Walking in a newly built, urban and stylish mall you might come across a teenager trying on a pair of jeans and his friend exclaiming “Yo man, that’s cool!” Or you might see a girl tuned to her I-pod listening to a metal-band without the slightest clue what it’s all about. Or the worst case scenario you see someone posing for a photograph with giant shades, one arm neatly folded against the belly with the palm supporting the other arm’s elbow, face held between the thumb and the index finger.
These common acts of idiocy, seemingly benign, speak volumes about our behavior as individuals and social animals. Admit it fellows. No matter how educated our race becomes, originality will still remain an illusion.
Our English teachers used to emphasize upon the importance of building up our vocabulary. Why? It will give us a chance to express ourselves more accurately, more precisely, more factually, more appropriately, more spot-on. See, that’s one advantage of having a good vocabulary. But who has time for such unnecessary complications when easy shortcuts are available. And hence kicking aside the old –school grammarians, some new easy-to-use words for all occasions were coined that went across the board and slapped the teachers and the other wannabe sophisticated population across the cheek(read: butt). Every good thing or having attributes please-worthy to the person became “cool”. And from there onwards, just like the Ice-agers had run after fire, the Barbarians after blood, the 1st BC onward-ers after metals and the Medievalists after land; the 21st century people decided to follow a quest for glory like none before had followed. It was the quest to be “cool”! And if you are not cool enough for the 21st century’s superficial standards, you’ll get the worst possible punishment. The punishment being so harsh and socially demeaning that many of its affectees will go jump from the tallest building in the locale (that’s Ayub for Abbottabad) while the rest will take an over-dose of Panadol-Extra or Brufen (for these are the only medicines they know) and get killed by the careless hospital staff. The punishment being: the poor soul will be termed as a “loser”!
Did I just hear someone say “duh”? If yes then you are indeed spot-on my dear. It’s a major wtf-ing moment for us all. Let’s just sit for a while and reflect upon our own selves now and let’s try to bring a more elaborate meaning to the term loser.
Is a carpenter’s son - who lives in a two bedroom house, doesn’t know what a PSP or Avatar is, speaks Hindko, listens to those “sajjan meray sajjan” type songs and recently got into a good university because he did have some brains afterall – a loser or the one with a rich dad – who drives the latest car in town, has a muscular body complete with a six-pack, wears the most stylish shades and t-shirts, has a girlfriend too, doing business from a C-grade private university so that he can sit in a comfy chair at his tycoon-of-a-dad’s one day- a loser?
Yay! The unanimous answer is the carpenter’s son. His name is Shamrez. Ew! What a paindoo name! He wears shalwar kameez. Eww! That’s so uncool. He listens to those Hindko songs. Cheapo! And guess what. His dad is a carpenter. Aww! I feel bad for that loser now.
Driven by the overtly consuming materialism around us and in a constant desire to be one of the glitzy & glamorous, we ignore someone really close to us who constantly screams for freedom and a chance for self-expression. That someone is “our self”. We forget to be ourselves; we are either that guy on the TV who wears black, does his hair in a gel-back style & talks in the “Yo” format i.e. “hey yo. Waddup” or we are the girl from the house next door who listens to Pink Floyd, drives a Civic, shops at Bareeze and sports an I-phone.
From driving while reclining on the seat & only one hand at the steering to mimicking Munna Bhai’s accent at college; from doing hi-fives and punching your friends backs because the coolest gang at your previous school did so to wanting to have a love-affair because that’s what happened in the latest Bollywood flick; from wheeling on bikes with torn jeans and chains dangling from necks to playing Akon’s “I wanna love you” on full volume to show off the car’s new woofer speakers in a busy market. Our lives are loaded with people whom the young and hip part of our society call “cool”.
And that’s why I was tired. I was tired of being cool all day long. My cool muscles need a rest & my cool hair need to be washed with my cool shampoo because my cool gel is all dry and flaky now. If a person has been brought up in an elitist environment then this behavior is understandable. But how do you explain the behavior of a normal middle-class family person who dresses up in those skin-tight bright-red clothes, talks in the “yo” accent, constantly bombards you with the latest news about his favorite actors and finishes it all off by telling you that he has “trapped” a new girlfriend and left the old one for she was boring? Wow! I’m impressed!
And that my ladies and gentlemen is the diary of a true and bonafide loser i.e. the guy who wants to be cool. Let’s hear it for these paradoxical winners because no matter how cool they seem to the eye, they are losers indeed.
Who says being a loser is an easy job?