It doesn’t look like it (it is always the same case every year) but the consensus is that the annual cultural festival of IIT KGP for the year of 2012 has started. Today was the first day. And like every earlier edition this year too they had a Hasya Kavi Sammelan (transliteration: humor poet convention) and like every year they invited some of the famous poets. This year too, there was overcrowding towards the back of the OAT, while front seats were kept reserved for the “faculty” who were conspicuously absent. This year too, the poets arrived late, all in all, the event was every bit mismanaged, just like the earlier years
However there was a change this year, a change which made me aware of the mob mentality of crowd, how they are like the pathetic sheep that need herding, and how they have such a low sense of self esteem that they feel proud of humiliating a person who is standing on the stage. Now before you start wondering what actually happened (here I am assuming that I am not the only person that reads my blog) I shall explain.
So there were 4 poets, who were invited this year. The first one to come on the stage had a knack of writing poems having intelligent humor. He was standing on the stage reading his poem, trying to mix it up with jokes, anecdotes just to make it interesting for the audience, and I think that he was doing a good job. Enter, a group of students (they were a motley bunch, of various colleges and states) and the drama begins.
Some of these people were sitting just behind me. These people starting mouthing off the poet, trying to add something vulgar, produced weird sounds when he was trying to say something and made obscene rude gestures. From their acts it looked as if they were never chastised by their parents or they never were taught the basic tenets of living in a civil society. Now that thing is also pardonable, there are some cases when even the best of parents can’t inculcate the desired quality in their offspring. What was not pardonable was the enjoyment, the satiation that I saw on their face, the smug look which conveyed how they pulled one over the person standing on the stage. What was unpardonable was how the most of the crowd took the leave of their senses and started a proud display of similar antics. What was unpardonable was their continuation of this when the seniormost of the poets- a septuagenarian tried to calm them. What was unpardonable was their blatant disregard of his age, his prowess, his mastery of sarcasm and even his requests to calm down.
There was a person in that earlier group of miscreants who I know; I wanted to ask him why he was doing what he was doing. But, I knew the answer that I would receive beforehand. I knew he would simply tell him that he didn’t like him. And I knew that he hasn’t even tried to listen to him, he just wants to have a centerstage among his group of friends, and that he wants to be able to boast about how he was better than the poet on the stage.
There was another person in the crowd who picked up the baton, who I know; I wanted to ask him why he was doing what he was doing. But, I knew the answer that I would receive beforehand. I knew he would simply tell him that he didn’t like him. And I knew that he liked the poet but the mob feeling, the crowd was telling him not to do so. And I knew that it was not in him to be individualistic, that he wanted to find conformity from the crowd.
And I knew that they both made me nauseous.
I don’t say that you don’t have the rights to boo someone when you don’t find him good enough, I don’t claim that you don’t have the right to criticize a performer (In fact I am a big criticizer of Twilight Series and Justin Bieber, and Uttran and Roadies and Big boss). But I say that unless and until you listen to him, you see him perform, you hear him sing, unless you see his feet moving on the floor, you don’t have the right to judge him. You can’t bloody claim that he is not melodious when you were sitting on your arse listening with ear plugs in your damn ears. You can’t claim that he has two left feet when instead of watching him perform you were looking at that pretty girl and were fantasizing about her. And even if you have listened and watched him you can’t shun your decency and shout at an old person who is requesting you to keep quite.
If you are reading this, remember no one held you in high esteem for your behavior. Nobody applauded your efforts. The words of praise that were showered on you were interspersed with “Jaahil” and “Ganwar”. So take a long, hard look in the mirror and I know that if you have even a bit of shame left inside you, you will realize how despicable you were in that moment.