Social taboos — sensible, or just because?
I have recently encountered a situation where one of my relatives had allegedly consumed an almost fatal substance along with three of his friends. (Although it was later found out that he had not taken the substance in question. He HAD taken SOMETHING, but it was not what the hospital (who in their greed of being able to provide expensive treatment that’d involve keeping the patient in the ICU needlessly) had alleged. But that is for another day. All hail Bangladeshi hospitals).
Since of course, the party in question HAD taken SOMETHING, and had passed out afterwards, and upon taking him to the hospital, had puked his guts out, his family and friends, being champions of the Bengali culture, had just assumed, that he had gone out of hand.
That he was a junkie.
That he was a vagabond with stunted morals, keeping company of deviants just like him, and was beyond repair.
And that he had brought shame to his family.
And that, they didn’t know HOW they were supposed to face even their distant relatives, let alone society.
Now, I do realize, this is a sensitive subject, and in no way am I saying it is in any way OKAY to get into such activities, but, what I’m really curious to know is, the rationale behind such perspective as “Oh, how am I going to face this dear Earth again?”
If it is a simple “This is wrong because you’re harming yourself” stance that people are holding on to, aren’t we all doing so, in some way or the other?
Every day, we’re consuming mounds and mounds of sugar, red meat, food that is fatty, that’ll make you gassy, that’ll leave you prey to a HOST of diseases, and you don’t see people fearing social exclusion over them. Then why this?
Because it’s a taboo, that’s why.
WHY is it so, again?
Well, I have one.
You may think of that puff of cocaine or cigarette or that peg of whatever as just that. A puff. A peg.
But well, do it longer, repetitively, and sooner or later, you can’t help it. You NEED it.
And with time, it is very possible that you may become open to experimentation. First it’s cigs. Then it’s pot. Then it’s beer. Then it’s maybe something that is not as harmless, by the by paving its way to something deadly someday.
Basically, the lines that some day not long ago, you thought you would not cross, the limitations that you had set for yourself, become blurry. And it CAN be, if you don’t keep yourself in check, that the longer you go on, the blurrier they get. You may be risking your life. You may be hurting your loved ones in the process.
But here’s the thing. Is it REALLY a taboo because of THAT?
It is a taboo, because it just is.
Because there are pre-defined notions of a “Good” girl and a “Good” boy.
A good girl doesn’t sleep around. Or date around. Or wears “inappropriate” clothes. Or hangs out with many boys. A boy, on the other hand, can do just about anything and remain “good”. This, and maaaybe being a “playa” will be just about the very few exceptions. And being abusive towards parents and spouses and children. But well, I’m not too sure about that. Not even about being a “playa” though. But anyways, I’m straying off.
Thing is, as people, every day, we are doing something or the other that blurs the lines between what is “right” and what is “wrong”. Be it littering on the streets even when you have trashbins literally a feet away on BOTH sides (strategically placed that way by the way, keeping in mind Bengali laziness), or being rude to your subordinates, or being manipulative, or cheating in the exams, face it, we are ALL guilty of something or the other.
And while they might ALL be wrong, and for good reason, and while you may argue that some things are just bigger as issues than the others (Definitely. Littering? What’ll it do anyways? Impact the climate as a whole? Whatevs.), is not having a dialogue, in a sensible, calm manner, with the person in question, really the right way to handle the situation?
From a very early age, I have always been surprised by compassion.
I still am.
Because it really is rare.
And what is sad is, the least compassionate of people are often those closest to you.
Holding on to age old monologues like “Oh, you have brought SHAME upon your family”, “You’ve left us unable to face the universe”, “I wish you were dead” is BASICALLY the reason why your child/sibling/spouse/significant other is not coming to you when they fall into such circumstances.
It is up to you to realize what works and will work best.
Is tough love the answer?
Is honor killing?
Or is it just what John Lennon has said.
“All you need is love.”
Nothing has, and nothing will ever work better.