pain

A Reminder To Open Your Eyes When Everyone Is Closing Theirs

Artwork by Chana de Moura

Artwork by Chana de Moura

Not only are we destroying the environment and threatening our own future with a “we’ll deal with it when the time comes” attitude, we’re too ignorant, too careless, too overconfident. If we can’t treat each other with respect, be it gender bias or ignorance or racism or anything else, how are we supposed to respect and take care of the environment?

Human trafficking, child marriages, domestic violence, traditions becoming chains, patriarchy eating away our future like a tumor, just like it’s spread indiscriminately over all our pasts.

People refuse to talk about it, nobody talks about anything, men experience violence, can’t talk about the magnitude of it. Women can be as violent as men, but mostly violence against women and its effect are talked about and protested against. And true, their cases might be more but that doesn’t mean that men don’t experience it. It’s just that men aren’t “supposed” to not experience it or they got to be “tough” about it.

We’ve got too many languages, too many words, and nobody can find some of them to talk about the things that really ought to be talked about. Nobody wants to hear the reality, and if someone does start talking about it, they’re “bringing the party down”. Everything is good as long as they get food three times in a day, have a roof to sleep under, have a person to love, have funny television shows to criticize, have a book or an audio recording of centuries-old poetry. Everyone is “okay” with anything as long as they have all that.

We might be a common species, but we’re anything but alike. Divided by nations, ruled by geographical borders and flags, plagued with consumerism and the need to acquire everything, all the while living in the bottomless pit of greed. There is no end to any of it. We have suffered for generations, we will continue suffering. Instead of learning from mistakes, we continue making even worse ones.

Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Well, Mr. Gandhi, we’re all blind. We either pretend to not see anything wrong with it and even if we do see it, there’s nothing anyone is willing to do about it. Or even if they do try to do something, nobody takes it right to the very end. Things end in “talks”. Things end before they even begin. Things end in thoughts.

We blindly destroy everything in our path, we destroy each other, destroy the nature, destroy any semblance of humanity, destroy our futures and that too, without any remorse and all the while not trying to do anything because of various reasons. “Not our business.” Or “It’s OUR resources” or “Someone will take care of it probably.”

Rich are getting richer, poor are getting poorer and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. There’s nobody willing to stop it. Everybody wants to be on the top of the world, one reaches there, another wants to topple him off and be there and on and on the wheel goes, crushing those on the ground—the poor, the old, the sick, the under-developed. Everyone is praying for the wheel to stop; except for the ones who control it. The blind ones.

Like Daenerys Targaryen said, “I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel.” Who is willing to break the wheel? The ones being crushed are scared or they don’t give a shit anymore. The ones who can, sure as hell won’t, as long as there is some profit in wars and talks about wars.

Enough with the corrupt politicians, enough with the pinning of hopes on people who “might” do something, you want to change something? Change it. Find people who want to change the same thing and CHANGE it. It’ll take time and effort. Every good thing takes time. Every good thing takes effort, sacrifice, failures, and hard work.
Accept the existence of such problems first. Whatever the problem is, ACCEPT it exists.

Yes, we are killing the environment. Yes, we are destroying animal species. Yes, there is sexism. Yes, there is racism. Yes, there is misogyny. Yes, there is misandry. YES YES YES. We’re materialistic. We’re greedy. We’re insatiable. We’re ignorant. We’re lazy. We’re scared. Yes, we have spines but we’re spineless. Some are aware, some are angry, some are dissatisfied, some are sad about it all. But it’s all under control—the anger, dissatisfaction and the sadness. It is tolerable for now, so nobody does anything. We’re waiting for things to get worse so we can start finally start changing things. We don’t run after the warning bells ring, we run when the water is at the door.

Once you accept how things actually are, decide to change it. Whatever you accept, accept it wholeheartedly, and then change it. Start with yourself. Start with your friends. Start with your family. Your workplace. Wherever. The public. Whenever you see something that goes against what you accepted to be unjust or unfair or wrong and you decided to change it, do it. Stop being afraid. Stop shaking.

You’re not small enough to not matter. Every word you say, every thought you have, every single act you do for others, in whatever way, either to support something or destroy something, it matters. If you think one person can’t change the world, you haven’t been paying attention. A single person HAS changed history and the world, countless times. You’re not insignificant. Nothing you do is insignificant.

Stop thinking about how it will “profit” you. Enough with the ploys of running after money. It’s getting boring. There’s already so, so, so many in that rat race. They’re the ones you should be running AWAY from. After you die, people aren’t going to remember what things you owned, they’ll remember what you did, how you did those things and how you made others feel. “Need” should be higher than “want”. That’s the only way we’re going to live, and not just survive. Are you tired too of just trying to survive?

James Baldwin once said, “You’ve got to tell the world how to treat you. If the world tells you how you are going to be treated, you are in trouble.” So, are you still willing to be part of the problem or are you ready to be part of the solution?

Oshin Ahlawat is a young poet and writer based in New Delhi, India. “I believe people who write are like tornados and cyclones. We wreck a lot of lives; for better or worse. It all depends on the people who read our work. They decide where the damage is going to be; the heart or the mind and whether it’s going to be for the good or for worse. I wish to give them the choice to decide that. I’m just going to focus on doing what I want”, she says. 

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