Let me for once start from the summation, no issue has plagued our society like the one I want to ramble about today, “log kiya kahengay?” (the literal meaning being, “what will people say?”). It has perhaps remained buried deep inside my heart for such a long time, that I cannot even remember since when, slowly pinching me, telling me there’s something wrong, coaxing me to rebel and become an insurgent in my own way. This very issue plagues our society to the extent that our lives are shaped from day one not by our own will but by the fear of a very disturbed reaction that the society is going to exhibit to our little or big things.
From the time a child is born, he/she is named, his/her schooling, dressing up, buying/shopping, socializing, eating, way of living, getting married, working, enjoying, listening to music, watching movies, reading, well almost any activity is governed by a very judgemental society that itself is held in this syndrome’s vice, which wants to set itself free, but is held back by the very fear, “Log kiya kahengay”. The plain fact is we have shaped out entire lives worrying about what others will or might say to our actions or way of living. Being different or having a choice in life is pretty rare, in our part of the world. Little do we know or realize that it takes courage to be different and stand out in the crowd. And to put it another way, we are told to be scared, we are made cowards form day one, we are trained in the subtle art of lying to ourselves and to each other. The very few and brave ones that choose to live their lives the way they want to, earn the ire of a very judgemental society, one that is infected with a feeling of self-righteousness, one that itself is losing balance, or perhaps has lost it, and most often end up being outcasts and in the extreme cases dead.
In fact its like this, “we like to mind your business, like it or not” and it couldn’t have been more aptly put. To be able to understand the other’s point of view, being empathetic, or give them space is lost on us. We are a society that doesn’t pretty much understand the meaning and value of privacy. And the worst part is we don’t even realize this, in fact it has been like this since ages. And is likely to continue forever unless we do something about it. To me it makes more sense if a curriculum on basic manners is introduced in schools which teaches kids from the very beginning. A curriculum designed to teach about manners, privacy, making queues, how to talk, how not to be rude, the power of magic words like “please”, “Thank you” and “Sorry”, to stay away from “toxic” words, to mind one’s own business and above all be good human beings.