India. You know that place that infuriates me but I can’t stop loving it? Somewhere between the relocation madness that lasted longer than I imagined (and that is all me and my inability to not feel feel feel strongly strongly strongly) and dealing with truly desi jugaad nonsense that I find funny and deeply enterprising all at the same time, I was beginning to cross over to a particular “wing” on social media. I was filled with annoyance with the government suddenly, mainly because I was having to pay taxes now. And I was rather irritated with the Hindutva messages that just wouldn’t stop coming into my inbox each day. I didn’t see the reasons for their anger (yes, it exists and the things they have done out of it is not justified but there’s ALWAYS a reason for mass hysteria, even if you and I don’t agree with it). At the same time, I didn’t exactly see the reasons for the mass hysteria among the liberals either. And here is what I have figured out from a little silent, slightly more objective but deeply unscientific study of the Twitterati in general.
RW trolls – nothing to say that I haven’t already said.
LW angries – The small irony is that we are letting some really strange kind of people shape this side’s narrative on social media, just because they often do it in impeccable English. These are people with daddy issues who can’t/ won’t address them with daddy, will continuously fall into the SAME loser Tinder loop with the same kind of people, career issues that they won’t do shit about resolving or taking charge. Expecting adult problems to solve themselves while they rant away, often anonymously on social media is rather, I don’t know, entitled and childish? Their solution to Pakistan and Kashmir likely is Modi sly tweeting Pakistan government. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t work like that.
Add to that the fact that there’s traffic, annoyingly unplanned infrastructure in spite of all the taxes everyone has to pay, and the grey areas at work and home that can only be set right with reasonably steely balls, often unrealistic because outside of Twitter, we are generally nice and want to get through life with as little confrontation as possible. I can’t blame them.
Twitter outrage is just that. It is the angst of normal, everyday people dealing with normal, everyday shit. Unfortunately now, they are shaping narratives and opinions. I was wrong in believing that Twitter (or social media) runs parallel to real life now. It doesn’t. It is far, far removed. In real life, my Muslim neighbour with his large Urdu/ Arabic board on the door and me with the lakshmi feet I haven’t taken off since Diwali, coexist peacefully. The bazaars with their bade kebabs and their mandirs still exist. And I, for one, can conclude things only on the basis of what I see and experience. Not on the basis of a publicity hungry woman who tweeted that women in UP got raped because they ate beef. Yes, that happened.
Women in general are still an oppressed lot, sure. But when you see hordes of them on their bikes each morning, dupattas and scarves flying in the air, off to take their rightful place in the economy, you know we will be alright. We have come a long way. For a country as large, diverse, populated as ours, change takes longer than usual. But slowly, painfully we will get there. I wish we could do it “single-mindedly” too, but I have realised that single-mindedness is not possible here in desh. We have been too free and too, too diverse for far too long (and that is a good thing) for any change to be single-minded and 100% inclusive in all ways, on all days. Not going to happen, unfortunately. Being able to see that is just common sense, if you hold on to your inflexible value systems for just a minute and see things from the perspective of sheer practicality. The government, I think, is dealing with the cards it has been dealt out. Just like the rest of us. Of course I’d like them to do better and do it fast, but I think I am willing to wait it out too. The worst that will happen is that nothing will really change. I am good with that, honestly.
In general my feeling is that we are still fine. Nothing is as bad as it seems at the hands of keyboard warriors. The country is bigger than opinions, left or right. It is bigger than one hardly there PM, if that is what he is. I don’t know. I am neither trained nor impulsive enough to decide how good or bad he will be for the country, right now. We are STILL dealing with the good and bad of Nehruvian politics, it is hard to conclude that a five year regime with Modi will change the fabric of the country – in good ways or bad. If only we had the patience to wait and watch, criticise without trolling when necessary, and just bloody WAIT for five minutes before concluding matters that have way too many layers for any Twitter and social media pontification to really solve.
But till then, the outrage in a parallel universe, goes on unhinged. Maybe there are reasons for it, maybe not. Maybe this outrage is what will eventually save us, maybe it will just die down like Orkut did. Whatever happens, I know one thing for sure – there is always more to things than what meets the eye. And there are always 100 sides to every story. I just need to remember it more often.