I Truly Believe In Love

When I was in college (graduation 3rd year), I read two books as a part of our syllabus – The Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Both are great works. Human relations, follies, expectations, insecurities, vulnerabilities – mainstay of these works. Me being a romantic to the core person was swept off my feet by beautiful portrayal of Elizabeth and Darcy – the protagonists of “Pride & Prejudice”. Elizabeth, a strongly opinionated, free spirited , well read, beautiful and a charismatic girl. Her beauty was not only what was obvious but her refusal to let herself to be treated as doormat added to her aura. Despite of not having grand fortune and unfortunately quite a few annoying pompous characters in her family she never let herself to act or sound vulnerable. Meekness or submission wasn’t her. She represented grace. On the other hand Mr.Darcy was rich by leaps and bounds. Was as opinionated as his female counterpart was but the natural flair of talking easily to people wasn’t his forte. His stoic silence made him look haughty. His reserved nature was often mistaken for being too proud to mingle. But as the story proceeds the layers over his character get unveiled, making him a desirable life partner for every girl. Ok, I will be honest with you all – I really wished to have a Darcy in my life – handsome, even more handsomely rich and to enhance every other quality that he possessed – sensible & madly in love with a person to go to any extent.

It was their chemistry that kept me hooked. Left me happily teary eyed everytime I finished the book. I actually lost count of number of times I have read this book (haven’t yet counted the number of views I have paid to the series). It is no less than a fairy tale following the suit where poor girl meets rich boy, they get married and happily live ever after. It is more closer to the real lives where a union of two people isn’t devoid of involvement of families and friends. Superiority complex of affluent ones, misunderstandings – both of words & silence, expectations tied to engagements, pride invested in qualities (materialistic and otherwise) one possess, prejudiced opinions one forms of the other and how finally love finds it’s way – we do find such elements in and around our lives, isn’t it? That’s why this fiction stood the test of the time.

My Draw: To be honest, whether I read or watch this work of art, majorly it’s an escapism to the rosy world of romance I adore. I simply cherish love stories. It hand overs to me a sense of happiness. But over the years it apart from happiness it gave me one important lesson – Pride about something – good or bad, inadvertently nurses prejudice. Let’s forget about the book and it’s characters for a moment. Let’s take an example from what’s around us. A man regular in his prayers and social work feels proud of his desirable ways of life. When he sees another person who is not very invested in regular prayers and social work isn’t a part of his regular proceedings of life, the former one immediately forms a prejudice about the later one about how wrong he is without knowing him fully, without having an awareness of his portion of struggles in life. It is very much happening all around us. No denial. So if you let pride rest for long in your head get ready for an add on guest – Prejudice, period!

Moving on from this story, have you ever thought what would be life of Elizabeth and Darcy when they enter their 60s? When romance blooms completely into love. Well, not sure of them but I came across a Indian regional movie that exactly defines what love and companionship is. The movie’s name is Mithunam, which means a couple. It’s in Telugu. The entire movie is about an elderly couple – Appa Dasu & Buchi Lakshmi, whose children have settled in different parts of the world. In the entirety of the film you will see only these two characters. It might seem to be a reel showcasing their daily mundane activities but the depth needs a heart to let it sink.

The first thing what I noticed after I finished watching this movie is it isn’t some unrelated, non relatable celebrities that can give us couple goals. If companionship has to be understood look at our grandparents, look at our parents. My own in-laws are together for 42 years now. Have seen lows and highs together. Being together is what mattered. And probably for the first time on celluloid I have seen where it wasn’t about the rose flowers but about the fragrance it spreads. It isn’t about the attraction during youth but affection in the dusk of the age. Where hero and heroine aren’t the glamorous hot shots but someone more identifiable and relatable with us. Completely in love with this movie.

What Mithunam taught me?

Many beautiful aspects have subtly touched upon in this movie that can make a life meaningful and joyful.

