An Era of Misplaced Associations

Recently I was reading an interview of dear director-friend Amartya Bhattacharyya. Without a doubt, it was as insightful as it could be. One of the golden statements he made there has stuck with me since then – “Our brain was never meant to be a hard disk; it was always meant to be the processor. And you have to use it like one.

This particular statement doesn’t tell us anything that we don’t know. Rather it just serves as a reminder to something that we have forgotten. For some time I have been observing the infatuation among people with associations that are misplaced at the first place. Many of them happen out of ignorance about which they are themselves ignorant. And ever since these random thoughts kept kissing my leisurely moments, I have been asking myself – Where did we go wrong and what has led us into this hollow, brazen self? Indeed it is this rendering of our already underutilized piece of a brain as mere storage centers has reduced it now to a defunct hardware add-on.

What an irony: In a world of gadgets and gizmos – we are demanding higher RAM and processor speeds, some even cozying up to new age 8 GB smartphones – as if that very night they would be launching a rocket on a mission to hunt for blended scotch in outer space. Apart from “selfie”ng themselves how I wish there could have been a more soulful desire to up their factory fitted (purists can read: God) processors and its operating quality.

On the outset let me just re-define two words that may come to your mind at this point of time:
1. Cynical (or cynicism) = concerned only with one’s interest and doubting others.
The observations here are with a concern for each one of us who could read this and more for those who won’t be able to see this.

2. Pessimist = a person who believes that this world is as bad as it could be.
I would have then rather taken to mobbing and lynching instead of hoping against hope to write my thoughts and wait for someone to read it 🙂
Now that we are clear we are not heading into a black hole, let’s talk more about our associations… misplaced associations.

A local kindergarten school during its annual function puts up a pretty stage for kids with their parents and relatives as the audience to witness their budding flowers sway in the April wind. As the daffodils took their position – pops the music – a very popular item number – “Baby Doll Main Sone Di”. How I wish I could have barged the party! Yeah, of course, this has nothing to do with my beloved Sunny Leone nor the cliched rant of “westernization” that made me hysterical. But it has everything to do with the teachers and their misplaced associations of going by what is trendy and popular rather than making something engaging and meaningful to their age. Did I say the parents (belonging to some top IT companies and corporates) were elated at their “Kid has got talent” moment?

As a teenager, many would have had the passion for learning a guitar. If one rightly observes, most teenagers seek to learn it just because in a certain dumb film a certain college going hero, just by holding it in his hands was being crooned and creamed over by women in not so college going fashion. The beauty of a guitar or its immense untapped potential will hardly be understood.
Music is my soul” says a line from a popular song. Indeed it is. Music transcends boundaries. But how many times have we asked what we are hearing as music is actually the music we received as a gift from nature. How much of purity has been enshrined in each of the countless numbers, albums that churn out every moment? We only pick up trends – trends set by wrong sets of people with big, fat wallets and in collaboration with the business seeking media houses. Rather it is this glorification of inappropriate combinations that set the seeds of misplaced associations. Most of the things that we do, think or follow – when dissected will only reveal a superficial reason. Just because others are doing it has to be done.

Look at all the teenagers and young impressionable minds around. Largely many are so much addicted to fast bikes, smartphones, parties and merry making irrespective of their background. The childhood is no longer played in the company of sun and rain, or muddy playgrounds, monkeying on trees or smelling the freshly sprouted wild flowers. It is less of wondering and more of wandering.

In our films, the college going people have never been shown fighting their skin out for earning a place under the sun. Songs and romance make up the notion of what college days would bring. In addition to it, we have films that celebrate the anti-heroes – one who breaks the laws – and we have a generation who are now bold enough to make filthy, corrosive remarks in defense of their corrupt demigods when they are questioned. Films like Dangal and Masaan which are good commercial films should have invaded our drawing rooms 20 years back. Only then we could have hoped for more matured content ready to beat the World classics. But even if our films have more or less stuck to the same fossil founded years ago – neither the taste of masses have matured nor the manufacturer’s appetite to overturn the tide for there isn’t a need to overwork when easy money can be siphoned from a non-questioning audience. Even our media and juries hail a film only after it has done well in another country. Same is the fate of artists and creators.

