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What on earth evolved?

chandigarh Updated: May 10, 2013 12:24 IST
Gulneet Chahal
Gulneet Chahal
Hindustan Times
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"Are we really evolving as a society?" This is one question my subconscious keeps itself occupied with, thanks to well-read amusing souls all around, who never cease to jut out with confused beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. A recent flash mob to observe 'earth day', that I managed to put together with young school and college students was one such event that caught fancy of the 'self-proclaimed critics', and thus began their hammering in different ways.

A student in her early twenties from a wealthy-politico family, who I presume was low on the self confidence quotient, gave the excuse that it was considered 'ungraceful' in her family if girls danced at malls, even if it was for the cause of the environment. I took the answer on face value, just when another of her batch mates came up with the same excuse. What set my subconscious into an overdrive was a searing observation I have often made at cocktail parties of the well-heeled; bedecked and semi-attired (pun intended) young sisters and friends of the bride or bridegroom dancing to lewd Bollywood numbers with full gusto, irrespective of drunken men of all ages ogling at their curves and curls. Special choreographers are hired to give a touch of finesse to these family performances without the parents raising a whimper about 'maintaining grace' on these occasions.

Yes, I am convinced why social or environment campaigns don't hit off in this part of the country. It's because of this self proclaimed 'critique' tag we validate ourselves with and declare events as 'ungraceful' or 'publicity stunts'. A close restaurateur family friend, after receiving my invitation to cheer up the first of its kind flash mob in the region, made a terse declaration criticising me for flash mobbing at a mall, because his earth-friendly mind operating out of an air-conditioned, CFC-spewing restaurant cabin (sic) felt it was unwise to hold a 'save earth' event at a commercial place. So much food for thought here!

The poor event, conceived with an endeavour to get public attention towards the impending environment disaster didn't just face opposition till here. The extensive media coverage also had its fair share of bombardment from immediate quarters. A close family patriarch called up the next morning on seeing the event photo carried on the front page of a leading daily. Just before I could say my customary 'thank you' for the appreciation, he was quick to add, "Not really a good coverage (because the story followed on back page), the picture and report, both should have jammed the front page', he remarked as a matter of gospel truth. Phew!

As I sat punching the keys of my laptop late in the evening , trying to get even with my "well-meaning" critics, through this column, I got a call from a social contact, fuming at my selfish act of not including her teenaged son in the flash mob and deliberately flashing her kitty party rival's daughter in newspapers!

And then, in our plush drawing room conversations we conveniently shake heads in dismay, raise fingers and endlessly criticise the man on the street and the middle class neighbour for a society that is immune to evolution. Think about it. gulneetchahal@gmail.com