The author of this piece is 22 years and 7 months old as he writes these words. Hypothetically speaking, let’s assume that the author goes on to have very enjoyable activities of coitus with a female partner of his/his parent’s choice (Readers Infer- The author hails from a moderately orthodox setup- not very orthodox because he is aware of the fact that coitus is scientific jargon for hanky-panky, without clothes, and also that babies are not courier delivered by the Flipkart dude). Now after a reasonable amount of time beyond ten months, a baby duly arrives. The boy is raised to POGO and PG advised movies, and inane amounts of item numbers. And Math. A lot of Math (Reader Reminded-Moderately Orthodox. Readers Infer- Author is an Indian, and India is a developing nation. We need people who know math. Dancing, singing, drawing and all …baad me dekh lenge). The boy grows up and one day he announces his craving for an ice cream. Bang Bang.
[Aside- The author takes this opportune moment to thank an article he read online on how to improve his writing (“171 Great Tips to be a Great Writer”). One among them was to open a word document and write a paragraph. Like an introduction. Keep on writing, and then end with a good old conclusive paragraph. And then delete the first and last paragraphs. Another advice was to use “eye catching phrases” like BANG BANG. I wasn’t sure about this since creative endeavours of the same name in our country didn’t do so well even after catching all the eyes.]
A five year old asks you for a block of vanilla ice-cream, what do you do? The author, like all grownups, would solemnly refuse— citing 1) health 2) time 3) weather 4) Chaar log kya kehenge? as reasons, strictly in that order. Since all the children below the age of ten are born with Mohammed Ali-ish determination levels, they’ll weep and cry and shout and eat their nails till you drop like Joe Frazier. Since the author is a mature citizen with voting rights, and is not at all used to giving up on his ideals and principles, the child will be told that he (R Reminded: Moderately Orthodox. R Infer-First born is/SHOULD always (/be) male. Who will carry on the family name by re (second-) naming the girl he marries?) can have his ice cream only if he finishes his homework. A flow chart approach will come in handy irrespective of his next move here. If he claims that he has done his homework, you can always give him more. If he doesn’t, but manages to finish it before the stipulated time, you can always tell him that his handwriting isn’t up to the mark. Now since the boy hasn’t gotten to the point where this four lettered word, ‘MARK’, has ruined his life, he might try to make it neater. For a four year old kid, 365 days is roughly 25% of his life. The same is probably less than 4% for his dad. Now asking your son to wait a couple of hours for his ice-cream is like making a customer wait at a Starbucks counter for an entire day for his coffee. Good luck explaining all these relative concepts of time to him, while he is pouring all that boiled milk down your inners.
The point that I’m trying to bring to your attention is very simple. Fucking Think. Not necessarily Big- leave that to IBM. Stretch your emotional range beyond that of a teaspoon. The next time your boss sends down his weekly motivational mail about how targets are just numbers that stand between you and your happiness; think. Think how worrisome and horrible and unreasonable everything around you is. Now when you are walking back home after a terrible 9-5er, and you see an unclean hag begging for money, try recreating something similar instead of cursing— “Why can’t she work like the rest of us?”. Be livid on the inside, if you want to be, but give her a few coins, she might get her morsel for the day. If you drive home, and despite honking your neighbours’ ears to death, nobody opens the gate briskly, don’t spit venom at your spouse. Be livid, if you want to be, but give her a big tight hug. If you are terribly tired and want to go crash on your king size bed, but your naughty daughter won’t let you sleep, don’t try to smoke her up with that killer look. Be livid, but tell her how the Beauty married the Beast and watch her eyes pop in marvel.
After all this, if you are feeling an inexplicable mix of wonder, happiness & satisfaction, and still aren’t quite sure of the reason behind it— start with ordering a dictionary online. These indeed are courier delivered by the Flipkart dude. Also a good dictionary has around 171,476 tips to be a good writer. As soon as you get your copy, kindly give away the bubble wrap to your kid, and proceed to look up the word ‘Empathy’.
Photography By: Kanika Narang