  • companionship means understanding the unannounced pain, doing your part without being vocal about it. There was a particular scene where the wife comes to know how her husband has been helping her best friend over the years to get her son educated after her husband has departed. Never once did he let her know about her friend’s ordeals.
  • Work your bodies and rest your mind. Movie beautifully depicted the mantra for a happy and healthy life. From growing vegetables, doing chores to even unconventional jobs repairing slippers like cobblers do, this movie also speaks about dignity of labour and self reliance though in a very nuanced manner.
  • For the first time I heard the concept of attachment and detachment in this movie. Our love shouldn’t turn into constant worry or impediment – for us or others. Live life as it comes – this is what Appa Dasu taught me.
  • At the end when Appa Dasu dies, Buchi Lakshmi cries her heart out and says “thank you God”. Don’t get her wrong, she opens up as she talks to herself “I was constantly worried what would happen to this man if I leave this abode before him, he is like a child who can’t take care of himself. Now my worries are put to rest”. Is this not true love considering the fact that in India dying as a married woman (before her husband) is considered good.

I can go on about this feel good movie, but surely there’s more this movie can give us. Available on youtube with subtitles, give it a try! These two works have strengthened my idea and belief in love. I may not have Darcy, but surely I want to grow old with my man and lead a content life ☺️.

IS CONSUMERISM A COMPLETELY FUTILE CONCEPT?

Demand and Supply run the dynamics of the modern-day world or simply put Economics. Modern-day politics, policies, relationships – be it at the micro or macro level are governed purely by economics. “Size of the market” influences the amount of leverage any nation gets. To influence consumers or say lure them to buy a product, widen the market share is an old practice. With the world becoming a global village, competition is cutthroat and marketing is a serious business. At the end of the day it is to make a consumer believe – BELIEVE US, BUY OUR PRODUCT, HAPPINESS GUARANTEED!! And this is called Consumerism, to make (attract) the consumers believe that their happiness quotient in life will be enhanced if they buy a certain product.

Is Consumerism Bad? From a purely economic point of view, it is not. The entire machinery of the economy runs and depends on aggregate demand; the percentage of income spent by the consumers against the percentage saved. It is the demand/expenditure that determines the GDP of the economy. The higher the previously mentioned factors higher will be the GDP, hence a better economy. Therefore the focus is on influencing the demand of the consumers.

How Exactly It Works? A petty example: A consumer is attracted or influenced to buy a pair of jeans from a particular brand of clothing and he purchases that. It is direct income to the brand. Let’s see the trickle-down effect of demand / anticipated demand – it creates income for the raw material supplier; for the workers working in the factory producing the final product; rent for the premise holder; salaries for the showroom workers; income for the marketing teams; income for the factories producing petty items like zips & buttons. One demand creates a multiple-fold impact. And when the aggregate / collective figure is taken it is huge. And not to mention every time income is created it is again pumped into the economy by respective parties via spending.

How Good It Is For The Consumer :

1. With the advent of concepts like liberalization, globalization, free markets consumer is enabled to make choices from the plethora of goods available in the market. Which means more choice.

2. Monopoly doesn’t work anymore, consumers got a say indirectly in fixing the prices suitable to their pocket.

3. Providers have to eventually take care of the quality of the goods provided because sub-par products get replaced easily and their market share will be grabbed by their competitors.

4. Mass production helps reduce of costs of production. Reduced cost of production provides the makers with scope to attract buyers with better offers.

To put it straight Consumer (customer) is the king.

The Flip Side of Consumerism: On a weekend I would rather beat my coffee than beat around the bush. Coming straight to the point Consumerism encourages unnecessary consumption that has no impact on the life of the consumer if omitted. Simply the attraction to the colorful advertisements, the urge to show off, inferiority complexes brewing inside, insane levels of idolizing the celebrities makes people purchase the things which they certainly don’t need. From a fairness cream to a hatchback everything is pushed down the consumers’ (unmindful ones, whose number is multiplying fast) throat, making them believe – this will change your life for good. And when such demand arises it has its own negative points, hard to neglect:

1. Increase in conspicuous consumption results in multiple-fold production which means more stress on resources, more waste disposal, more pollution.

