also having a night to myself where I can open a packet of chips and eat it by myself without little voices asking me, Mama what is that?Tejas Nanu, 34, divorced and engaged to be married for a second time Mumbai, MaharashtraFor me, freedom in a relationship means being able to sit for hours at a stretch in comfortable silence, without feeling the need to fill it. Its about being content to do your own thing and not having to feel like you need to be on all the time. It also means being able to speak freely and unfiltered with your partnerthere is no fear of being judged or worrying about it ever leading to another fight.Sharmila Choudhary, 36, engaged for four years Panaji, GoaHaving the choice to make my own decisions, not succumbing to societal norms or the dreaded parental guilt of log kya kahenge? has been the most freeing and rewarding aspect of my live-in relationship with my fianc. In fact, had it been left to just us, wed probably have skipped getting engaged and would have moved away instead. The only thing keeping us here is our parents; both of us dont have siblings. If Im being honest, I feel like marriage will ruin our bond. It isnt the be-all of existence, is it? Besides, who decides whats right and wrong for our lives? Society doesnt have to live with the decisions it forces us to make, does it? We like to be honest about what works for us and what doesnt. We dont get bogged down by opinions that are not our own.