Friday, March 19, 2010
Walking The Talk
I always looked older than my age.
My height contributed to this to some extent, for sure. (I was 5, 4” in class 8 and have grown an inch since then)
But I owe my ‘older look’ to a factor other than my height. Maturity.
I always felt more mature than other girls my age. (I am not counting boys at all! Maturity is something they are constitutionally incapable of until they reach 30. God made them that way and it’s OK)
Please note, maturity does not imply wisdom. At least not in my case. I was certainly less wise than most girls my age. Impulsive, naive and without diplomacy, I was always running into trouble.
But of maturity, I had enough.
I always found myself drawn to serious discussions and arguments.
I found myself contemplative, reflective and philosophical most of the time. At sixteen.
Not all thinking was fruitful. When all the unnecessary brooding, imaginary fears, guilt and wishful thinking were filtered out, there was some thinking left that was worth the hours that it consumed.
I missed all the girl talk – gossip, clothes, accessories, beauty parlour, latest fashion, cinema stars and all…
I was busy pondering the many causes of the world screaming for attention. Pollution, poverty, westernization, parenting mistakes (this was my favourite), generation gap, relationships and love.
There followed participation in several debate and essay writing competitions in college, conversations with friends, uncles and all.
As I grew up to become an adult, there was the toastmasters club and the speeches. More conversation with peers and more opinions.
I could sit on a sofa for four hours straight gazing at the wall in front of me, while arguments and counter-arguments fought their battle in my mind, one of them relenting at last, but only when my mother implored me to stop procrastinating and be more active!!!
I had to fight back my thoughts that hijacked me from family gatherings, weddings, office work, trainings and client meetings, without a care.
Eventually, all the thinking had to turn into action, sooner or later, genuine as the thoughts were and not mere rhetoric of a youth groping for identity.
Action was sometimes mocked at. ‘Chill! In this chaotic world of millions, what can one person do?’
And then, gently tugging me towards the reclining armchair of comfortable inaction was the argument ‘The universe is unfolding itself the way it should whether or not you like it’.
So what should I do? Take a chill pill and let the universe unfold itself?
‘Every single drop contributes to the ocean’ was my counterargument. Hackneyed. Nevertheless Helpful.
And what more? TRUE.
So I decided to change the world. To be the change I wanted to see. To do my bit. If nothing else, I could continue talking and thinking without feeling guilty about not acting.
Thus, in the last six years that I have been on my own, I have been trying to make a difference, living in the city of Bangalore, doing this and refraining from doing that.
Propelling Change. And preventing change, where continuity seemed a better option, where the predecessor seemed strong and the successor, weak.
I cannot boast of a tangible contribution to society, like donating money to an orphanage or an old age home, but social responsibility has become a way of life, a part of everyday living.
In the same breath, I want to say that I do not make tall claims.
I have ideals. But I do not call myself idealistic.
I follow my ideals as far as convenience permits. And a little more. I mean, I could stretch a bit perhaps. But if it becomes very inconvenient, I choose to be ‘pragmatic’ instead :-)
With this post I intend to start a series, where I shall write about my attempts to be the change I want to see in this world.
And this series, I expect, will cause me to do more in this direction. You see, every month, I'll need matter to write about in this space :-)