We live in interesting times. Social media, politics, democracy (or the lack of), self worth, the cloud, stress, independence and revolution seem to be the buzz words of the day, down to the minute. As an alien in a foreign country, with family and friends in different parts of the world, the time of the day literally drives my general and world news knowledge. From 20 people going “live” at the #savejallikattu protests to Bahrain’s music concerts to trumping Trump’s statements, my Facebook hasn’t been more alive than it has been now, irrespective of when I open it up. Every time I read an article or someone’s status, I feel like I have a million things to say against or for the thought. But then my inner voice, silently yet strongly, tells me to just leave it because “I don’t know enough” or “why say anything on someone’s opinion” or “who am I to change his/her thought, and why should I?”. I dislike controversy and confrontation. I wage wars within me all the time, pitting me vs. me, with no one to really win or lose except, well, me. Given that, why would I want to get into a potential discussion with someone just because I have a contrary view? So I shut up, take a deep breath and scroll over to the next post.
I’m out for dinner. Company is either a group of close friends, the man or rarely, acquaintances (the older I get, the lesser random dinners with random people I want to do). Food is being eaten, instagram and Facebook pages are being scrolled through, dessert decisions are being made while everyone small talks through different topics. Some one brings up something techie or intellectual and discussions continue into career options etc. All along while lip syncing to the voice that’s coming out of my mouth, the thoughts inside my head are truly just one – I want to do nothing. I want no job, no deadline, no manager, no team. I want to sleep in with my dogs, work out, read books, write and do nothing. I swear, that’s my life’s goal. To be responsible and accountable for nothing. But do I say that aloud? Do I let people know I’m just a wayward soul with no aim in life? Or should I fake a conversation so intellectual even my closest peeps believe me? The struggle is honestly real because I’ve tried to bare my soul before but, while they all tend to unanimously empathize, there’d always be undertones of chastised advice on how to focus on what I really want to do and getting there. Which in my case is, nothing. So I shut up, take a deep breath and move on to my low-carb, high-fat steak cheese dip with guacamole, minced meat, pico de gallo with a side of house salad. With ranch. Yes, really.
As I started off, these definitely are interesting times we live in. The shape and nature of a simple domestic family unit has changed drastically over the years. Divorce rates are higher in India because women no longer tolerate any form of mental, physical or verbal abuse. Men do not want to be sole bread-winner of the family and demand a woman with ideals and a vision. More and more people are standing up for themselves at work places – demanding higher wages, equality and respect for their education and personality. A sense of entitlement, confidence and acknowledgment for being themselves, an individual with a unique identity. But despite all of this forward looking movement, can I really say what I want to? I mean, what if CBP or DHS stops me at the border while I unseemingly (and stupidly, in these times) return to the US back from a vacation and ask for my Facebook credentials to “take a peak at what I share and post”? Is it ok to share John Oliver’s relevant and funny take on Trump? Is it ok to call him Trump without the “President” title? Can I disagree with the #immigrationban and say that I think it absolutely sucks and is a waste of time and my taxes? Considering that I have a family and a livelihood here in the US, do I risk it all just because I have an opinion to share that could get my visa revoked and me kicked out for no reason (in my mind) at all? So I shut up, take a deep breath and move on by writing a small scenario in my blog, quelling my “true” thoughts and curbing my urge to rampant verbal outrage.
I’m a woman in my thirties, independent in my thought and action. I analyze data to make business decisions for a living, whether I like it (or am good at it) or not. But apparently I’m not ready to make my own life decisions yet. Or so sometimes my parents, and those of the significant other, think. We live an elaborately discrete life where we share every minute details about meal plans, peak hour drive times to and from work and ofcourse, ofcourse the erstwhile weather. But no, we wouldn’t talk about how we cooked those meals together, how we sometimes use car pool to beat that tiring drive or how we take the dogs out to the park when the sky gives us a sunny break. We do this not because we like to be deceptive but because we want them to be in their happy oblivious bubble, because the truth maybe a little tmi and hard for them to take. So we shut up, take deep breaths and convincingly talk our way through the loud background noise being just one dog, nope, not 2. Never 2.
From all of the above, it is safe to say that it has never been harder to speak your mind now than it has been in the past. Because while a more conservative era brought fear of blasphemy if you dare to even think the contrary, now there is a fear of ridicule or being targeted at. Personally speaking, I wonder if the true voice inside me will and can ever stand up. And while standing up, be accepted with no repercussions. In a world that revolves so heavily on the existence of a harmonious “society” and every issue bordering dangerously close to being wrong or right, I wonder if it will ever be possible to be entirely truthful, every second of the day with every single person. Again, with no consequence. I don’t know, I honestly don’t know.