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Freedom means different things to us at different points in our life. Here is a peek into the essence of freedom.
The #FreedomIs campaign asked readers to share their idea of what freedom is, and what freedoms they wanted, through a selfie with a message. The results were varied and beautiful. You can see the collection of #FreedomIs selfies here. Don’t forget to send in your own!
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 a far eastern corner of Bihar, going to school would be a freedom cherished, instead of slogging in a coal factory to support his family. A lower middle class saleswoman in Dadar, Maharashtra, might relish her freedom of taking a break and enjoyingpani puris and bhel puris with her friend sitting by the Queen’s necklace, Bandra, over a mid-day snack.
A rich teen from 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 Tanajavur district, supplying tiffins to the workers in the nearby mill where her husband works.
Freedom is a word that means the world to every individual in a unique way.
During the Independence struggle, 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 backseat and enjoying with loved ones was a freedom I never wanted to give up.
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, birthday parties held at restaurants/clubs or a girls’ night out meant. For a teenager, such small doses of freedom are forbidden fruits. The more there is a curb on 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 myself. But then I realized that the freedom to live on one’s terms in a hostel comes with a tagline – conditions apply. There was freedom and then, there were wardens and rules.
When I started working, I actually got the chance to live life on my own terms sans any scrutiny or 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, hearsay, and judgements passed by everyone around us, and when, instead of just entertaining them, we do not accept them without reasoning.
It is to free ourselves from certain inhibitions and mental blocks and step out in the big wide world, befriending people not limited to the age group, clan or social class we belong to. Feeling free is freeing ourselves from the fears of unknown; a fear that brings along more unreasonable doubts, irrational thoughts and superfluous theories.
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 way we see the world. For me, to feel such freedom is to have 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 is all about enjoying life with its share of struggles and challenges. What say?
This post was first published here.
Pic credit: alicepopkorn (Used under a CC license)
A software engineer in the past, a content writer, an amateur blogger, an avid reader
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