Colored Reality!

We see what we want to see…perversion, obscenity, liberalism, secularism or piety, many things, if not all; depend on the way we perceive things.

Perception can be deceptive; it can manipulate reality and color it the way you want to. Grey can look black and white can look grey, if your eyes are tilted towards negativity. Many things we see are contextual and but everything we see is perceptually diverted towards our own line of thinking.

You must be wondering that how can our perception be manipulative? But sadly it is and the kind of manipulation you see here is the unconscious manipulation. The manipulation is the addition of personal ‘tinge’ to everything you observe, visualize, implicate and foresee. This personal tinge is an all encompassing and translucent sheath which curtains everything around us. The curtain has components of culture, religion, context, experience, relations, emotions, persona etc. But the curtain is pronounced in its impact when it adds shades of grey and whites to your ‘expectations’.

Let’s review an example:

A lady goes to the market and buys something really heavy (in terms of physical weight). She’s barely dragging her shopping bags over the floor to her car and there comes a gentleman in the scenario. He perceives that girl to be in a difficult situation and his chivalry probes him to help her. He steps forward and asks “Hey, can I help you in carrying that stuff to your car?”

I assume you all perceive it to be a situation of a cordial gentleman, offering a helping hand to a troubled girl. But what if the girl scolds him and in fact shouts at him for getting in her way? Or perhaps the girl snaps at him or ignores him completely?

This is where the girl’s perception manipulated an otherwise simplistic scenario. It doesn’t mean she’s pugnacious or frustrated rather we have to dig deeper before judging her.

She was a girl brought up where being a ‘girl’ was considered equivalent to being ‘vulnerable’ & ‘useless’. She was laughed at, judged and even ridiculed by her family and relatives for being a female. It’s these experiences which then accumulated to create her perceptions. She started perceiving every person’s smile as a mocking attempt on her gender.

Rose Colored Glasses

Now, when this gentleman asked to help her, she was bound to perceive it in accordance with her previous experiences. Her heart pumped faster thinking this was another attempt to humiliate her. She didn’t want to feel weak and that’s what precisely a helping hand meant to her.

Now, after looking at the perception formation of this girl, I’m sure you understand the functionality of perception. We often judge and sometimes ourselves misperceive other’s intentions based on this manipulation. So from now on, try to avoid the manipulation, think about the situation in an exclusive context before jumping to conclusive judgments! :)

Is this the real YOU?

During my exams last semester, one day while cramming my notes I looked at myself in the mirror. I saw a blunt, outspoken, straightforward girl with a damn care attitude, but with this look came a thought, a thought which clutched my mind and I just couldn’t get out of the strong grip! The thought was not so outrageous rather it was just a simple query i.e.

“Is this the real me?”

Yes! It wasn’t the real me. I’m not a person with a damn care attitude towards life, I care about small things; things like what would I do in the quiz if I don’t study? Or what shall I buy for my mother from the small sum of money I saved from my pocket money. I was a nerd; a nerd who studied hard day and night to get good grades and pretended to be cool. A cool girl who didn’t study at all and still somehow got good marks!
But who was I hiding from, why did I never tell anyone that how much I studied or why I wanted to mask my concentration in studies from others? What is a COOL personality? Who defined those terms?
Let’s take a look into it from the perspective of a normal teenager who doesn’t know what’s in and what’s out!
We go into the university with high spirits, aspiring dreams, passion and zest to be something big someday. The ambience that seems so conciliatory the first day gradually throws back our deficiencies upon us. We are never appreciated for what we are rather always pointed out the way we should be.
The various definitions get their ways into our heads like whose Cool, Hot, Geek, Funky or a Rock star. A few things necessary to get into “The Elites” are not the money rather there is a whole recipe to be a part of the mighty agenda! The recipe includes a variety of compulsory ingredients like designer clothes (If you don’t have them at least pretend), English with an accent, a few top class gossiping qualities, highly artificial attitude and oh yes! You should be humble and sympathetic to those who are not the “Elites”.
To get into the circle of the Elites, all the girls and guys tighten their belts after few weeks of the university to gather the ingredients. They get on the nerves of their parents whose old mind thoughts become mind-boggling now. Girls go on a diet to get in their perfect skirt and the guys pretend to smoke even if they don’t know how to!

