My fight for independence started off with quite a few yanks of my favorite toys as a child. I remember holding ground as my best friend tugged the tail off of my toy horse or was it the doll’s hair? I’m not sure I recall too correctly, but it isn’t hard to forget the little wealth of goodies that a child so fondly or rather possessively accumulates especially in the early years of development.
The time would soon come when I would learn to share my toys though, but then another hurdle would cross my path just as soon as I thought I’d learnt the art of sharing. My next hurdle- “They want me to share my food too,” I’d think, dipping my finger into a jar of Nutella.
By far, delicious snacks, good or bad for you, were the treasure of my heart, of my palate and my sense of enjoyment- to be shared with only the dearest of friends.
I recall one indulgent afternoon with a bag of sour cream chips that a friend and I munched as we studied for a History test. I had a project on researching India’s Independence leaders. I read about their lives, how they gave away their precious and expensive jewelry, houses, cars and so on to join the struggle for Independence. They valued the lives of others above their own for the sake of establishing a country of peace and prosperity for ages to come. I stopped munching and read a quote in italics. It said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
As I let it sink in, I came to realize that all my possessions (including that bag of chips) seemed so small in comparison to the greatness of these historic men. In no mood to go on indulging my palate, I let my friend finish the chips as I decided to take some solid steps in understanding the nature of serving a greater cause, of sacrificing for the good of all and of enjoying every moment of it.
I soon learnt that the true nature of Independence isn’t in preserving one’s own possessions or one’s own circle of friends, but it rests in letting go of what you’re holding on to, so it can be enjoyed with so many more. For me, this journey started with letting go my bag of chips. I figured, the next time I find reason to indulge, let it be in honor of their sacrifice and let that spread of deliciousness be enjoyed with more than just my close circle of friends and family. Let it be a celebration of independence from possessiveness and selfishness. Maybe this way, those noble virtues would find a place in my own heart, one little treat at a time!