For confidence at work; for instant approval, for better prospects of marriage – all in four weeks’ time, sometimes overnight; with exfoliating properties, to reduce stress and dullness; for almost everything to qualify, there is a one stop solution. One that is handed down by generations, sold by people, suggested by the family and demanded by an individual. A fair solution!
The story thus far. Annoying difficulties, an awkward posture, constant peeps; hands constantly adjusting something. The others piled upon. Stay there, do not touch that, do not do this, keep away from the rest - each time a new set of prohibitions. While they looked down upon, the individual managed only conscious glances behind. The story continues- in a cycle.
Once born, they are nurtured with specific ingredients. A lot of pamper; a responsible outlook, the display of strength; a commanding tone, an authoritative outreach and above all the virtue of being the aggressor. The one who fails the right mix is mocked to live up to the expectations and the one who stirs it right, is called the Man.
For appreciation and acceptance, for respect and recognition, for importance and identity, one needs to follow a standard procedure. A procedure that rests primarily on visual appeal. One that follows present perceptions, continuing past impressions and is generally admissible. This then becomes ones’ image that needs to be projected, marketed, sold and lived, at the cost of only thing – oneself.
They started as children, then became boy and girl, turned into he and she and finally into man and woman. Each not just a colloquial reference but a remark reflecting their age. Age, that is not a mere representation by number. But a societal benchmark for dictation, evaluation and association of an individual’s decisions, behaviors, choices, life and even death.
Death is universal. It occurs naturally and unnaturally. Both causing grief. But at times death is viewed, evaluated, and caused on grounds that divide the living – religion, caste, creed, sex, and even personal choices. Death then, is no longer universal. It occurs as a household, social, communal and a national ‘phenomenon’. Causing one, to not just die once, but twice.
Every individual is always measured. In terms of achievements, failure, goodness, and for all little choice in life. But this measure is never about one’s ability but always a comparative with someone else’s quality. That someone, could be anyone, at times almost everyone, constantly equated with the other one. Towards an equation with no end, an estimate with no self-value.
Every measure of identity – age, sex, color, caste, creed, and social position - when applied independently, breeds a sense of discrimination. But when practiced in tandem gives opportunity to exercise a right. A conditioning that we are tuned to knowingly and unknowingly, but always part of. A game of equals – where one becomes the victim and even plays the victor.