2. Purchases made to show off an elevated standard of living often lead to financial crunch situations. Easy availability of credit cards / online shopping methods inspires more conspicuous consumption.

3. The psychological impact to keep up with the hollow standards of beauty, fashion, lifestyle is pushing people to depression and anxiety.

Can there be a “better” Consumerism? Considering how the whole concept of consumerism works if the onus to promote “good” goods is taken up by the producers that can make a great impact. For example, if healthy eating habits can be promoted via bio/organic products, made available to every stratum of the society possible, that could mean something because after all health is wealth. If celebrities are conscious about the brands or products they are promoting they will be doing a great service indirectly to the people who follow them blindly.

Role of Consumers: With the information on every product thrown at our face available consumers should educate themselves and be well informed before making any expenditure. It’s a matter of health – be it physical or psychological and of course hard-earned money!!

Consumerism is all about consumers and how they are influenced to buy. And they buying run the economy of any nation. So why not scale out the thorns and keep what’s good and beneficial. We as a society need to move from conspicuous to conscious consumption.

IF I CAN TRADE MY WORDS . . .

“If I can trade my words I would invest them in your smile”

That’s pretty much cheesy, right out of a popcorn romantic flick, isn’t it? Don’t blame me, I am currently watching way too many Disney movies – Prince, Princess, Love story, perfect fairy tales. They not only entertain me but a perfect recipe to cheer me up. Apart from that my phone’s gallery is my hideout. Binge eating, unforeseen shopping (apart from groceries 😜) are more or less commoners in the world of “let me cheer you” force.

But it is undeniable that no matter how much ammunition one has to ward off shadows of gloom, a strong shoulder to lean on and an empathetic & soothing word is still an unmatched comfort. We can falter and crumble at some point, all while throwing around a charade of being strong. We do need someone to ask and say “How are you?”, “I understand”, “I am with you”, “what can I do to cheer you up”, “you are strong”, “you deserve much more”, “relax, I am there for you”, “just chill”, ” let’s hangout, don’t bother for anything else”

Why do one need someone or something to Cheer themselves up? When one gets tired of chasing dreams, battling adversaries, struggling demons ranging from bullies to inner enemies of that of depression / anxiety, our mind send us SOS. Nursing of a dented spirit is so much needed to bring it back on its feet. All the apparent and oblivious battles deplete us of our both physical and mental strength and that’s when exactly doubts trend – Can I fight it out? Can I do this after all? Seems I am unworthy? This is proving futile, let’s quit? I have lost everything? Was it meant to be this after all? If these questions left to knock too much one’s soul they can bring sabotage the same beyond repair. That’s the very reason we are talking about this issue at the first place today. Be attentive dearies!!

Me as a person on the other side of the fense, in the capacity of a friend (universal relationship with every related person in our lives) got a weird sense of intuition (I can be boastful sometimes, kindly excuse me😂). With people whom I am in regular touch with can easily read between the lines from our seemingly “Fine” conversation. From dry OKs, lifeless HMMs, tone of “I am fine” in chats I can tell not everything is fine. May be rapport over years is the reason. Whenever I sense something off, the first thing I do is to pester them with one question “what happened”. Sometimes no matter how close you might be some investigation is imperative. *Note: an immediate call in person rather a chat always scores. Lending an inquisitive ear is very important. I believe in strongly saying this “I know it’s easy to say that I understand and be strong because I am not there in your shoes. But also I know that you have fared much better in more worse situations in life before, you will surely see the shore surely. You are loved. You matter to us, just remember this. And for anything else I am here, Talk to Me”.

A page from my therapeutic experiences (if you can call talking one): a friend of mine who now shifted to Switzerland had her share of self esteem blues (parenting can really take a toll). We used to talk a great deal. My only aim was to cheer her up invoking her love and confidence in herself. I used to say “You are doing great”. These words seem very simple but might rekindle the positivity streak within one self. Might work at least 5 out of 10 times. Even if it is 1 out of 10 it’s worth giving it a try!! And what made be happy was she used to say “talking to you brings positivity to me, I feel relaxed”. Can anything beat that?

