When I was a child, my grandmother always told me about the guy who walked back from death with the help of a thread and woke up during his funeral procession. All these years, I have never been able to give a face to this guy from my grandmother’s story. But as I kept reading through the pages of ‘Freedom from the I’, I could finally paint a face to that character. This might sound like an exaggeration but the author of the book, Shashank Kasliwal, surely seem to have walked through hell and managed to have returned to life. Interestingly, this is a hell he designed on his own. However, as he walks you down the lanes of his own hell, most of you will realize that the sceneries are not too different from your own personal hell.
Shashank Kasliwal was born into a rich family and his father was the founder-director of the S Kumar’s Group. However, life was nowhere near a smooth ride for him and as he himself says, half the troubles in his life were self-inflicted. However, today, as we speak of Shashank Kasliwal, Corporate trainer and the owner of Emotional Intelligence Inc. he comes across as the man who resurrected himself from a long chain of traumas and has taken charge of his life. In his book, ‘Freedom from the I‘, he talks about how to find your way back to life from whatever hell-hole of unending pain you have buried yourself in.
I have said it earlier too, self-help is not my favourite genre when it comes to book. However, this book sounds different from the usual self-help books. It doesn’t have the usual 4Ds or 5Cs or 7Ps to success in life. It doesn’t speak based on a million-dollar worth research project on how complex the human mind is and how it reacts to emotions. It doesn’t even speak of mind training in the usual sophisticated manner. What it does instead is, it dissects the human mind, and lays before you its insecurities and vulnerabilities in the rawest form. This, in my view, is the strongest aspect of the book. A certain sense of uneasiness might creep in when the author bares open about his shortcomings. The uneasiness is only because someone is showing you the mirror and this time the glass is not tinted with beautiful colours to make the ugliness look bearable.
The author begins with introducing to you the false in you and through the next 11 chapters he talks about breaking free of the shackles of the past and the psychological damage that ego does to you and the people around you. He points out how we always have tried to treat our physical pains without bothering to address its connection to psychological suffering. From quitting WhatsApp groups to suicidal instincts, you will relate to a lot of seemingly trivial things which are symptoms of chronic suffering. The book advocates ‘consciousness’ as a technique and inculcating the habit of ‘being present’ to dissolve the emotional blocks within you.
Shashank warns you in the beginning that few things might get repeated in the book and those repetitions are deliberately done. Although he prepares you for what is coming, this repetition makes it difficult to get through the book. But there are some beautiful short stories and thought-provoking anecdotes strewn all over the chapters. So, when the narration becomes repetitive these stories help you to hang on. The book slowly grew on me and when I finally finished it, that splitting headache after a stressful day at work had vanished and certain calmness had set it. Probably, Shashank’s advice about finding the trigger guided me towards the calm.
The book might not go on to feature in your list of ‘greatest book I have ever read’. But I am sure this book will help at least a few tortured souls to find their grounds in the dark and fight their way back to light. If you are one of those who have been constantly complaining about how unfair the world has been to you or how you have a bad boss or how your friends and family failed you or how nobody loves you or cares about you, then maybe you should try spending some time with Shashank Kasliwal’s ‘Freedom from the I ‘