What if unfiltered thoughts paraded as fearlessly as guarded words? That would be the day when freedom will be understood as a responsibility besides being enjoyed as a privilege. But then, will that freedom be good?
*********************Freedom to Chains*************************
Has it ever occurred to you how chained you are to an environment that sustains you? For instance, would you look squarely at your insane boss and, tell him that he is a cross between an ass and an ass****? Or maybe, take away your child from a premier institution and, put him in a normal school to see him or her evolve with the masses naturally at his own pace? Or just, travel solo to a new place and, rent a room in a hostel, spend time reading and knowing people in the place regardless of gender and, see how it works out for you? I guess, none of the aforementioned are the ‘ready, steady and go’ options. After all, we are chained. To devices. To people. To places. Worse, to our own rabid thoughts. No question can be answered without fearing the intangibles. Sigh..
Lately, I feel not only chained but also restrained when it comes to expressing my views candidly on any media. I have observed over a period of time that people seldom listen to what is being expressed. It is like you see an apple and slowly yet powerfully build an image of an orange and, superimpose it on the apple and, you declare – “No! It is an orange!” A counter view is like a lamb waiting to get itself thrown amidst a pack of wolves! Getting trolled is becoming a serious crime that is not being taken seriously as it should be. Sad, but true.
Talking about trolls, I recently came across an article by a woman who had written about why she doesn’t want her daughter to be influenced by the definition of beauty that is set by contests like Miss World and Miss Universe. Even to someone like me who attempts to first hear out the ‘other contradictory’ side of any conversation, this article sounded outrageous for two reasons – One, the author kind of butchered the hard work and dedication put by our new Miss World Manushi Chillar in about 1000 words. And two, she mentioned about helping her daughter know more about women like Madam Curie and Emma Lockhart. Now, I do not follow beauty contests for two reasons: One, With all due respect to the contestants, the subject does not inspire me and, I choose not to watch only because I have no interest in knowing about how women win beauty contests and two, I do not have the time to watch even a ten minute news given my work schedule that involves – work from home + tasks of a home maker. However, just because a particular subject doesn’t interest me, I will not demean it ever. Why? Because, I am not adequately enlightened about it to judge it. Even if I were, who gave me the right to judge anybody, for that matter? That said, the woman who wrote this piece got almost eaten up by a pack of mad frenzied women who declared her an imbecile parent with an ignoramus head. Hurtful it was, to read what she wrote. But, I was as hurt when I read the comments that followed. Acerbic is an understatement. Why does one have to tear the other person to shreds just because the said person said something stupid? Why? Why can’t people just choose what they read? Why, after all?
So, talking about anything in this world is bound to be scrutinized just the way the old granny across the street watches for worms in the fresh green organic peas that were delivered right from the farm at her doorstep. It is as if only intelligence, rather a measured intelligence has a place on earth and, rest all must be culled. So, is that freedom? I am not sure of that. It is selective right to appreciating freedom only when it fits like hallow for a certain alignment of thoughts.
So, you cannot make a stupid statement without getting poked, cut and bled on social media. And then, stupidity is relative as much as intelligence is. What may appear stupid to you may appear as a seed of a revolution for someone else out there. The same goes for “I follow this” versus “I follow that”. Like dunking oneself into a well prepared meat dish would be a ‘heaven came down on earth’ moment for a carnivore and, a scene of barbaric violence to a vegetarian. The battle between vegetarians and non vegetarians is, needless to say, an ugly one. And, the amount of hate that it spews is better left untold. And just when you thought vegetarians are ‘humane’, vegans came and displaced the former’s sense of ‘righteousness’ and, carnivores went back happily to munching pork cracklings and grilled beacon. They say, the food we eat defines who we are. I DON’T agree a bit with that. I have seen more compassionate non vegetarians with a golden heart than vegetarians who are filled with absolute contempt and arrogance for everything and everyone! Well, the bickering never ends. And, this is just one of the many I feel slighted about. So, where is the freedom of expression in its truest sense?
Like a child trying to fix a square in a circle is already labelled slow and poor and, that is exactly how the world judges. Superficially. Because the world would have predictably failed to see the three dimensional imagery of a home resting on the protrusion of a cliff overlooking pristine blue waters and, facing the rising Sun, painted by the same child.