Words can make or break so I chose the first one.

“If you are giving chocolates don’t forget to mix sweetness of words – for someone sweet like you.

If you are hanging out don’t forget to imbibe these words in the itinerary – it’s always so much fun with you.

If you are gifting diamonds to lift up the spirits don’t forget to polish them with words – for someone more precious than these.

If you can only talk then don’t forget to send your warmth via vocals – thank you for being with me, so PROUD OF YOU!!!❤❤❤”

Words make a lot of difference – period.

LET THE SEED OF BELIEF YIELD FRUITS OF WISDOM

A few months back I got a packet of carrot seeds and sown them in my garden. Days turned into weeks but no result. Instead, unwanted weeds cropped up all around. I pacified myself thinking maybe the soil isn’t of good quality or the seeds aren’t supreme. Yet kept checking. Meanwhile, in a small pot, I scattered few tomato seeds and surprisingly saplings did crop up in no time. What made the difference? In the first case, I buried (literally) the seeds quite deep making it hard for the feeble saplings to make it to the surface. On the contrary, I sowed the tomato seeds quite close to the surface and covered them with a thin layer of soil. Keeping the soil loose lets the seeds breathe easy and develop well.

What struck me actually? Not the principles of Horticulture but a valuable lesson that those tiny particles have taught me. When the seeds are sown really deep and the upper layer of soil is decked up too tightly the saplings never find it easy to develop – not just tender leaves but strong roots; roots strong enough to brave the weather and stand upright. And this has a close allegory to the way we perceive devotion or seek wisdom in our lives.

We have strongly and successfully confused ourselves with devotion towards God and attaining wisdom with a set of ritualistic practices. And that resulted in FEAR. Fear of facing God’s wrath if we fail to perform or practice rituals as per the rule book which is amended and molded as per personal conveniences!! And unfortunately, we forget that God can’t be a synonym for fear and which is conveniently cashed by few “caretakers” of religions in the name of God. And that forces the rigidity. Rigidity to do things as mentioned and deemed to be God’s will. Just as the seeds need the soil to be loosened to let them breathe, the rigidity of practices must be done away with. The fear-mongering must be stopped, enabling the emotion, the devotion of heart – “God Loving” dwell in.

Fear never lets the love thrive and when love ceases to exist the desire to know more extinguishes and that blocks the route to wisdom, period! On a lighter note, we must remember that God is not our thrice removed maternal uncle to sulk and swear at every trivial matter. He has created us to achieve higher purposes in life rather than navigating directionless with fear of choosing five minutes of folded hand prayer over 50 minutes of chants.

PARENTING – NO KIDDING!

As a parent what is our constant wish and effort – nothing but to give the best to our children. Isn’t it? Be it the opportunities or the materialistic things at their disposal, we as parents never leave any stone unturned to provide our kids with nothing short of best even if we have to go an extra mile. That makes me ponder “Is providing of provisions enough to make us good parents?” Well in my quest I stumbled upon an example from the mythological story of Mahabharat:

Duryodhan (the eldest Kaurava), son of Dhritarashtra had everything at his disposal – loving parents, strength of 99 brothers, “Never Say No” best friend like Karna yet his greed led to his downfall and demise. Though his greed and jealousy were given flames by his ever conspiring maternal uncle Shakuni but it is an offshoot of Dhritarashtra’s failure as a good father. He always used his physical handicap as a trump card, as a camouflage to his insecurities that thrived against his own brother Pandu (father of Pandavas) and this very feeling made him to give in to every unjustified demand of his son. He thought the jewelled crown and the throne of Hastinapur rightfully belonged to his son and disruption of any sort will leave Duryodhan shattered and he never wanted that. He couldn’t see because of his physical disability but his insecurity piled up over the years decayed the truth in his heart, blinded his vision (morally) as he couldn’t see the harm his son is causing to the very roots of his own family in the disguise of snatching power, humiliating and even trying to kill his cousins (the pandavas). Had Drithraashtra intervened and took strong stand against the scrupulous ways and moral corruption of his son he could have prevented Kurukshetra war that saw innumerable deaths, wailing widows and orphans. But he always had crown and materialistic pleasures on his mind for his son because he thought that’s the only responsibility he had as a father. A perfect example of how providing materialistic world isn’t enough to be Good Parent.

