By Aditya Gupta:
How do you challenge or overthrow something that does not really exist? I don’t mean to say that patriarchy doesn’t really exist, but there is no King Patriarch or the Holy Book of Patriarchy being annually reviewed and revised by a Council of Scholarly Patriarchs. It’s so widespread and so omnipresent that it is very much a part of the human condition. It’s like air. Every person born is bound to breathe it and bound to be affected by it somehow. How do you challenge something without any face at all?
Does it even exist?
I never saw much in life growing up, but now that I can really see, I can see that it’s present in all of our minds. It floats without scientific, logical or a humane basis and it is transmitted from mind to mind in innocuous little ways. Like a virus! It reminds me of Agent Smith (from ‘The Matrix‘). And like an efficient virus, it moves deeper into our subconscious over time till it becomes us.
I imagine seeing a little boy (or girl) and smiling at him and finding him and his innocence, or warmth, spectacular. As soon as he’s born, the virus will find its way in. A few years down, we can still see some of the beautiful boy. But we can also see some decay, some gangrene or a sign that he’s been afflicted. We meet him a few years further down the line, an adolescent perhaps, and we can see that so much of the beauty is gone. There’s still a lot of him, but there’s also the virus that speaks through him sometimes. He grows up and so does the virus (what an amazing creature) and one day, out of nowhere you see him being bizarrely and blatantly cruel to a girl, a girlfriend or a wife.
It makes no sense – just yesterday he was someone else. Who taught him this? No one seems to say this is ‘good’ behavior but everyone seems to do it anyway. And you can’t talk to him about it because he doesn’t know. And he doesn’t want to. The mind and its deeper trenches are so private, and carry so many things that the world condemns, that no one wants to allow people to just invade them without any obvious signs of disease. He protects his mind with unflinching loyalty, just like all of us. What a wonderful virus!
And one fine day, like the climax of a teenybopper zombie flick, we look at him, his nearest and dearest and only see the zombie, and no more the little boy and we exclaim,“We need to get rid of him, he’s been taken and there is nothing we can do about it. He will hurt everyone in his way,” and we get rid of one of our own. The air is filled with the deafening silence of something that was fully expected, not at all a surprise, but still really painful to go through. Just like in the teenybopper zombie flick.
And then, when we walk through the rest of the town, we realise what we’re up against. There are zombies in the restaurants, zombies walking down the street, zombies everywhere… closing in.
What an amazing virus! I wonder if there is a Neo somewhere concocting a vaccine or a syrup to cure us all.