Colourful – the most common word used to describe India, rather overused, but one cannot necessarily say it isn’t true.
The kaleidoscope of hues that adorn the streets and homes with the already bright atmosphere of people who celebrate festivals like Holi or Diwali. Ah! Now isn’t that an image that conjures up memories of a certain Coldplay music video? Even our monuments are beautifully coloured – the sparkling Golden Temple at Amritsar or the muted red of Jama Masjid. The people themselves are radiant in both culture and appearance.
Yet today, I feel anything but colourful! Somehow, with the news turning bloodier and more depressing by the day, I wonder how one party could have changed the very definition of the colour orange? The colour of the sweet fruit that makes the winter in the hills bearable, has a bitter flavour, no matter what season it is as long as it’s Right Wing politics season.
I understand that there are advocates for that political ideal and even have a 10-page speech (with footnotes and anecdotes) to deliver home their messages to those whose opinions differ. Granted, we have (or do we?) the freedom to express ourselves, but I am done with internet trolls who try hard to drag me into a debate. Spare me the tedious details because first of all, I know all the good things that did happen – from Section 377 being declared unconstitutional to PV Sindhu becoming the first Indian to win a world series title. Secondly, the knowledge of all the negative news weighs heavily on my conscience.
Until a few days ago, the Sikkimese populace was sitting comfortably in the safety of a delusion that Kashmir was the only state with special provisions. Now, my stories on Instagram are full of ‘Save Sikkim’ posts. Our bubble has been burst and in the words of a famous comedian, “chaos ensued”.
All there is left to do now is use the tools we are provided with to arm ourselves for impending doom. By that, I mean educate ourselves about the laws and rights we are entitled to, the various Bills passed by the Lok Sabha in all their hasty glory this year, the issues that plague our country and most importantly, make political discussions a norm. The tools? Our smartphones. We’ve got the world on our fingers and yet we still stick to making Tik-Toks as a means of escapism.
Our lack of knowledge of our state, our nation and its history should scare us. There is no question of being unpatriotic by generating political conversations and anyone who calls you that needs a serious shake. If we are at all concerned citizens who want the country to progress, who want to hear good news about both state and centre, find that the words of the Preamble hold – we will talk and we will put those words into action by actively helping in the community.
But having said that, I find the usual blue skies of the hills turning grey as if nature itself seems to sense that a storm is brewing. Still, I would like to hold onto the fragments of whatever optimism I have left to declare that my trust in people has never wavered and that though storms sweep away whole homes, we should remember that eventually, they do pass.
Before you know it, skies are clear and even though tomorrow might be stormy again, we will have gained experience and courage from surviving one, hence the next one won’t scare us the same. The tricolour will fly at full mast all over the country, but too many hearts across the nation are burdened and dark, finding it hard to celebrate Independence Day when their freedom has been compromised.
Whether it is retweeting the stories of Kashmiris or reposting links to donation pages for the Mumbai, Assam floods – we have to be proactive both online and offline. We have to be lifeboats to one another and remember, in the words of Gandhi, “the future depends on what we do in the present.”