Wear your Life on your sleeve – and don’t bother about those who will never understand you!
I discovered an interesting statistic reading Priya Ramani’s piece on Barkha Dutt in today’s Mint Lounge. Priya says that Barkha’s book This Unquiet Land: Stories from India’s Fault Lines has 4045 reviews on Amazon – of which only 155 are positive. Priya says the fact that a majority of the reviews are uncharitable is a reflection of the fact that Barkha is hated by most people because she is “powerful, political, fiercely independent and single”. Barkha, for her part, has chosen to be unruffled by those that troll her. “Damned if I’m going to let poison and gutter-level sniping direct my choices and reactions,” she told Priya.
I entirely agree with Barkha here. This is the only way to deal with opinions that are unfair and unsavory – and, important, that are not based on facts.
It is fairly simple. If you share your Life and wear it on your sleeve, you will have people offering their perspectives on it. And not all of that will necessarily be based on the truth or be what you may like to hear. But that’s the way the world is. The only way to avoid such opinions is to not be open – be intensely private and guard your story from public glare. But what’s the point in hiding and not sharing? Just because some people are likely to be nasty to you, you want to deprive yourself and others of what you have to say?
Recently YourStory ran a story on Vaani and me (‘Fall Like A Rose Petal’ – Westland). Some of the comments on the story were not necessarily founded on any understanding of who we are or what we are going through. For instance, one of the readers called me a “conman” for talking of happiness when I owe so many people money. A friend too reported the other day that some people in his circle of influence, who also know Vaani and me, think I am a “fraud”. I have learnt to be non-plussed by such perspective, because, forget everyone else, well, my own family thinks we are faking a bankruptcy and that I am a cheat. Now, what do you do when some people refuse to understand you? You just learn not to pick up their sentiments. If you wait for everyone to see things the way you are looking at them, chances are one lifetime may not be enough to get them around to your point of view. Besides, letting others’ opinions or sentiments govern how you feel is totally, completely, avoidable.
I am not celebrating Barkha here for her media citizenship or for her activist stances. I am celebrating her for the person that she is. In her role, as a celebrity journalist, she wouldn’t be wrong to expect social acceptance and acclaim. But she’s got the maturity to not get depressed when she is not only not getting it from certain quarters, but when she is trolled so horrifically instead! What we must learn from her is to be ourselves – and be unmoved while being that way.
What others think of you and talk about you cannot make you or your Life any different. It simply cannot. Imagining that it can is the biggest disservice you can do to yourself. So, my two penny worth: Go on, wear your Life on your sleeve! And let people say what they have to. You, simply, keep walking…!