“You can’t call people fat!”

The past few weeks have been remarkably eventful, thus launching me into another spell of absence from this little corner of the Internet that I have come to be so fond of. More importantly, however, these weeks have given me a lot to think about, thus, as though by some crooked sense of consequence, a lot to write about. Dwindling between the sweetness of slumber and the cruelty of consciousness, I find myself unable to give much thought to the topics at hand, and so I’ll write about something which has been on my mind for quite some time.

Recently, in an attempt to show that we care about society as much as we care about ourselves, the institute where I study commissioned a trip to a cancer hospital and a nursing home, to be headed by the Student Council, of which I am a part. And so a meeting was scheduled by the president of our council to discuss the trip and our respective roles in the project. For reasons best left to the imagination, philanthropy isn’t my strong suit. My distaste for charitable activities is evident for the best of causes, and here I was at the centre of one of the most pretentious undertakings I had ever seen. Needless to say, emotions ran high.

Using every last device of cunning left in my arsenal (pardon the exaggeration; it was more along the lines of trading favours with the council president), I managed to get out of going to the ghastly place, while boisterously announcing my relief. As expected, tones of disapproval rang sharp in the background. People who have very questionable morals of their own started lecturing me about my heartless nature, and how I need to “get over myself” or need to “have a heart”.

And once again I was face to face with an arbitrarily defined sense of social correctness. A set of defined morals was somehow governing my life and deciding whether or not my opinions were socially acceptable. People who were vaguely aware of society’s definition of good or bad carried the license to judge me on my beliefs, while completely disregarding their own in favour of what the “world” deemed correct. Almost all the people seated in that room were of a similar opinion to mine, and yet when I voiced mine, pandemonium seemed to reign. Hypocrisy, it would seem, had once again dominated a social gathering.

It wasn’t just here, though, that I had spotted such behaviour. Every once in a while, I’d make the grave mistake of stating my opinion amongst people who, curiously enough, shared that very same opinion, and almost every time I would get shot down for being rude or uncouth or insensitive or, in the particularly amusing cases, inhuman. Not four days ago, I was given a present by a good friend of mine, and I reacted in a way which wasn’t particularly warm, but was certainly not hostile, and, above all, it was honest. From the tone of this sentence and the post in general, it is not difficult to infer the discussions that followed with my friend, who seemed thoroughly upset that I had reacted the way I had.

These examples, and so many others like them, seem to deliver a clear message: you can’t speak your mind if what you think or feel isn’t socially acceptable. Leaving personal opinions aside for a second, we are faced today with a society which condemns even the most objective of statements, if they seem to clash with social correctness. The title of this post is an allusion to the same, but it is also a small reference to something which I’ve always had problems with. I still remember being forcibly told that calling people fat was wrong, and being given no good reason for it.

Such pointless doctrine has been instilled into society so forcibly that any kind of social reform is a distant dream. We are so oblivious to the value of unadulterated honesty and so sensitive to our own insecurities that having them realised in the form of words is deeply unsettling. Instead of coming face to face with the ideas of one another, we wish to shy away from our thoughts and insecurities, because someone sometime ago decreed certain things incorrect.

The end of this spiteful posts hopes to see some kind of a social reform in the near future, so that I can speak my mind without threat of persecution.

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More than a teaspoon

It might interest you to know that I am an absolute devotee of the Harry Potter series, and so I feel obligated to tell you that this post has sought inspiration in one of my favourite scenarios of the Harry Potter universe.

For those of you who are as caught with the series as I, you may remember the scene which took place after the “infamous” kiss between Harry Potter and Cho Chang, in the Room of Requirements, just before they broke for Christmas. The trio sat before the large fire in the Gryffindor common room and discussed the range of emotions which Cho must he feeling as a result of the kiss, to which Ron lovingly replies: “one person can’t feel all that, they’d explode!”.

As it would turn out, Ronald was wrong. For a great period of time, I was under the misconception that my own emotional range was that of, to quote Hermione from the same scene, a teaspoon. Recently, I have found myself in a great emotional upheaval, to which I simply cannot adapt due to always having believed myself as immune to the sway of feelings.

It therefore came to me as a great surprise when I found myself unable to mask an aspect of my life which I had so successfully disregarded for as long as I could remember. The surge of emotions which overcame me like a tidal wave left behind an uprooted collection of incorrect beliefs about myself which I realised had been forming the pillars of my rather faulty existence.

Today, while attending an unnecessarily lengthy seminar on “Happiness”, I realised that, for all the times I had been happy about the fact that I had matured or evolved at a respectable rate, I was as emotionally developed as a frog, assuming frogs are not emotionally developed at all. It was not the seminar which prompted this realisation, for I have heard enough old men drone on endlessly to be immune to their words. No, I learnt this because as I sat there, mechanically nodding to the discussion, I realised that I could be doing something so much more productive.

However, an epiphany was to strike first. I realised that ever since I had been delved into the stormy sea of feelings about half a week ago, my mind had more or less become numb. Impervious to the thoughts and words of those around me, I had learnt that when confronted with intense sentiment, I stopped growing. This both startled and deeply upset me. How could I be seventeen, well aware of the plagues of society, perfectly in the knowledge of what my life shall amount to, yet not know how to deal with a simple case of feelings?

