Saturday, December 29, 2007


Well another year has come to an end. It is almost six and half years that I first set my foot in this place. I was happy to be here. It was a feeling beyond any words. I went back to see my friends a few days later with a battered t-shirt bearing a tattoo of the place I then belonged. In a few words I was a new fish in a beautiful aquarium with its clean water and state of the art oxygen generator. What I didn’t know that these things had a price? A terrible price, to be precise. To the outside world I was in place that was the best one can dream off, but in reality it was a prison.

In my initial years I saw a movie named “Shawshank Redemption”. And then few days back I saw it again. There are quite a few scenes from the movie which I liked most, but one in particular looked somewhat bizarre. When I first saw the movie that part was nothing but a philosophical concept, but as time passed I started to see the reality in it. Well it goes like this, Brooks the librarian of Shawshank had served a 50 year sentence in the prison and in few days time he would be released. One of his young friends comes down to him to say farewell and then he puts a knife to his throat with the intention of killing him so that Brooks can get another prison sentence. This is not the scene that you would like to think but what happens next is more important. Brooks’ friends somehow convince him not to commit the crime. They sat down in the prison yard to put a thought to what happened down there. Then Red says something remarkable.

He says Brooks is what can be termed as being institutionalized. He has the spent a better portion of his life in this prison. So this is his home he has nowhere to go. In there he is important. An educated man, outside he is nothing. “These walls are funny. First you hate them and than you get used to them”. These were the exact words of Red. Those were convicted men sent to serve a prison sentence for something they did not conforming to the civilized norms of the society. They got the walls and the guards. But what do you hate or love in a prison without walls or guards.

It is confusing I guess a prison without walls and guards. So run away. That is the catch, a prison without walls is concept, its guards and walls are concept as well. And the most beautiful part you can’t run away unless and until you sentence is complete. There they were convicts and here I am somebody who is part of something big, but at the end even 6 and half years look like six and half decades.

Then it occurred to me what exactly is a prison? It is nothing but the boundaries of realm where a person is forced to function, sometimes real and sometimes just a concept. It can be debated for long the concept is better since it gives you the freedom of physical movement, but sometimes that freedom of physical movement and the inability to master owns life becomes more torturous then the restricted freedom of movement.