So this is what ‘being human’ means as 2015 comes to its slow, painful end. So this is what it means to breathe the 21st century brand of oxygen.
Waking up to war. It doesn’t matter where you live. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are or what side you’re on. It’s something all of us have in common. We have always kept it alive. It lies dormant for some, while for others it never goes away. No one is truly safe. A heinous act of a handful of people promises to hold the rest of humanity responsible. So hey, please do not complain when someone harasses you at the supermarket because of your skin color. Or if you secretly wish to change your name because you share it with the recent terrorist shown on television. Their war is our war, whether we admit it or not. We are all in it for the long haul.
Being inhuman. We care, but never enough. We see children dying all around like crushed dried leaves. We hear about a child witnessing the mass murder of forty of his relatives. We hear about ruthless killings in schools. Nothing but some stingy bytes on the social media and a few tears are attributed to them. We read about hostage situations, bomb blasts with riveting interest and then go back to writing banal grocery lists. Because hey nothing’s wrong with that, life goes on. Right? What does it matter if it happens every day to someone exactly like you, but thankfully not you?! What does it matter if plastering bloody and gory images of war on social media feeds our self-righteousness, our need to feel better about ourselves? Oh we feel. But never enough, never the right way.
Being Hypocrites. Where some lives are more important than others, based on where you live and what you look like. Where not having access to a 500 dollar handbag is as much a cause for tears as not having money for food. Where money used on new monuments and buildings can sustain over a thousand refugee families for the year. Where celebrities wear the most expensive brands and undergo surgical procedures, and then talk about ‘being yourself’ and finding your ‘inner beauty’. Where the more people talk about women’s rights and feminism, the more the world objectifies women as nothing but sexual beings.
Being Paranoid. We see to believe, and then we poke our eyes out when we don’t see what we want to see. We play tag with our schizophrenic selves. This new world of ours runs on conspiracies. It’s not even our fault because anything and everything is possible. God is a convenient entity we dig up when needed. Otherwise our ego plays the omnipotent role splendidly. Religion is and always has been the easiest scapegoat. But every act carried out in its name is based on deceit. Ghosts don’t scare us anymore. It’s those rotting corpses hanging in our closets that drive us insane.
Being fearful. The world’s economy thrives on our fear. Fear for – life, home, family, job, success. Fear of – failure, death, loss, loneliness and everything else in between. So they invented insurance. Assurance that we gulp down like pills to make us sleep at night. Car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, accidental insurance. Too bad there’s no insurance for forgetting how to be humans. But then, why would that scare us?
Being Sick. Diseased, rotten minds, bodies and souls. Almost everyone is suffering from the plague of a complicated life. Measurements, standards and parameters define our existence. And not love, laughter or sorrow. Finding contentment is harder than finding life on another planet. We wait for life to happen the way we want it to. And then one fine day, we wake up to realize all the waiting and stress wasn’t worth the trouble. We have stopped breathing. And it’s going to take a lot more than an electric shock to wake us up.
So this is what it means to celebrate a new year, every year.
Being Hopeful. Nothing else dresses up our wounds. Delusional, magical, unreal spasms of hope that come and go on their own accord. Every year, misery and death join forces to draw out every last drop of life from us. But hope always comes to the rescue. So we pray for a new and happy year. We wish for a new and changed beginning.
Holding on to hope can’t be easy in these horrific times. But if given the choice between gut-wrenching hopelessness and a faint pulse that promises better days, we always choose the latter.
We hope, because nothing else makes sense.
We hope, because nothing else makes us feel human anymore.