The protagonists in films shop, dine and party – creating a false belief that life is a composition of these three basic elements. The numerous reality shows with kids and adults celebrate only the hollow world of Bollywood/commercial music and dance. They hardly have any respect or space for the original classics – because it is not entertaining. The daily soaps no longer narrate the quintessential middle-class stories that one was so fond of. It has to be a long winding snake that devours you, in the same way, each time every time. When it comes to books – the publishing industry is in a decline – all that they have to thrive upon is the hope of some sleazy novels that comes up in the garb of National literature which is even being read by people who have never opened their textbooks. Our knowledge of history is limited to Facebook posts, our idea of democracy defined by WhatsApp messages and the meaning of Nationalism is pierced through howling news anchors.

When Snapdeal faced the ire of a hyper-nationalist India – many hailed it as a true show of democracy. What they were forgetting is the people were motivated by propaganda on something that was half truth (watching the full video of that episode will resolve all doubts) whereas in people like Salman Khan we have a homicidal accuse, an established lawbreaker but one who goes on to make millions with every goddamn film he makes and yet there is no true democracy to show this senior citizen an exit door.

We worship the immoral idols, chase the wrong cars and nurture undeserving dreams. The same is also reflecting in our political arena. Our leaders are no more educated and intellectual because we have never wanted ourselves to rise up from our own mediocrity. And the fourth pillar of democracy now largely is run by a government or private aided funds so much so that they have stopped reporting news and have started manufacturing them. Poets and painters live in oblivion. Literature and creativity are at a backseat. Filmmakers who can make a mockery of our own existence thrive well. Few of them which showcase reality face the ire of CBFC. They will never ban the titillating deodorant advertisements which keep claiming that a good fragrance in males will eventually increase the mating probabilities with females – as if all women desire a body and not brains. Shame that we have not chosen to shun such sexist and divisive content in unison. They say it on your face – “We will make such slapstick and dumb content – what can you do apart from just consuming it the way it is served?”

People with certifications (and certainly not with qualifications) working in high paying jobs have little to think beyond their glass cubicles. With declining general awareness these corporate people fail miserably in basic geography and science even as they rise up the corporate leader. Invariably the social desires and wants have become more and more individualistic than socialistic. Yes, one can claim socialism as a state policy is an utter failure. No doubt about it. But individualism which is an offshoot of consumerism, as a personal mantra is a silent killer of independent thoughts. Our choices and free thinking are always hijacked by the continuous bombardment of opinions and views with vested interest. With things on a platter, there is no real desire to be curious and hungry for knowledge that is selectively omitted from our acknowledgment.

Consider this – When a two-year-old baby cries just because someone doesn’t acknowledge her that she is fair – one can understand how deep rooted our concept of fairness is equal to beauty is. She has picked this from the elders around who have unintentionally implanted this notion. We try to pamper our children with gadgets, cosmetics, and costumes – instead of knowledge, physical activities, and books. Have heard parents proud of the fact that their one-year-old child knows how to switch on the ‘selfie’ mode. Le le ab tu bhi selfie le le re.

Just like the current paradigms are causing the rich to become richer and the poor poorer the same is getting applied in terms of our intellectual bench strength. On rare occasions, we are pleasantly surprised to learn about some of the greatest minds in action while at the same time the educated masses have become more dumbass with a sheep mentality. The same internet and social media if mined well can lead us to discover the hidden wealth of knowledge.

It is all about attaching weightage to anything that consumes our time and money. Is two hours of my life worth the film that I am going to watch? The things I do and read is what I am. Does any of these adding any value and leaving a positive footprint in my life? If only we had the interest to ask these few basic questions each time we start on a verb.

Well, you may say – why on earth one should even think of all these when life is already sucking and the boss in office is ***king!

It is because we are supposed to be the most intelligent creations of all living beings and our natural instinct is to be curious to learn and know more.
It is because our inner peace and social justice can only be governed by our rightful associations based on merit.
And it is because we are human beings and not machines, but on the contrary, the machines have started surpassing us in their processing capabilities.

Better we start consuming our piece of the brain before we get wired to receive live instructions from machine sapiens in future.

Life is actually very simple. It is best enjoyed when it is uncomplicated. As I say, “Living is an Art” – The reverse of it can only help you invest your superfluous wealth in another coffin.

P.S. This angst is not on the crores of common men and women who have to fight it out daily for their survival. It is rather on those men and women who would like to project their acquired taste of class on all things that have a price tag and would wear the robe of a common man the moment anything causes a churning in their brains – feigning ignorance on the reality of the world.


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