‘The ideal job,’ Ashraf once said, as if elucidating a complex mathematical function, ‘has the perfect balance of kamai and azadi.’ Through the course of his life, a working man must experiment with as many combinations as he can before discovering the point where these counteracting forces offset each other to arrive at a solitary moment of serenity – a point when he is both free and fortunate.
The elusive Indian sense of freedom. I’ve just reread Aman Sethi’s book A Free Man in two days. It lets you live lives you could never live – hard, difficult lives – but it does so with an interest and a comedy that makes it feel normal. And it’s the closest I’ve come to understanding the complex concept of azadi that I’ve experienced yet, in seven years of living in this city and seven years of attempts.