But has someone ever thought why do we have to fit in the already settled parameters for being the “Hottest”, in fact what is the Hottest or the Coolest? What is it for?
No, it’s not for success. Neither does it fulfill the aspirations that were bubbling in the students when they joined in nor does it actually make them different from what they are in real. It’s just a mask we use, which in terms of psychology will be defined as “Relational violence”. In literary terms it’s violence done by females to suppress the aggression within them but I believe it’s rather a term for both genders who participate evenly in this ruthless brutality of dividing people into classes.

What could be worse than changing yourself for the sake of something which doesn’t even exist?

Are we so superficial that vague gushes of artificiality carry away our persona? We; the greatest creation of God can change it’s thoughts, beliefs and forget his/her own identity for the sake of being a center of attention?
We see girls dying of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, young teens dying drunk due to speedy road accidents, smoking as a sacred ritual for the sake of attention and an addiction to lose weight, parents’ presence seen as a source of embarrassment in the “IN” circle and young teens sneaking out to make gf/bfs to check if they are in demand or not. The values with which we lived for years suddenly become lame in front of the individualistic approaches? Is appreciating those, who gave you birth, strength and support, not worthwhile enough to waste time on? Why do we change our paths from the library to the café for being eminent? Why do we make fun of those who wear glasses or are not close to a perfect figure? Why a big car and late night partying is becoming an obsession rather than recreation? All we need to do is think!

Think with the brain that the Almighty Allah gave us, ponder upon what we actually are and realize that we are not what the world defines us as, we are what our mind shapes us as. The world is making its progress to a dangerous end where people pursue the legendary trail without even questioning it for a moment. But I think it’s high time that instead of making movies like mean girls, teeny toons, never been kissed etc.. We focus on throwing away those fake, lame beliefs, which forge young people and overshadow their true brilliance.

Its time!

 

 

Diversity vs Yourself!

We “Humans” are surrounded by thousands of people where each of them is unique. We all are rare in our style and novel in our persona. But still we all have something in common….. We all witness, experience, internalize and visualize one thing i.e. ‘Diversity’.

Diversity is what inspires an artist to create something abstract…..In fact the word abstract itself is inspired from the complex human nature. How every human is quintessentially different….how each one of us extracts some unique aspect despite of belonging to the same environment. Same mother same father but each kid with different cognitions, with different aspirations and with different viewpoints. Isn’t it a marvel of God, Who gave us this uniqueness….Who made us a part of crowd yet the capability to reach a different destination through the same pathway.

Sometimes this diversity is so awe inspiring that we start demeaning the stability within us. We start following the ‘traits’ which appear to be a successful combination of fame, money and power. But this inadvertent disciple somewhere starts losing his own capacity to be different. This trend of following the trend somewhere disintegrates the persona we once possessed.

Once….only once we try to lose the track of our own personality and the next moment we don’t have one. Our life, our mind and hence our ‘unique’ existence is tied to the presence of self-acceptance. If we don’t or hesitate to accept our own existence……..That is the moment we start suffering from self-destruction.

It might appear trendy to be like the one you adore or it might be courageous to be’ You’ in front of the world. But remember neither the former means that you destroy your innate self for mere acceptance nor does the latter imply that you quit the Norms and be someone who is loathed by the world. There is always a middle ground…..Which essentially means that you neither lose yourself nor the world. This implies that you get ‘Yourself’ accepted in a worldly manner.

World has seen people like Oprah Winfrey who accepts her bluntness, fatness and age with grace and then makes the world love her for those apparently horrible traits. World has witnessed unconventionality in people like Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela and most prominently Bill Gates. These people stood up for who they are but they didn’t defy the norms. They accepted the values of the world but amalgamated them in their own way.