Everything which my closest friends had been saying or implying struck home. I realised that I had so much to learn, so much to understand and so much to apply that I may not have been alive these past two decades at all! Nothing I knew would amount to anything because I had what I believed was the emotional range of a teaspoon, but was actually just a mass of inexperience. Not knowing how to handle basic emotions like sadness, jealousy, happiness even or the more complex ones like love and hate, remains my greatest flaw and the greatest hindrance of the mental growth which I have prioritised all my life.

Contrary to popular belief, epiphanies are rarely followed by radical change. The change does come, but after a certain “incubation” period, so to speak, after the moral of the epiphany has had tome to settle in. And so whereas I am now aware of my incapacitation to handle these emotions, there is really no evidence to suggest that I’ll be able to actually do so starting right now. Then again, maybe I will.

Time will tell.

Perfect imperfections

Occasionally, I like to flatter myself in thinking that I have surrounded myself with the greatest assets which the world has to offer. It has therefore dawned upon me that I owe a great deal to these people who have shown me paths to enlightenment time and again, and that has been my agenda for my past few posts. However, few of even those whom I am grateful to have contributed to me as the subject of this post has, for this person has not only been a valuable asset to my present, but has shaped my future and rekindled my past.

But this post is not about me, for I couldn’t honestly write two lines about myself without enduring a plethora of writer’s blocks, and to be fair to myself, I justify the fact that we always know someone else better than we know ourselves. No, this post is not about me, this post is a tribute to one of the most essential people in my life. As it is a tribute, I am required to hold the negativities about my friend, however, instead of doing that, I have decided to write about how even the most negative features of some people, particularly this person, are actually not negative at all.

People are riddled with flaws. This is a fact which applies to everyone, all over the world, indiscriminately. Sometimes, in moments of selective blindness which we have all experienced at some point in our lives, we chose to ignore these flaws and accept the person for their positive qualities. However, there are times, precious few, when we encounter people in whom we cannot seem to locate any flaws, despite being fully aware that there must be some, because they are after all human.

So why is it that our inner eye, which is otherwise so perceptive and rather accurate in the identification of flaws in people, blinded in the case of these special people? Often, it is because that person holds a special bond with us, and since those flaws threaten the breakage of that bond, we tend to ignore their existence altogether. In certain cases though, we find that these bonds have nothing to do whatsoever with the absence of the flaws, or rather our inability to locate them.

You see, flaws have a rather elusive nature, in that what may be flaw for one person, is an attribute to another. Flaws have learnt to survive in our modern, co-dependent society by putting on an appealing fa├žade, which prevents our comrades from seeing them for the menacing atrocities that they really are. Flaws have their own way of propagating and, when left unchecked, of redefining the person as we know them.

Perhaps that makes the person I am speaking of all the more special, perhaps it doesn’t and I am being blinded right now. I don’t know, and whereas it sounds horribly ignorant and vehemently un-scientific of me, I really do not care. For this person who is compelling me to write about flaws, is flawed in the best way one could be flawed. The flaws this person has managed to amass are not ones which you would tend to ignore, but ones which you would tend to appreciate. I can understand how this may sound extremely biased and frankly quite off the mark, but there are certain flaws, very chosen few, which accentuate the overall character of a person.

My dear friend, who is celebrating their coming of age today, has managed to do just that. This is hard to explain, not because there aren’t words which can describe the phenomenon, for there are always enough words, and not because I am too incompetent to use them to my aid, which I flatter myself in thinking that I am not. The reason this is hard to explain is because it is impossible to draw parallels to what you can only assume is the most singular phenomenon of all.

How do you explain not the lack of flaws, but the presence of perfect flaws? How do you explain the concept of a person so perfectly crafted that even their imperfections are perfect? Whereas this may seem like a paradox, or, more likely, this may seem like the ramblings of a person who has been too deprived of sleep and under the influence of suspicious substances, there is meaning to it all. For a person without imperfections isn’t perfect, as they are not really a person. By the established definition, everybody ought to have imperfections, yet what do you do when the imperfections themselves are so perfect that you cannot, in all faith, find anything to flaw in a person?

Such is my plight, and privilege, as a result of finding friendship in whom I can only describe as the most perfect person upon the planet. This statement is heavily biased, but I won’t retract it, and neither will I apologise for it. There are some things we believe are true, there are some things we wish are true, and then there are things which we just know are true. They don’t have a reasoning behind them, they are just true. I won’t impose that truth on you, because it’s not a universal truth. It’s my truth, but it’s the truth.

This particular fact is one of those things. My friend’s presence of the perfect imperfections isn’t a universal truth, it isn’t my belief, and it certainly isn’t something I wish were true, for the menace that is envy is ever-prevalent in this rather special association, it’s just something which I know is true. I realise this most of all in engrossing conversations with this person, because the conversations show me how even the small things which you expect to go wrong with a person, are in just their perfect place in just the right amount.

Whereas this subjective, biased, silly and completely senseless post now draws to a close, there is one thing which shall remain ever onward, and that is the one thing which I hope people will take away from the thousand or so words written here. There is a certain joy in being perfect, and a certain joy in being around those who are perfect, but the greatest joy of all, is knowing that you are a part of something which has just the perfect imperfections, because that makes the perfection seem so much more real

Happy birthday dear friend.