For having a blog with tagline “If you have something to say, I shall be saying something as well”, I have not been saying what I have wanted to say for a long long time, I realized. It was a conscious decision because I decided to write only about music in this space. Though it was a good choice with respect to the music, it also dawned on to me recently that even when I had other things to say, I did not have a space to say it, thanks to my choices.
So here I am breaking out of confinement (my own though) and writing stuff. If you think you are not here to read this, there will be other music posts coming up. So adios!
I have been lucky enough to have a circle (/gang) of friends wherever I go. In one such gang in a girls school I studied, a topper-leader-teacher’s pet girl spoke ill about a fellow average-scoring girl for her marks. I remember the rest of the girls in the gang taking it up to the topper and when things got hot, we isolated her from our circle. Now, I do know how wrong isolating someone was, and I am sorry for that. Nevertheless, the idea had been to stand up for a friend being discriminated.
Another incident that came to memory on similar lines was something that happened in college (though there may not be many nice things to say about my college). We had a weird-looking drools-while-he-talks professor, and a guy drew a cartoon of him and passed it around in another class. Needless to say, the paper got caught, and the issue went up to the management level. For those who don’t understand the repercussion of this, kindly google “Chennai engineering college atrocities”. But even with a threat of everyone being beaten up for a silly prank one played, all the boys stood up and refused to give away the name of the “doodle artist”.
And then there are these multiple instances we see online – #metoo posts by people from many different walks of life; campaigning for a fellow blogger whose content got plagiarized, and the likes. Though they are commendable gestures, it came as a result of a cry for help. What if someone around you has been targeted and bullied? What if they are a victim of falsely asserted defamation triggered by revenge? What if they did not plead for help? What if this happens in the realms of a virtual social circle? Above all, what if apart from the victim and the perpetrators, the others in the social circle are mere onlookers?
If I was in the place of the victim, I am sure I would start questioning why my friends didn’t support me, when they see what is happening. I could even go to the extent of blaming them for being opportunistic. But then I thought if I had ever been that friend who raised my voice for support. And my answer was, yes, maybe a couple of times. Not always though. Why? There could be various other reasons apart from being opportunistic. Maybe we never realize that bullying happened; maybe we did not want to unnecessarily get involved (namakku edhuku vambu); or simply because of the magnitude of the social circle (meaning number of facebook friends) our non-involvement is justified.
It could mean one of the two things – either increased online living has diluted the humanity in us; or I need to seriously revisit my understanding of a “friend”.