Freedom, But at What Cost?

we will laugh about this,

sitting in a circle,

sharing stories,

you will tell me;

"mannav, we are free",

i look around this circle:

within it, we are free,

"i agree with you", i say,

unsure, but too mellow to discuss,

today, I have decided to listen.


but i think i agree with you,

we are free,

we do what we want to,

our days are decided by us,

isn't this freedom? to be able to do what I want by myself?

What was freedom to cavemen, then?


What was freedom before I woke up with a prayer in my mouth?

What was freedom before I thanked an imaginary figure for my existence?

What was freedom before I thought twice before posting online?

What was freedom when violence was a necessity for survival and not a tool to bash dissent?

When did freedom become a thing to protest, a thing to protest for?

Am I free? as free as the primitive man?


him and i stared at the same sky,

same moon, same stars,

but i wear glasses, my vision is tainted,

If I take them off, am I free?

Is blindness freedom in a world with braille?

Is deafness freedom in a world with subtitles?


i am lost in my own head again, is this my freedom?

you shake me back into our free world,

We laugh until the sun rises.

then we remain silent until it is time to laugh again,

the ebb and flow of the tide, the definition of free, is not timed, is not strictly routine,

it is free, am i?


but i think i agree with you,

i am currently free,

as i write this, i am free to write,

But will I be free when words become contraband?

when poetry becomes a crime, will you continue to write?


but i know i ask more questions in one poem than can ever be answered,

there are no answers to the question of freedom until it becomes a question no more.


- Mannav Jaisinghani

Biography: Hi! I'm a 17 year old poet and writer hailing from Mumbai, India. I write mainly about contemporary issues and also run a podcast as a hobby. My interests include classic literature and Hip Hop culture. My instagram is @mxnnav and my podcast is anchor.fm/mannav


Cover photo source: https://www.absolutearts.com/painting_oil/abed_alem-freedom_-1465833283.html