Today, we talk about freedom the way we talk about the morning tea- essential, but mundane, insignificant, taken for granted. But on certain days, this kadak chai hits you hard and you develop a whole new perspective.
I was captivated and kept in bondage by my own beliefs, insecurities, fears. I bought things I didn’t need, to impress people I didn’t like. I would walk tiptoed on roads because if I tripped, it would be the end of the world. I’d dance within the limits of the beats and fill my playlist with ‘popular’ songs, even if my insides cringed at the cacophony. My face would smile under plastic make up at parties till the high heels made my feet hurt.
I had never let myself open to the idea of freedom; freedom would mean being all by yourself, not having anyone to approve your dress, your hair; not having anyone proofread what you think. It took me an age to realise that that was the whole point.
Freedom is not marked by a date in history, nor symbolised by the hoisting of a flag. You are as free as you let yourself be. The realisation was gradual, but it was revolutionary. And one fine day, I decided to set myself free. I allowed myself the freedom to go wrong. I freed myself of the compulsion of having perfection as the benchmark for life. I let the world see my weakness. The more I let the essence of freedom seep into me, the more I realised how much I had missed on, all the while pretending to be happy.
Once the disguise was out, it was so clear that off-guard is beautiful, that happiness can be raw and it doesn’t have to thrive under the veil of pretense. With freedom, came overwhelming joy and it became a way of life. In one of those ecstatic moments, it occurred to me that my feet didn’t hurt anymore!
P.S.: Thanks, Lamiya Dohadwala!
You will be standing on your terrace; in awe of the stars and wrapped in your idea of infinity. You’ll throw questions at random: with your faith unaltered, your belief undaunted. Pitted against the hollow dark, you will hope for miracles. You will put all the trust you could gather into the speckled universe and be ready to wait for infinity to work wonders on it.
Your questions will pass every star and will bounce against the endlessness.
And the answers will come. Not as one whole, but by the millions. Before you know, you will have the unnumbered, brilliant twinkles for answers.
And you have scars and bruises. Each one, distinct yet overlapping. There is little place for unscathed skin. Doesn’t mean that you have taken all the wrong steps and tripped on each. You don’t get to blame yourself for each cut- you have to accept that some wounds were meant to be. They were teachers, that helped you learn, love, grow. Sure as hell, there are beautiful tattoos etched in the right places on you to remind you of the happy times, the wonderful people and the enriching times when you lost yourself to the euphoria you were blessed with. The tattoos are meant to be forever. And there will be times when some cuts will fall precisely across the colourful lines joining the tattoos. Don’t be afraid to look through them, because, in the end, not only will those gashes become a serene part of the happy times, they will immortalise them.
The air that tickles the back of my neck, the deep blue of the sky that refuses to dim, the drops that fight their way down my glass windows, the perpetual chuckle of the water against the tin roof bring with them, memories of paper boats in mucky puddles, of clattering teeth beneath enchanted eyes, of hair dripping with water, of praying for a rainbow with every but of shower, and of waking up scared of the thunder bout embracing the rain the next morning. What they cannot bring back, are those times.
You are the folded pages of your secret diary. You are the paper boats made of old drawing pages. You are what you write in the margins of your notebook. You are the fear you face in a dark room. You are what you do first thing on a Sunday morning. You are what you steal from the fridge when no one is looking. You are the average of all that you rediscover on opening an old drawer. You are what you do when it rains out of season. You are how you react to a pound gained. You are what you laugh at. You are what you hum. You are the way you look at the sea. You are what you are when you wake up. And most of all, You are everything but what you write on your resume of what you think you are.
You know, those kind of places? The ones that make you feel at home. One walk around it, and you know what to find where. One mindful glance at it and you could navigate your way through it even on a dark night. The walls are so warm, you rather stay indoors than explore the world outside; the ceiling, just high enough for you to look up to when in doubt, and just stark enough to stare into and feel free. The kind of places that you want to go to after the day’s wandering about, trying to find yourself.
Works the same with some people too.
Picture courtesy: Aishwarya Hele
The Sun illuminated the Sky like it owned it, like it was meant to do just that. And it did its job to perfection. The Sky was covered every inch with radiance and warmth that was unparalleled. It needed nothing else. It would give anything to keep the Sun for life. But like every other ‘forever’ that is meant to end, when it was time, the Sun had to go. The Sky pleaded for it to remain, reasoned for it to stay; but the Sun was bound by habit and by its nature to lighten another dome in another land, to brighten another day elsewhere.
As the Sun approached the horizon, the minutes seemed shorter, and the Sun seemed lovelier. The Sky was too captivated by the light of the Sun to let it go simply. It held on with all its might and struggled for it to stay a tad bit longer. The beauty of this scuffle made the world marvel as the Sky took contrasts of shades no one knew could coexist, and combinations of colours impossible to replicate.
Even after the last bit of the Sun was out of view, the Sky refused to accept the loss. It held on to the memories it had had while the Sun shone ever so brightly on its barren land.
Like every remnant that has to taper off, the brightness of the Sun’s rays became too much for the Sky to hold on to. It had to let go of the memories to be able to survive the loss. In gradations that were invisible to the casual eye, the Sky melted back to the darkness it was born with. The light was gone, yes; but the warmth was there to stay.
When it had recuperated enough to notice, the ever so gracious Moon stood by with its speckled beauty and open arms to offer all that it had to the bruised Sky. The Sky allowed the Moon to beautify its stark self. As if it weren’t enough, the Moon called for the stars, and swore to cover the nakedness of the night with the bountiful joy that it could find in the jewels of the dark. The Moon hoped to brighten the Sky as much as the Sun could and he put all of his might into the purpose; but no one knew that he wasn’t even a close match.