Very obviously I am not too good with clever titles or abbreviations, FTW OMG. Anyway, this article is all about positivity and nurturing a feeling of jubilation in you, the reader. So let’s start with the wonderful fact that, literally every human being is savage, underneath the layers of facades that are built to find a place in society and urgently needs therapy.
*calming elevator music plays in the background*
Now that we have started on that serene note, let me build upon what I really mean and I promise you that by the time you’ll be done reading this, you will go into deep introspection and will probably Google what “ostracize” means.
As I was walking back home from a grocery store, I saw a mother pulling her child away from passersby, as she and her son walked along the pavement. The mother had her head down, and her hands were fidgeting, while her son was smiling cheerfully and playing with kittens along the way. As they walked, anyone who passed through them, turned around and gave a curious glare to them, which to be very honest, perplexed me. As I came closer to the child, I realized that quite fortunately, the child had Down syndrome. I say fortunately, because a child with below average intelligence is lucky to not be able to process how the rest of us function. I say it’s lucky to be in the situation because the messy world is not worth processing upon.
Why do I mention this story, however?
I mention it, because the very same day, a quite sensitive friend of mine sent a photo of a child with Down Syndrome with the caption, “Officer Down”. The people who read the meme laughed. A similar photograph was posted on a social media page where thousands tagged their friends to share a laugh.
Now let me tell you why the mother’s hands were fidgeting.
They were fidgeting because she fears that at some point in time, her child will realize that everyone is against him and his family, and all of them will be ostracized wherever they’ll go. Why does she fear this? Because of you and me. Because of everyone who has the audacity to share a ‘Dank Meme’ about acid attack victims, victims of sexual assault, human beings with physical disabilities and mental handicaps.
Now you may think, “well okay, but I won’t actually say all this to someone who is suffering, so doesn’t my behaviour automatically become innocuous?” Instead of answering your question, I’ll throw a question right back: Why is it that the courage to judge and ridicule surfaces only from behind a computer screen?
Facebook has led us to believe that we are a part of a community, a revolution of some kind where being highly opinionated is a skill and the validation that comes with winning arguments is the ultimate achievement. We associate ourselves with something we despise and describe ourselves through it. Never has love been something that we throw at people to let them know who we really are. We ridicule because we are afraid of being judged. We judge what we cannot comprehend. We ridicule to get appreciations from strangers, for that one person to come and tell us “good job Ramesh”. I don’t know who Ramesh is but you get the gist, don’t you?
When did we get like this? How does the history of humanity go from the likes of Sir Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi to well, Ramesh? Why do we seek validation of this form? When did suffering become a source of joy?
Our universe is ever expanding, so much so, that there is no centre. There is an uncountable number of galaxies, planets, stars, and perhaps lives out there in the vast abyss that is space. And here we are, on a tiny speck of dirt called Earth, which will perish in a few million years along with our Sun, with no chance of life thriving ever again. You’ll probably live for the next 60 years(make that 30 if you watch Big Boss), only to die alone with nothing but a 7-minute replay of the proudest moments of your life, a recap our brain prepares just as we breathe our last. You have just one shot at this. Now ask yourself this, do you want to be the reason a woman is scared to let her child out of the house or do you want to be the person who calms that fidgety hand with the warmth of the reassurance that she is wrong about people and that compassion is not just a word which brings points on Scrabble. What will your 7-minute replay be?
By Chirag Shukla