Farhan Akhtar on Bollywood Bole Toh: Yes, this is the time to sit and introspect

Jun 17, 2017, 08:30 IST | Farhan Akhtar

I was just at the Primavera Music Festival in Barcelona (Spain), dancing around, listening to this fabulous band called XX, when I suddenly felt something under my foot

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
-- John Lennon

I was just at the Primavera Music Festival in Barcelona (Spain), dancing around, listening to this fabulous band called XX, when I suddenly felt something under my foot. It was someone’s wallet with credit cards, driving license, the usual; but no numbers.
Since there was a name, I found the person on Facebook. She hadn’t probably logged in for a while, so there was no response. I found her work number online, but she had already quit her job as a waitress in a café. I did get her home number. Eventually, her mom, and then she got back to me, through her boyfriend’s phone. We finally met at the festival. The joy on her face is hard for me to put into words. It felt so good. What I sensed, quite simply, is that it’s not so hard to do the right thing.      
Maybe it’s the A-grade music at a festival that does this to you—where you’re surrounded by people, without any preconceived notions, prejudices, or biases. Or perhaps travelling is essential. Either way, you have to unplug yourself from the humdrum—of politics and other things we’re so caught up in—to genuinely peek into our lives from an outsider’s perspective. The first thing you realise is how nice it is to look out for each other, rather than constantly nit-pick. How lovely it is to share with people we don’t know, rather than wallowing in the constant fear of the unknown.
People spend way too much time commenting on what others do, instead of focusing on what they themselves should do. There’s social media, of course. But there are varied opinions dished out there, which eventually balance each other out.
I’m actually referring to the blitzkrieg of mainstream news with an aggressive slant—obsessed with ratings and numbers—that goes out of its way to induce fear and paranoia, creating a strange, high-strung, hyper-reality. Nobody’s concerned with rationale, processes or solutions, which take time. People’s sense of identity is instead designed around perceiving one as either victim, or perpetrator.
We consume the medium still, because we always have. It is hard to break habits. But words are powerful. They affect us. Over centuries, politicians have come to power by being effective public speakers. This is how a population is swayed by an argument to vote. Musicians and authors influence us our consciousness through their lyrics and books. Film dialogue gives us expressions that seep into our daily vocabulary.
What we hear or say on television, and otherwise, inevitably filter down to kids. When we were little, we hardly paid attention to social or political issues. We were only too happy to be lost in our world of make-believe. You observe children now. You’ll sense anger, and the building of a wall between them and those around.
Yes, this is the time to sincerely sit and introspect. We ought to question if we’re myopic enough to be only interested in our lives as a society—only my lifetime—and not the future. Because if thought leaders of past generations thought so, we wouldn’t have earned freedoms that we enjoy as a fraternity now.
We have to seriously ask ourselves: What kind of society do we want to create? Because a society cannot drift and get created on its own. We are the society. We must evolve it together.

Go to top