When the Free Software Foundation tagline read “Free as in Freedom, not Free beer” it struck me for the creative genius which worked behind this. But now sitting at home which I had left three years back for my education and then my studies, I can very well understand the huge difference between the ‘free’ in free beer and freedom.
When I was a young boy of 8 and went to Junior school wearing shorts freedom meant writing with a pen, if possible a red ink or a green ink one since that is what teachers used, or swinging on the play ground or on the merry-go-round for as long as you wished. After that when graduated to senior school but still wearing shorts...playing as much as I liked, staying back for the second trip and coming back home an hour later than usual, having food from the canteen and not carrying it from home was freedom, at the pinnacle of it! It is quite amusing to notice how friends are everything for us, whatsoever it is for a certain period of time. For me it started by my matriculation and stretched into late degree years. Ah, freedom then was hanging out with them, going for movies with them, wasting money on insane pasta’s as one of my friends put it. Freedom also meant staying out late till night. There was a complete disregard for whatever parents said. Denial for everything else except friends was freedom.
Now to me, freedom doesn’t mean the old trivial yet great things during those times. Freedom is what makes a man. Freedom as in not hanging out with friends or not having beer and listening to Floyd on a terrace. Freedom to think, to act, to react. It is only when you have that freedom can you be a better individual. You become an individual when you start to live alone and when to start to think by yourself. I stayed alone in Hyderabad and I feel that has made me a better individual. The only time I had company was when my friend came over for dinner, that too for an hour or so at the max. I had the, if I can call it...the freedom to read what I wanted, to see what I liked, to eat what I liked, to wear what I wished, to speak to whom I liked, to invite home without consulting anyone else, to sleep when I pleased, to bathe when I willed and to go out at leisure. Now all these might be very trivial things...but for me, I believe I am a better individual because of all these factors. But... Freedom is dangerous too; it makes you responsible for yourself. I consider privileged for having my freedom though. Now when I am at home and I am denied certain parts of the above mentioned freedom’s I realise how much they meant to me.
Bono of U2 said “The theory of procrastination is thus- do not put off till tomorrow what you can for the day after, unless of course it is freedom”. I guess we can survive without anything, but not without freedom. Freedom of thought, of expression, of vision, of action, of reaction...
Freedom maketh a man.