On the face of it, life is divided into categories where everything is either; Black or White, Good or Bad, Right or Wrong. And that`s exactly how it should be; a fairly simple categorization. Yet life and more importantly, the human mind is anything but simple. Our mischievous minds work best in a muddled up grey world. Grey is our color. Grey is where we make up our own boundaries, our own parameters of acceptance. And grey is where the truth gets lost.
Our brows snake upwards and our mouths twitch with disapproval at the mere name of violence. But that’s as far as the black and white boundaries go. Underneath this apparent self-righteous facade, we all draw our own conclusions, based on what we know and not what actually is. One such example, is domestic violence; a notorious offshoot of violence that apparently has a strong penchant for the color grey.
I had a strange revelation at a dinner party some weeks ago, when a few ladies were discussing a drama currently playing on a local Pakistani channel. It’s essentially about domestic violence. The story takes up a cliche’d stance initially, but in this case, the protagonist, a middle class girl undergoing her rich husband’s abuse, is headstrong and brave. So much so that after a few violent incidents, she draws the line and wants out. Despite both the families’ insistence, she stands firm in the belief that if her husband cannot give her respect, all his love and material wealth is meaningless. Now the women at the dinner were all educated, belonged to affluent homes and were well-settled in Canada. I had no idea what I was getting into when I asked them their opinions of the leading character. They all vehemently disapproved of the girl’s actions. Everyone thought she was over reacting and on most part, she got what she deserved because of some inane reasons that can best be understood when one watches the drama. Apparently getting slapped around by the husband was not big enough for divorce. No one seemed to denounce the husband`s actions. It was like he was above and beyond incrimination of any sort. Initially when I saw some episodes, I thought she was over reacting. Considering her father’s humble income and background, she did not have much to bank on if she opted for divorce. But once I heard those comments that night, I felt repulsed by my own thinking. I realized how hypocritical it all was. Coming from educated Pakistanis, this was even more nauseating. If we picture ourselves; our daughters; or sisters in a similar position, our bloods will boil! But sitting in someone’s drawing room, we feel fit to shatter the divine standards of right and wrong, because its just not a big deal back home.
As Pakistanis, living in an ethically and morally strangulated society, we constantly face similar predicaments. We are trapped in an endless exam where maybe is the answer to all our questions. We have stopped doing or saying the right things because we cannot tell the difference any more. Our motherboard has malfunctioned to a point where going back to the basics seems impossible.
Countless reasons stand stubbornly behind this one-track thought process. One main reason is our over-reliance on a corrupted culture that has been carefully constructed and handed down by our forefathers; A culture that condones just about anything that should in reality be punishable; A culture that mocks the oppressed and salutes the oppressors. Another main reason is the misrepresentation of religion to suit personal agendas. Anything and everything is about religion, yet most haven’t the slightest clue about their religion’s true essence.
It’s not about feminism. It’s not about an incessant women’s rights chant. It’s not about promoting divorce or impulsive decisions in marriage. It’s about what’s right. It’s time to stop condoning certain actions just because we have grown up among blind hearts and dead minds. Its time to stop hiding behind distorted religious philosophies that are light years from the actual reality.
Its time to rethink and reevaluate the ‘grey’ in our lives.