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React

Recently I saw a documentary called 'Superheroes'. Its about a bunch of people who wear costumes and patrol their city streets to fight crime. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about watching it; I felt that it would make me cringe. (I cringe seeing people being made fun of. Can't help it. I hate it when people do that to others. I cannot see those TV shows where we are supposed to laugh at someone else's misery/ embarrassment. I hate it when TV shows trivialize real feeling of people or glorify the emotions to turn it into a farce. Just can't stand it.) But it turned out to be a very human story of genuine people who are fed up with the apathy of people around them.

Often they were victims first and vigilante as a result of it. It was an act in empathy and escape combined that propelled them to wear mask and attempt at creating a change for the better. It was inspiring to me. Not for the caped crusading (well, not going to happen), but for the beautiful people behind the mask. Some were perhaps naive, some seeking an escape, but everyone was 100% human. That is a rarity. A human who feels and reacts. And I feel in not reacting, we are turning into zombies.
What is a typical test for checking if a thing is alive or not? It is to touch/ nudge/ do whatever it takes to elicit a reaction. If a thing reacts, its a living being. If it does not react irrespective of your actions, it might be just a lifeless object.
No wonder 21st century is witnessing an epidemic of self-doubt and a growing desperation for 'purpose' and    theories of 'carpe diem' blaring through advertising all the time. We feel the need to be 'more alive' because we are in reality 'less alive'. We are less alive because we are relinquishing our reactions.

A grievously injured girl and a boy lay naked one cold morning on the streets of Delhi. No bystander came to their rescue. NO ONE. But millions displayed their outrage on the streets of Delhi when the incident was amplified through media.
Its as if only mediated image is real and deserving of a reaction. A real body, a real person, a fellow citizen's pain doesn't instigate us to react.
Yet, post media outrage, the reaction was substantial. It was unprecedented. People were truly angry, vulnerable and filled with an energy to do 'something'. But there's this little problem that the Indian middle class faces. The energy to do 'something' quickly evaporates as the 'something' begins to take a concrete shape.

The question to my mind was how come India hasn't seen much of a vigilante action? Is it because we are actually quite rational and do not want to take up law in our hands? Or is it because we are beyond cynicism towards the effect of any possible citizen reaction?

After the incident, I circulated the idea of a mass pledge where we would take an oath to 'always react' to any injustice we witness anywhere. The reaction can be of any kind - need not be life threatening for your self. But people disregarded the idea with such ease that I felt the idea might be really silly.

But I believe that we need to create a culture of 'more alive' Indians - Indian who react to their surroundings, to the actions in their surrounding in any way possible.
Is it a viable goal? 

Comments

Ajinkya said…
http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2013/01/no_self-respecting_woman_would.html
if there's one thing we need to change, is to teach each other to react. react every time and with whatever you have. we must react to our world, to whats being done to us or people around us.

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Withdrawal symptoms

Ctrl-tab
Ctrl-tab...
Scroll Scroll Scoll..
Alt-tab
Alt-tab...
Catch yourself slipping away.

Deep  breath. 

Close the browser. silence the mobile and turn it away.

Open an offline-real-paper diary. Stop your thighs from lolling impatiently. Stay still. 

Pick up a pen awkwardly. ahh, the fingers are stiff. It will take a  while for them to get used to holding a pen. Quick finger exercise - open the palm, stretch finger outwards, close into a fist, dig the fingers in. Repeat.
Ok now.. about to pick up the pen again, but eyes dart towards the screen. Tempted to check email.

Shut up. The last consequential email came two months ago. Nothing of consequence is online.

Pick up the pen. Don't fetishize the object now. Get on with it. Put it on paper, write a word and start it already. If I get to a sentence, perhaps I will get into a flow and won't have to look up from the paper at all. 

One sentence later.

Ahh. That was good. I am feeling good about myself. The sentence makes sense. …