Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Talks from a Crinkly Corner: Just how bad?

Just How bad?


I happen to be one of those people who believe severely in the power of words. I believe in English because I feel that that is the best way I can express myself. That is the best way I can be cheesy, nervous, confident, insane, romantic, angry, and expressive- All in one.
Funnily, I never shared that kind of comfort level with hindi or even my mother tongue, for that matter.

I was reading a book, a few days back, in which the lead character has a moral crisis at a point in her life when she is faced with the choice of retorting at the insults which are publicly aimed at her by her sworn enemy. Now this choice is quite the trauma for her considering "morality in elegance" being one of her high priorities in life.
That is when she approaches her mother and spills forth this particular dilemma of hers and asks for an opinion.
Her mother tells her what most of the mothers tell their daughters in such a situation- "If someone is rude to you, ignore them. No need to stoop to their bad level."
Apparently, this one line seemed to have a profound impact on this girl in question.
But sadly, I, the reader, couldn't relate to it. And thereby, I lose the entire track to the story.

Now you may ask why, exactly, it is that I deviate from the topic of languages to an utterly disconnected excerpt from a book I read. 
Because that excerpt was not about the story, it was about the words used in that particular dialogue written in the 19th century that seemed to carry such a deep meaning but provoked no such interest in the eye of the most important character of the book- the reader.

The words "bad", "stoop", "ignore"..all of them, used in such an easy context, carrying an apparent deeper meaning which was hidden for me.
To be honest here, having lived in the 21st century practically all my life, I can substitute "bad" with "shit", "Stoop" with "fall" and "ignore" with "screw them" and still feel nothing about it. 

It's a pity that we use our words in such a casual manner.
Maybe it's an aftereffect of the hypocritical world of the adults.
Maybe this change actually took place when you realized that the boy who took the "holy" mother's swear in your presence did actually turn out to be a liar.
Maybe this change actually took place when your parents started making those fake promises in between all the madness of their modern hectic life.
Maybe you actually changed when you realized that the kids in your seventh grade class were not at all innocent and you were the only one left to transform.
Or maybe, it happened because you had always been a liar in all your childhood, ashamed of your past, wanting to start a new beginning, and ending up lying anyway as a matter of habit.

I, probably on a personal note, might never be able to figure out the depth of "bad" and "stoop" and I regret that. Because you  need a good understanding of those words to figure out how good exactly you want to be.

Maybe it's because some of us never believe in fairytales even when we were young, some of us never bothered with Cinderella as we found her incredibly boring in her perfection, and liked Clifford better. 

Maybe some of us, lost the very value of our words, maybe some of us lost our innocence a little early. 
And I have no one to blame for that, neither the situation, now the world.



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