Tuesday, September 23, 2014

K-Man - the rise of the bland super hero!


"When she isn't writing about her dogs, her blog focuses mainly on her husband...who she is utterly besotted with", said a friend, while describing my blog to someone else.  I laughed when I overheard this.  It sounds so sappy to be 'besotted'! But I realise my blog does give that impression. Don't get me wrong, it's not that he isn't 'besottable', but I am also well aware of Sid's many flaws. My 'besotted-ness' is balanced out considerably by my short temper being unleashed on him regularly for his many irritating qualities. My focus on Sid stems from him being such great inspiration - his silliness, his sense of humour, the stupid things he does, his elaborate plans, his absolute devotedness to our dogs, his inclusive nature, etc etc. But most of all it is one quality that stands out for me...his kindness.

While writing that I am stifling a giggle...it sounds so bland and unexciting. There are no superheroes or mutant X-men who's superpower is kindness ( it may be a part of who they are) but there isn't that one hero who is clad in a soft gold body suit, with baby-pink inner wear on the outside, radiating goodness, helping mankind with kind words or woolly blankets in the cold, or who just holds one's hand when the world feels like it's over.  When I mentioned it to Sid, he was horrified. 'Bubz, don't do it. This is social suicide for me...my friends will think I'm a frilly idiot. And the women...oh no, the women! They never go for the kind sweet boys...can't you love me for something more macho?" I offered some helpful suggestions, "your love for chick flicks...Ms Congeniality...ummm your 'supportiveness' in coming along with me to a spa to 'keep me company'...your fearlessness in standing up for liking even what may seem rather un-macho, like Air Supply!' He looked utterly depressed, "I could go on", I suggested, but with a wave of his hand he signaled the end to
suggestion hour and covered his face . "I'll live with kindness...it's a wonder that I've not been eaten alive by bullies and been socially ostracised after your description of my likes and dislikes".

Not that kindness is uncommon, there just isn't enough of it - it's so underrated. The influence comes
mainly from people around you and unfortunately though I see some stunning examples, there just seems so little.  I am astounded when I see children ordering the help around without a word of thanks or being cruel to the weaker kids. I feel like slapping anyone who screams in fear when they see a dog coming towards them or poke and tease animals if they are in a cage or tied (or free for that matter). I hate bullies as much as I hate SMS language. All this stems from ignorance and an inability to understand or accept 'otherness'.  There is very little stress on raising little people to be kind.  Smart, yes; ambitious - yes; make pots of money - yes. All noble goals, but compassion and understanding of others - and I mean 'others' in a really broad sense -  the victims of intolerance and cruelty could be women, could be men, could be old people, could be the help, could be waiters, could be animals - just others. Kindness and compassion can make the world go round too, but it's so un-macho, so not-high-on-the-agenda...such short sightedness, such narrow vision infuriates me. I don't pretend to be the kindest person on the planet, and neither is Sid, but he has definitely helped me think more about it.

Of course with Sid most things also backfire spectacularly. We were in the car one evening driving back home, when a car careened wildly in front of us and swerved towards the curb where a cycle rickshaw was standing with a lady and two young children seated within it. As the car hit the rickshaw, one of the children slipped through the bars and fell below on the road, while everyone else wobbled a bit but fortunately the driver managed to quickly steer away to avoid causing more damage. We stopped, as did the offending car, but we were closer and rushed over to the rickshaw. The child on the road looked alright, quiet in shock, while the concerned mother yelled in fright.  I asked her if we could help and Sid helpfully chimed in, 'Ma'am can we take you to the hospital?' She was obviously preoccupied examining her child so he repeated his offer, 'Ma'am maybe it's better if we get you to a hospital quickly so your son can see the doctor.' She shrieked in response, 'Arrey, leh jaana toh padega, baar baar kya pooch raha hai" and smacked him in frustration with her handbag. Despite the seriousness of the situation I wanted to laugh looking at Sid's shocked expression, but he was spared from further assault and battery when the offending driver made an appearance and the lady directed her anger towards him.

So yes, kindness will go unappreciated and backfire at times; it would be unlikely to show up in a matrimonial ad ('A kind, yet fair, partner needed for MBA graduate - caste no bar'!), and it does sound rather unexciting.  But children (and adults) need to be exposed to 'others', to learn tolerance and acceptance and respect - kindness has many layers.  In an ideal world this quality would not be an exception.  Until then I hope we get some fuzzy superhero movies - a soft gold body suit and baby pink under-outer wear may sound insipid as far as superhero costumes go, but it isn't such a bad thing - maybe Sid will agree to let me make a video as a start!

2 comments:

Susan Dhavle said...

Commendable piece, Reem. And you write very well.

Shona said...

I was feeling very tired and so logged on to Facebook . Saw Shaheen's note and thought of checking ReemSpeak and am so glad I did. It was fun reading the article. Loved it and am waiting for more to come.