This one character made me understand that there’s a difference between attachment and love. Attachment makes us to justify and act according to every unjustified demands of our kids lest our denial might upset them whereas love strive to work tirelessly for the evolution of a better human being and a great character. That’s some heavy philosophy, isn’t it?😊

Back to the present: With the family structures / set ups changing (disintegration of joint family systems into nuclear families), social dynamics changing so fast, the increasing distance between the parents and kids as to how they process thoughts and understand a particular situation parents have an uphill task of safeguarding their children from physical dangers, moral corrosion and emotional exploitation with an added responsibility of preparing them for life. What are we supposed to do then as a parent since parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual? What should be our parenting goals? Is preparing kids for competitions, making them do good in academics and extra curricular activities, giving them a comfortable cushion for a secured life ahead are characteristic traits of good parents? Well, I strongly believe that these are only perks. The foremost responsibility of a parent is to aid in character development of a child. If parents are successful in nurturing good human beings individually they are actually assisting in constructing a better society and pave way for a better environment for the country. To put it simple: parenting is about understanding and explaining the difference between literacy & education; price & value; right & wrong.

Face to Face with the current reality: Sadly incidents of cruelty, ghastly violence, atrocities are outnumbering gestures of kindness, love, compassion. And what is more horrific is that the young minds and souls are found on both ends – both perpetrators and receiving. For instance – in one incident that I came across on social media platform, a 15 year old autistic boy committed suicide because he was bullied so hard by his schoolmates that he found death as an easy escape. Both the culprit and the victims are kids only. In another incident in the Mumbai city of India it was found a school going students group (all aged between 13-14 years) were talking in an obnoxious manner in their group chats on WhatsApp, to be more precise they were talking about rape, one night stands, sex, making fun of homosexuality, tagging peers with tags like “gay”,”lesbian”. New (much talked about) to the list being the “Boys Lokcer Room” incident. That was horrendous. Where is our future heading? Who bores the responsibility for this? Schools as usual shrug off their shoulders and dust off responsibility. And to be honest not everything can be entrusted to someone else be it a person or an organisation (specifically in the times we are now experiencing where the teacher-student-school dynamics are not the same they used to be a decade or two back)

Parents time to think and act!! Perhaps time to reevaluate ourselves. Are we doing enough for our kids? Are we available to our kids when they need us? Are we listening to them? Are we aware of their exposures and exploitation? Are we setting good examples for them to follow? Before setting goals it is important to understand parenting isn’t JUST about Imposing rules and Supervision. It’s not just about telling kids “do this, don’t do that, sit there, don’t go there, don’t speak” and a long list of DOs and DON’Ts. Simply parenting isn’t a linear correlation formula. Also parenting isn’t about providing the comforts and luxuries (provision of basic needs is no more a parenting criteria sadly, we have surpassed that stage long ago). It’s a pretty complex web often comprising of simplest things. It’s about:

Inculcating the right values: Its the most tedious job of all. The paths of upright morals should be trend relentlessly to set a direction for them to follow the footsteps. Compassion, benevolence, trustworthiness and likes can never be taught by preaching only. You show, you sow and you reap, period!

