24 hours of freedom – a friend’s Independence Day memory


August 14, 2013
On the eve of Independence Day, a dear friend shared an incident with me…

                                

My friend Shalini Menezes’ tri-colour painted nails. Pls note: The story is not hers

Last year she had gone to office in a tri-colour dress.

Don’t I have the freedom to choose what to wear! she thought.

She strutted in and none of her suited and booted colleagues commented; She slurped up cups of masala chai and no one sneered; She hummed a song and the stiff-lipped boss smiled. She rang up the husband to say, “It’s no cooking day,” and he replied, “Chill.”

Everyone in Independence Day spirit! she thought

Her teen cousin screamed that he bunked classes to go to the cinema and his parents wanted to know more about the movie.

Another announced she’s seeing a guy and her until-then orthodox mom patted her cheeks.

Wow! Now she pinched herself, to check if she was not day dreaming. Convinced, she wasn’t, she sat conjuring up an ideal India…if only we were so patient, understanding and accommodative of one another…

In the evening, the husband called to say, “I’ll be late. Don’t wait for me.”

This is freedom! She sang, rolling in bed.

The next morning she found him beside her. “Get up. It’s time.” She shook him awake.

“Can you leave me alone!” he barked.

She walked into office and heard colleagues chuckle, “Someone’s fancy dress is over.” She logged on the computer and an email stared at her, “Give me one good reason why the file was not forwarded yesterday?”

Dazed as she sat, the mobile rang, “Mom’s threatening to stop me from going to college!” the youngster cried.

“Freedom lasts just 24 hours in a year, my dear,” she sulked, but within ear shot of her colleague.

“Thank God, for that. What all would we have had to put up with,” her colleague sighed aloud, and others broke out in a group laughter. Even their laugh was alike, she noted.

“Pity!” she spat. Stood up and said to no one in particular, “There’s something called individuality. Gluing on to lines drawn by others, so much so one day you’ll suffocate and you wouldn’t even know if it’s you or your neighbour gasping for breath.”

“Answer the boss first before lecturing us,” mocked her colleague.

“You are sure to die your neighbour’s death!”
                                                             ********************

I regret being nasty to my colleague. But that was me last year. In the last one year, I’ve made it a habit of exercising my freedom to live my life every single day. No more am I offended by silly comments.

“So?” I asked.

“I’m wearing the same dress to work. But this time with matching accessories, colour-cordinated nails and a tri-colour hat to boot. Howz that?”
 
Good Luck!

Nisha Sanjeev

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