Disclaimer: Please ignore spelling/ grammatical errors. I am yet to hire that talented, good looking scribe.
Any reference to persons real or imaginary is purely coincidental but if you do know the people I am talking about, tell them I said hi.
This may not be a typical 'suchi' note. i think i may have grown up a little.
I love listening to conversations of random strangers around me. If you're ever at lunch/dinner/coffee with me, chances are I'm not listening to you and I'm listening to the guy at the next table. I've heard a lot of interesting stuff, like how hard it is to wash your jeans if you don't have spin dry, and then there was the older girl breaking up with the younger guy, and then the guy who was yelling "i am not putting soap on his head" (I didn't get it either). Tonight was interesting enough to inspire me to write. (mostly because I couldn't butt into their conversation, so this is the only place I can say what I wanted to )
Before I get to the point, I would like to explain my intricate process of eavesdropping. I would also like to thank Riya because she got me into this habit. :)
So you look around at the different groups of people around you. You have several basic cues - like their attire, the kind of food they order, what they are drinking (or not drinking) and most importantly, the volume at which they converse. So there are the more silent accountants and IT guys, the drunk slightly more loud corporate guys who are saying everything they couldn't say at work all day, and then there are the loudest awareness creating type of people. You can tell these people are passionate about their work. You can also tell they want everyone else to hear them (which is an integral part of creating awareness) and they pay little or no attention to their food. Personally, I love these kinds of people, as they simplify my intricate eavesdropping process.
So tonight I was lucky enough to sit beside a group like this at dinner. After a few minutes of listening to them, it became clear that they worked together or were trying to work together to create awareness about some social issue or more specifically change some social mindset and raise awareness about something through channels of new media, film and so on. Unfortunately I was around for only the last 30 minutes of their discussion so I have no further details. But this is what got my attention. By the end of their meeting, they were still in a state of debating things and arguing about what each of them believes.
I've noticed a trend in the past few years where people genuinely want to bring about some form of social change, be it in education, the environment, rights of minorities and so on. A huge percentage of these people want to use media to do so. People facebook, tweet, buzz, bling whatever and get their message out with the hope of changing mindsets and stereotypes.
I can't call myself much of a passive observer. I've been with U&I for a year doing 'media' stuff, and I can tell you this- Hype works, people do get inspired, people really do want to make a difference.
So this is where I am going with this - what happens to that debate that never ends? what happens after that movie is made and after that tree is planted? What I'm getting at is, what happens to a movement when the hype dies? What makes you still continue to give it your all on a Monday morning? Eventually we find something new to argue about, something else to make a movie on and something else to tweet about. The reality is that many initiatives and movements do die out and these young activists turn into tables of software people, IT people, corporates and so on.
I don't know what your cause is, but what keeps me going is that kid at an orphanage who is always saying he wants to go home, but he has no home. The kid who is blissfully unaware of how much his life sucks because that is all he has ever seen. Its that little girl whose parents 'accidentally left her on a train' and the kid who has scars all over her face from being beaten up. The thought that hanging out with you maybe the best thing they ever do in their life. That's when you realize that its so much bigger than any movie you can ever make, and so much more important than any debate and who is right and who is wrong. Its a reality that messes you up for life.
The solution is not a movement,its not an organization or a campaign. Its a lifestyle, regardless of what work you do or what table you sit at.
Get your hands dirty, and you will never be able to clean them up again.