It is a very fascinating country that I live in and everyday I am amazed to learn something new and gain a new perspective about the Indian society. It is a diverse and a complex social structure. we are so modern and progressive in so many ways and yet traditional and regressive at times.
It has already been expressed many times that it is country of contradictions. Indeed it is. Let alone the differences and diversity in two different parts of the country, I believe each Indian, as an individual is also an example of how contradictions in oneself can create a unique person. Not that I am underestimating other countrymen to not be examples of contradictions, they too might be. It’s just that our belief system is so diverse that the blend of our conservative and modern selves fascinates me. we believe in making a mark for our selves professionally but still believe that we are unable to make rational choices for ourselves personally. We dress conservatively, but our thoughts take us to a world which is more liberated that we have ever thought of.
I have met people residing in the most backward of places, with access to no modern amenities talking and practising “modern” beliefs. They talk and practice equality of ideas, equality of sexes and believe in protecting individual liberties. People who respect humankind. Then there are those who reside in the so-called metropolitan cities, have all the amenities of life and still believe that some men are born inferior us and deserve what they get because they are belong to that strata of the society.
For me freedom of thought, freedom to question our surroundings and the freedom to just be, is the ultimate type of freedom. It should not be limited just because I belong to a particular sex, a particular caste or a particular section of the society. This is the contradiction which is beyond my understanding. I know of the most regressive looking households and people who believe and practice such liberty and I also have seen and experienced very “posh” members of the society who believe that the freedom of others is a luxury that they afford them just because the other person is living in the same household such people firmly believe that the freedom given to the members belonging to the household should be controlled. I believe we can be traditional in our way of living but let us be modern enough to accept and appreciate new ideas.
Indian social structure, like many others is changing. We are trying to imbibe new things. I think we should also try to retain the liberty of thoughts that has been given to us as a gift since ancient times. That is what makes us different and unique.
When i was younger there were a lot of things to do and learn, even though there was no internet and smartphones. Those days you were really thought to be smart or cool if you knew facts and figures or if you could answer current affairs and general knowledge questions without batting an eyelid. Shows like Bournvita quiz contests were not only popular but for most of us it was an aspiration that we secretly had. It did not matter if you were wearing branded clothes or not. The good old days, where reading was considered to be a virtue.
When i think about it, i feel our kids would not be at all able to relate to a time when we had to scour the books for information, it wasn’t available to you readily just by “googling” it. Nowadays, you are considered a cool kid if you have an expensive smart phone and a tablet in your hand, some free cash to spend on your friends. You are considered a geek or a nerd if you talk about education, books, or in general, gaining knowledge. I have nothing against this generation, it’s just that, materialism has taken over these kids and they do not understand that human values are not dependant on your material possessions, but who you are when you are stripped of those possessions. True self of a person is reflected when it comes to the most basic of things. Character cannot be taught. it has to be inculcated.
Sometimes, i really want to go back in those days when life was simpler and uncomplicated. I did not have to worry about keeping my phone charged or updating every second of my life on twitter. Today life has taken a back seat and the procurement of things that should make life easy have become our priority. Just like William Wordsworth’s idyllic wanderings amongst the land of Daffodils and the true enjoyment of solitude.
(Note; I tried to search for Daffodils on google and Wordsworth’s poem did not feature as the first search result on the page. What an irony)
I love surprises. small ones, big ones. they just make my day.
When I was younger I used create these surprises for myself. I would never ask my mother what she had packed for lunch in school. the moment when I opened my lunch box was my own, filled with anticipation and excitement. My own daily dosage of surprise. The sheer joy that such a small action could give is unparalleled to many big things in my life. Those were some pure unadulterated moments of being happy. I still do it…. I save the best for last and am feel happy to “open”or “reveal” my surprises at the end.
I have noticed as children we used to simplify things, if the opportunities were not there we would create them, not whine about them. if surprise were not possible everyday, make your own surprise. We were not dependent on anyone for our happiness…………. As we grow up we forget to create such opportunities of happiness for ourselves,we forget that it is better to simplify things and be happy about them rather than being in your own complex mind web and depending on others to remain happy.
We spend our whole life in the fear of perceptions. We are busy in trying to project ourselves as someone we think we are. Most of our life is spent proving the same to ourselves and others around us. Sometimes I feel that I am not the person I think I am or the people around me see as “me”. Now at this juncture, when I am not too old and not too young, not too naive and yet not too wise, I would first like to stop for a minute and try to figure out who really I am. Is the person I think I am, only in my head? I guess, parts of me only exists in my head. And this is true for most of us.
Also, perception of an individual also varies from person to person. for some I may be a very sincere, honest and trustworthy person; and someone else may find me the biggest snob around them. It all really is in our head.
We have forgetten who we are and what we really want from our life.
This photo, “Perception” is by Felix and is made available under a Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)