Years ago, my husband said to me, “When people ask for your honest opinion, they don’t really expect you to be candid with them.” I was baffled by the human hypocrisy. Why ask for the truth when you don’t have the appetite for it? Why begin a sentence with “I want your frank opinion,” when basically what you want to hear is an echo of your own ideologies. Is it for the purposes of validation? To me, that’s a sign of immaturity.
Should I concede that not everyone in the world sees the world as black and white? Majority of the adult population chooses to experience the world as shades of grey. In a nutshell, being a straight shooter might not always be the best bet. Hmmm. Is that right? Then the option, if you aren’t into unnecessary lying, is to seal your lips. If truth isn’t allowed to flow out from the mouth, lies shouldn’t be permitted either. Mum should be the word.
But how feasible is the mum option? The world is a strange place. People like to dig out certain information out of you. Notice how often religion, politics, and social issues form the topic of discussion at parties. I avoid them like the plague (In case you haven’t figured it out, I am a passionate, artistic woman with strong opinions.) because I don't want to lie about what I feel. And my viewpoints might be too shocking and uninhibited for some. I demonstrate my point with a few examples:
Religion: I like to believe that there is an almighty. The concept of the omnipresent makes me feel safe and secure. I diligently celebrate most Hindu festivals with a lot of enthusiasm, unless it’s one of the sexist traditions which don’t fall under my belief system. I, often, break my karva chauth fast with butter chicken and hot naan. There is something magical about the tomato-and-cream gravy hitting the empty stomach. By the way, I equally relish chicken biryani over Eid and roasted chicken for Christmas. Am I a fundamentalist? A food fundamentalist for sure. I prefer Pakistani samosas to the Indian ones because I don’t appreciate masala in my food. The Paki samosa is surprisingly milder on the system. And so is their biryani. I don’t eat or cook beef. But I don’t judge or condemn folks who eat it.
Social issues: I believe everyone has the right to freedom. People should be allowed to spend their lives with whomever they choose. So yup, I am all for gay rights and inter-cultural marriages. Whatever keeps you in a happy, stable relationship. I have seen some revolting heterosexual marriages, which make me wonder why the two people are together – annihilating each other with their toxic words.
I take offense with patriarchal setups and gender inequalities. Don’t tell me I can’t do something just because I am a woman. Neither am I feeble nor am I dependent, so you have to come up with something better than that. Know your duties as a human being because that’s what counts.
Politics: Do I even need to clarify? I am thrilled a young man is the president of America today. I adore Michelle Obama – real and grounded. Similarly, I wish Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi or one of the other younger politicians would come to power in India after Manmohan Singh’s term. It’s time we got some fresh blood and untainted ideas to govern the country. I don’t believe in wars and hate crimes.
My opinions – as you can see – certainly do not straddle the fence of grey. I definitely tilt completely onto one side of the issue. These are my beliefs, and I am proud to stand by them. I also know that expressing them in strong terms – as I am prone to do – does have the effect of riling people on the other side of the debate. Hence, I am always intrigued by the number of personal emails I receive, as positive comments, after people read my blogs or other published pieces. For instance, after reading my newly published article in India Currents (Titled, "An Unchaste Brown"), a friend said, "As always, you write from your heart. Good piece."
I wonder if truth is underrated.
More until next time
Copyright © 11.29.09
“What is uttered from the heart alone, Will win the hearts of others to your own.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe