Back in the good old days, when Sachin and Saurav opened for India, when Shaktimaan was the talk of the town, and when Falguni Pathak took the nation by a storm, we still had mediocre minds amidst us… all kinds of them. You see mediocrity knows no bounds. The vulnerable minds of our countrymen, long exposed to unrealistic Bollywood climaxes, were the breeding ground for ideas. The intellectuals of the 21st century, sitting in their air-conditioned living rooms, having secured food for their thought, as well as, for their stomachs, frequently dismissed these ideas as regressive, misogynist, or at the very least, as obsolete. But the coming of the new millennium gave a new lease of life to Indian mediocrity— a mediocre revolution.
I am tempted to believe that it was the airing of the never ending saas-bahu (family drama) shows, where the female leads fiercely competed with each other to authoritatively secure their positions within the walls of their luxurious 5-star mansions, that gave a boost to Indian mediocrity. However, we as a nation still had a long road to travel to allow mediocrity to flourish and triumph.
This revolution, long overdue, was brought in by the coming of age of the internet. As more and more mobile phones accessed the digital world, seemingly harmless mediocre intermingled and produced lethal mutations that have worked to collectively bring down the intellect of our great nation. Even though we took pride in providing the fascinating world of the internet to our masses, in reality we faced a situation where our mediocre ideas flowed unchecked to far off places at the click of a button. Thus providing not just the justifications for existing social evils, but also promoting them overtly. This situation can be roughly compared to a fictitious country which boasted of a population of one and a half billion with a literacy rate of about 75%, but in reality has failed to provide a quality education system that could quell its mediocrity even after 70 years of independence (any kind of similarity with this fictitious nation is strictly unintended).
Those of my friends who have a taste for firangi (foreign) cinema would be aware of this bald guy, moving around in a wheelchair, claiming to read the thoughts of people around him. The internet, and more specifically, its social media platforms, have made sure that this exclusive superpower becomes essentially commonplace. You log on to Facebook and the first thing it wants to know is ‘what’s going on in your mind’. How can my fellow countrymen, simple-minded and honest as they always are, abstain from pouring in the mediocrity that has for years been trapped in their neurons, patiently waiting to see the light of day.
People, since time immemorial, have had an opinion on anything and everything. The internet has made sure that these opinions not just find a mode of expression, but are also strengthened once they find mediocrity of a similar or higher level in cyberspace.
I should make it clear that I’m not against people voicing their opinions; definitely not when I know that at one level these “opinions” are amusing and entertaining. I won’t deny that watching people engage in comment wars over trivial topics, often invoking the mothers and sisters of their adversaries, is a sort of sadistic entertainment, unknown to men that thrived before us.
But something definitely is wrong.
First things first, we are a frustrated nation— frustrated at many levels. And we’ve created a culture that caters to this frustration, building upon our mediocrity. The larger than life muscular male superstar punching the air out of a pack of helpless goons is a respite for many seeking refuge from their respective frustrated realities. Middle-aged women commenting venomously on the length of clothes of young girls is a frustrated attempt of the flag-bearers of the mediocre ideals to subvert the forces of change. Parents forcing their children into choosing subjects, professions, and life partners has ensured that this frustration never ends. This mediocrity always expresses itself and remains deep-rooted in our minds. And when you give the power of expression through social media to this frustrated mass, be prepared for… well, for anything — be it good or bad, because mediocrity knows no bounds.