Hate And Why We Love It

I was reading a rather disturbing feature on Time about the attack on Nido Taniam in Delhi. It struck me that this, and other instances of hate that happen all over the world every day, are not surprising. We can’t pretend to be shocked, awed and disturbed, and cringe away from these acts of violence. As human beings, we are programmed to inflict pain on others. And we love it.

hate and violence
British Riots. Image Courtesy: BBC

My theory is quite simple: we are hateful creatures, forced to live together on the same piece of land and a bunch of makeshift rules and laws thrown in to govern our behavior. We forced ourselves into this corner. No one did this to us.

On our own, we are quite the pacifists. Well, most of us. But why is it that when we are put in a crowd of people, we bare our teeth, beat out chests and turn on each other? I think the answer lies deep within ourselves – our inherent fears. I’ll explain what this means.

I’ve been doing this very interesting social experiment for a few years now without anyone realizing it, and it’s proven to be quite the eye-opener. Whenever I am alone with someone (say Bob), in any situation, the conversation progresses like any other conversation between two people – about random things or something in particular. The minute a third person (say Dave) joins the fray, I use a variation of the following line: “Dave, hey! What’s up? Have you met Bob? He’s my friend and he’s uh.. um…”

I pretend to forget what Bob does for a living or what he’s good at, or what he has achieved, in an attempt to trivialize him. Bob immediately takes the cue, subconsciously, and rattles off his résumé to Dave – where he studied, what he graduated in, where he has worked, what he is currently working on, etc. This does not always happen, mind you. But when it does and you observe Bob’s body language, and he is the very epitome of defensiveness. His body is closed, arms folded, shoulders drooped, as though he is bracing for an attack.

The same thing also happens when I’m alone with Bob and I feign indifference to his achievements in life.

It’s our fear of rejection (or the fear of being dismissed as unimportant) that puts us in this situation. We all do it. I do it too. I have found myself talking about my career choices and my achievements (or lack thereof) to people for no fathomable reason except my fear of ridicule and rejection. I don’t want the other guy to think I’m weak. Or stupid. I beef up my arms and shoulders, brace myself and start telling him through my body language that I’m a (relatively) smart guy and can defend myself if need be.

This behavior tells us a few very important things about ourselves – we are all in a constant state of alertness, always on the lookout for a threat. This threat can be in any shape of form – physical, mental, emotional, financial, etc. We believe that everyone around us are a threat to our way of life. This is perhaps why we don’t do certain things like wear sunglasses when we’re inside a building – we fear that people are going to point at us and laugh, thus making us feel small, insignificant and vulnerable. This leaves us open for attack from a larger predator.

When the concept is applied on a global scale – to societies and nations as a whole, we realize that the equation does not change one bit. A billion paranoid people are constantly wary of a billion other paranoid people. Fear multiples in crowds and takes a life of it’s own, which leads to bad decisions and ultimately, a lot of people die. This is used as fuel to further our paranoia  – because it’s all right when we kill someone because we are doing it out of self-defense. But we fail to realize that the other person is killing for the same exact reason. We think he’s a monster, with no thought control and emotion.

The fact that we need this mutual hate and fear to survive and lead our lives is the biggest illusion that we have performed on ourselves. The idea that we need to lash out at a fellow human being in order to survive is ultimately going to make us as extinct as the Dodo. But not before we realize that it makes us just as dumb.

Egypt? Really?

I thought Egypt was one of those chilled-out countries, a distant corner of the world where people were worried more about the sandstorms than politics. All those vague novels about Egypt where the protagonist talks about how he/she walks about in the desert looking for mummies and other scary relics from the past. I never for an instant thought Egypt would be a country like any other – where politics and people don’t mix.

It was quite depressing to see the news the other day with so many people revolting and killing each other, all because of some arcane political rules. This was the one country I was actually looking forward to visiting, but then, I guess I will have to shelve that idea for now.

I do feel for the poor souls who have endured this nightmare for the past few days and I write this post as a mark of respect, condemning the uprising and the inability of the existing political leaders to quell the revolt. If you want to show your support for Egypt, go ahead and ‘like’ this post and leave a comment. What more can we really do but voice our thoughts?

 

The Airport Taxi From Hell

airport-taxiThere is mystery in the air. Stop whatever you’re doing and sniff the air around you. If you can ignore the fish and the next guy’s sweat, I think you can smell the mystery in the air. I know I can. I think I am being followed by an airport taxi. Everywhere I go and everywhere I turn, there’s an airport taxi lurking near by. I think there is a conspiracy afoot and yesterday, I thought about it long and hard and I have a feeling that I’ve hit upon the truth.

Once upon a time, I was in love with a strange girl from Hawaii. Her name was Yu Suk, and she was perhaps the third most beautiful woman in the world. We loved each other very mush much and though we were separated by more than 5000 miles of ocean, we believed that one fine day we would be together and live happily every after. The long distance relationship proved to be arduous and drained the both of us completely, and I decided to end it. That’s when she decided to fly down to Bangalore and meet me and show me just how much she loved me. I was over the moon!

I dressed up in my favorite yellow T-shirt and blue jeans and drove all the way to the airport on the day. I reached an hour early and paced up and down, waiting for Yu Suk to arrive. I could hardly stand still in my excitement. I was nervous and feeling a bit horny at the same time! I guess it’s natural.

