Deny them a Christmas!

So Christmas is around the corner, and though I’m too old to receive gifts from Santa I have some very cherished childhood memories, that mark this day. The most vivid memory that, I can recall is not waiting and anticipating those gifts from Santa, but me and my brother’s painstaking efforts to maintain our best behavior lest Santa skipped our house if we misbehaved. (Those must be some brilliant parents who came up with this idea of Santa!)

Anyway, so a few days back I just recalled a newspaper headline when a couple of teenage kids in the city were arrested for consuming alcohol and drugs at a party. Not that Pune hasn’t seen other rave party raids and arrests but the kids involved in this case were as shockingly young as 13 and 15. I mean, when did this happen? When did school-going CHILDREN, start drinking alcohol?! Last I remember, we refused to drink milk and our mother would give us a tight slap just to let us know how much of freedom of speech was allowed in the house.

Not that I suggest hitting kids is the solution, but I’m pretty sure there were more than a couple of child rights and laws our parents violated while we were growing up and we turned out alright. The most irritating thing about kids these days is, not only are they spoilt, over-pampered brats but they also have these huge egos with frustrating ideas of self-importance! For example, if you snatched a candy from a kid earlier, the most he’ll do is cry and threaten to run to mommy for help, at which point you would wisely return the candy. But if you try snatching a candy from a kid these days, not only will he cry and throw a tantrum and run to mommy for help, but also constantly sulk and whine about the extreme mistreatment meted out to him and how grossly unjust life has been with him!

What really makes my blood boil is how every stupid, wasted, bratty kid in the world will use crappy, lame-ass excuses like ‘You don’t know my story’, ‘I’m so depressed’, ‘Life’s been so hard’ to justify drugs, booze or any other addiction. There are children who are starved, raped, abused, beaten on a daily basis, but yes your life is hard because you aren’t cool enough…Awww.

Not that I have a thing against eternally drunk or stoned people. Because in all fairness, everybody has the right to waste their crappy lives as they see fit! What I have a problem with is, people who refuse to believe it is their fault. So, today probably, you are letting your 13 year old get away with drinking because he was too ‘depressed’, tomorrow he might think he can get away with murder because he was a little ‘cross’.

If I show up drunk late at night and claim ‘You don’t know my story’ my parents would probably take a moment to feel sorry for me. And then not having felt anything, would throw both me and my story out of the house! So you see, I don’t drink because I have a conscience, it’s rather because I have a consequence following it. Lack of consequences and not lack of conscience is what makes a bad person. My point being, I may not be the most virtuous of individuals, but I have been threatened, blackmailed and tricked enough times to know I have to behave like one. Just like I have been denied enough things by my parents to know I cannot get everything in life. So go ahead, deny your kids a comfortable life. Let them know life’s not always the way they want it to be. Maybe they’ll hate you but atleast we’ll have a better world!

The Retards

So, there is this hilarious page on facebook I follow. Chances are if you are one of those eternally-bored-and-severely-addicted-to-internet individuals with a moderate understanding of sarcasm you already are a fan! Anyway, this page is particularly famous for its ultra offensive religious and sexist posts and of course the hilarious comments/battles that follow.

But before we get to the point let’s rewind a bit. So a few years back there was a much hyped incident in Palghar when a certain teenage girl chose to express her thoughts on the death of a recently passed politician. That is what is frustrating in our country. For every person who has an opinion there are ten more whose “sentiments” are hurt by it. I mean what can one random facebook post possibly do to offend a dead person let alone tarnish his legacy! Which doorstep did she run screaming at?!

Let us as a fun exercise just gauge the amount of damage the girl’s comments caused to a the reputation of a well-established party and it’s workers. That’s right – Zero! The party workers and leaders went to the same offices the next day, argued about the same things they do every other day and successfully managed to brush aside all issues that really matter to vehemently convince communities how they had been wronged and ill-treated…a normal, usual, productive day. Now let us consider the effect of the said controversy on the girl’s life. A swarm of 10-20 goons….err ‘traumatized and hurt’ people at her house in the middle of the night, an ruckus every middle-class family is so prepared to handle, and finally an arrest. Normal day?

