When my son was a small four-year old boy, he was obsessed with Hanuman. He had learnt Hanuman Chalisa by heart, but most of the times he was busy copying Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnada. Once irritated by the loud noises of Rakshasas, I asked him, exercising great patience, why he was constantly imitating evil people when he was so enamored by the ultimate good spirit, Hanuman.
There came a straight reply without a moment’s loss, “Mamma, because good is so boring! Hanumanji is always singing praises of Rama. I know he kills Asuras, I like him then a lot, but the rest of the time I like Rakshasas. They are so much fun…and they laugh so loudly.” And so he busied himself copying the demons again.
There was meaning in his words which simply silenced me. He was right. Evil is dramatic, evil is fascinating, while being good is so linear and monotonous!
The young lad gave me a completely new perspective. I was a bit shocked and guilty conscious to realize that most of the things I was watching, reading or listening were…well not really ‘good’, the shade of grey always fascinated me.
In our TV serials, most good women are almost always crying while the villain or vamp is having fun. TV serials have an amazing elasticity in them. They can turn an evil character into good and vice versa in a few episodes. But we tend to remember them in their devilish avatar, be it Komolika, Ammaji or Maa sa.
There has been evil for as long as we have had good, but the evil was never so glamorized. The world around us glorifies it, be it advertising, films, TV serials or literature, all we see is that the bad ones are having fun and the good are suffering. True, in the end, the good wins and the bad perishes, but who is waiting for the end, dude! Everyone in fact dies in the end. The most fascinating is what happens in the middle!
So, despite the fact that Lord Rama was an avatar, and Lord Krishna was an avatar too, despite the fact that films end in the victory of good over evil, and the TV serials never end, the truth remains that all the villains in the story have gala time in their life, and all good people suffer. Doesn’t that somehow justify all the corruption we indulge in from the lowest to the highest level? The question of ultimate importance in our life is no more whether we remain good or not. The question is whether we survive and become successful or not. And who wants to be a loser after all?
Perhaps we need to rethink and restructure the way we are conveying our values to the masses, perhaps our society is reaching a level where being good is no consideration, being successful is. Perhaps my son and his generation will be people living and surviving in the grey shades of life than thinking of being good. Perhaps for people like me, being a loser amidst all the glamour of being successful, will always be fascinating.
(Pragati Saxena is an Assistant Professor at the Amity School of Communication. Views expressed here are her personal.)