This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 23; the twenty-third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for this month is FREE.
When I first read the topic selected by blog-a-ton for the BAT-23 contest, a twisted smile crossed my face.
The word "FREE" has held a spectra of different meanings and lessons in various phases of my life.
So when it was announced that 'free' was declared the theme we were supposed to work on, my heart flipped a beat, danced a merry jig and decided to join the bandwagon (expressions has always been its favorite, and those who read me will know how it keeps searching for new opportunities to jabber away and chew the reader's head off).
So lets go back in time...
When I was a kid, I was told that the best things in life come for FREE.
This statement somehow stuck with me all through my childhood years. It was in pre kg that i met my first friend and learnt the value of friendship. My family was my world...'home' and 'school' made up for pretty much the whole universe.
Everyone doted over me--I was thrilled.
All the affection..the love..everything was freeeee...
So was climbing trees, swinging on slides, sliding on slides, park rides and bubble wrap---what more could a kid at that age possibly want?
I was happy, content, satisfied, and above all, convinced that "FREE" is in.
All the happiness in life did actually come for free.
This overwhelming thought however, was to stay just an ephemeral concept.
As I frolicked from my joyous childhood into my zestful youth, I realised that things were a tad bit different.
My teenage years were a learning experience.
It was in my early teens that I learned my first lesson on friendship--that friendship were actually based on give and take.
It was summer and my best friend had refused to lend me her bicycle because the class bully was offering her his stamp collection in return of the favour.
The best things in life no longer came for free---they sold out for a bunch of postage..i was disheartened!!
During my late teenage years, the definition of 'free' changed again.
I had become quite the rebel back then..fighting against the injustice of having to be answerable to parents for everything I did.
I wanted to be able to go for late night parties, movies, stay with my ear stuck to the phone, dress up in all kinds of funny clothes and wear makeup (which I now realise was so stupid and juvenile).
But back then, freedom to me meant all that.
I wished to be 'free' and though I didn't realise it back then, in pretty much the 'high on dope and rock & roll' kinda way.
Phew!! Thanks mom and dad, for being so highly patient to my temper tantrums and more for still saying 'No' to my permit for craziness. I fumed at the injustice but moved on..
"The world is not fair anyway, it does not want to see me free" I'd sulked.
and life went on...
As the years passed by, and life handed me more responsibilities to handle, I had almost stopped believing in the 'Moral Science' school teacher who had first imparted those pearls of wisdom to me.
Fairy tales became a thing of the past. Lemony Snicket was the one raising his ugly head from time to time.
I was trying my best to get into the groove of things..to carve my niche.
But life was alright because I had realised by then that just like there were true and honest people around me, there were also those who wore masks all the time.
The meaning of 'free' was changing again.
Life had taught me that there were no free lunches here. Everything came at a price.
Trusting someone came at the price of being betrayed.
Falling in love came at the cost of having your heart snapped in two.
Harboring expectations came at the risk of having them let down.
I was totally disillusioned by now---nothing in life came free after all, not even the hand-me-down's and this was just nature's way of subjecting me to a stronger reality check.
But wait, that was not it...a few years down the line and the meaning of 'free' changed again.
We all know how we all part from college life, with tears of separation and promises of keeping in touch.I did too.
But the truth is---how many of us actually manage to do that?
I got busy..and so did my friends.
We were no longer 'free' to meet up with each other..to keep in touch..to enjoy those long 'hostel' conversations we once shared in those good old college days.
Medical school had bound us together and even though we fretted and fumed about the syllabus and the stress, we were all just about 'free' enough to relate to each other..to empathise with one another..to conform.
But as soon as we bid our goodbye to our 'Alma Mater' there was something in each of us which died with time---the hope to take out time for each other. And even though we still suffer from those occasional pangs of 'nostalgia' gripping us in the gut, the rat race we are all competing in has left us with very little 'free' time to catch up over coffee.
Well, I made peace with this fact a couple of years after college.
