• Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Freedom in the air

Chintito

Each of us has more than a sad story to tell.
My driver has gone off with the next door bua, one of them, they have five. And now my neighbour is threatening us with a case under naari nirjatan.She was at least thirty and twice married, he once. In fact, the neighbour's uncle provided the driver. Now I am so upset. Who is going to drive me to my friends? My driver was good. The problem is bua found out too. It is that much complicated. Grrrr…
Every individual has grievances to avenge.
There goes my company secretary in the brown safari suit. He is as mean as the lion he was dressed to hunt. Instead I am his prey. He did not grant me leave to attend the wedding of my friend's sister's brother-in-law. I was only going for a week. That's five days if you consider Friday and Saturday. Now his wife wants me to bring some shutki from Chittagong when I go for my Eid holidays. Shutki she will get, but I heard they have some great old ones at Dhaka's New Market. Hu-ha-ha…
We all have a stockpile of pains to suffer.
I just sold my land. You call that good news? You must be on their side. Do you know how much the guy who bought the land from me sold it for? Twice my price, twice! In just eleven months the price soared by ten lakh. I could not wait a few months, hah! Now I have no land and the price is too high to buy another. Boo-hoo-hoo…
And, yes, the strongest amongst us have tears to shed. Thank you.


But do we really have to burden the rest of the world with our blues, complaints, distresses and sorrows? By the way, they never come singly, or so it always seems.
Will the others really understand my woes?
Do they know my driver, or the bua? Buas? Or the neighbour, or even me?
Will they not find our circumstances and conditions unfathomable?
But, wait! My wife's boss knows I frequent Chittagong. Could she, sorry he, not grant me even three days leave? The Art Summit, the boi mela… they beckon me so. Is the boss even aware that distant people get married and that they invite distant (well, almost unknown) people to their wedding? This is Bangladesh, man. Grow up boss. Get connected with your far off family of even farther friends. Open a Facebook account.
Worse when we vomit all your troubles at people's feet, some will deride the victim in the company of others.
So you lost your job. I told you it will not last long. His long-lasting employees are all highly educated, well mannered, dependable integrity, loyal, tall, and good in English… You wish you could duck somewhere and never had opened your mouth at a table of ten. In fact, two of the ladies left the conversation.
Tel me, which family does not have a black sheep? If not in the immediate family, there will be the relative, not that distant, whose name and fame is the cause of our shame. Saddened as we are, do we have to drag such unfortunate episode in every aspect of our life? Will not others find it boring, especially if one black sheep is talking about another black sheep? Shed the wool, man, shed the wool.
We all may feel, and quite rightly so (of course), that we have been wronged at work; that the selection board has not done justice to our qualifications, and that we have not been rewarded for our hard work and talent by our boss. Even if promoted, we remain unsatisfied because, and perhaps it is a fact, we were not ranked up when ours was due, we think. So, who else is interested in these events about which they can do naught? There will be some half-hearted listeners and very few doers; may be none.
Our business may fail. That does not mean we should inconvenience people around us at weddings and social gatherings with a grim face that spells lokshan. You can bet your biriyani they are more interested in their borhani, and yours.
If you wear a long face, observant people know you have a problem and that you are in some trouble. Behind your back they will spare a snigger for you. It may sound ridiculous but fifty percent could not care less, twenty-five will stop to listen up to a point, and the rest will listen to the whole story so that they can narrate to others how stupid you are.
On the other hand, if you smile, and keep on smiling despite the burden that you carry, seventy percent will envy you without saying a word and wonder what not is wrong with you, twenty percent will wish you land up in a situation to wipe that curve off our face, one percent will secretly but actively try to harm you, and nine percent will abet with the conspirators.
Should we then not share our sorrows to relieve our stress? By all means, but let us try to do that with grace and a little cheer and with only those who may understand, our parents, our brothers and sisters, our nearest of relatives and friends. Your sorrows will never be a commodity of public interest; they never were for anybody.
It is far better we spread cheerfulness and optimism to try and make others happy. They say every circus clown has a sad story to hide behind that mask of merriment. But, does he or she bring that personal luggage of misfortune to the world stage? Are they not the brave souls who sacrifice their own misery to bring joy to the rest of us?
I have seen them on TV, you will have too, not the circus clowns, but the real ones.
Have you seen how the ghosok starts an announcement of a job interview on BTV? You would think that he has just lost one crore taka from his back pocket, or she her favourite lipstick from her purse. Smile chaps! Who would want to go and work in a ghost house?
Again, the chap in the front row at a function addressed Live by the prime minister is so sad looking that you would think he was wishing for someone else to be prime minister.
I have seen them on the street, you will have too.
I have seen many of them in government offices, teaching in a classroom, at the customs checkpoint, behind a bank counter, as chief guest at a children's programme, and perhaps even reading up to this point. Smile Bhaiya!

Published: 12:00 am Friday, February 21, 2014

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