I was all of 4. We were returning from the market, my father and I. He stopped to buy some fruits. I plucked a few grapes from the vendors cart and enclosed them in my palm. Close to home, my father chose to hold me by the other hand seeing the oncoming traffic. He saw the grapes clutched therein. One look of disapproval and I was promptly marched back to the fruit vendor, made to apologize and then return the ‘now almost squashed grapes’. The fruit vendor said, “Jaane do sahib, bacchi hai” (Let it be sire, she is only a child). To which my father replied, “Isiliye abhi seekhna zaroori hai” (Hence, it is imperative that she learns now).
Approximately 30 odd years since that lesson well learnt, I am now a blogger/writer. I still don’t take anything that does not belong to me (except chocolate cake kept in the fridge). I have also developed an aversion for plagiarism. Not a fan of all the copied hit songs, films or marketing campaigns either. I am reminded of this one time when Bappi Da sued hip hop performer Dr Dre, for plagiarism in his song Addictive. And then this was released as an Indian chartbuster. That he (Bappi Da) has borrowed feathers from many a bird all his life; seem to have for some reason, escaped his memory. Well, that can be said for half the trash that Bollywood produces, but will save it for another post.
Well, so it goes, that as a blogging newbie, I made some awesome virtual friends. Our minds met and our thoughts had conversations galore. Hence, when a handful of them posted that their posts had been lifted, at times in entirety and passed off under the guise of another author, the ‘Durga’ in me showed up in full glory. I persecuted them plagiarists, posted, commented, mailed and informed all and sundry about their misdeeds they’d rather sweep under the carpet. Did I get a backlash? Of course, some threatening ones too, but yet, I just could not bring myself to be put on MUTE. The plagiarists had various reasons ranging from outsourced copy writers to simply being inspired by the posts. Everything, but remorse for their act. What was amazing to add, was the support that these thieves garnered. This, coming from a well read audience, who did not take the trouble to read through what was written or was being said. Fortunately, the truth needs no garnishing and can be served without any accompaniments. All was back to the way it should be, post many, many, many interactions on various web portals.
And then I turned around and saw that I was the lone crusader. I’d found support along the way in the form of ‘likes’ on a post and was bestowed with accolades too. But when it came to raising a voice, I hardly had any back up vocalists. They were all there, all of them, watching from behind the sheer curtains of an offline status. But they refused to pitch in, just because it was not their fight. Neither was it mine. It never was. I just supported those, who I knew for a fact had been wronged.
Why then I wonder are we worried about a mute Prime Minister, when all he did, was reflect the larger populace of the country? A school going girl was openly molested by a mob in Guwahti, people kept quiet. A 12 year old girl was raped on a Mumbai Train, people kept quiet. A model was shot dead in Delhi because she refused drinks, people kept quiet. Two youth were stabbed to death outside a restaurant, people kept quiet. The lone waiter, who tried to help, lost his job and people still kept quiet. Day in and day out, crimes big and small happen right under our noses, we continue to reap gold in silence. Why? Because it does not concern us? So, should we wait till our house catches fire or just hope that the wind doesn’t blow any embers from the neighbourhood?
When Gandhiji endorsed the three monkeys’ ideologies of ‘see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil’, I’m sure he was not advocating the citizenship of a nation of fools. I’ve come to the conclusion, we are not helpless; we don't just want to help. Period. And then we expect change to come about. Who is going to wash and iron our dirty linen if we refuse to do so? Why should anyone help us when we can’t bring about to help ourselves? Why is it so darn difficult to identify black from white? Even the grays have shades that can be seen with the naked eye. We love to show our angst on social networking sites, be critical when we casually discuss, play the blame game when we face the brunt of injustice, but refuse to stand up in the need of the hour.
Well, I was raised well. And I will continue to crusade. Who knows, run for President someday? I might not be perfect, though I am really close. Yet, in my own imperfect way I will never ever take a crown meant for someone else’s head. What’s the point? It won’t fit! I rather wear a crown of thorns, the way my savior did. They say, it is a designer piece and not many own it. I choose to be this way simply because, I like to follow the herd albeit, in the opposite direction.