What would you do if today’s sweat bought you today’s bread? Would you still choose hunger over rules? Curfew over a little extra cents? Cents that would mean a better meal than yesterday? If you answered in the negative, pause and rethink minus the lens of privilege. For many of us it is an unrelatable choice, and understandably so, what with our assured jobs depositing paychecks in our accounts accessed within the sanitized confines of online transactions. But what if it were different? Would you still be a law abiding citizen hashtagging work at home and staying safe indoors? And should you lapse, does your action merit death? A cold blooded one too, at the hands of the ‘law’? Law that was meant to protect us, help us, pummeling us to a tragic end that shakes one to the core?
But wait, why does it move us so much?Aren’t we already living in a world where it is a daily staple to witness a harrowing nightmare, feel the light dim a little and then with feigned indifference move on?
Over the past couple of years, there have been many such instances where my opinions were kept to myself because the pessimist in me believed the world cares zilch about feelings and opinions. Every tense situation after the usual hullabaloo loses its tepid intensity and then we as creatures of habit fall back to our cocooned routines. Words, emotions lose their power and indifference becomes our defense, for us to stay sane. Also the world could definitely do with one less opinion amidst all the noise battling to be voiced. Or so I thought.
Sometimes when Dante’s allegories warred my conscience, I did try and put my pen to paper trying to make sense of the chaos that humanity was succumbing to. The hollowness inside failed to echo a cry and the papers remained blank. And so I remained silent. Knowing it was wrong. Knowing being apolitical in the present climate wasnt an option. Yet in my deluded utopia, as long as it didnt actually affect my existence, I didnt want to disturb that haven of calm. And so I stayed. Despite the incitements, despite that haven ceasing to exist, despite friends turning strangers with opinions so surprising, one would never attribute to, despite my identity invalidated, my patriotism questioned, my affiliations, my faith, my gender, my existence all invaluable fodder for the toxic machineries that run the world. And so it remained.
Today was no different. I most definitely did not wake up with the motive to sit and write a dreary rant against all things going wrong in the world. Hell, the only plan my millennial mind had was to netflix and chill. Yet, it has been different. The spate of events brewing right under our noses, amidst the barren streets has seized me of that choice. A son forced to witness his father thrashed to death, a father seeing his blood seep life out, a daughter made to undergo the nightmarish experience of being delivered clothes soaked in red by the cops, asked to exchange them thrice for fresh linen, and then finally be delivered the bodies soaked in blood. How could a human being, and of all things a cop, be capable of something as monstrous as this? Especially at a time like now when we were supposed to trust them to help us sail out of the already rampant crises? Also didn’t George Floyd’s murder evoke enough empathy to last us atleast a few couple weeks? Aren’t cops supposed to be human beings? And what are human beings but beings with a soul, a mind and a heart? A heart that feels, emotes and expresses? I do not know. I do not know what ran through the cop’s mind and what led him to do the actions he did but how can someone capable of so much compassion, so much kindess also be the same one capable of stooping to such monstrosities? What kills their souls so much that they fail to bleed for the misery of the soul in front? And what is it that the human society is doing wrong that is making us lose our humaneness, bit by bit, unrecognised, unstopped until another headline hits the day and our hearts falter again, albeit for a second. All these naive questions ravaging through my head, hoping they remain unanswered because answering them would mean acknowledging the anomaly of being human and would hope even remain a plausible option then?