“What are we going to do about the article?” Sandhya asked, suddenly bringing our attention back to the topic that started the entire debate.
“I do not know Sandhya. We can try posting it online anonymously,” I said, completely uninterested with that particular part of the conversation on that moment.
“We can always start fresh, you know, start our own newspaper or something?” Sandhya said, I guess jokingly but then again her smiles were often confusing.
“Really, do you even know how difficult that would be? The kind of financial and moral support that we’ll need? Starting a news agency is practically impossible these days,” I said, being my usual pragmatic self.
“How about we start a news website, you know, small steps,” she said, with a shrug of her shoulders, as if she just figured out the solution to our predicament.
“And who’ll look for it, among millions of websites.”
“We have to start somewhere Atul.”
“I don’t know, Sandhya,” I said, my hesitation dominating any sense of excitement.
“This has always been my dream, and just like any other dream, everyone tells me this would be impossible too. For once, I’d like to chase my dreams,” she said, suddenly getting giddy.
“No one will read it, I’m pretty sure.”
“When any story ends, when all the worse has happened, there is one thing that’s always left. Hope. We can hope to be the voice of change. Baby steps Atul. We need to start somewhere. Maybe we wouldn’t be able to tell Roshna’s story, maybe we won’t be able to tell all the evil that men do in name of religion but we have to start somewhere. We need to make a stand. You know?” She said, her words agitated.
“I know. It just scares me, that’s all. Starting something like that would definitely take its toll. And neither of us has the financial security to struggle,” I said, my voice clear and full of authority.
“So, that would be it, we’ll give up and stay being the puppets whose chains can be yanked whatever the way majority allows,” she said breathlessly.
Huh, majority, my silent friend. The entire concept of morality is skewed in favour of ignorant masses. The so called majority. I can’t even fathom to explain how many loops their premises is full of. The men of always aren’t interested in children of never. And they never will be. The one example I can always think of is the status of literature in modern times. My taste in literature is a bit different, I do not like stories with tons of romance, or as they are called adult fiction. I do not have any place for it. A book is supposed to be a companion, it’s supposed to make me aware, it’s supposed to make me questions my ideas, and if nothing else, it should improve my vocabulary, at least. No adult fiction novel does that any more. I can tell you the plot of almost half of them without even reading the first chapter.
I just need an excuse to drift into my mind, into my mind castle that inhabits my conscience. Simple lines and suddenly I end up being absent-minded to the person standing in front of me.
“Hey, dumb fuck? Are you even listening to me?” She stared at my face and let out a breath.
“Shut up,” I said as I left a long sigh.
“You know, I wrote it once, people who can afford to read do not want to know the petty issues of child labor, abuse, poverty. They do care but they do not care enough, not until it becomes profitable. Now the people who’ll love to read about that, they simply cannot afford to read books,” Sandhya muttered, in a barely audible whisper.
I understand poverty, I understand unfairness, but maybe I just never understand enough. In my head, I do hundred things, I think of hundred arguments to make, hundreds ways to make their life better, but I don’t. I know what I am to all of you, “A statement of hypocrisy.” Yet with every single time Sandhya reminded me of my tenacity, I wanted to be someone better. I wanted to leave my hypocrisy behind.
“So maybe it’ll be best for another stupid common man to talk about his love for movies, his struggles of travelling, and the greatness of their political leaders and Bollywood personalities and not to forget why their religion is better than everyone else’s. Right?” I said, well frowned more accurately.
“Hmm,” She smiled on that comment and after taking a breath continued, “When it comes down to it, the choice is between satisfying justice and preserving a shred of dignity, isn’t it?”
The silence that followed seemed to stretch on forever and once the realization hit me, I spoke, “I don’t believe in larger than life approach Sandhya, I don’t trust people who say they do. I’m cynical, I don’t believe, no I can’t fathom to think that any action by any individual doesn’t has a larger agenda. Maybe they expect you to return the favour someday, maybe they expect that you’ll see them in a different light, but the point remains the same, everyone has an agenda. isn’t that the point of dignity or maybe seeking justice?”
My silent friend, I’m a firm believer of the whole pen is mightier than the sword ideology. Pen is mightier than the sword but that strength comes from years of oppression by the sword. Largest democracy, ruled by pseudo-dictators, idiots spitting right on your face while you juggle to save yourself. You read it right, juggle not struggle. Leaders who rule by dividing brothers across land. Our saviour’s. I might have ended up being a hypocrite, though not in my heart, but by my actions. I never knew how to be anything else. Maybe it was time to try to be the voice of reason, maybe it was time to make sense of the rants of two misfits.
Me and Sandhya, we got too political, I guess. But then again, watching your mother be beaten every day because she has a voice, being called an egomaniacal son, an ungrateful daughter, being abused by your father, being raped by your father, is supposed to make you frustrated, it’s supposed to make you ugly. It’s supposed to end up being too much.
Moments like them, they end up making you question your ideals, what do you actually stand for and whether that is right. You end up wondering what do you actually believe in. In retrospection, that still shouldn’t have convinced either of us to fight, to exercise our free speech, even if it was morally right, it was wrong on all other levels, after all it meant that we weren’t a good Hindu, we weren’t good children and we weren’t a good Indian. Sympathizing with each other ended up making both of us a horrible human.
I guess, I’m losing my inspiration now. It seems a bit repetitive, but then again, even in our life, we repeat things, it’s not as if we say one dialogue only once in our life. Two more steps, Nitesh, two more baby steps. Let’s not give up now.