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"R U L E B O O K"

Updated on April 23, 2020

Sometimes words are not enough to describe a feeling and one of the best emotions is enjoying your own company. Not enough emphasis can be laid on the importance of solo adventures. Everything by eating lunch from yourself to taking a stroll in a park alone all to help shape the sense of independence. If you're never by yourself then how will you know yourself? A few years back I was introduced to this funda of "Me Time" and often I came across people who bluntly passed comments like "Why is she sitting alone? Did someone stood her up? Maybe she's a loner?" As much as of a social animal I am, I also like to give my self that space to clarify my head and detoxify my system from other social connections. People time and again give this astute advice of "BE YOURSELF, EAT HOWEVER YOU WANT, BE WITH WHOMSOEVER YOU WANT, PURSUE WHATEVER YOU WANT" but this comes along with "NO NO NOT LIKE THAT"

All of us must have got this "be yourself" advice at one point or the other. These two words stand for authenticity but it comes with a big fat rulebook which actually bends, alters, unfolds, and breaks our authenticity. Let us take a walk in the mindboggling garden of words that makes up this book- OUR SOCIETY!

where teenagers are depressed
students are stressed,
where people will give you hate
on what you wear and what's your weight,
where we cut for an escape
and parents beat and rape,
where the law forbids being gay,
and everything is weary and gray...

These are not just some expressions but the tragic reality. The irony is we blame society, but we are society. These rulebooks have bounded us and manipulate our behavioral patterns to a great extent. The way we see things and form opinions consciously or sub-consciously and think that it is my perspective I'm sorry to burst your bubble but that is you analyzing something from the filters of the society. Every organism on this planet has a defense mechanism which if to be broken down into simpler terms means how to adapt something and go about it during a tough time. Before taking any step we think, yes we think a lot! Not once or twice but a million times because nobody wants to be that black sheep. Our mechanisms are being remodeled in such a way nobody wants to own their uniqueness. It doesn't matter what distinctive perk you have, standing out is no less than a sin because societal aura and image are of utmost priority. It's okay to fake things, put others down, judge someone to a point that breaks them to their deepest core, create unnecessary buzz, mask your feelings and reality behind the huge curtains and pretend you don't do that because broad in the beam light rulebook says it is valid and salient.

Although this book quotes "We are all together" nonetheless we forget that it is like a trap of Tetris. The moment we fit in; we disappear. The term together here reminds me of another very complex concept of this book talks about equality. It is indeed a funny term or should I say we have made a joke out of it?
Let me sort this out for you. For many parts of the globe, it wouldn't be wrong to say that it functioned on a strongly structured patriarchal system and the notion was to level the gap which was created among the genders which rooted from this arrangement however it escalated to a very different level leaving the original concept far behind. Anything beyond limit is poisonous, it doesn't really matter if it's good or bad. I'm not defending the wrong in the society but the boundaries have become so flexible yet so rigid that we fail to see that people are using the equality concept to get back at others. Something which started as a cause has become a quip. A weapon available to masses soo easily that it can be used in any which way possible. There are incidents that justify this statement. Only 3% of cases related to men abuse are heard by the people. Almost 63.2% of fake cases are registered every year. People still think that being gay is a mental illness. Someone's freedom can not be suffocation for another individual. Take a guess on what acts as a catalyst in this chain reaction- Media!

The academic syllabus of journalism agrees to the point which states that masala is needed in a news item, not always but yes it is not important to throw the spotlight on the facts all the time. Of course one can argue that media is the fifth pillar that is holding up this civilization but on what basis this pillar is holding up this society. Hashtags, social protests, being vocal about opinions, media has given power in the hands of the citizen but the actuality is the majority of these media outlets are owned by the big players of the society who slowly inject propaganda in the veins of the citizens for their own benefit. If you flip to the other side of the coin these things which we think are not that important actually are just increasing the pace of this vicious reaction. There is a fine line between voicing your opinion and trumpeting. Take up any social media platform most of the posts are going to be about some issue and decision where people majorly fail to analyze the thought process behind it. And by just sharing is your work done? People become part of certain things because they want to fit in with the crowd. Through our stories and shares, we become a critical part of agenda-setting which eventually and gradually aids these big players in lobbying. Yes, no doubt these weapons can create wonders but only if we use it with sense. Media's sole purpose is to educate and inform but we are surrounded by poisonous air of passive and incorrect information like Chernobyl which we have only created for ourselves. Sooner or later we are going to see our doom and then we won't be able to do anything about it.

Problems cannot be solved with the same mindset that created them similarly rules cannot be altered if we don't step up. It is often said that charity begins at home but the good old hypocrisy aunty of the society has taught us that the home mentioned is not our but neighbour's. When a flower doesn't bloom you fix the environment, not the flower. It's high time we stop fixing individuals and start working collectively. So that we can create a healthier tomorrow where we can answer our children and give them breathing space without challenging their norms of 'be yourself'. Toss the old rules in the dustbin and create new pacts and boundaries. Even to channelize the flow of water in the river we build dams keeping in mind that nobody is left behind when it is supplied hence boundaries are essential it's just we need to see where and how we place them.

We don't have the right to crib about it if we are not willing to change it. Think and answer yourselves...

© 2020 SNEHA GAUTAM

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