‘No offence’ TO ‘Offence’.


While the Internet is busy running updates on the newly elected President Ramnath Kovind and, how the Indian cricket team of women played their best (despite the loss), I have been spending a considerable amount of time teaching the son about nouns, pronouns and verbs. Yes, he is learning and, so am I. Did I mention how much I love making lesson plans for my son? And, how much I get annoyed to watch those lesson plans bite the dust when, my son in his absolutely charming tone quips– “If I keep studying all day, when will I play?” Now, before you judge me as some aggressive type A parent who sits on the child’s neck to make him study, I would suggest you visit my home and, take a look. On most days, you will find my mischief package doodling away to glory on my unused scrap books resting on my back!

Apart from the home front, a lot bigger things have been happening in the big wide world with some good things taking their pace to grab the much needed limelight as much as their entertaining counterparts. Rally for Rivers, for instance is one of the motivating campaigns by Isha Foundation which is aimed at saving rivers and vegetation that protects it. I would have loved to be a part of something like that on ground. But then, I do my bit by keeping water for birds and, watering trees in my garden – the little I can possibly do where I am stationed. Good that many people are gradually becoming aware of the fact that there is a far bigger issue with our environment than with politics and religion.

And so, the world is currently abuzz with news, anecdotes, controversies, convictions, acquittals and a lot more. I, for one have been in deep conversations with own self for the most part. Let’s say, my thoughts have been piling in my cerebral matter and, I was desperately in need of an MS word to unload. (Hubby is out of station and, my laptop has accompanied him). Then, I come to know that MS Paint is retiring. I am hurt! As such I don’t like Cortana! I don’t know what is going to replace MS Paint that had been my doodling board in my growing years.

And as usual, I am digressing. If you follow my blog, you would know what an incessant talker I am in this space. And, try sitting in front of me and, you would probably label me socially awkward. Sigh. But, this post as the heading says, is not about why I am no social butterfly but a seemingly uptight lady bug! It is about the swing that sways from No Offence to Offence in peculiar ways!

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immo

Approximately a month back, I had posted one of my blog posts in a closed group. It was about a very personal experience of my baby steps in parenting and how, I have learned, stumbled, fell, unlearned and relearned a lot with my son. (You may read the post here). And, it made me happy that many people liked it. None criticized openly. But, in a group of more than ten thousand women, it also felt weird that I did not face any untoward comments coming my way. So, just when I thought, it was my lucky day, a separate post appeared and, it covertly took a dig at my post. The lady who posted it pointed out how amateurs and less experienced parents have been dishing out advice even when it is not asked for. The post invited a lot of comments, some that concurred with her thoughts and some, that didn’t. I read the post, went through the comments and had almost typed a reply. But before hitting the post button, I took a pause. And, it dawned on me – “What am I doing? If she has a critical take on something that is personal to me, it is not a big deal. It is merely a difference of opinion and, I need not make it personal. So, why am I trying to justify with a counter explanation when the post I have written was read but not understood the way I wanted the said person to. Everyone out there is as free to perceive matters differently as I do”.

I did not hit the post button.

But, that lady had a point. Unsolicited advice in any form is unwarranted. I would hate it too. Unfortunately, my writing skills aren’t good enough as they failed to catch up with my intent. Maybe, I have to just hone them further to make my personal experience an experience rather than an extension of amateurish advice. Do my words sound as if I am offended? God knows, I know whether I am or, not. And, the ones reading this post may have already decided that for me. Right? Right.

This was not even the slightest of offensive, I tell you. This was a mere difference of opinion. That is it.

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And then, a couple of days post the incident I mentioned, I came across yet another post on a news page. The news was about the recent surge over the language war happening down South. Hindi has recently become an issue with a certain rigid section that is demanding that it be ousted from the education system down there. Being a south Indian and, having been raised in North West, I have a penchant for languages. I love listening to different dialects and regional languages as I feel there is some warmth associated with every native dialect. And, I love Hindi as much as I love my mother tongue which I am very fluent in. So, I had posted my opinion on how removal of a language not native to a state cannot become a solution towards preserving native dialects and language. (This time I gave in to the urge to respond and, I did think for a long time before posting it)

As predicted, the intent to react always supersedes the intent to respond with rationale. Although I had enough people backing my opinion, there was one reply that not only did not agree with mine but went on towards comparing the invasion of Hindi as a forceful infiltration into the education system. Truth to be told, the analogy was far worse and I cannot even mention the exact words the stranger used, as they were in a very bad taste. Yes, offence was taken. And, I was not offended by the stranger in question but, by the misguided anger that tore the integrity of a language to shreds with those feral words.

Sadly, I am oblivious to what is happening down South. But, hatred for any language to this extent is very disheartening. For some reason, these very self proclaimed patrons of regional languages are unaware of how many people from South who migrate to North and abroad refuse to teach their children their mother tongue, because they are desperate to ‘fit in the crowd’. I have seen a majority of both extremes and, I can only pity them. I deleted my comment which deleted hers too consequently as it was a reply and, I was not comfortable with any more nasty interactions on that page concerning languages.

If people gave their native languages the importance they deserve, no matter which part of the world they live in, no one would have to feel this insecure about conserving regional languages. And, I have to mention how proud I am of my parents who saw to it that I am as fluent in my mother tongue as I am in English, Hindi and Gujarati. My son is fluent in his mother tongue too. Mother tongue for me is synonymous with roots. And, roots should never be forgotten.

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The two above mentioned experiences for me were two different kind. In one, I seemed to offend someone (I guess, annoyed would be a far better replacement). In the other, I got offended, pretty bad. But then, every experience has something to give. And, the two experiences above gave me a lot of fodder for thought.

point

The world cannot be appeased. And, offence shall be taken every now and then. If on some unusual day, I sneeze all of a sudden because the notoriously annoying sneeze decided the most inopportune time to embarrass me in a party, offence shall be taken. There will be murmurs. There will be looks of disdain to make me feel miserable (Whether I choose to feel so is my choice) But then, there will also be this minuscule section that utters – God bless!!

So, while balancing on the tight rope of not trying to offend the world (NOT POSSIBLE), times of perplexities shall come in batches. The urge to sway from No offence to offence shall be too high to bear, at times. Those are the moments when, letting out the not so positive feelings may feel like the best thing to do. Haven’t we all done that at some time in life?

But then, what is the purpose? That is the question we have to ask ourselves every time there is an urge to contradict, an urge to react, an irrepressible urge to prove that we have a point. Debating was a good idea in school. It always had a closure. Prizes were distributed in the end. Everyone went home either happy or, motivated for the next one. But as adults, debating over issues and, getting embroiled in nasty confrontations with known people and strangers does not offer any solutions. Rather, it wastes time. Freedom to express comes with a heavy duty.

And that duty is, to ask oneself – “Am I aware of all sides of the truth?”

This one question should put every doubt to rest.

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It is easy to be offended. Sometimes, it is also natural to be offended. But, what matters is whether the matter that is offending us is close enough to destroy our inner peace. If it is not close enough, it only means we have a choice to overlook the content that may seem sensational but is absolutely not worth a dime in your real world.

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By the way, Kamal Hasan’s recent statements have left me at a loss of words. He has quite easily gone from becoming an Ulaga Nayagan to an Ulaga Komali! Artists are eccentric and, he is a shining testimony to that. And no, I am not offended by his talks these days. Just bewildered. After all, he is no part of my circus! 😀

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One thought on “‘No offence’ TO ‘Offence’.

  1. Pingback: Disconnect to connect ~ Part 2 | Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

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