Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We the People

What we've seen our life is such a minuscule portion of what is out there. Most of us are good people. Sitting in our cushy cubicles and raising tickets to decrease the air-conditioning we spend the day meeting our targets. Days get made when a code works, when promotions happen or in some cases, by eating good food. Outside our big offices, we curse our governments for power cuts, for posting budgets that might not favour us. We occasionally get bothered about others who are not our Facebook friends. We have all been brought up well, and in our nice schools and our middle class parents we have learnt all the values we need. We were the darling of our families and though we didn't get everything we wanted, we were always told about the less fortunate ones out there

 When we grow up, we tweak our morals to suit company, to make ourselves likeable and fit in. We learn to lie effortlessly, but we are still good people. We have been taught about how good people get rewarded in moral stories over and over until it internalized.  When we find a group and when we find others who are lesser comfortable than we are, we bully. We taunt and joke about things that we don't feel comfortable about.

 We do feel sad when there is an accident, when we hear about such shocking and sordid stories of murders. We say how foolish it was for a person to have killed herself/himself, over simple things. We sometimes shed tears when we see gruesome images of wars elsewhere and when we hear about shocking rapes. We click our tongues at others' misfortune and sometimes, genuinely feel sorry for them. We pray for the dead. Not everyone, but at least the ones who trend on twitter. We talk of their greatness so much that the next generation might talk of us talking about the dead soul's greatness. We give away money when we feel charitable enough and feel better. 

We all play it safe. We take all this freedom, this lack of landmines and shelling and going through the day without getting killed as granted. The only wars we have gone to is with Pakistan which gets lost in a fuzzy haze of fim actors guild's fund raisers and frantic news coverage. When we get acrimonious we create our own wars. On Facebook. And on blogs.We argue with people and try belittling each other to the extent that is allowed by HR policies.

Somehow we protect ourselves and pretend everything else that is wrong with the world as a chronic disease that can be managed with a dose of indifference. We convince ourselves that what we do will be a  drop in the ocean anyway and won't matter. We know for a fact that the system is screwed up and there are way too many things beyond our control to attempt setting things right. We have learnt enough math to calculate the path of least resistance and maximum comfort. All of us are arm chair critics. We are still good people. So naive, cushioned and protected that we willingly protect ourselves from all that shit out there and set to control at least our own world where we have power to do so. 

We all know that it takes brutal power to step out of our comfort zone and actually solve others' problems. We hail the men and women who do, as heroes. We know these people from our school, our colony and as our playmates. We amaze at their tenacity in overcoming the same middle class paranoia our parents induced in us.  Not just because of how they change people's lives but because they have the guts to quit and step out of the air-conditioning regardless of the paycheck's conspicuous absence at the end of the month. 

We just live. And happily at that. Fifty years down the lane, whether "just living" will suffice is a question that remains to be answered. Presently, our sense of achievement does not have enough data points to draw a conclusion from. When it does, we hope that along the way we did stop somewhere and went beyond our means, at least at one instance and helped someone in need.

P.S- I watched Anbe Sivam for the tenth time yesterday. The more I saw of Madhavan, the more I could replace myself and most of the people I know in his place. I remembered a friend's friend who quit his well paying job to actually teach for under-privileged kids. When I will get the guts to lose my minuscule problems in the enormities of the others,  I do not know. But when I do, it shall be the real life changing moment that all my "Statement of Purpose"s tried to manufacture.


Sooraj said...

Very well written, Uttara. A poignantly written piece full of meticulous questioning of a lot of important things; the most vital of it being how much we make of our lives.

Kanthu said...

This might be one of those very good piece of post I have read in a long time. Very nicely written.