Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Of basic instincts and self-reflections!

This column has also been cross-published at YOUTH KI AWAAZ

“My pain may be the reason for somebody's laugh.
But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody's pain.”

Before I launch into why I am suddenly, dearly, desperately reminded of these simple yet immortal words of Mr. Chaplin with much more significance than I intended over the last seven days of my existence, let me begin with the backdrop first.

So, here's the backdrop. A promo of a new Bengali serial was launched. From the trailer, it seems to be a family-drama themed supposedly upon a foreigner wife and the conflicts of her cultural clashes and inclusion exclusion etceteras in a Bengali family. Coming to quality, content and techniques, from my personal tastes and how the trailer goes, I do not call it tempting enough for a watch. I’d even like to vouch for similar opinions, for my friends and enemies of whose taste I can make reasonable guessworks. For posterity, surely it is not one of those things the human race can exactly be proud of to be. Yes, granted that it goes back a long way in time in social regression as far as our common socio-eco contemporary world is concerned and as the wall calendar at its top reads it as year 2016., And – blame it on the budget – posing a next door into a memsahab just with ounces of make-up cakes isn't exactly what is soothing to the eyes. Add the accent to it, and whatever else you’d like to add. It adds to your laughter dose, indeed. No doubt about it!


Having said that...

Does it warrant what has been sparked?

Well, to give you a mellowed down, smoothened up, neutralized impression of things, it took the internet to a storm. But to be frank, that’s a whole lot of understatement. What it really managed to do is this: It scratched the polish off of our human faces and unveiled what we guard secretly and carefully. Our primitive instincts.

But we are proud; or, more than that, careful. So we gave that a name. For example, we said: their marketing strategy backfired. But fool you not! It was just so that we could set our launch pad alright. And then, we launched. And then we took off.

Trolled. Hurled. Stoned. Lynched. Cusses. Bitch-calling. Slut-shaming. You name it!

You need some proofs? You don’t have to go too far. You don’t have to go too far anyway, these days. Which is perhaps why we go so far otherwise. Anyway, use the power of hashtag. Type hashtag “Membou” and press enter. There, good luck!

You know, the saddest is often the funniest. And – back on this - it is both sad and funny how the Media houses picks on it, too. And then, what do we say about Media and shaping society et al. Oh, forget that!

You need to take a look at this, first!

But I don’t blame Media. Especially when you see their own staff promoting stuff like these, you know what to make of them anyway. Poor dears!

But we, the people? We went on and on and on. We went on. And on. And on…

A dozen of posts a day. Video tapes of mimicry. Memes. Shames. Stone hurls. We spew venom, all our way. For days together. For weeks together. We go on… Still. We’re not done yet, not so easily.

Oh yes, on another day and in another community, wall, group, we still do what we do. We ace it! Practised, aren’t we? And so we run long threads on issues of solidarity and depression, of harassment and online bullies, of course. And mob lynching? Oh we do agree that must be inhumane! And is it even real, in 2016? Even if it is, there’re laws against them, and we hope they are flashed on papers of course.

But wait, why are you mixing up the contexts here? And who exactly chose you to save the world, again?


But do we even understand what this episode screeches out? Do we realize? 

Sense of humour? Really?

About time we develop some sense around our sense of humour. Else when Kanhaiya pees his pants as the policemen thrash on, we’ll not be able to veil our giggles up there too. We’ll forget our lines.

That you’re trying to protect the public from the Production companies who *underestimate* the *average* intelligence?

Really? Really, dear? You think you do that job better than the TRP that tests the public taste? Really, you are sure that you don’t need to test your personal taste of doing things first?

What do you say? I’m commissioned, to advocate for the girl who plays the role - Vinita Chatterjee - and the rest of cast and crew?

Ah, no. I don’t even know them, just to be sure.

I know you.

I am not going to talk about them. I am talking about you. And I am talking to you.

You know what, darling?

This thing, this whole episode, all that has been going on… It warrants a reflection. A careful, careful introspection. It warrants the “selfie” mode on your smart-phone to be turned on this once.No, not to click. But to watch us. Ourselves. If we would. Only if we would. Would we?

Would we, ever?

Frankly, I shudder to think how much filth is there inside us, bottled up and corked tight, that needs to explode. How we do not need the slightest of provocation to come out on our all fours, gnawing at – whoever it is – but really, at ourselves if we would look up the mirror. It doesn’t matter who this #Membou Carol is, how she looks or talks, what she does… for god’s sake, no! What matters is, we. What do we do? What do we do with ourselves? How poisoned up we must be, to overflow, to tsunami out at the slightest excuse? How pent up are we, and how badly in need. How badly we need some peace, some solace. How badly we need to learn some kindness. How badly we need to be patted lightly on our hairs and told – tenderly – It’s alright, dear. Has it all come out, or do you have more to release? Are we done now? Are you feeling better? Come, shall we?

Shall we come, someday? Shall we arrive? Or shall we go mob-lynching all the way, until we lynch ourselves with it into the end?

And you know what? Yes, you must know this. That when there is a mob lynch, it is not s/he who is beaten up matters, at least not as much. It is us, who lynch. Because the one we’re beating up will die someday anyway. But we’ll stay. We’ll stay and we’ll lick our lips, waiting for another prey. We have tasted blood. Oh, we have!

P.S. But then, there was once this very wise man who had said:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”