A Country of Labels

Facebook posts, tweets, open letters and hundreds of articles later what have we achieved?
We told the world that WE are a country of rapists.

I see my feed flooded with posts about how men need to change, how we need to respect our women more and how we need to promote equal rights for women. But between all this outcry and anger we have changed the actual common man.

Social media is generally a platform for the educated and civilized to create a ruckus about black and white dresses. But when we are writing, sharing and liking strongly worded posts, the virality (yes! It’s an actual word) stays limited to the millions of people who aren’t ignorant about the facts. And will you seriously tell us that it is the fault of men? Do we have to be labeled as ‘perverts’, ‘jerks’, ‘rapists’, ‘eve-teasers’ and such? Why do we have to fear everytime the bus hits a speed-breaker and we bump into the girl/woman/lady in front of us? Fear that they’ll turn around, shout at us and slap us in public while some self proclaimed feminist is filming it for his blog on his smartphone. Why do we have to be ashamed for being men?

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When we waged a war on terrorism and racism, we all spoke out saying “all Muslims are not terrorists.” Now there is another war on our doorstep. It is a war in which heinous, unspeakable, unthinkable and unforgivable acts are committed by people who are anything but human. But is it not YOUR duty to make sure that the words you spread condemn the criminal and not an entire gender? When you write “friends we should respect women”, do you honestly think that the danger lurks in the heart of your friends? When a person looks at our country all he/she sees in the subtext is “all men are rapists.” Is that right?

The people who are actually to be blamed lurk in the shadows, out of reach of common sense and morality. They are the ones who stalk women on the internet, who have no sense of right and wrong and to whom social media posts are all but impermeable. And the thousands of girls out there who actually have faced the trauma and the torture fight another battle to make their lives better. They don’t sit on social media and rant about it. WE do. People, dear to us, who have been through hell and back don’t tweet their struggles. WE do.

I’ve seen too many labels. I’m a brother, a son, a friend, a mentor and a boyfriend.
I am a man and I’m not a pervert.

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Old Is Gold?

(Disclaimer: I’m not Don Quixote neither am I on a mission to civilize. This is a work of joblessness and imagination and should be considered as such. All the facts stated here might hold true in a parallel universe.)

The world has become too fast paced. We’re moving ahead and growing up too soon and too much for my liking. Social media has conveniently made us more alienated from everyone than ever. We’re trapped in a universe of memes, trolls and Comedy Nights with Kapil!

There was a time when the word “catching up” held some meaning. You meet someone after years, sit down, have coffee and find out what’s going on with them. But that magic has disappeared thanks to Google+, Yahoo-, Bing*, FaceBook, ButtScript and the latest upcoming social media site- mylifeisonline.com.

Old friends

It pains me gravely when I meet someone and they ask me what’s going on. The conversation becomes something like: “I started a blog.” “Yeah! I saw in my feed. Dark something no..?” “No it’s dark cells actually. Have you read it?” “Naah! I just see it in my feed” “Okay! What’s up with you?” “Duuuude! Don’t you see my status updates or what?”. And I move on with a new promise to never talk to that dimwit ever again. Instead of staying in touch with everyone, we have fallen victims to resentment, stalking, ass-holery and stupidity in general. Very few of us have actually managed to stay in touch with the people we love and respect. The trend has become so alarming that we’ve actually started shying away from people we once knew very well just out of the fear of letting in someone new in our lives. Studies by Meking Itup Institute of Technology in Hong Kong say that people will make new friends every 2 years  now and get over old ones in just 2 weeks. Kapil Sibal is trying his best to make Senti SMSes and Love letters illegal for school students citing that “It is destroying the youth culture of India”.

Well, enough of cribbing. Moral of the story: Get off Facebook and call your old friends once in a while! And if you don’t, then make it a point to ‘ping’ all the 10,234 friends in your ‘friend-list’.

Happy Diwali to all my friends. May the force be with you!

P.S. The person beside me says “Google ki Maa ka Breakfast!” **

**Those people who don’t know Hindi: Good for you!

Pangs Of Social Media

“1 like = 1 prayer”
“1 like = 1 salute”

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I see this caption under thousands of photos that have the ability to visibly shake you or move you to extremities. A man with no hands, writing with his legs might be a story for inspiration for thousands. But isn’t the above mentioned trend reducing him to just his disability? A girl whose life was destroyed because some asshole didn’t understand the word “no” in school neither did he remember his chemistry class on acids. A little 10 year old carrying his 3 year old sister in his arms deprived of food.
Someone finds a photo, puts it up in his/her page and people start liking it and commenting “respect” everywhere. But are we just supposed to sit in our homes and upload pictures or “like” pictures put up by others?

Before you argue with me that “who am I” to say all this, let me tell you that I’m nobody. I am a selfish, spoilt brat who doesn’t like getting his hands dirty. I’m someone who sometimes wants to go out there and lend a helping hand to people but my grades, my career and my life are significantly of more importance to me than anyone else’s. Yet I feel that social media has reduced words like “compassion” and “empathy” to nothing but a mere click of the mouse and an addition to our Spelling-Bee vocabulary.

We have become shameless. A girl in some part of the country was violated. Hundreds of girls face it every day. But as the friendly paan-shop owner in my neighbourhood said on seeing the candle rally in my town showing solidarity to Nirbhaya, “Our wives, sisters and daughters face such torments everyday, saab. Do you see rallies for them? Do their sufferings matter, saab? The paper stays quiet because they are not some medical or engineering students from some big city. So do you. And we stay quiet because we are helpless, poor slum people. Everyone forgets the slums, saab. Everyone”
I do not say here that we shouldn’t express our solidarity. But do we really need to put up posts and pictures and “sharehow she was tormented? Isn’t that being indecent? Isn’t that being insensitive? Why not remember her as a sister, as a daughter, as a friend? Why don’t we put up and share posts which will diminish this patriarchal society’s ego and bring forth some sense into the lurking wolves? Why don’t we first try to fix ourselves and then make sure others follow our lead? Why don’t we acknowledge incidents like Nirbhaya which happen EVERYDAY?

The world is riddled with problems. And we do have our share of upcoming saviors. I see my friends working for NGOs and I feel belittled. Yet I promise to make something out of myself and then lend a helping hand. Because then I’ll truly be able to help anyone anyhow. Not tied down my social norms and the shackles of “conventionalism”. IF you really want to help, think beyond sharing photos and getting likes for them. Think beyond the social media. Find NGOs and charities. Let us reach out. Let us contribute 10 bucks a day to those saviors so that the little 10-year old and his sister can get a decent education until we have the courage to go outside, grasp that little boy’s hand and teach him to be Human.
Let it never be said that we were there, watching mutely. Let us revive humanity again.

Being Human