A few days ago, I decided that it was time I sold out and jumped on a bandwagon. It felt like a good plan to gain increased traction for myself by using incidents that had already taken the world’s fancy rather than spend endless hours and cranial capacity to think of new and fresh ideas. Why bother when the world itself tells you in brightly flashing news tickers, never-ending Facebook debates, and mindless retweets what arouses its passion at the given moment? Much more convenient to visit your Facebook page or Twitter handle to see what the junta is most in thrall with, write an opinion piece on it, and you have a sure-fire winner, albeit one that lasts only as long as the next heated discussion comes along. The idea makes sound business sense.
And so I decided to jump on the PK juggernaut. It was pretty much the only thing on my news feed (I’m not a tweeter) and every third post was either a news article with important people I’d never heard of till date spewing vitriol about how the movie was derogatory and insulting, a rebuttal from seculars decrying the attack on free speech and how people just didn't ‘get’ the nuances of the film and couldn't understand ‘creative genius’, or an ad from Facebook telling me to buy more shoes, shirts and mosquito repellent. In a nutshell, it was the issue which the people cared for most deeply and so I was sure that by writing about it I would be able to ride the wave and garner some extra views to my page and fuel my ego a little more. I got ready to grind the creative axe and churn out a piece of brilliance which would take ‘inspiration’ from all the Terabytes of data already devoted to the subject, and would provide a balanced view to both sides of the debate without actually putting forth any point or taking a stand. I would begin by talking about how Rajkumar Hirani and Aamir Khan had courted controversy at the very start through its provocative poster in a bid to generate even greater interest in the film (even though people say that the poster was completely unnecessary), how the film was a truly creditable effort to bring attention to the pointless and mendacious rituals that are carried on today, how it’s a fresh and daring piece of work, how the creators of the film should be ashamed at themselves at their iconoclasm and denigration of faith, how they have just repackaged Oh My God, and many other trenchant points with the aid of the Internet and a thesaurus. I haven’t watched the movie or heard any explanations by its creators and I don’t intend to. Nor do I think there is such a need. The people who have ranted and raved so much about it already, hardly seem to have understood it or what it stands for anyway, so why should I put in the extra effort.
So that was my brilliant plan and glorious visions of hundreds of people hitting Share nearly swam before my eyes.
And then disappointment struck. I must admit though to being the architect of my own doom, falling prey to my lassitude and the charms of all the TV shows available for download on the internet. I sunk my face into the bucket of popcorn and dallied too long, for the next thing I knew, the burning topic of debate, the bone of contention that had captured the attention of the entire online community, my meal ticket, was no longer relevant. It was replaced by a new tragedy, one that prompted thousands of followers to admit to being Charlie without having any idea of the meaning of the words they were re-tweeting.
So although the battlefield and the warring factions were the same, the battle itself had changed. No more were Aamir Khan and Raju Hirani being denounced for bringing shame onto a glorious and ancient culture in their blind quest to rake in the dollars. Now there were cries about the terrible tragedy and how it would cause even greater retribution on an already persecuted faith and some people just not ‘understanding’ the true meaning of that faith and further maligning it. There were volleys from the other side about how such a thing was only inevitable and how these people never learned. And there were other groups of people who talked about how this incident had taken away attention from many other more barbaric events happening in the less-glamorous parts of the world. There were re-posts of the old cartoons from the newspaper and exclamations about how the attack had only served to increase its circulation and reach and cause even greater anguish to the faithful. And there were the customary arguments over the freedom and strength of the pen vs it being the servant of the powerful and their guns.
So my bandwagon-hopping plans were foiled. Thus thrown athwart in my devious scheme of narcissism, self-aggrandizement and excessive verbiage, I now sit brooding, wondering what else I can do to create a pandering, inane piece that serves to mildly both provoke and appease without really standing for anything. Or maybe I just did exactly that.
Nadeem is still trying to make sense of Life, the Universe and Everything now coming to the end of his wonderful MBA journey. You can read more of his work at nadeemraj.insideiim.com
He's an amateur storyteller at 42shadesoctarine.wordpress.com