Right kind of exposure: With the availability of world at the touch of a button or a click away our kids are highly vulnerable to the wrong influence. The different kind of applications and social media platforms have effectively targeted their audience and exploited their vulnerabilities. This situation demands parental intervention. Training of young minds with tools of moral stories (for young kids); history of great personalities who have contributed to the humanity and society, healthy conversations sharing own life experiences, constant to and fro communication with kids in the wake of understanding and addressing their fears, answering their doubts are few ways of providing the right exposure and limiting the unwanted ones. Praying together, eating together, doing household chores together too promote good communication flow. ** Take a cue from the past, remember how our grandparents used to tell us stories be it fairy tales, parables from epics, life accounts of great men and women and there’s no denial that they did leave a lasting impression on our minds** Since this generation is more at ease with technology, use the same for the right exploration. Parental guidance needed is not just passable condition

Building Strong individuals: The biggest hurdle in being a good parent is Our Fear! We are in constant fear that if we say no to our kids or if we tried to be strict with them they might get hurt, they will cry or worse being they might end up in depression. In few instances we also fear social embarrassment. “If we don’t oblige on something what would everyone think of us as parents” also impacts the way parents deal with their children That’s a big NO. By holding ourselves back from correcting them or by deflecting and acting / dancing to their tunes, whims and fancies we are not only spoiling them but creating an overtly sensitive brigade waiting to be released in the vast ocean of hostile world. And we all know life isn’t a bed of roses. Our children must be trained to accept “No”. In no way I am up for any kind of dictatorship but they must know that they can not boss us 😉 (one of my friends, a great woman who never ceases to motivate and inspire me shared this view with me. She is a mother of twins herself and doing a great job in bringing up her kids, we all call her SP fondly. If she is reading this she will know).

Disciplining and maintaining decorum: Every organisation and institution needs a set of rules to be run smoothly. So does a family. Without discipline in ways of life and thinking parenting is a penance without any fruit. It might be an algorithm of to do things during the day or a constructive manner of expressing the emotions or processing the same, discipline streamlines course of life.

What we have discussed so far are just touch and go pointers. Parenting is a humungous subject yet without any predetermined formulas or theories that fit into every individual case without modification. With every mind and soul beautifully different parenting is a thankless job which if done to the perfection will yield a healthy society to dwell in. And if handled inappropriately could prove to be fatal for numerous lives. This needs introspection..

 

BODY SHAMING, OUR NEW ENTERTAINMENT!

I remember watching this famous comedy show (The Kapil Sharma Show) on television.  It was all grand and pompous with celebrities adding to the glitter.  The host had an impeccable comic timing but one thing that never got down well with me (and seriously who cares 😀).  The host of the show would continuously take a dig at the fellow artists’ appearance. Calling them names like Fatso, Buffalo, hot air balloon, chimpanzee and what not. And he successfully managed to evoke gags from everyone present in the studio and those watching the Idiot box.  How sensible was that is my reservation?  And sadly bullying in the name of comedy or entertainment isn’t reserved for one odd show.  It’s omnipresent almost everywhere.

Movies, Tele serials, advertisements, social media – whatever the form of media or stage it is, body shaming is more and more increasingly used as an entertainment and a marketing tactic.

Even we are guilty of using physical attributes as an adjective to address someone at some point of time (sometimes just to have a good laugh at one’s expense) – that girl with buck teeth, that fat boy, that short man… Whether a human tendency or not, body shaming is acquiring a monstrous form, let’s accept it.

Off late I came across many posts on Facebook wherein picture of a person who is not physically attractive is posted and people are asked to tag their friends who could be sharing their future with them.  And beneath such posts, there’s a huge number of likes and emojis depicting how funny people found it.  Then there are posts depicting people who have confidently embraced their lives but don’t fit the bill of standardised beauty norms of the society, and that made them unacceptable for the rest.  People don’t refrain from unleashing their insensitive side via their mean comments shaming the appearance, from being sarcastic to abusive, they use it all.  And ironically this isn’t inhumane but just an “Opinion”.

So what is a beauty as per our “Hypocrite” society which ironically matters to us?

