Word count: 600 | Estimated time to read blog: 8 min
When I was a teenager, I had a great fascination for leather jackets. I found it a cool add-on to the denims I was sporting in those days and neither John Travolta nor Arnold Schwarzenegger told me anything otherwise 😉
The first one was purchased after a surprisingly lucky break with the exams – my parents (and to this day, I myself) couldn’t believe I got such marks and as per terms decided before the exams, were compelled to buy it for me. I felt as great in it as a hippopotamus in a steam bath – the weather of Manipal is just not suited to leather jackets. But it was ‘cool’, you know! And in a short while i had quite a collection. Until…
…Until the day when I learnt that some being had to pay with its life to make me feel cool. It was then that the whole fascination came crashing down. The jacket felt as soft, as wonderful and as warm as before but it wasn’t the same thing at all. It still was the best jacket brand in the world – no other brand came close to it but I didn’t feel cool wearing one anymore.
Now you don’t need to be a student of marketing to realize that what just happened was a transition from a mindless, sense gratifying consumer to an informed one. I couldn’t ignore anymore the fact that the creation of that jacket was possible only by the death of something, however far removed and unimportant to me.
I have similar feelings about fireworks and crackers. To me, they signify the death of someone’s childhood. I also don’t promote movies of directors who repeatedly portray violence and glorify gangsters. To me, they signify actual deaths in the society as cinema is a very strong influencer and by glorifying such acts, there will be at least one among the viewers who will go ahead and commit such acts as are glorified.
Maybe I am over analyzing things. True, if you look at everything this way, no form of consumerism is ever possible. But to me, there are some more glaring than others and I choose not to ignore them for a start.
Moreover, you and I have a responsibility towards society – in the real world and online. Our choice and behavior will largely determine the future of how we all live in this very society. And in that, we can choose to support a Hitler who will promise great things at the expense of someone or a Mother Theresa who will promise equally great things by involving everyone. And it is my opinion that great tomorrows come from being open and allowing openness. A tomorrow however great, achieved by curbing/eliminating something forcefully isn’t worth the sunrise that heralds it.
To me, it is a sign of greatness and confidence to include everyone despite difference of opinion, conflicting business interests etc for the benefit of the collective good. It is a sign of insecurity and doubt to forcibly snub and exclude someone, not to mention a disregard for the collective good. How can such a one lead?
In making our choices, we at some point in time should cease to merely evaluate wrt our senses and employ rationale. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The real seat of taste is not the tongue but the mind”.
So how many leather jackets does it take you to realize that you must look beyond that cozy feel and the hep looks?
Now read the title.