Because that wasn’t enough shock that the poor family could handle, the next morning they were greeted by an entire horde of vultures/journalists, and every other person in the country had his own verdict about the issue. Let us for a moment argue that the girl was soon released from police custody and there was (fortunately) no harm to anyone and soon people forgot. But did anyone of us wonder what happened to both of them once the news channels moved on to more interesting headlines. The former least affected, let alone traumatized people, continued with their lives like always. But the latter, here’s my version of what might have happened to her. Not only did she have to bear the over-bearing guilt of putting her family through the unnecessary hassle, but also she must have been eternally scarred and forced to live in the perpetual fear of offending someone else next time she expresses an opinion. Not to mention the end of her normal social life online.

The above incident angers me, not because I think it is unjust and quite frankly extremely ridiculous, that in the world’s largest democracy a small sect of people and their “sentiments” dictate what I can and cannot say, but because no individual in this country should be made to go through the terror that the girl and her family experienced that night (Imagine one moment you are happily tweeting/commenting and the next moment there is mob of angry (and possibly dangerous) people at your doorstep!) But most of all it angers me because I was also one of those many silent onlookers in the country who could have spoken up, who could have said it was wrong, who could have supported her, who could have liked or shared the status, people who could have taken a stand and made a difference but didn’t. Like many others I conveniently ignored the issue convincing myself that there was nothing that I could have done.

And what blatantly made me realize the coward I had been was when I stumbled upon the brilliance that ‘The Sarcastic Retards’ page was. That most of the humor on this page is at the cost of outrightly dismissing and ridiculing any religious sentiment and widely stereotyping women, to the point of being offensive is an understatement! Because offensive is too ‘cute’ a word to describe it. It is downright blasphemous! What amazes me is how determined people are in vehemently persuading the page to care and address their sentiments and eventually in displaying their clearly missing common sense when all a person simply needs to do is unlike the page if he finds it offensive. But no! We are a nation of self-righteous, holier-than-thou hypocritical individuals who simply have to take personal offense regardless of whether they are being addressed or not. The page is clear in its motto Some facebook post offends you? There is a simple solution—don’t read it!

 And that is also precisely the reason why I (inspite of being a girl) along with thousands of others literally WORSHIP this page. Because it is everything that we wished we were – witty, intelligent, humorous, honest, and last of all fearless and unapologetic. Perhaps a petty facebook page is too silly an object to draw inspiration from, but to stick to your opinion, especially in this country of mad fanatic political parties and religious sects, being aware of the numerous threats and abuses you are doomed to endure, takes balls! So here’s an advice to all the precarious, oversensitive people who have their feelings hurt every second minute – Grow a pair!

AAP and the Emperor’s clothes Syndrome

The tremendous (and very well deserved) success of AAP in the Delhi elections this time, came as no surprise given the resentment and anger among the common citizens of India. In a country where 1000 crore scams make the news every second week, the Aam Aadmi Party and its genuine efforts towards transparency is definitely a breath of fresh air.

But what puzzles me is, how nobody in the country has taken the time to question the practicality of the solutions put forth by the Aam Aadmi Party. Agreed, Arvind Kejriwal and team have come up with highly ingenious and genuinely democratic ideas to tackle common political issues (proposals like, Delhi will be divided into different wards and the citizens of each ward will decide and regulate the matainence of each ward Or the people will decide the price of petrol and other daily commodities etc) but one can’t help but think if AAP is being too disillusioned.

For example, let us for a moment assume that AAP has it’s way and the common citizens are allowed to fix petrol (say) prices. But then why would a common citizen pay if he has to decide the price and not take it for free? Can we then hope the economy to thrive? Okay, maybe we can argue the common citizen is not a fool to demand petrol for free and what AAP means is common citizens will be a contributing if not a deciding factor in fixing prices. But then decisions of development and economy require expertise and debate and cannot be driven by mere public sentiment.

A nation of hypocrites that we are, most supporters of AAP, you’ll be surprised to find, are merely following AAP because being a part of “change” and “revolution” is the new cool. Just like the subjects of the emperor in the popular fable “The Emperor’s Clothes”** who merely ignore the obvious to seem part of the crowd. While some may scoff away the criticism and ridicule even the  thought of questioning AAP’s functionality, let us not forget mere ‘good intentions’ cannot be enough to govern a country.

In the end, the point being, even although AAP symbolizes transparency and honesty let us not get over-whelmed and also focus on whether they be trusted with development and progress.

“We thought we had the answers, but it was the questions we had which were wrong” – Bono

** The Emperor’s Clothes is a popular fable in which a emperor is conned by two men who sell him an invisible cloth and claim that it can only be seen by ‘intelligent’ people. Afraid of being called dumb everyone pretends to “see” it until a young boy points out the obvious.