  • Lean = healthy, attractive, beautiful
  • Fair = beautiful and a shortcut to success

And this very idea of “Beauty” and “Health” is relentlessly propagated by the best thinking heads whom we call creative geniuses or to simply put it – “marketing team”.  An advertisement showcases a woman in distress because her husband finds her unattractive because of her weight issues, he feels humiliated to take her out because she is not 10/10 figure.  But suddenly she comes across some magic medicine that would turn her life upside-down miraculously.  Shrinking inches would widen the smile on her face and infuse lost love in her life.  Going by this manipulated definition of both Love and Health, we find them to be very shallow aspects in our lives measured by a common denomination of few pounds or inches.

Such power is the impact of these marketing gimmicks that the number of people willingly investing both time and money in bogus and more importantly hazardous products has seen an unprecedented upward surge which is beyond imagination.  Millions taking up crash diets, gulping down protein shakes, omitting carbohydrates completely – all this in the wake of attaining that desirable svelte figure or six-pack abs.  And no heed is paid if it’s healthy or not, literally no one cares.  I remember a young neighbour of mine died of a massive heart stroke thanks to his intensive but improper workouts and an equally imbalanced# hazardous diet plan.  He was hardly 24 years of age.

Why this pain is taken after all? That’s the only way to be accepted and appreciated.  We are living in superficial times where looks score over brains and other intangible positives. Bizzare and at the same time sad, do you have a counter opinion?  Reserve it in comments.

*An important note: Here I am not supporting obesity or unhealthy lifestyle but the concern should be health rather than just weight management.  Weight could be a result of many other complications – genetic, hormonal dysfunction, stress than just binging on junk.  Correct diagnosis is very important.  But alas! ignorance rules. Anyways, this is leading towards another discussion but the underlying point is body shaming is nothing less than cruelty.  Blabbering about someone’s weight ( for that matter any other physical attribute) without having an iota of knowledge about “what’s the real issue is” is simply idiotic.

Do you know why the  “plastic” beauty industry thriving like never before off late?  It’s the pressure of looking and living the image perceived of you. Especially among women (a clear-cut case of gender inequality) are under immense pressure of not looking their age.  Society wants them to be perfect.  Wrinkles on the face, messy hair, unkempt nails – nothing is pardonable.  Why?  Even in the matrimonial columns the requirements for a future bride reads “Fair, slim, Good looking, Educated“.  Clearly, education is not the foremost quality sought after.  And God forbid if the bride doesn’t fit the bill in terms of “Beauty” she assumes the position of “Centre of Discussion” for every XYZ who claims to be the well-wisher of the family, ironical isn’t it?  A swelling business of beauty business ( working against nature) is a result of our fears of being panned for our looks.

What does Body shaming do?  It simply kills the confidence, to say the least.

What’s really worrisome? Handing over this hollow and shallow society to our future generations.  Bullying in schools and educational institutions with physical attributes as premises is a mirror to what we are training them to be.

Just think about it.

Here’s a video that I came across on Facebook which explains the times we are living in perfectly:

STOP PASSING THE BUCK

What is the national game of our nation?  It’s not hockey or cricket.  But “Passing The Buck“.  We enjoy it to the core as there’s no referee in this game other than our conscience which we seldom refer to.

Since the day when our country has attained the status of an independent nation we have gained the expertise in the aforesaid game.  The lightening speed with which we point out fingers starting from neighbors to authorities to government is unmistakable.

Be it the safety of women in the country, the corruption levels, the lack of cleanliness, hay-wire situation of law and order – name it and we have a standard reaction “This government is ineffective”, ” This government failed to deliver on its promises”, “Nothing changes in this country“. We are in continuous habit of whining but not even once we are ready to accept our failure as responsible citizens of a country.

Let me give you few instances:

Few months back (24th October, 2017 to be precise) a rape case came to light. Well, don’t be astonished, it came to light not because of any formal complaint or investigation but the fact is that it was committed in broad daylight on a pavement,  hustling and bustling with crowd. It did happen and the repelling truth is no one from the crowd were empathetic enough or had courage to stop the heinous crime. Rather it was filmed to be reported to the police. I wonder what signal is this incident sending to those who have an inclination towards crime? Carry a knife, do the crime, threaten  and get away with it, if at all charged things can be taken care of – isn’t it? And after every such crime a bandwagon of “Culture” caretakers jump in to pass judgements holding women responsible without realising that it is only preparing grounds for a volatile and an unsafe haven for our future generations.

