What does Independence mean to me?

While growing up, I had the privilege of going to a private school that had kids from all walks of life, kids of the famous industrialists to the gardener’s children. As a young boy who came from an educated upper middle class, I did sometimes get carried away and influenced by my classmates about materialistic things. My parents didn’t dismiss all my requests. They always got me what I needed and not what I always wanted but at the same time explained to me the pros and cons of everything. Over the years it was this practice that made me realize the value of things and by the time I was about to graduate from high school, these qualities were instilled in me to the level where even when I had the freedom to make my own choice or purchases, I would make an informed well thought choice.

This freedom also extended to things like going out with friends at night for parties or drinking alcohol as a young adult in college. Just the very fact that I knew my parents were cool and allowed me to do things, my subconscious mind didn’t allow me to misuse this freedom. On the other hand I knew others who had restrictions on going out or drinking would go over board on the sly in retaliation and mostly to defy their parents.

The opportunity to go to London and study was also given to me towards the end of my teens. I knew this opportunity had given me a lot of freedom as I was going to stay alone in a different country at a young and vulnerable age but at the same time I knew it came with responsibility. It would have been the easiest thing to get swayed by others at my University but the freedom to do those things stopped me. It all boils down to the freedom of making an informed decision. This doesn’t mean it will always be right, you might make the wrong choices but at the end of the day as it is your own choice, it becomes your own responsibility. You have to face the music in the end. These lessons that you learn from informed choices are the ones that last for a lifetime.

Freedom for me is also to be able to follow my dreams and passions without being answerable to anyone, being financially independent and not having someone who is dependent on you. These are privileges that I enjoy at this point of my life. Freedom to me is to be able to do what I want, when I want, with whom I want following my heart to be happy and not care about what the society feels based on the existing norms in our country.

In my observation of people in our country and abroad, I feel that many are attached or restricted because of some aspect of their life which is directly connected to the norms of the society. On the other hand there are people who are living their life filled with only unconditional love. I find them to be completely free.

As India celebrates its 74th Independence day today, I congratulate all my fellow Indians and wish them a very happy Independence Day. Jai Hind !

Written by Namit Khanna
Date:15th August 2020