Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The cult that overtook us

There was a time in India, perhaps in the late 90's and the early 2000's, when contemporary rituals and credos started dominating over the pre-existent ones.This move coincided with the event of the youth taking over the old in terms of dictating demographics and with communities intermingling more and more with each other. The conventional world was sent into a diaspora with the youth no longer paying obeisance to the well established moral conduct and started creating a culture of its own. One that could appropriately be described as a cult, courtesy of it being at loggerheads with what was once assumed to be our way of living. With time, the cult established and was promulgated courtesy of a humongous crowd willing to follow it. This cult comprised of wearing a pair of jeans that looked like a gunny bag, wearing colorful bands on wrists, coining up jargon more erudite to describe the modern lifestyle and even the pejorative terms and profane suppositions were revised to be adapted to the modern era. In short, we as the youth, were successful in doing what we were supposed to do. To throw out the obsolete system of conduct and to bring in a new one that was found more apposite. And with time, this system took over us.

The reason why I say this is that I sense a kind of liability towards being frivolous in some people. And other people tend to be serious because they believe that if their level of humor or charm cannot cross the threshold, they may be deemed unfit for their respective cohort. The kind of clauses that have been tacitly inculcated in our modern code of conduct demand us to be different and peculiar. Being the obvious is no longer going to fetch you the loyalty of your group. If you are merely good at your academics, you're too conventional. If you're a rockstar who is also good at a sport, you're a heartthrob. In this way, the usual beliefs and stereotypes get vested in our conscience as well. Henceforth, in every walk of your life, you develop certain apprehensions about the mannerism in which you ought to do your thing.This even gets manifested in our professional ethics and our work life as well. Doing something good at your work is considered okay but going beyond that and making a superficial and superfluous addition would be considered as an adage no matter how futile it actually was. In this way, life transcended the usual and being beyond the usual became our ultimate goal.

With time, even our subconscience succumbed to our dispositions which were veiled within us but which made their presence conspicuous. The trepidation of not being able to look in accordance with the doctrines and not being able to act at the behest of the newly setup traditions overtook any impulse of doing something good just because the thing did not seem to do much different or the thing was seemingly not going to produce the scintilla which your inner-self always craved for. You did not want it for yourself but for your paltry presence.A sedentary lifestyle would triumph if it seemed cool but an active lifestyle wouldn't if it seemed jaded and juice less. Hence the establishments became so deeply imbibed that ignoring them was no longer considered a viable option.

Now, you only had two ways to sustain. Either do something intriguing and become a part of the coveted and esteemed cohort that is at the center stage of any avenue or become what a substantial chunk of any group resorts to, being the obvious, being the spectator. And as this trend swept in, massive participation or gross participation in groups ceased to exist with only a few chosen ones, the ones who were different and the ones who palpably epitomized the values that set for ourselves, became the forerunners and the flag bearers of the social groups. It was not iniquity but inequity because of the fact that the morbid transformation was done by due permission of the ones who were transformed. And hence that phase when everyone seemed to be the involved in a social group, was officially over. Irrespective of how woefully humorous a guy would be, if he is more humorous than the others, he becomes the group's blue-eyed boy. And irrespective of how humorous a usual member of the group may be, if he wasn't the group's blue-eyed boy, he would continue to be the majority. This rule evolved with time and now a new member of the group was allowed to replace the existing blue-eyed boy just because his level of proficiency and his efficacy for what he was the blue-eyed boy, had severely plummeted. And hence the group gets its new blue-eyed boy but the group never becomes a group in the conventional sense because the members never desired it to be one. It wasn't admissible as per their norms.

And now, the same culture that once promoted being different, is deterring people from doing different things or from getting involved in avenues which are usually considered to be the forte of those who are presciently different. A very recent example of this was our April fools' celebrations. There was a time when everyone used to have a glow and an emanating mischievousness on their face throughout the day. Perhaps all of them were fooled and all of them also succeeded in fooling.But alas, today, we just had  people who were so impressed and awestruck by the ways in which they were initially fooled that they no longer had the courage to fool anyone because they saw the level of fooling falling below the bar. Hence there were a very few people who gathered the courage to fool people because they had confidence in their ways but the rest of them chose to be made fools because they did not see any risks in doing that. Making an attempt of fooling someone and conjuring a woeful failure in that attempt deterred most of them from executing their plans. And hence the April fools' day passed like it was just another day. If it was 1998, you would have walked with a multitude of memories to store forever, but yesterday, people walked back with plans they never executed. Hence the same culture, the same cult we once created, has now overtaken us. It has restricted our interactions and ways of interaction on social platforms, and it has made you give a serious thought to this post without being able to figure out that this post in itself was an attempt to fool you ! Happy April fools' day. Sorry, couldn't get the time to post this yesterday.