We are responsible for the “Corrupt” image country have:  Do you know that India has been ranked 79th among 176 countries in the Corruption Perception Index 2018 released by the Transparency International organisation?  Now don’t be surprised by the statement that “We” are responsible for it. To save time from appearing before magistrate in case a traffic rule is broken or to get a driving license without clearing the test or to move a requisite file quickly up the ladder one thing that we retort to is “Pay Something and Get Anything“.  For us it’s a petty price we are paying to get things done swiftly.  But when scams worth billions come to surface we thump our chests saying all politicians are fraudsters and corrupted.  Don’t realise they are following the trend set by us “Pay us and bend the rules”. The only difference is in the figure on and in paper.

Comparison of Convenience: There’s a certain laid back attitude to which we are habituated to.  Whenever a comparison is drawn with other countries in terms of safety, corruption levels, pollution, law an order, GDP, infrastructure – every possible aspect which is counted while referring to the development index of a country we chose the mid way of “Convenience”.  We hate it when compared to the countries which are on top ranks of positives and have a default answers like:

  • Every country has its positives and negatives.
  • No country is problem free.
  • We are on right track of development.
  • Look at the countries whose ranks are worse than us, we are still better.

Common sense says comparison is always with the better to bring forth the best.  Alas! That’s too hard to understand for us.  To put it simply I would like to quote few figures:

India is on 102nd place with 46.9 points (more the better) when it comes to the safe countries to live.  So would it be right to compare with countries which are placed up in the point index (Denmark being on the top with 94.7 points) or  advisable to take it easy comparing ourselves with the alarming zones.  Isn’t it a matter of deep introspection that countries like Mongolia, Honduras, Ghana (as per the numbers) are doing better than us?

And the above mentioned ranking is based on studies of global terrorism, just one aspect and something beyond control of citizens.  But my point is to highlight how our mechanism of comparison works.

This is not a biased rant against my country but a genuine concern.

We Fear Law:  We are peace-loving people to the extent of not getting involved in any altercation involving law and executive forces of law namely Police.  Be it helping an accident victim or standing as a witness to the crime or raising voice against an injustice, we develop cold feet simply because we don’t want our peace to be disturbed by the long judiciary procedures and abrasive nature of police (there’s a reason to their behaviour which we don’t want to understand).  We want someone to take the initiative and we are happy to follow.  And when everyone waits for someone, no-one comes forward.  That’s a hard truth we need to accept and digest.  Until and unless we stand unitedly for supporting the law and order we can’t expect it to be any better.

It’s high time that we start reacting to the issues concerning our nation and its image however petty they might seem to be.  We are ironically very sensitive and react well to the social media posts but mind our own respective matters when our interference could actually make a difference.  Be it objecting to open urination, be it opposing eve teasing/ molestation, be it pointing out violation of traffic rules, be it reminding the importance of clean surroundings and sanitation – we choose to turn a blind eye because they (many of them) seem  to be quite trivial to be questioned or even not punishable under IPC (Indian Penal Code).

Well, we all are aware of a saying “drop by drop fills an ocean” and needs no explanation.  But the irony is that we fail to imply such a simple logic in our actions especially that hold importance for the society and the nation.  Silence of every deemed “Responsible” citizen is strengthening the determination of offenders of law ultimately shaming the image of the country.

This post as I told you earlier is not a rant but a heartfelt concern about my nation.  And when I said “We” that clearly includes me as well.  I shall not shy away from accepting the fact that I might have exhibited flaws as a citizen.  Acceptance is the key to betterment.

Next time before criticising the system or government just pause and ask “Have I done enough?“.

Speak up and help bring a change  OR  Remain silent and surrender to the injustice.  Whatever it is learn to own rather than simply Passing The Buck. 

(This article was Originally published in Kalpana’s own blog World4Womencom)