On 9 November, 2:30 pm IST time when the whole world was glued to a TV I was doodling.
Almost always, an insanely anxious voice has made its way to my stomach making me squirm and churn before huge announcements. That day too, I could hear the echoes of the world news and their high-pitched exhilarating tones. But I wasn’t listening. My eyes were focused on my mobile screen, trying to make sense of the black and white doodle I was trying to create. And then, just like that, 37 seconds later, America had a new leader. Exquisitely and passionately, I moved my hand around the screen. I needed to make sure that every line connects with some other line; I didn’t want a distorted image. No one likes a distorted picture. So what if America had a new leader, even when I looked around me, the world pretty much seemed the same to me.
But something in me spoke differently.
I checked Instagram. I shut it as soon as I opened it. My newsfeed had too much paranoia. During elections, I follow only one policy. The policy of speaking, commenting and judging only when I can be a part of the electoral process. I am 18. I can vote. Only, I cannot vote in America because it is not my country. Yes, I have an opinion. But I believe in the wise words of Adichie of how “the truth of a half story is worse than a lie of a full story.” I am a spectator in this one.
I walked over to my fridge. I popped a kisses in my mouth making sure that the Hershey’s chocolate melts perfectly in my mouth. I tilted my head and walked towards the window. The same array of cars and the same loud traffic kept passing by. I walked back to my phone and wondered if I make myself part of this meme business too.
A lot had changed in one night.
I’m not a believer of ‘history can be made in one night’. To me, history is a process of slow sustained growth, of wise informed decisions and an enduring intricate process which creates full-blown dynamic impacts to last decades. But today, when history was made in one night, I really questioned all what I have known. While some were celebrating their hysterics or crying over reality or sitting soundless on a bar stool wondering how to buy a beer with 100 Rupees(yes, my country’s changing its currency by its halting present currency) I wondered if I have turned numb. Neither was I Utopian about the events and firmly making resolutions that ‘everything will be okay.’ I don’t like to kid myself like that. But on the other hand, I wasn’t completely devastated either or apocalyptic waving flags of communism and chanting slogans of “long live Lenin” and cursing the failed democracy.
I knew and realized that the world was above average fragmented today. A lot of pieces of the puzzle didn’t make sense and I had no extremist statement to make or a platform to climb on and scream and ask everyone to calm down. Even if I did, it would be highly inappropriate for me to do so because when people are in a state of panic, it is best to leave them alone. Why? Well because we are highly tangled pieces of human, who want to understand their own panic and anxiety at their own approvals and their own costs.
I asked a friend of mine in Canada, how were they dealing with stuff there. He replied, that the paranoia had sunk in so deep that people were turning to alcohol and intoxication for relief. Then, I asked some of my American friends how they were dealing with the results. Some badgered me, some thanked that they had a dual citizenship, some were glad that the nerve-wrecking pressure was over, some felt insulted and ashamed and some, well they were also looking forward to drinking their problems away or just partying away and forgetting that any of this ever happened.
A speculator from five time zones and three continents away, I was intrigued at the reasons of their anger and the consequences of their denial. Perhaps, the limited amount of people I spoke to hinders my understanding, yet still, even this small crowd was ricocheting only one message.
The message of Solidarity. ‘Acceptance and Solidarity’ are such key factors in determining our happiness quotient in socio-political, cultural and economic spheres. Many may say differently. But this is what I, as a spectator feels from an unbiased point of view.
But apart from a leadership change in America and young, little kids being taught the meanings of words like ‘bigotry’ ‘relapse of feudalism’ ‘sexism’ ‘racism’ ‘tolerance’ ‘hatred’ – the seven billion beings present on this planet witnessed a historical change. Mankind has experienced very rare and few moments when all of its totality stand in solidarity for one issue or for one subject. The earliest I remember is Copernicus telling us that the Earth revolves around the sun. In the last millennium, the last time we humans watched our TV with this anxiousness was in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. And in the new millennium we stood in this solidarity when 9/11 happened. America, has always given us reasons to stand in this fraternity and solidarity. God Bless, Uncle Sam.
So on November 9 2016, while I was searching for some ointment to cure the numbness in me and get some reaction to the day’s event out of my system, a telephone conversation shocked me. It was 10 in the night and a friend called up. And these words used by him stuck, “For the first time, we were adult enough to witness history.” And I asked him to repeat. Hesitantly, he replied again, “We were there to witness a time when the whole world stood still because one certain man was elected.”
And then, it hit me.
9 November 2016 will be remembered by many for all sorts of reasons. For me, this day was of acceptance and realization of how intricately connected we all are. And how powerless we can get in the face of some other supreme power. That, politics follows history right out of the textbook. And that, sometimes knowing your rights is more important than knowing your blood group. And that big changes can never be understood in small time, but a small time period can see some of the biggest changes. So, while there is anger, suspicion, fear, questions and hostility in the hearts of many – there is also an undeniable courage growing in the hearts of some.
Though this day has again established the fact that people will give opinions irrespective of whether their opinions are valid, valued or important – 11/9 2016 has created the possibility that people will now want to understand things. They will now want to have an active participation and expand their craving ‘to know’ in all what they do.The days of passivity are over. The little unsaid, unheard and unaccounted actions of the minority have developed a voice today. And, perhaps now, people will want to exercise democracy – the way it was made.
Democracy: not an elitist trump card, but a set of aces with which the common people should have the last say.
Common People: Tax payers of the country irrespective of their gender, race, religion, ethnicity and monetary income.