The paradox of being a common man

Arvind Passey
31 May 2019

The month of May this year has been over-flowing with bold strokes and brilliant strikes. Yes, one can think of everything from cricket to politics and from nabbing terrorists to tickling the media at the right time.

We have all realized that even ten seconds in front of a button can spell anything from prosperity to disaster in politics. Democracy isn’t generally affected by anything as trivial as elections… because a nation doesn’t survive the onslaught of time playing with issues that do not matter in the long term. Sam Pitroda tripping and falling over his ‘jo hua toh hua’ remark is already buried under a different form of euphoria. Foul language used during election time has been quietly withdrawn and placed in a cold store somewhere in the folds of shrewd politicians. NYAY will probably not fade away and nor will Raga despite his insistence on resigning as the party chief. People like Sadhvi Pragya know now that they will be expected to perform in the nation’s interest and everything else is inconsequential. By the time you get to read this, a new set of ministers will be up and running… and I have no doubt that this election has also shown us that it is democracy that has finally triumphed. However, I wonder why we change everything from attitude to language during election time?

We have barely come out of the heady feeling of world class cricketers putting up a great performance on the pitch during IPL… and I now realise that we are never really far from the joys of this game. The World Cup is knocking at the door and we have the masses raising the decibels to get the trophy home for the third time. Just as it is politics, the players on the pitch are professionals who are playing to win and things get rather unsavory sometimes. The media gets hysterical and even the aam aadmi joins the cacophony of bad vibes when things aren’t going right for their team. Yes, I do wonder why this happens every time? Why can’t we play a game as it is to be played – like gentlemen, and never stoop to the soft violence of snide remarks and hits that disturb the social matrix within the country?

If it isn’t politics or cricket, it has to be Bollywood if you are in India. The funny thing is that the three come together in strange ways. We have politicians who have ambitions of prancing around trees in movies just as we have actors pretending to understand the finer nuances of being a responsible legislator. We have cricketers loving their fifteen seconds nodding their heads wordlessly to endorse a product and we have some of them yearning for a seat in the Rajya Sabha. However, I wonder most when I see our love for the game disappear and a lot of animosity conflagrates whenever we lose to Pakistan.

It surprises me to no end to be living in a nation where a majority of our 130 crore population are only talking, watching, and hearing politicians, cricketers, and actors. They are otherwise happily working in offices or teaching or selling or doing whatever it is that they are doing while knowing and understanding that becoming an actor, a politician or a cricketer may not be possible for them in their lifetime. I do sometimes wonder why we have millions of people wasting hundreds of man-hours in kerbside debates, online rebuttals, verbose tussles, and energized flare-ups for professions that are far from their lives.

If given a chance I’d want to tell the teeming millions in India to forget politics, cricket and Bollywood and just pay attention to choosing, identifying and then converting a passion into a skill that can improve their life. Each of us is born with a passion that remains recessive and unidentified in most cases. It is time for us all to wake up to go inwards to find that elusive passion. Without this, a common man will continue to remain a common man applauding when others perform.


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