Movies we do not like are banned, paintings that we do not fancy are not exhibited. Authors who do not mirror out thoughts are banished from countries. Newspapers shut down and even people killed in road rage. It’s all getting a bit too much. Suveera asks why this intolerance, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
A few days ago, I bumped into an acquaintance. She was in a foul mood dissenting how her landlord had asked her to vacate the apartment. “Did he not give you the required two months’ notice?” I asked. “Yes, he did.” She said. “But it’s so unfair. Now I have to pack everything, and then unpack it, and not to mention that the new house is another kilometer away from the school.” And then she went on and on about how she had been wronged, with a few friends constantly feeding her misery, making the landlord, the villain of the story. I wonder how valid her whining is. Whatever she’s going through is inconvenient, yes… tedious and arduous, surely…but definitely not unfair. It is what it is. The landlord has every right to ask her to leave his house.
How intolerant we have become of change, of people’s opinions that contradict ours and of discomfort. We never want to escape the mundane and routine.
There are these two gentlemen in our complex, who have taken it upon themselves to be the noise pollution activists. I guess out of boredom in their perfect lives, lack of thrill, or maybe just for the betterment of humankind. On the first instance of any slight hammering, or drilling or the likes of it, either they come up a la Hercule Poirot or send a guard up the hill to investigate for them. The poor guy makes the trip up the hill only to find the sound gone. It was probably someone putting up a picture of some treasured memories. My walls are lacking adornments, thanks to these two wise men.
The society today is so unforgiving of mistakes. Perhaps it is our stressful lives that leave us constantly wired, ready to pounce on people at the very first offence. To pass the blame for our shortcomings to circumstances or other people and wash our hands off responsibility.
We even enforce it on our children. Many of us believe that children should not be heard, just seen. A two-year-old child throwing a tantrum immediately invites judgmental stares from passersby. Little children singing songs or yapping away excitedly are considered impolite. The simple pleasures of childhood scrutinised and put under a scanner by disapproving adults, who perhaps once did just the same. We expect our kids to be mini adults. I am all for good behavior by children, but let’s not take it too far.
Recently, there was a celebration of a particular festival in school. Immediately there were complaints from people from other communities about why their festivals were not being celebrated. It was sad, that for them it did not matter that all the children had fun and that they had a great celebration regardless. It was no longer about being happy in the collective celebration of the community. It was about, “why not me?”
Movies we do not like are banned, paintings that we do not fancy are not exhibited. Authors who do not mirror out thoughts are banished from countries. Newspapers shut down and even people killed in road rage. It’s all getting a bit too much.
Perhaps we could try and stay patient if the person ahead of us in the line in the supermarket is taking a tad bit too long. Be tolerant towards the little girl playing in a loud voice, and intolerant towards those who chide her for it. Let us be patient towards the clerk who cannot speak our language and is struggling to communicate, and impatient with the manager who is being intimidated. Not lose our cool in a full bus and appreciate the driver who drops us to our destination despite being in a full bus every day, every hour.
Most of all, let’s be tolerant of our own little imperfections and intolerant of our prejudices.
Photos sourced by the author from the Internet
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Suveera Sharma is a postgraduate in English and a qualified software trainer. She is an avid reader and writer. Being the daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood in various cantonments all over India. At present, she is settled in Hong Kong. She runs storytelling sessions for little kids and writes in her spare time.