Freedom – a word so overhyped, yet so underrated. A word that has a different connotation for every individual.
A girl in a rural pocket of Rajasthan might value her freedom to enjoy outings to the vegetable market down the street. For a boy in far eastern corner of Bihar, going to school would be a freedom cherished where he has to slog in a coal factory to support his family. A lower middle class sales woman in Dadar, Maharashtra might relish her freedom of taking a break and enjoying the pani puris and bhel puris with her friend sitting by the Queen’s necklace, Bandra over a mid day snack. A rich teen from a well to do family in Delhi might taste his freedom when he sneaks out of home to attend a rave party keeping his parents in the dark about his whereabouts or doings. A married woman tastes her first whiff of freedom as she starts her own catering service from home in the mofussil town of Tanajvur district, supplying tiffins to the workers in the nearby mill where her husband works. Freedom – a word that means the world to every individual in a unique way.
During independence, freedom meant fighting for our country’s identity that was under the grip of a foreign country. And today, considering we have it, the question is “do we still feel free, truly free?” Freedom – What does it mean to you? When will you be truly free? When do you feel truly free?
In my schooling years, freedom meant escape from academic sessions, homework and anything for which I had to give an exam. Be it diving into a pile of magazines (India Today, Femina, Outlook and Readers Digest) or going for a swim without a time limit, be it family outings, socializing and dinners during vacations or be it, festival seasons, studies would invariably take a back seat and enjoying with loved ones was like a freedom I never wanted to end. However, I realized later, it was not freedom in the true sense. It was just a break, nothing more, nothing less. As I entered my teen years, I understood what freedom to go for late night parties or birthday parties held at restaurants/clubs or for that matter, freedom to have a girls night out meant. For a teenager, such small doses of freedom are forbidden fruits. The more there is a curb on the desire to enjoy them, even more is the impulse to get drawn towards it. And then, when I entered college, I lived a hostel life for four long years where I was granted the freedom to live by self. But then I realized, freedom to live on one’s terms in hostel comes with a tagline – conditions apply. There was freedom and then, there were wardens and rules. And after that, when I started working, I actually got the chance to live life on my own terms sans any scrutiny, sans any rules. And, it is here, I would like to believe there is a difference between enjoying freedom and feeling free. We in the current times, enjoy freedom in our own ways by planning our exotic getaways or by indulging in ways that are not scrutinized any more.
However, the questions linger –
When do you feel truly free?
When will you feel truly free?
For me, to feel truly free is a state when we are able to free ourselves from the shackles of opinions, hearsays and judgments passed by everyone around us and despite just entertaining them, we do not accept them without reasoning.
For me, it is to free ourselves from certain inhibitions and mental blocks and step out in the big wide world, befriending people not from the same age group, not from the same clan or not even from the same social class we hail from.
For me, feeling free is freeing ourselves from the fears of unknown, a fear that brings along more unreasonable doubts, irrational thoughts and superfluous theories.
For me, the feeling of freedom in the true sense comes from freeing the mind from negative thoughts, misguided anger, misconstrued views and preconceived notions that often cloud the perception with which we see the world.
For me, to feel such freedom is a spirit that comes to people who brace themselves up with a positive outlook towards life – “Bring it on I say! What is the worst that could happen?”
After all, feeling free all about feeling free to enjoy life with its share of struggles and challenges. What say?