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!