Some 5 years from today … Year 2020
100 Shades of Grey is released worldwide and though India has not banned it, yet, few explicit scenes have been deleted by the censor board. Needless to say, the youth brigade which comprises of the teens and people in their twenties are up in arms against the Government, the censor board and the regressive system. Pari, an active youth has just turned thirteen and is getting ready for a night out at friend’s place. Loosely fitted top and cool shorts and night-dress is all required for the night stay wherein they plan to watch the uncensored version through the latest version of ‘Hyper Torrent’.
‘So, what time do you plan to be back Pari?’ asks Pari’s mom. And in her own inimitable style and with the expression of (Why do you ask the same question again), Pari replies, ’Mom, obviously I would come by morning. It’s a night out’.
‘I hope there are no guys’, which evokes an even critical expression from Pari ,’Come on Mom, don’t be such a f***ing hypocrite. Be progressive. The country is changing, so are we. We are not there for sex. So chill. But it would be fun to see the impact of this movie on the guys, let’s see who manages the balls well.’
Pari’s mom is aghast at the reply and before she could even blurt out ‘What are you saying?’ Pari with an air of confidence just tells her mom, ‘Come on, I know you are not so regressive. You were with AIB and 50 shades when it was released. Your digital footprint is not yet erased and I am actually happy that you were so progressive at that time judging by your comments on FB and other social sites. By the way, the new group AI MC BC is way too funny and their latest Fried and Roast edition literally screws the celebrities on stage and I mean it is physical. That’s reality. That’s what we like.’
5 years before 2020 … Year 2015
And I am still thinking do we need to spend time, effort, countless debates to prove that we need AIB and 50 Shades so that India can be called a “progressive” country. How stupid I am. Of course we need them. Else what kind of society will our kids grow up? They have to be broad-minded citizens of this country. We, have to set the base so that our kids and the next generation are not confined within hypocritical and archaic middle class values.
And if there is any opposition to it, then I should necessarily first talk about social injustice, rapes, criminal activities, inept governance, corruption and scams plaguing our country. Only in India these issues are rampant and going unchecked. Yes, it is a democratic country and so I have the right to speak about anything and express my freedom of speech. We are nearing 70 years post Independence and still I can’t see the movie of my choice – What a shame! All countries allow that, don’t they? Islamic militia, Christian militia and unrests and uprisings in Middle East are just a notion, a media created wave so that they can commercialise and rake in the moolah. And look at us. India, the second most populous country in the world, still does not have civil wars or continuous bloodshed which lot of smaller countries suffers from. We still allow each one of us to talk what we want to without worrying about losing our life the next day.
Today, I read in the newspaper that some guy in London raped students in sound proof rooms in 70s and 80s. In London? A rapist? It is definitely an anomaly, only Indian males are wretched enough to commit such dastardly acts. And there is news of a South African committing this heinous crime. Seriously, did it take London police authorities decades to figure it out? The government is wasting thousands of crores of rupees in building statues in the midst of seas and rivers. Maybe it will become a tourist spot, maybe years down the line our kids will see the statues from a plane and say ‘Wow, India has become a happening place’ and of course people will click selfies with the statues as the background and share. Possible? Yes. Will it lead to thousands of employment opportunities? Possible? Yes. Will it make India progressive? No way.
We first need to discuss all about corruption and scams. And how could we exercise our right in fair elections and have the audacity to send a national level party into oblivion, which is perceived to be the one responsible for all the scams. How could we vote for change? And then we decide that the change itself is sounding like empty vessel, so we embolden a guy with no political background to rule the Capital state of the country? How could we? And yet, we are not that progressive enough to allow AIB to be the toast of the media, the country for their super cool jokes and rich content which would be remembered for ages. God, I don’t even remember the names of the guys. Why do I remember Johnny Lever, Raju Srivastav, Krushna and so many of them who come on TV. And now Kapil Sharma. Even he roasts the audience and celebs but then he adheres to the moral fabric of middle class values. What a shame! So regressive.
So I question myself. What does it mean to be progressive? Meaning of Progressive – Adjective – ‘Happening or developing gradually or in stages’. Noun – ‘An advocate of social reform’.
And then I realize, I am not seeing in the right direction. Yes, with so many religions, dialects, regions and cultures, there are issues and there are multitude problems in this country but the ‘hope’ of an average Indian is much stronger than the ‘hope’ of any other countryman in the world. The hope to do better in life, the hope to be happy today and be prepared for the happiness that tomorrow shall bring. The ‘progressive’ nature of an average Indian to provide for his family while at the same time being socially responsible is something which is unparalleled in the world.
And somewhere the ‘Eureka’ moment happened. The problem is that we focus too much on the ‘negatives’ of our country and ‘positives’ of developed countries. And I decided to remove this lens from my eyes and not give too much footage to a nautanki group. The screening of a movie does not hold that importance as the works of distinguished Indians do. Indian scientist, artist, economist, doctors, engineers are appreciated and hold important posts in Government and in the social stream. As per some PPTs floating on FB and other social media, some x% employees at NASA are Indians, some y% are eminent doctors …. And so on. And before, my cynical mind starts pointing out that these are well settled guys in developed countries, let me share the story of a desi progressive Indian – Dr. Rajagopal.
Dr Rajagopal and the Pallium India team go on home visits to some of the remotest areas outside Thiruvananthapuram; places where no vehicle could go. They climb hills and walk through rubber plantations to visit terminally ill cancer patients. Pallium India wants to take care of those in terrible pain and isolation due to cancer, AIDS, paralysis, or other prolonged, debilitating, diseases. ‘No one,’ the organisation believes, ‘should be left to face all of this without support and proper medical care.’
Then there is a lady who started BPO facility with differently abled employees only, two guys who quit US based jobs to setup garbage management system, a village kid who became a renowned heart surgeon and many more…
There are many such progressive people out there who are gradually ushering in social reforms and mind it, their ‘Actions speak louder than words’. And the right kind of actions for that matter. Maybe you can laugh over them or applaud them. Maybe in your mind you are thinking that Rishi has got it all wrong. Maybe I was thinking on similar lines when many were laughing their guts out over genital jokes and raking up lot of issues which weren’t allowing us to “Be Progressive”.