I've always been one hell of an opinionated person. If not anything else, but a Point of View is something I had on anything and everything, all the time. One just had to ask "So, what d'you think about...?" to get me started.
And sometime down the lane, while participating in one organised debate session during my high school days, I realised I could also own a point of view which is directly reversible to my original POV on that, and talk for it so convincingly to win the debate as well as make the rest of the folks believe that nothing could be more right than that.
Anyways, the point now is that, I'm losing my POV. Though not totally, but it's definitely hit the worry mark. Mebbe it's all a part of growing up (or old? :/ )
3 months back, I've been through one mess of a whirlwind time, where I was missing myself soo soo badly. You know, times when you end up doing a lot of otherwise dumb things. That's when I felt that my brain's out on a vacation.. or mebbe my mind went too numb to be sensible or sensitive enough.
I realise, Complacency can be quite dangerously destructive at times. One tends to be not too alert and start taking things in a laid back attitude and end up playing oneself into otherwise avoidable troubles and mistakes. And when I look back at the whole thing, I wonder what was the rationale in making that choice at the first place! The regret is all that is left to overcome, but then I console myself that it's human to err, as long as I don't make a habit of it.
I need to remind myself of a quote which good friend Bubbles shared with me once: 'When you don't stick to a plan of your own, you tend to end up being a part of someone else's plan'.
And then 3 weeks back, there was this series of bomb blasts in Bangalore, the very same evening when we were slated to travel to Kochi to meet up with a bunch of old buddies who were back in India after long. I amazed myself at my state of apathy. I usually feel strongly about such thoughtless acts of inflicting terror, but this time around, all I managed to react was 'Ok, ONLY one death. Thank God, those were low intensity ones.' It's more as though I've learned to accept it as a natural calamity which is bound to happen from time to time. Something over which we have absolutely no control. Though a couple of them went off within half a km radius from my workplace. And 5 of them within a 3km radius. Jammed mobile phone networks, frantic calls made from the landline phones at every cubicle, people clicking the refresh button on the rediff news page while the number of blasts went up, concerned e-mails which replaced sms es, e-mails from office security on the safeness quotient of stepping out, groups of 4 or 5 at cubes discussing the political side of it all wondering if BJP's coming to power in Karnataka was worrying the terrorists enough to act crazy, nervous jokes on how Bangalore has also joined the bandwagon of other usually terror target prone metros..
I was definitely worried that day, and that was just because I wasn't too sure whether my travel plans will have to be called off.
That was it.
Once at Kochi, Bubbles and her Dad came to pick us up, and on the way, Uncle was talking about the sense of apathy among the new breed of news channels. He was quoting a newsreader who seemed to have said "ONLY one death".
The very next day, we were to leave for Trivandrum. How could one go to someplace as near to home as Kochi and still not hit home? Besides I wanted to be at home to celebrate my birthday with family, go break some coconuts at the Pazhavangadi Ganapathi Kovil and go to the Vettucaud Church.
At about 5:30 pm, the ever so hospitable host, Dimple took us to the railway station, and was almost about to see us off when Bubbles called up with great urgency to order us to jump out of the train ASAP.
'Why?' I ask.
'There's gonna be bomb blasts in Kerala at 7 pm today. It's all over on TV!'
'Oh!' I say. 'I'll pass on the phone to Hema. Tell her that.'
Off we got from the train and headed back to D&B's place, after picking up the tickets for the next morning's train to Trivandrum. Switched on the TV and sat glued to it, waiting for 7 o' clock. Nothing happened, thankfully. But I again amazed myself at how numbly I was taking it all. As though I'm rescheduling my plans taking into account the possibility of a heavy rain or something like that.
And then, back at Bangalore, the other weekend, we could hear sound effects of fireworks next door (read: domestic violence). It's another one of those episodes which those folks indulge in, once a while. (ok, read it as their usual weekend chore). An upwardly mobile young working couple with a 4 year old son. A meek man, an always gruffy woman and a real pesky kid. That's how I see them. Not quite your friendly neighbour.. (well that's more or less a myth in the Apartment culture anyways, thankfully. 'Thankfully', because friendly neighbours are usually 'nosy' too, by default, which is not too welcome.)
This time, the fireworks was a li'l more than usual, more in tune with Thrissur pooram. The kind that would traumatize the neighbors too. I dunno how many of us would have experienced something like that. You hear the decibels raise and you don't quite need a very fertile imagination to sense that the man must be banging his wife's head on the wall. Running around, throwing things. A hell lot of screaming. more hitting. more screaming. followed by even more hitting. Hema found it very revolting and wanted to call up the Landlord's brother who lives across the road. I stood there numb, dumbstruck. I also found myself silently praying that the lady would stop screaming, so that the man might stop hitting her. (I again surprised myself very negatively there!) And then there was silence. deafening silence. We thought one of them must have definitely killed the other. And then the mind started racing... thinking of weird possibilities. Will the police come? Should we knock the door? Will that be uncalled for interference? And then, to our relief, the elderly lady downstairs came up to check on them. Both of them apparently, were alive.
Very insensitively, I ask Hema to shut the door close.
The very next day, while paying the house-rent, I mentioned the event to the landlord's very-shy-to-talk caretaker brother. (He usually prefers answering in mono-syllables only. At times, a couple of words, when he's feeling very outgoing.) That day, he was cheerful, hence said 'Problem vacated' with a very happy smile. On further inquiry, I learned that the Lady of the house has vacated, lodged an FIR and filed for a divorce.
I think, 'Good for her!' That's it.
Terrorism and Domestic violence are issues which would have got me fuming any other day. Now I wonder if I'm just losing my POV or that I've turned plain insensitive and passive about things around me.
Mebbe Anubha is right. It could be just my current health predicament and the general low tide I'm going through. I should be alright soon!
On another thought, is our society getting conditioned to being more apathetic, day by day?
Have we started shrugging off anything that doesn't directly affect our lives?
Are we getting too engrossed in fighting our own humble battles for survival (read self-absorbed)?
Or are we just getting too used to saying 'I don't care', a tad too often?