A child with sparkling eyes and rough hair was quite busy playing with mud and creating some fascinating things out of it when a woman’s voice detached him from his playful activity.
‘Come back here, don’t do that! What will people think! They would call you a nasty little thing and no one would play with you anymore!’ the woman was trying to convince the child not to play with mud.
Upon hearing this, the child looked up and around in fear confirming no one was watching him and then got up leaving behind his creations alone.
It was quite a pleasing sight for me until that voice came from nowhere.
And that reminded me of certain experiences in my life where I have been constantly reminded and scared of ‘the people.’ I got to know about the existence of these people at an early stage and sever since then I have been wondering about these people and their whereabouts.
I have always been known as a quiet person in the family who does not like to discuss others nor like to be discussed. But of course this not-so-normal attitude was intolerable for the family and they never forget to remind me:
‘What kind of a girl are you! What will people think of you! At least try to cultivate some habits of talking pleasantly!’
And I could not help but wonder what will people think and why would people be so interested in me!
Writing these lines, my mind is helping me remember certain other incidents where I was reminded of the people:
– ‘Look at your clothes! You want people to make fun of you? No, right? Then go and change come on.’
– ‘You want to go abroad for studies all by yourself? Have you gone crazy? What will the family say? What will people think of us?’
Even some expressions by my friends such as:
Wait let me first remind you what people think of writers!
– You know what people were talking about you last night…
And the list happily goes on..
I’m pretty sure all of us at some stage of our life (if not daily) must have heard about these amazing, righteous, thoughtful beings that we call ‘the people’.
Who people, you say?
Well I am talking about those very people, the same nameless and faceless beings who have been in the constant practice of observing and discussing our visible parts of life. From buying clothes, to going restaurants, to meeting people or going shopping they are constantly observing my actions whether I like it or not. But I have to confess that whether active or inactive, seen or unseen, heard or unheard but they have been there in our lives like forever.
Below I have tried to come up with some possible answers to the questions that pop into my mind whenever I’m reminded of these people.
– Who are these people?
They are supposedly normal human beings just like me but with an enormous sense of morality and hearts full of concern for others.
– Where are these people found?
Everywhere. Yes, literally everywhere. (They are so powerful that they can even live in your minds.)
– How do they look like?
They come in all sizes, shapes and looks.
– What do they do?
Their lone business is to observe, discuss and comment on your actions, decisions in fact all of your life.
– Why do they exist in my life?
They have been there in my life as long as I can remember. But the main reason these people are there is because I have allowed them to be there in my life. I have let them observe and comment on my actions.
– And most importantly, what is their significance in my life?
Their importance in my life is as much as I assign them. If I never question their authority and let them do what they always do, they will continue to meddle in my thoughts and actions.
But what if one day I decided to set these people free from my mind, from my life, set them free forever! Yes, only then I can separate myself from so-called people. And what if that day is today!
However, at this point, I am trying to grasp the reality in the following lines by Anton Chekhov –
“Oh, the public! There’s no satisfying them! It’s no use working and doing one’s best! . . . . If you do nothing — they’re angry; if you begin doing your duty, they’re angry too. There’s nothing for it but drink!”