Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Watch the door sign…Please do not disturb???
All of us value our privacy and the quality time we get to spend with our families. Many would silently wish for a sign on their door which says ‘do not disturb.’ Nothing wrong with that I guess. After all we are all working on tight schedules aren’t we? I won’t move to question this but would rather look at the word disturb.
In a culture where we are expected to be near to perfect, being disturbed and not-too-perfect then is not acceptable (to whom is another question!!!). I have distinct memories of being castigated and asked to ‘gather up my act’ and ‘get on with it.’ This state of life underwent a change when a teacher of theology once told me that it is okay to be disturbed as it means that we still have a heart inside us which reacts to what we hear and see. The teacher said that it is thus perfectly normal to ‘feel like shit’, to ‘be ashamed of oneself’, ‘to cry’, as it reflects the humanness inside us coming to terms with what is happening.
The other day I happened to watch a Hindi movie ‘Bombay’, on T.V. It was not planned, an accident I would say. The initial part of watching was nostalgic because I remembered the first time I watched the movie in a theatre when I was in college. But the nostalgia was immediately replaced by a deep and profound grief in what I saw. The violence and death in Mumbai after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 disturbed me no end. I felt overwhelmed and sat in my seat not knowing how to react to what I was watching. I was crying inside but the ‘please do not disturb’ attitude froze the tears as they came out.
We have to come to terms with the word ‘disturb.’ Is it okay to be disturbed? Does disturbance lead to something? Should we ignore the disturbing things in our country and hope it will go away? Is education disturbing one’s state of mind or conforming to established and traditional understandings?