Friday, 22 February 2013

all hail the 'serial protester'....

Hello Dear reader! There are 'Serial Killers', 'Serial Daters', 'Serial Kissers' , all of whom have compulsive predilections towards an act, they probably do it for some selfish reason (according to shrinks)  . And then there are those exalted personages who have a compulsive habit which they sincerely believe is an act of complete selflessness- they are the ' Serial Protesters'.

 The week has been hectic and in many ways one full of realisations (mostly unpleasant).In my previous post, I mentioned that nation wide strike in India and my support for the cause. Well, I actually found myself amongst the throng of protesters yesterday.

Now as most of you might not know,  so I have to tell you something about myself, I actually look like someone who would be on the front-line of  a crusade to promote a 'lost- cause' . Most people only realise on closer interaction my rabid devotion to logic and an objective and clinical approach towards any given event or task.

Therefore, I was lassoed into making posters for a cause I don't really believe in. I was also bullied into doing all the work and I had absolutely no help whatsoever! ( A few kindhearted colleagues did help, but only after I was on the brink of a meltdown). So, I stayed up the entire night on Wednesday making posters. All the while I couldn't help but wonder at my ignominious position at work. I realised that I have become the official 'dogsbody' the go-to person for all the random unwanted work, most of which was not even remotely connected to my job-profile. It is perhaps my own fault, I am constantly yelled at for no reason, by even my subordinates! It seems to have escaped everyone's notice that I am actually doing them a favour. I wish I wasn't such a doormat, I wish I was a snob whom everyone was scared of.

Anyway, after organising everything, I finally reached the venue in one piece. As I looked around me, I could see earnest looking students, people with bored expressions holding placards and the leaders aka those who were the first to shout a slogan, also generally the loudest. As I interacted with the lot, I was struck by something, I could see myself in some of them. A few years ago, I was always at some protest or the other. I was never in doubt of my politics but, back then, I had just become a mirror that's all.

You may wonder dear reader, a mirror? I never really saw fit to speak up about my basic beliefs, but just did everything my peers were doing, even went to meetings/rallies/protests about issues I didn't really care about. Thus, I reflected the opinions of others, just like a mirror. Well, a few years ago I was at a random protest when mid-slogan I had an epiphany. I found myself stupefied and asked myself- what AM I doing here, do I even believe in this cause. I realised that I had become one of those mindless herds at political rallies, who don't even know the name of the party that they have  come to support. I WAS DONE! My logical self rebelled against such mindless action.

As I interacted with the students at the protest yesterday, I saw myself ( as I was a couple of years ago ) in them. I was so full of myself, so earnest, so deluded, so blinded by my own sense of self-worth; in short I was a serial protester. It was an uncomfortable realisation only to be followed by a pleasant thought, at least, I was aware of socio-political issues because of all the time spent protesting! That is certainly a thought to make me feel better.

However, I must add that I greatly admire all the activists ( the sincere ones) for their zeal. It takes a lot to believe in something. I know, some people who are doing the praiseworthy act of creating awareness through, protests, rallies and public meetings. They are certainly not as full of themselves as I was and unlike some other publicity-hungry idiots are not in it for the fame.

I just found myself yearning for my earlier self, the girl who was crazy enough to attend a rally in torrential rain, the girl who was blind to the difference between earnest believers and jaded publicity hungry  rabble-rousers.  Alas,  my fires have burnt, and I can now clearly see the different faces in the crowd.


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