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     Volume 4 Issue 41 | April 8, 2005 |

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Chaos in Order?

Srabonti Narmeen Ali

I wonder what the world would be like if we had no social obligations. Can you imagine it? I can. It would be pure and utter chaos. I'm not only talking about the dos and don'ts set by societal norms and morals that we usually grudgingly follow -- dressing in a particular way, acting innocent in front of certain people, being careful about what you say in front of whom. Rather, I'm talking about completely uninhibited behaviour -- the behaviour that defines Dhakaites -- what some people would see as hypocrisy, but what our society sees as just "life".

Honestly just close your eyes for one moment and think about the person that you dislike the most in the world. It's that face that you always imagine kicking when you're playing football, or smashing with the racquet when you're playing badminton. Chances are, you see them very often, (or more often than necessary as far as you are concerned), and that you are forced to be nice to them even though you cannot stand them. Sound familiar? So now imagine the look on that person's face when you tell them how much you dislike them, loudly, in front of loads of people -- just getting all that negative energy out of your system and out into the open air. Feels good doesn't it? Of course it does.

Think for one second how it would feel to tell your parents that you will not be a doctor or an engineer, or anything else that they had hoped for while they were planning your life when you were born. How would they react if you told them you decided to quit college and any other form of education and become a beatnik? You want to rid yourself of all your earthly and material possessions. Oh and by the way, you are running away and live happily ever after in a remote village outside of Kathmandu.

How about that auntie who is always putting you down and telling your mom how much better than you her daughter is? Wouldn't it feel so good to just tell her that you know her darling, picture-perfect daughter sneaks out late at night to meet her boyfriend? And then tell your own mother off too for even having a friend as idiotic as this insufferable woman?

What about that fool of a teacher who never admits when he is wrong and instead, punishes you when you give the right answer just because he is too high on himself to acknowledge his mistakes? Of course he hasn't miscalculated, he is the teacher, right? Wrong. Don't you just feel like grabbing the chalk from his hand, and writing the right answer and then calling him a moron in front of the whole class?

Remember that annoying woman, who is always talking about how rich she is and always reminding you how little you have in comparison? Imagine telling her that her husband is a thief and as much as she shows off her diamonds and pearls, she is still and will always be the wife of a thief. And by the way, she is also too fat and old to be wearing those designer blouses that show off her stomach.

Imagine telling that annoying guy who wanders around college, thinking he is so smart, that you know he cheated on his college entrance exams, and when that did not work, he did some mastani and threatened the examiner with a knife. And that all his atel talk is a bunch of hot air. Nobody likes him and everybody laughs at him behind his back.

The possibilities are endless. Oh, stop, don't pretend to be so shocked. At least one of these examples is something that you can relate to in some way or another. Granted the situations, circumstances and minor details may be different, but the general idea is the same. So what is it about our society that makes it so hard to be ourselves, to speak out, to just not care? Is it fear of ostracisation, isolation, condemnation, or is it bravery -- the ability to let things go, to walk away, to not sweat the small stuff? The fact is that there are always certain rules of law that we, as general members of the society as a whole must follow, whether we like it or not, but at what point does it start compromising who we are? There has to be a balance, between the chaos of losing all inhibitions and the struggle to maintain the image. The problem is, where do we draw the line, before the line draws us?


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