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woman_with_a_hat_on_beach_204286I have nothing against chilling. Believe me, I don’t. I can dance the whole night away – completely chilled. In fact, I belong to that rare class of chilled people who would be happy to spend their entire life reading books in a hammock by the sea side.

But sometimes this idea of “chilling” confuses me. I am aware of the possibility of it being an aberration but – I like to question. Almost everything. I am a wonderer. I like to know why we do what we do. “Because this is the way it has always been done”  or “Just because” are just not valid enough answers for me somehow.  I like to think. And I like to think for myself.

Not surprisingly, many a times I come to realize the magnificent reasoning behind stuff we do the way we do. And I can’t be prouder of the fact that ancient Indians, our ancestors, were fabulously intelligent people in more ways than we can fathom. I am astounded by the levels they exercised their brains at. Somehow we seem to have suppressed those genes along the way or we chose to opt for the easy way out.

So here’s what we do: we teach our kids to think, we love it when they are inquisitive and when a clueless grown-up like me throws an honest “but why??” in the air, they are snubbed immediately.

Why do we wreck nature so brutally to worship deities, and the very deities who stand for nature?

Why do we celebrate festivals that purport women inferior to men anymore? We have come a long way from “celebrating” sati, I am sure we can do better now.

Why do we pollute the only planet we have in order to feel happy about some mythological character’s victory over another some thousands of years back?

Why do we insist on feeding our kids really unhealthy food when we know how bad it is, feeling damn sure that’s the only proper way to do “enjoyment”? (Oh please! I have had so many conversations with very learned parents with the same outcome.)

Why do we keep fasts when most of us don’t know the connect with the purpose behind it (except the whole exercise on which particular food is in for this one and which is out, when exactly to eat and how)? I shudder to imagine a sadistic God who is keeping score of our diet and is happy to see us starve.

Why are we still sticking to the rituals we don’t really understand and in our hearts don’t even care about?

So here’s what I get (99% of the times!):

“Oh come on, don’t be such a khadoos!”

“Just go along, dear!”

“Enjoy!”

“Mast raho!”

“Don’t think too much! You think way too much!”

“Everybody does that!”

“It’s been like this forever!”

And here’s the real gem:

“Just chill!”

Hmmm…

I wonder what would have happened when somebody had asked Newton or Einstein or Galileo or even Jesus to “just chill”. Or closer home, if somebody had asked our freedom fighters or people who struggled to get horrendous rituals like sati abolished to “not think too much”.

Well, I am no way in the league of all these people mentioned above. Yet, I do wonder about things that make up my life and find it unnatural when somebody doesn’t. Not the one to judge, I suspect that this highly prevalent “Chalo…” syndrome that we have in our society has something to do with our people not “flowering” the way they could. All our Satya Nadellas, Hargobind Khuranas, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhars and Venkatraman Ramakrishnans have to stop being Indians in order to be reach their potential (read: rise above mediocrity and shine).

Every day my observation is reinforced multiple times that in India, things are the way they are, just because. We hate to question the system and would do whatever to evade challenging status quo and God forbid if the question is directed at one’s own self!

We would mock the questioner, scare them, hate them, shoo them away and just chill.

Chilling is cool because it frees us of responsibility. Chilling is cool because it doesn’t make us think. Especially uncomfortable questions.

Oh well, where’s my hammock?

Damn! I used that one in my previous post! See, I told you I am chilled!

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Dinakshi

Dinakshi is a curious explorer of life, and loves to see everything around her with a sense of wonder. Completely in awe of life and its ardent student, she is a writer, poet, blogger and ex-editor. Her superpower is involuntarily read and edit everything from text messages to poetry on the backside of trucks. Like any other Indian worth their salt, she’s done her time in the IT industry as a programmer. Books and journals have been her best friends for as long as she can remember. A philosopher at heart, she loves to question everything, including her propensity to question. An avid learner and unlearner, she is on a joyful path to live all that is.