“Happy Independence day. Can’t believe it’s been 72 years of freedom”. “Same to you” I said vaguely stuck in the flood of papers at my table. But one word accompanied me and my thoughts – FREEDOM. ARE WE really free? Closing the files on my computer I heard a whisper in the back of my mind “free of what?” The 200 years of struggle we’ve read all our lives replayed in my mind. The massacres, the tortures, the heart wrenching stories, the fights, the contributions of the uncountable, known and unknown brave hearts who died to get us this freedom.
“Hey girl! Its 9 already you better be going; I’ll drop you don’t worry”. Darkness was free and inviting, the demons that lurked behind us were free too and so was I. “Thank you,” I answered and arranged my desk, put myself together and was ready to go. “Unfold your sleeves,” I said noticing the man who had some lines along his wrist. I heard he was struggling from some mental health issues. He rolled down his sleeves covering the scars as if they were never there. He was free to share and so was I to ask. We went down the stairs, across the hallway towards the exit door. “Goodnight Sir, goodnight ma’am” said the guard. His eyes stuck on my skirt revealing a portion of my thighs. “Goodnight” I mumbled. He was free to stare and I was free to dress. We got in the car and headed for home. On the way we saw a crowd gathered around someone, taking pictures and all. I thought maybe there was a celebrity so we got off to take a look. A girl around five years of age was sitting on the road near a blood covered body, crying vehemently. We went back into the car and took a different route. She was free to ask for help and we were free to deny. “Thank you once again,” I said getting off the car and waved this man goodbye. I heard some hoots and taunts. Some of the ladies in the society passed by murmuring something. I continued. The boys were free to cat call me and the ladies were free to judge me and label me. So was I. Every year, we dedicate a day for freedom and that day was coming to an end. “Happy Independence Day FREE INDIA,” I muttered as I went to sleep.