Finally, the flight monitor indicated that the flight from Hawaii had landed and that passengers were at the customs line. I was waiting right in front of the exit gate, standing behind the ubiquitous group of white-uniformed taxi drivers who were holding up cardboard placards with names of their guests written. Slowly, one by one, the passengers from Hawaii walked out into the bright Bangalore sun, shielded their eyes from the glare and searched for their respective receptions.

The taxi driver in front of me was chatting with his colleague next to him about his wife. He was saying, “What can I do, brother? She just cannot be satisfied every night. I feel she’s draining me out!”

To this, his colleague replied, “You want some help, brother?” and winked and they both burst out laughing. I cringed at the crassness of their conversation, but couldn’t help overhearing it. The first driver continued, “If anyone, ANYONE, mentions the S-word again, I’ll kill them personally!” and they both started guffawing heartily. I just figured that the guy was totally and completely asexual and pitied his wife.

Just then, in the throng of the crowd, I saw her! There she was! Graceful and beautiful and as sexy as ever – wearing her favorite yellow tank top over a flowery knee-length skirt that flowed all around her. Her face was the embodiment of all the love and lust in the world – the high cheekbones, the sexy blue-green eyes, the straight black hair that fell in small fluffy curls just below her shoulder, those petite hips, those firm breasts, those long beautiful eyelashes, oh, I was so much in love!

She looked around her, scanning my waiting crowd from her moving crowd, looking for me, searching for the face of her lover. I waved my hand frantically and called her name out, “Yuuuuuuuuu Suuuuuuuuuuuuk!”

I started running towards her in slow motion. The crowd around me dissolved into fields of poppies, with butterflies fluttering around, the sun shining down with it’s golden rays dripping with love, drenching the two of us in that moment of ecstasy. Her face broke into a beautiful smile as she saw me and she ran towards me in slow motion, through our very own field of poppies. I held out my arms to embrace her, and she held out her arms to run into mine. At that moment, I felt something hard hit me on the back of my head and I tripped over myself and fell face-down on the hard concrete floor of the airport. The field of poppies and the butterflies disappeared and I could just see dazed stars all around me for a few moments.

I was aware of distinct voices – one angry and one concerned – around me. I looked up and saw Yu suk arguing with a taxi driver. It was the guy who was standing in front of me, discussing his wife. I sat up and rubbed the back of my head and saw an old but heavy boot lying next to me. He had thrown a boot at me! That bastard!

“Hey!” I cried standing up. “What the fuck were you thinking throwing shoes at people?” I geared up for a fight.

“You bastard!” he cried. “You abused me verbally!”

I was confused. “Eh, what? When did I do that? Stop talking nonsense!”

“Shut up, you punk! You said, ‘You Suck!’ so loudly that the whole bloody airport heard it!”

So, thus began a hatred, rooted in mis-communication, that spanned the better half of the next decade – a decade that involved a lot of stalking, prank calls, threatening calls and three trips to the police station and one to the hospital. It got so bad that the cops finally had to request me to stop beating him up every time I saw him. I reluctantly agreed and made a deal with the bastard – I’d leave him alone if he accepted that it wasn’t my fault to begin with. He was lying with three broken bones in the hospital bed, covered in bandages from head to toe, when he agreed. I could see hatred in his eyes.

It’s been four years since I’ve heard from him or seen him, and recently, I think I scratched his car by mistake while I was parking my bike near my office. I did not notice the number of the car, but I am damn sure it was him, because when I came back after work, my bike wouldn’t start – there were sugar lumps in the petrol tank and both my tires were flat.

I began noticing his car everywhere I went – the bastard is stalking me! I think it’s time I remind him who the better man is. I think it’s time for him to visit the hospital again. 😀

Moral of the story: Do not believe everything you read on MirrorCracked.

Open Question: If a love bite is called  ‘hickey,’ what’s a love scratch called?

Letter to Cupid :)

Dear Asshole Cupid,

When you first met me, you chose a lovely, red, pointy arrow and shot it right through my heart. I bled and bled but you didn’t really care. You moved on to your next victim, impaling everyone you met! I so hate you for pulling that arrow out forcefully and hurting me more! When you did that to me, you not only ensured that two lives would never be the same again, but you also made sure that I can never be affected by your childish charms and sharp arrows again!

Just because you’re a child with wings and you carry around a bow and arrow, you think you can play around with people’s lives and emotions and feelings? Who gave you that right, you idiot child? Just because you are written about in books and sung about in stupid love songs, you think that you are the ultimate puppet master, making your victims dance to your tunes? You’re nothing but a spoiled brat, you hear me? Your curly, blonde hair, your red and rosy cheeks and those brilliant blue (apparently) innocent eyes may fool others but not me! I think I know what you’re planning for me!

You want me to take the tried and tested path of begging for your arrow to be impaled again in my heart, drinking myself silly in filthy places and in my stupor, calling out for that cardiac pain again and stabbing myself with chemicals in the hope of seeing your bright wings again – think again, asshole Cupid! I am not going to give you that pleasure. I am well and truly in control of my emotions and for all I care, you can take those arrows of yours and thrust it up your ass. I don’t really care how you do it, but given a chance, I’d do it for you myself! I dare you to come before me again, as you did last time! Stand before me like a man and face me!

Oh, I forgot – you’re a child! 😀

So, here’s what I really had to say to you, Cupid. Drop Dead! 😀

Yours sincerely,
Nikhil