Tuesday, May 10, 2011

of the burden

He described it particularly well, or maybe I was overly fond of the route-cause analysis he employed in his arguments. He would go back in the sequence of broad truths and challenge each one, smallest first.

It probably wasn't the lateral thinking I've been trying to pair with someone other than my Corporate Strategy Professor lately, though I do think it was a rather intelligent technique. It was very effective in the short-run and it was as if he was massaging thinking capabilities I seldom used. It was a pleasant change.

But I have my own process, and it is fast, though, owing to the speed I may just conclude that it is imperfect.

And what a perfect illustration the above serves of said imperfect process. The self-doubt that leads to the ability to consider and accept, to a large extent, any unorthodox line of reasoning.

Because suddenly I'm not sure any more. Not because of this occurrence, but because of that dreaded fork in the road looming closer than ever now. The wait is driving me insane, and I fear that I will find it hard to truly believe in what I choose. Commitment is a hardened but jolly matron in an all-boys school dormitory.

So I find myself listening to these tunes, rationalizing and systematically taking apart a few lost ideals swimming wantonly in my fish-bowl of a head. The logic we hold dear to our hearts, and the ability to communicate with each other by assuming so much.

These assumptions are a privilege, not a birthright.


Hope is something that I believe we are born with. It is strengthened by the fairy tales that fool us as children, and it is the adhesive to a strong family unit, that interdependent system of hope-junkies.

It is fostered, and nurtured. It is protected. Forced smiles and excruciating small-talk at the dinner-table are commonplace because the sum of the whole is greater than the parts. If everyone pretends to be happy, then there is hope. I guess it is true. If everyone is willing to make that effort...

But back to those whose fantasies have been irreparably shattered by life-changing events or by the continuous, low-impact bludgeoning of higher, more unpleasant truths. Poverty, Illiteracy, inequity and injustice to name a few!

The nomad and I concluded at some point that the newer generation of aware publics was now attached to nothing. They are a lonely bunch with the burden of fixing accumulated wrongs spanning half a century. The pressure is on us, now.


I am concerned that a large part of us will give into the old norms. They will succumb to the greed that they have no control over, because they were never taught to question. They were never given the choice.

I talk of girls being raised in fear of dishonour and shame.

A conservative father would use an emotive appeal to reason and if you have a sister, this is enough to silence you. This silences me, but is it right?

Girls of seemingly impeccable character who independently decide on sticking to the path of virtue and chastity. Do they really have a choice in the matter? I wish to state here the classical comparison between economic power and political power. The former uses positive, tangible economic benefits for a course of action while the latter uses a negative threat/fear of punishment or reprimand. These girls are brought up in a culture of fear; it is the kind of fear that takes a back seat as meeting mommy's expectations becomes an automatic function.

I speak now of limited, if not completely non-existent, freedoms and liberties. I speak of rights.

But educated mommies raise privileged girls who tend to enter more efficient markets, where pricing is on the core business and not on the archaic premiums on desirable traits. Of course, from the other side of the fence these girls are troubled girls of loose moral character. And the grass is always greener on the other side!

Perhaps these girls are subject to just as much coercion as the prudent lot.

In any case, I am interested in studying the apathy that defines the prudes, because they tend to be apathetic, apolitical, and lacking in their sense of civic responsibilities! I believe it may be a gross generalization on my part, but save for a few outliers this is what I've seen and known.


We are losing people; valuable minds who could have been shaping the much-needed reform in this country. Educated girls get married young, hedging the risk of spinsterhood. They fear this state, because of their fear of judgement. What will people say?

Let us reconsider education:

My wandering mind makes a dangerous comparison between these purportedly educated young women and those lost youths who, for lack of other options, exchange their lives for family insurance packaged in explosive, deadly jackets. Free size.

I believe both are equally helpless.

We are left with little competence, and we must in our limited capacities slave away at removing the grime of our fathers, who compensated for their inadequacies by competing aggressively with the proverbial Joneses.

Just a few hapless souls weighed down by a large mass of cultural primitivism, we are those enslaved children of Israel under the rule of whips.

Do we have a Moses in the building?


Kanwalful said...

Although, what you have written, is true for the most part - a lot of the times it is not the case.

And I speak for the women who independently choose the path of "virtue" and choose to not divulge in what they find unbecoming.
And for the women who marry early, not for the fear of subsequent spinsterhood but because they simply fell in love.
And for those who are made to break their morals, not so they can fight for their rights, but so that they can satisfy the urges of an unpleasant, (in)significant other.

wali sheikh said...

Perhaps you are one of the outliers that I accounted for. My central theme was not the advocacy of female rights (though this creeps into all of my writing some how) but to suggest that too many women, and men for that matter are being led by forces of norm that they are not equipped to question.

Kanwalful said...

Gravitating towards the norm is a timeless human trait. And only a few break out of the pattern. When they do, they create their own realm of "norms". And that is probably where the word "cycle" should come in, although I am not quite sure if "viscous" should precede it.

Anyway, I am not attempting to be a "female's rights activist" either. Just putting out the word that it really is a war out there.

Don't know if this makes sense, but I tried.

wali sheikh said...

I am concerned largely with social reform and those few opinion-leaders who can affect the desire for such change. While I can't comment on why you chose the path you did, I do know that you constitute at this point the brain-drain. Maybe you could compensate?

Caught up in the conundrum of college and your personal battles, did you ever think about duties that extend beyond your household and caste? Sure, I understand that duty to one's pursuit of happiness is paramount, but I just feel like we all choose to turn our backs to the problem, and pass the buck on.

We're all guilty, and I have now taken to writing openly and unabashedly on issues that I feel should be addressed, maybe you could do the same?

I don't mean to attack you in any way. I'm just appealing to the blogosphere at large for support. Just voice your opinions and make sure they are heard. This leads to constructive debate and informed opinions on stuff that matters!


Kanwalful said...

But I do. I do write about issues - those that extend beyond what you can call personal. Social issues, political ones - scraped from the little knowledge that I have and put out with the passion that I can give.

Maybe you just haven't read them. =/