We humans have a tendency to adjust according to situations, don't we? I resorted to keeping in touch through social networks on the world wide web.
I was aware these virtual conversations/scraps have almost zilch of the personal magic, real meet-up's and college 'gup-shup' did.
But I convinced myself that the occasional 'pokes' and pleasantries were good enough, and I had to make do with knowing that my friends were alive if not anything else.
I guess it worked both ways, they too have played truce with their busy schedule and taken comfort in the fact that I am still writing on some 'wall' somewhere.
Cut to present day--I am writing for BAT-23, something i had often wished to participate but never did.
Why? because even though I always kept abreast of the contests on this page, I never found myself in the right frame of mind to participate.
I have always been one with a passion for writing.In fact I have been doing it almost since I can even remember.
From personal diaries and journals to newspapers, mags and blogs---I have written everywhere.
Even though I have switched from one medium to another oft and on, my primary blog and confidante still remains 'nostalgic moments' whom i seek solace in confiding with.
However, I have always been quite uncomfortable in posting up melancholic posts here (though I admit, I'm pretty good at sulking) and that brings me to the reason for the unwilling participation in BAT.
Sad though it might sound, my blog which was everybody's darling and sunshine factor once upon a time, has been labelled as 'Mecca of self pity' in the past couple of years, the reason being constant taken-for-granted'ness' in something I considered one of the most important relationships in my life.
While I would lead my heart into believing it was the most precious relation anyone could share, my heart often pointed out to me the constant dissatisfaction it brought about.
Speaking to someone about it would just mean them gasping at what an ignoramus fool I am.
and staying silent would kill me from all the bottled up anger and melancholy, not to mention the frequent mood swings.
Stringing words together into cryptic thoughts and heartfelt scribbles being my sole cheer factor, the only option was to blog about it.
Blogging was my vent board, my open window, my agony aunt..whom I could turn to, and so I did!
Writing about things made me not only reflect on what had happened but it also gave a channel to pain release.
I felt better.
But the moment some comment hinted towards the slightest bit of sympathy, it angered me, added to my humiliation, clung on to the depression I was going through and made me ponder on the sorry doormat'ish' state I had been rendered.
I would then proceed to post in a superficial update just to make up for it.
I had almost stopped writing fiction because everything I wrote bordered on depression.
I had stopped participating in contests because that would just mean thousands of people reading me and the collective sympathy would just add to my already existing agony.
I had lost my wit..my natural instinct to indulge in humorous writing..not to mention, my mind!
I was caged..in a depressive mind which strived hard to prove that it could sometimes be 'manic' too (because I thought it was better to be seen as 'bipolar' than as 'chronically depressed').
It was a different thing that I almost always failed to do so.
So, hows that I'm participating in BAT today?
Well, every once in a while, there comes a day of enlightenment in everybody's life...a day which you either choose to notice or choose to ignore.
The one you choose to ignore is the one you never
You live in dissatisfaction..in disharmony..in discontent..until one day, you cant take it anymore.
The want to escape from the pain, the hurt overwhelms you until your heart is totally enveloped by the strong urge to let go.
and then no amount of self persuasion works--because the heart has made its decision!
It wants to break free!!
Getting out of something you have emotionally given your 100% to, is not an easy task.
When I did that, I sure had my initial moments of introspection.
but looking back, I have never felt so free before.
People say they can notice it in my attitude, my writing. I know they are right. I can feel it too.
This stage of my life taught me something about relationships----that its not always about holding on..sometimes its about letting go.and that is one valuable lesson I will never forget.
So you see ladies and gentlemen, that is the story of my life till now and how the meaning of 'free' has changed with the meaning of 'happiness' in every phase.
I know this is not just my story..but the story of almost everyone around here.
Someday when we all break free and meet up there in a more equal world, lets catch up over coffee and talk of the best things in life which actually did come for free, but perhaps passed us by, while we were too busy in the skeptical pursuit of the 'free' lunch that we convinced ourselves, we would never have.