If you wake up in the morning without a dark cloud above your head and chains binding your soul back to your bed; if you go about the day with an open heart and a willingness to serve, learn, explore & grow; if you go to bed at night without worries of tomorrow or regrets of yesterday; then you, my friend, are truly Independent!

As we prepare to celebrate 70th anniversary of independent India, I find myself asking this daunting question: Are we truly independent today?

Sure, we have come a long way from being a victim of colonization to becoming one of the strong democracies of the world. However, there is something about the spirit of our nation or the spirit of its pupils that makes me question whether we really are an independent nation or are we slaves to tyrants behind fancier masks? Worse yet, are we slaves to something within us that we refuse to acknowledge?

I say, this Independence day, we alter the way we live just by few degrees. I say, today, we stand in front of a mirror, have a good long sincere gaze at it and try to see if what is ruling us can be seen or felt somewhere in our reflection. The condemning thought “you aren’t enough”, the reprimanding belief “this is all that you deserve”, the depressing whisper “maybe I’m not born for that”, the childlike voice, “hey, wonder what will life be like if I could achieve this!” and many more random waves of inner-chatter keep floating in the ocean of our minds. Out of these random waves, are you programmed to hand-pick the most damaging ones and believe them to be your reality? If yes, then ‘Why’ you ask me? Well, the answer is simple. A man always trusts what’s familiar & fears the unexplored & what could be more familiar to a man than his comforting cloak of self-pity? I say let’s acknowledge, that we have the right to re-wire our minds & hence our lives and make it about what we want it to be. Let’s identify all the things within us that rule us against our will. Let’s learn about courage from our beloved freedom fighters and say out loud to all those dictators within us, “Demons, go back”!

If you are already independent, help others remove their shackles as well! I say, this Independence day, let’s abandon the auto-pilot and manoeuvre our lives on our own because self-pity may be comforting, but the ecstasy of freedom is the elixir of life!