"Just about everyone! Its a symbol of freedom, and all that."
"Yeah, Freedom On A String. Makes so much sense!"
"How was the day?"
"Went well. Did you watch the bhaiyajis flying kites outside?"
"Yeah! they looked so cute!"
These two excerpts of conversation made me think. A lot. About a simple idea to fly kites on Independence Day, every year. And it apparently symbolises freedom. But is it just me, or does anyone else see what our definition of freedom has manifested itself into?
Call it over-analysis, but when I think of freedom, I think of a boundless, seamless entity that strengthens our every impulse and fuels our every desire. But when I think of kites, I only see a manipulated structure, based on the whim of one person, and vulnerable to the harm caused by so many others just like it. How can these two concepts merge to celebrate the INDEPENDENCE of a country?
It only leads me to further questioning about our identity and our stance as a nation. Are we strong in our impulse, fueled by our desire, and yet held back by the whims of a manipulative force? And even if our every movement is controlled and structuralised, how are we still so vulnerable to any external harm? Is our love for freedom detrimental to us, hence the need for a structure to control it, or is our control detrimental to our own flight of freedom, that we cannot fully experience?
These are questions I cannot answer, because these pertain to a country of 1.2 billion people, and I am just one individual among so many. And I have yet to experience enough to even think of answers. But I can raise these questions, in hope of answers.
These questions on a nation's stance also make me question individuals in relation to the same concepts that are being used to commemorate a nation's independence. We as people are granted free will. We have the power to go beyond who we are today. We have the means, the desire, the drive, the passion, the freedom! And yet we succumb to the tugs and leeway of the strings that tie us down. These strings could be just about anything. Hell, the kite could be just about anything or anyone! Are we, as people, despite our individualism, and our free will, and all our rights and duties and everything in place, bound by our own strings, regardless of how high we soar or how far we fly? I guess so. But cut the string, and we land flat on our faces, with nothing to lift us again. So we are free, to go as high as we like, touch each milestone we wish to, and dodge our vulnerabilities, only because of the strings that tie us down, and have our back [literally].
This further takes me to a movie I watched a year so ago - Up In The Air [dir. Jason Reitman of Juno]. George Clooney, who plays the central character, is also a motivational speaker who talks about shedding emotional and material baggage. His talk session is called "What's in your backpack?" and he also asks people to let go of the baggage that builds up due to our familial ties and our relationships with other people. [Spoiler Alert] But when he achieves what he wished to, all the way up in the air, his joy falls flat on its face because he has no emotional connect with anyone to be able to share it with them. At the end of the day, or at least this is what I took away from the movie, we need our relationships to keep us afloat. Just like the kite that stays in the air thanks to the string that controls it.
And lastly, I come back to where I began - nations. Maybe it is true. Maybe we can be free because of the strings that hold our nation - the government, the constitution, our cultural heritage, our traditional [and sometimes redundant] values and the feelings of patriotism. Maybe we need that manipulative check on our impulses, to keep us from being eliminated by another nation. And Maybe, just maybe, I will fly kites on 15th August next year..