I am an Indian and I was told in my formative years in school, that I belong to the biggest democracy. I was told that I am given rights, that, if violated, could be contested, fought for. I was told, in the many years of rehearse and regurgitating that my classrooms forced out of me, that many a lives worked and fought for me to lead a life of respect where I am given, just given, Rights. While there are others who live under tyrants, capitalists and communists, I was given RIGHTS. I was told all of this, and I was made to rehearse and regurgitate and I did. And so I remember.
As I began to form my own opinions because of this mighty democracy that was born into, I began to witness, bit by bit, year after year, one by one, my rights being contorted, and made a mockery of by mobs. By unreliable, dishonest, undemocratic mobs. I found that my country’s most celebrated painter had to die in exile. That I cannot dress the way I want to, hang out in the places that I want, it began to dawn on me, that maybe, just maybe, what I was taught was inaccurate. Text book. A mere presentation. I began to see, that maybe, my democracy is a sham.
But what kept my faith hanging by the frail chord of an ailing string, was sadly the fact, that I am not a painter, or an artist or a poet. So nothing really irks me I guess.
Today it seems, the shackles of my democracy press against my veins. Caging me into a forced lifestyle.
Today, it seems, that my Freedom of Choice is being taken away from me. And I am hurt, humiliated, frustrated and disillusioned by this mighty democracy. Today, I am tired of this sham.
You cannot tell me what movies I should watch, the PG13 phase is over now. I am an adult. I work. I pay my taxes in thousands, every year. And I am a human being, brought up with the ideologies of a democracy that offers me choice, opinion, liberty and dignity. All of which are being taken away from me today.
I have the RIGHT to like a particular kind of music. Personally, I love folk, rock, heavy metal in any language, so long as it makes musical sense to me, I like french music, I’m beginning to dive into the world of house and techno, I don’t like trance at all, I love jazz, fusion, psychedelic, and gosh, the list is endless. I MAKE A CHOICE to listen to the music I like, or explore new music. But ONLY I get to make that choice. My mother never asked me not to listen to something because it wasn’t her kind of music. She, having been brought up by the same ideologies of our mighty democracy, allowed me to enjoy my rights, allowed me to make my own choices.
Why do you believe you can force me to listen to the kind of music you want me to? Or eat at the places you think I should? You are not my mother, not my guardian, and certainly not my friend, and your absolute disrespect for my opinions, doesn’t warrant you or your opinions to matter to me. Not one bit.
I am insulted by, what now looks like the custodians of my democracy. When you tell me I can’t dance at a club, because you want to curb bar dancers, you are then telling me, that I, a hard working tax payer in this country, a natural citizen of India, am dancing for money at a club. You are insulting me by telling me that you are unable to see a difference between me and a bar dancer, and I am insulted, not because I think bar dancers are bad, but simply because I am not one. And I don’t want to be categorized with one, just like I wouln’t want to be categorized with a politician, because, I AM NOT ONE.
I DO NOT want to listen to hindi songs, or Kanada songs when I’m at a pub/club/bar, because I DO NOT ENJOY THEM. I MADE THAT choice. Don’t you see? My democracy says I’m allowed to. And when I’m paying my hard earned money for a sixty of a whiskey I bloody well get to listen to the kind of music I want to. If clubs/bars/pubs that play local music do not survive then it does not make any BUSINESS sense. You cannot FORCE me into giving them business.
So maybe I like to dance at a party in a club, maybe I just like to sit on a comfortable couch with my friends, drink my drink, pepsi, wine, coke, ginger ale, I get to choose see, maybe I like none of that. maybe on most days, I sit at home, with my doggie and my music and a book. But are you telling me, that should I WANT to, YOU are taking away MY ability to CHOOSE where I’d like to go, what I’d like to do there?
I do not get into brawls, hell, the most number of brawls I’ve seen are on your tiny unplanned roads in Bangalore and your parliamentary sesssions. I am a human being, who loves different things, I love fashion, I love chicken, I love beef , I hate pork, I do not like the sambar made in Karnataka, I prefer the Tamil Sambar, I am a universe of likes and dislikes and YOU CANT TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME. I do not break the law and don’t you even dare to tell me that liking “loud western music” with my beef pepper fry is a crime. Don’t tell me letting music flow through my veins and letting the music talk through my body is a crime. DON’T.
You’re spitting on my Freedom of Expression. You’re trampling over my right to choose, and the only thing I can think of is fleeing. Going away from a place that does not understand me, respect me, my dignity and my right to choose. I want to leave this country, because I am disrespected here. My art is disrespected here. I want to leave to a place, where my fundamental rights aren’t toyed with. Next time somebody says this country’s going to the dogs, I won’t stop them.
Stop your false democratic parades. This democracy is a sham. And today, I give up.