The difference is not clear
From time immemorial people have tried to be different. How do I know? Well, I had an ancestor who insisted on having ice (that was the cold age) when others of his gotro were staying in them. That opened up new windows, but they had to stop him when he had a swipe at the roof.
Differences are appreciated because they are often positive and add colour to life. Take for instance, good governance after bad, and the guy (read goru) who made holes in his body to compensate for hangers that he could not afford on his dressing table. Why he has to dress up being a man? Well, although he is definitely not one of my ancestors, (promise!) but I know; it is simply because of his yearning to be different.
Often, acceptability or rejection derives from one's reaction to a given difference. The girl fell in love with a boy (obviously, well usually) because he does not comb his hair. Or, say for instance, the man refused to marry at all because all his friends were doing it. There is no confirmation of appended information that the tousled boy was rich and that the bachelor was witness to the suffering of many an innocent.
A difference has to be clearly perceptible. You all probably remember the picture of a house with a light aircraft (not in running condition) stuck on its pitched roof; and of (not in running condition) Bush's hiccupped victory over Al Gore in Florida. You also know to which the public took a fancy. Part good news is that gorey Gore is toying with the idea of running again.
To be different in a positive sense, and to draw a welcome response from the public, the deeds must speak for themselves. Trying is not enough. Faking is not allowed. Vain words can congeal and bounce back from the wall of frustration and resentment.
It is problematical to be different by putting one's hands in too many pies. Those who tried that before ended up with an upset stomach. From among price of essentials, food syndication, corruption, law and order, money laundering, treason, power supply, voter list, photo ID, sewage collection, violation of building rules, immoral hotels, illegal satellite channels, honking… the issues should be prioritised to give credibility to the task at hand.
In being different it is of paramount importance that one is not confused. Under the circumstances and due to the culture prevalent in Bangladesh it is impossible, but one can pretend that one is far from being puzzled. Changing a decision, that too in quick succession, can be decisive in sending the wrong message. Yesterday 80 channels, today 35, tomorrow 80 and day after, keep your fingers of the remote, is not good to convey the purpose or focus of the perpetrators.
A positive difference can be expressed by not undertaking the act of balancing. In dealing with real life issues, objectivity is more triumphant. To prove someone a thief, there was never the need to catch another form the next house. At best such pursuits can dilute a situation. The real culprits feel protected. When the game of balancing stops, one can catch two balls in two hands, or will end up with two in either hand. The problem is you never know which two. The third ball will evidently escape from a bad performer's loop; the problem is you never know which one.
Now let us be different and focus on some current issues. How is that being different? Well, everyone else seems to be concerned with the future, on what will happen before the end of 2008.
The prices of essentials must come down immediately. Even a downward trend would satiate the disturbed. Syndicates must be crushed. Talk of oil price rise in the international market will not quench the thirst for answers of the hungry man. Our market being cheaper than that of the neighbouring countries is a non-starter because we are trying to import their items, and then bring down our prices! Hilsa must once again become part of the majority's normal diet.
The law and order situation must improve to the point that, although all the lawbreakers may not be apprehended, (it is perhaps never possible) they must fear to carry out a radical act. The discovery of unexploded bombs raises two questions: they are still at it without trepidation and there may be other bombs at large, or large bombs in the hiding.
The killing of an about-to-be married person outside a bank is tragic, is a meaningless sentence to the family of the deceased. The fact is that he was a victim of the supposed normalcy. They are not down and out. Normalcy must show them the door. They must tremble so hard that they cannot shoot straight. The fear factor must be most lethally effective on the criminals.
Only when the price of essentials have come down to a tolerable level, only when the bombers have stooped to surrender, and only when a bridegroom can return home with his bride's gahona, only then the difference will be clear.
Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007