Anyways, let me come back to why I started to write this post. So, I mentioned something about being chained, rather shackled by ‘What will the world say?’, ‘Am I doing it right?’, ‘What should I do to be recognized?’ and what not! It is as if – good things can happen only in absence of people. Because, the moment you talk about good dreams, good things – the first instinct of people is to pass it on to unknown people and, ruin it. So, it takes an enormous amount of self control to not let the thoughts out unfiltered. Of late, a small freedom of expression attracts a zombie of trolls that shred every ounce of dignity with no remorse. And this is exactly why I don’t discuss issues on virtual media where no issue is understood but, shall be debated with uglier than ugly words and actions.
And, it brings me back again to the concept of chains. Chains of expectations, shackles of pressures and stressful dilemmas do not leave much space for anything creative to bloom. As much as modern day parenting is evolving under the influence of “how to raise the child without spanking and admonishing?”, “Ten ways to engage your hyperactive toddler” and “ways to understand why a child does what he does” et al, it is becoming extremely claustrophobic for children who are confused as to why their parents are chained to devices that tell them how to raise children. Even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did not let their kids get too pally with their own creations. But, we people are masses that are enthralled with “get, set and go!” structure that is slowly making us forget what it is to go to a bank and open an FD or, go to a grocery store and ask about the prices of everything we want from a pin to a pan! Essentially, we are losing out on basic skills of survival by depending on devices with no semblance of the possibility – “What if Internet crashes one day?”
It is a very scary thought, if you have done some reading on cloudburst in the virtual world. However, I would reserve this topic for another day. Cut back to how we are dependent on the Internet is indeed some kind of a disease that we seem to have started hosting by choice. Only, the extent of dependence is variable. Except for the tribes that live in forests and, continue to live regally in the realm of their own traditions and culture (no matter how misogynistic and patriarchal some of them are) and, people of yester generations who are more inclined towards leading a sedentary life with no complications, we are all chained to a dangerous world that leaves no doors to leave. If you have checked the recent settings of FaceBook, you would know there is no option to delete an account with NO condition. Ok, let me explain further. You can delete the account only after you have clarified that it shall be deleted after your death. In an alternative scenario, you may continue your legacy by choosing a close friend/relative who can memorialize your account after your demise (God forbid). Now, isn’t that disturbing? You can only deactivate your FB account with NO condition, which you can reactivate again when you get addicted again. However, you CANNOT delete it without clicking on “Delete After Death” button! How many of you even read that?
I love FB. You can say, I am addicted to it. I love the beautiful and inspirational quotes that it floods me with, every day connecting me to like minded people who feel exactly how I feel about many things in life. And, I shall be ever grateful to this media for that. Having said that, I also know that if I ever want to lead a life away from the world, away from people and away from sundry that intrusively dictates on how I must lead my life, I would have to let go of this drug, the very drug that let me play with words in ways I never imagined. But, today is not that day. Neither shall be tomorrow. Nor, the near future. But some day, yes.
Penultimate post alert:
When I began writing the series – ‘Disconnect to Connect’, I have started to understand to an extent as to why we are the way we are. There was a time when my mind got louder with every passing day with my tongue turning into an angry recluse alongside. However, a loud mind with no vent is like a bubble of pain, about to burst. And, this bubble has to be diffused. And, that is how the series began. With this post – I am reaching the penultimate count in the row of ten, wherein all the zig zags in my headspace are now leading me physically to a place I hope to enjoy and love. And, the ultimate post of this series shall take birth in the new place.
Till then, my dear readers – “Stay in good health. Be nice to people. Be kind to people. Essentially, listen to what is being said instead of trying to visualize an orange as an apple. Because, an apple will remain an apple. An orange will remain an orange. Come what may!”
Dear Manushi Chillar,
You have done India proud and, I totally loved the way you talked about the highest paid job – that of being a mother. I caught a glimpse of your answer on that two minute news and, I did not watch anything before that, rather I wasn’t even aware of your existence. But, your answer has invoked a deep respect within for you. And, I would be even more impressed as a fellow woman when you complete your medical school as you have said.