Out of the many ‘firsts’ for my son, his recent train joinery was a ‘first’ which turned out to be rather intriguing. In his articulate differences between train and rail travel, he distinctly pointed out his affinity towards trains. The most pronounced difference was the amount of freedom he felt while on the train. With no restrictions – no seat belts, no window shades to shut and open and with no need to curb the nature’s calls based on the seat belt signs, he felt at the top of the world. His analogy of an aircraft cabin to a classroom and a cabin crew member to a teacher was hilarious. On an aircraft, the controlled environment with a teacher trying to wield control for safety and security felt stifling to him. No time restrictions to eat and drink on a train made him doubly pleased.
My son’s perception of these noticeable differences gave me some good insight into the human nature. If an eleven-year-old boy could appreciate the freedom around him, an adult would always seek and appreciate one. Unfortunately, the nature of our relationships never makes us feel free and we are responsible for the same. We are always bound by some controls and boundaries – on our selves and others. If I want my husband to not get too friendly with some other woman, if I don’t want him to come home late, I must practise what I preach. Hence, I am curbing his freedom and mine.
Why should we make each other feel bound? We get into a relationship to give meaning to our life, to enjoy it together and to grow old together. The feeling of ownership and exclusivity spoil it all. We cannot own our partner. The very fact that we are married to one shows the exclusive connection. We don’t have to go about diluting that exclusivity by harping on our perceived dos and don’ts, rights and wrongs.
Every human being is inherently free spirited. Our social set up binds us from early childhood and till eternity. To be bound to one’s family is divine but when it transforms into force, obligation and control, it weakens the essence of any relationship. When love is the only measure of control for spouses, children and parents, we are bound to feel free yet remain bound to our union of love and family.