Getting Acceptance is never a situation of Do or Die….It is always about how you become the part of crowd with your own way of walking through it!

 

Inability to Live!

When I go to a local market or a nearby restaurant I sometimes encounter my past. Yes! No matter how weird it seems I come across my past many times. Past, by past I mean the younger me, a 14 15 year old girl with an amateur and conscious personality. She could not understand the weird forces of the society which imposed certain personality qualities on her. The society imposed her to follow some strictly framed stringent rules as soon as she turned 15. Those petty colored dresses, pink rubber bands, gentle ways of communication etc. were not something she appreciated. She didn’t want to get out of her naïve attitude and camouflage herself in a well dressed innocent ‘beauty’. The concept of decency and feminine manners appeared lame to her.

Another shocking part of her life also began as soon as she entered puberty. Suddenly the world seemed to change. The faces around her were the same but their attitudes towards her changed. Those uncles who blessed her with their fatherly blessings unexpectedly started avoiding her. The outdoor activities which were a part of her daily routine vanished from her lifestyle taking away another portion of her freedom. The freedom to go on the streets seemed to fumble as well. She couldn’t enjoy the cool breeze outside her house, those weary brisk walks in the park nearby or simple rounds at the local general stores; couldn’t do it anymore, as people around her stared at her as if she was an ‘Alien’ with yellow feathers and head antennas. She wondered and wandered in her own thoughts that why people teased her for her mere presence sometimes.

Those scary looks by strangers sometimes made her heartbeat faster than a squash ball thumping the wall, snatching away a portion of her confidence from her. When fast bikes took over her with creepy guys making their faces creepier, she literally used to run to her house, losing another bit of her self-belief. Certain comments which made her feel uncomfortable with her own existence, shook off her soul. The crowd always seemed to be looking at her or rather piercing through her. Slowly she lost all of it; the confidence with which we she communicated, the assurance with which she won many small battles and the esteem which she kept her head always high.

Now, when she entered the street or a local eat out place, she could barely maintain her composure. Whether ordering a burger or walking across the road, her body shivered and heart pounded with the fear of an unknown. She preferred being at home and tried not to even go to school. Now even the cool breeze or utter boredom couldn’t force her to get out of her security shelter. When the local kids played cricket or tossed bushes to take some mangoes from the trees, she stayed inside her shell. She became a perfect woman with the perfect blend of inferiority complexes and amateur insecurity. She had the perfect reasons or rather excuses to stay at home all the time. Even the presence of someone else at her home made her hide in her room. The fierce girl with a fantastic bright smile somehow withered away with time and she didn’t even notice.

Then one day, she was with her sister at a hangout place. At that moment, unfamiliar with her own nervousness she chose to eat nothing rather than doing self service for the order. Her sister though silent at that place, pointed her trembling hands and fidgeting fingers later. And it was the first time the young she came across her own camouflaged personality. Why was she shivering? Why couldn’t she simply order her lunch? These questions made her shudder with the fear of realizing her own low self-esteem. The fear of an encounter with her own shattered persona took over her. That day she decided; to never let her existence be the hurdle of her confidence, to consider herself the best out of the lot and to kick the butt of those who lowered her poise. Since that day she never looked down upon herself, never let anyone conquer her dignity away from her and replaced her apprehension with confidence or rather ‘over confidence’.

Now whenever I see a girl sitting on the least visible bench of the park or hiding her face with her meal, it reminds me of myself though the one I was a few years ago…..
I was lucky enough to be pointed out by my sister who may be bumped into her own past when she saw me. But do all these girls have an angelic figure to make them confront their weaknesses? What about those who never reckoned that they were losing their persona in their endeavor to adjust with the norms of the society? And this question is the most horrifying one of them all. The lame norms of the society extract the abilities of these girls and the ones who commit this crime never even realize that they ‘disable’ someone forever. They grant these girls with the disability to never function at their pinnacle because of their lowered self-possession. And those who never realize their disability either live their life in their security shells or keep fighting with their inability to live life!