Notes on Freedom

Freedom and Independence often go together. Don’t they? Between all the patriotic flavour, tricoloured clothes, fancy dress competition and rehashed history lessons and “Mera Karma Tu, Mera Dharma Tu” playing on loop, August 15th becomes a signifier of the Indian in each one of us.

As a parent to a toddler, this was our first Independence Day when we sowed the seeds of the Indian identity on V. In a fun exercise of dress up and role play I told him about Bhagat Singh. With a hat and felt moustache in tow, the little boy quite felt like a man!


“I am Bhagat Singh.
Simon go back.
British go back”

At school he went on stage said the lines. His Principal said he was excellent…his teacher attached a note for the parents. In what was his first elocution day, it added a pretty memory for all of us.

Thanks to his school he now knows the national anthem as something Devyani Ma’ am sings and guess what Mum-um knows it too! He identifies the cluster of saffron , green and white as a flag. And takes great pride in throwing his tiny fist in the air saying “Jai Hind”.

The Indian identity is a complex thing…and no amount of deshbhakti sermons can rouse a thoughtful countryman. Let’s hope V grows up to understand the history of this country, love it and do his bit in making it a better place.

I also hope he grows up to appreciate the true spirit of freedom and independence as a human being. As parents, we can only give him the playing field to experience freedom. What he makes of it will be his own doing.

*fingers crossed*

Freedom from Expectations
It’s easier said than done. I promise to not impose my expectations on him. Does that mean I give up on him? Surely no, but I would rather equip him with the tools to set his own expectations of himself. I would rather have him set his own targets and goals in life. I would rather have him set his own standards than follow his peers.

Freedom to Choose
His books. His toys. His clothes. His hobbies. His passions. His love. His profession. His life.

Freedom to Live His Dream
I hope he has the craziest dreams in the world. More important, I want to have the nerve to see him live his dreams! Is it always about the acceptable pursuits in life? I have to be ready for the unexpected…I hope bungee jumping and moto-racing aren’t in them!

Freedom to Fail
Failure teaches more than success and winning. Why does failure have to be a negative word? Why is it feared? Why does it not motivate? I will let him fail. Fall. Bruise. Wound. And rise again.

Freedom to Express
As parents what we say is not the Holy Grail. We are humans too, prone to weaknesses and failings. We can go wrong too…and we will at some point of time. It is then we will need a son who won’t mince his words and tell us what we must do.

Freedom to be Different
‘Is he walking yet?’ ‘Is he talking yet?’ ‘He is 2.5 years, why isn’t he in playschool yet?’ V has a crazy set of parents who care a zilch for what the world says…so all he needs to do is go ahead and have the courage to be different!

Go on and shine, my boy!