What does the concept of freedom mean to you?
If you would have asked me this question around a year back, my answer would have been a much deserved escape from reality: a reality filled with chemical explosions and numberless expectations and infinite hopes and physical comparisons – an escape which could perhaps take me away from this seemingly never-ending phase of not being able to understand what the teacher wrote on the blackboard or perhaps what I wrote in the answer sheets. An escape which would do away all that bothered me in some way or the other, unanswered questions, happy facades, hungry beggars, wars with no survivors, unknown stories, oblivious people;something away from everything the real world had to offer, be it the temptations or its delusions;
I remember how I would just look out of the school bus’ window on my way back and observe people busy in their own monotonous works: I remember how I would tell myself how dissatisfying the lifestyle seems to me, I remember how I would promise myself that once I get out of this mess, I would do something new and exciting every single day, it could range from learning a new word to leaning a new language , or probably hop on a swing in the playground nearby or maybe even ride a roller coaster. My thoughts ranged to the two extreme points in the pendulum of life. I remember how in that institution, it didn’t matter what you did, how the simplest of problems took most of spaces in the pie chart of our priorities, how endless and cruel and wondrous and inviting the ‘outer’ world seemed, how dreams seemed amazing themself, how I would sometimes just look into people’s eyes and stare as the fire inside their souls flickered in them, how spirits mattered, how everything seemed to be of an utmost importance , how life seemed like a game of chances and randomness.
As my legs pain and an ample amount of thoughts race to and fro my mind on the ride back home, I find myself being increasingly concerned on what freedom means to me, and what it should ideally mean, to an individual , and to a society as a whole too. My present self does not think of freedom beyond having the capability to think of unchained expressions, and whether one is allowed to vent them all out freely or not, without bring labelled into a sexist or racist or feminist( even as I consider myself to be one) or into any other of the infinite categories we humans have invented in the past few decades. And more than anything I consider it a pity how often we judge people without even listening to their stances completely , most are not even given the platform to sing of their sorrows itself, what could possibly being more shame to the concept of freedom than this, I wonder.
I look outside the window of the over-crowded metro, my city reeks of an inexplicable sense of darkness, both literally and figuratively, and I just watch as the train passes countless buildings and apartments. And even as I struggle with a strong sense of suffocation, my breathlessness does not wager me even in the smallest of ways, and some might find it crazy how a strong feeling of euphoria and freedom awakens in my soul just by watching hundreds of vehicles passing by the roads below, my mind is buzzing with thoughts, and ears with coldplay, the sim card doesn’t work in this area, nobody can explain anything to me, and nor do I have to, I can just walk out on the station and look at the lamp-posts and cars and what’s left of stars in the sky for as long as I want, I can think of anything I want to, and nobody can get offended, and as my face reflects in the window for a second, I realise that freedom is nothing but just a perspective.
I remember reading a short story in eighth standard. It went something like- doing what you like is freedom. Now as I think about it, I realise liking what you do is a sense of freedom too,
Freedom is perhaps the reason for that longing to run whenever I see an empty path, that ignorance with which I choose which street to take to go places, what allows one to love unconditionally. And if one has a sense to do stuff as such, he is a lot ‘aazaad’ than he thinks he is,
What does freedom to me?
What allows me to expect the unexpected, what makes my fire dance, what I feel everytime I see a sky full of stars, the sense with which I forgive souls, the sense with which I read and write and talk,
What makes my heart wants what it wants.
I free my soul to go places, free my heart to get hurt and loved, free my words to go travel the world,
Free myself from all the regrets from the past and all the guilt from the future, for my present self to live a little easier, to feel a little more, to be limitless.