If someone scrolls down my blog and sees the flash banner, they’d instantly know that I’m all for freedom of speech. If they’ve read my blogs, there too, I’m quite frank in my opinions, to the point of being blunt and at times ruthless as well ~ because, I feel it is okay to speak out on things that matters or to make a change. If someone sees the tweet I’ve pinned in my twitter profile, there again this fact is re-iterated. Was I always like this? No!
I was very timid as a child, a typical introvert. I had seen disturbances in my family that people won’t be comfortable talking about openly, in general. My mother suffered a lot as she brought us up almost single-handedly, inspite of us having a father who rarely contributed or was even present in the house. How I wished that despite being a working woman and standing on her own feet – my mother had the voice or courage too to speak out against the injustice she was going through. She sometimes feebly dared, but since it fell on deaf-ears, she'd go back to suffering alone. I had seen relatives around me as well, who had similar problems. I know there are many others who suffer silently.
On a lighter note, sharing another incident where I did speak out eventually ( although indirectly ). I was in my 10th. My class-teacher wasn't giving me my report-card, until she met my parents which she had been demanding for months. Since, my mother used to be in office and there was no question of inviting my father, I just kept skipping it. But with 10th Preliminary exams close, my teacher became adamant too. Ultimately, I did have to bring my mother to school one day. "Mrs. Deka," my teacher began, "ND is a charming and very intelligent girl. She is creative, very active in extra-curricular activities and quite popular in school. Its all very good. She gets very good marks in all subjects but....," she paused, shaking the report card in her hands, "all, but Maths! Due to good marks in other subjects, she had been promoted in trial, last year; but I'm afraid in SSC she has to buck up, else....," her voice trailed off. So, the issue was, in Mathematics I was horrible. Both my mother and teacher plotted and planned for almost an hour to get me a private tutor, while I waited outside. Tutor??! I dreaded that, as I hated tuition classes and that too at home. YIKES! I thought.
After that meeting, my mother got busy hunting for a tuition teacher. I refused to study under my sister's old tutor, hence, on being told of a math tuition teacher required, he sent another friend of his. Reluctantly, I agreed and the teacher started coming.
They say ~ 'first impression is the last impression'. The first thing the teacher did after he settled comfortably in one chair, in front of my study-desk right in front of me, was take his hand up till it hovered in front of his face for a while and then to my utter horror, slid his long finger deep... right into his nose and started digging the mucus-debris out of it. I sat frozen, barely listening to what he was saying. My full attention was on this horrifying act of his. I was like Y-U-C-K. But that was only the beginning, the real horror was yet to start. He then took my notebook and asked me for my pen. I saw his 'parker', peeking out from his pocket. But, holy-mother-of-God he was asking mine; that too, after excavating his nose. I thought not to be rude at him and silently gave my poor pen to him. He wrote some problem and asked me to solve it, handing back the pen to me again! That pen was swimming with all the muck he had dugged out of his nose. I didn't want to touch it no way. But as he prompted me again, I had no choice but to. That night I must've washed my hands with soap hundreds of times.
The next day, I thought I'd be clever and brought two pens with me during the tuition class. I kept the one meant for him, near his place. But holy-mother-of-God again, he just brushed it aside and asked me the pen I was holding. If you think he didn't touch his nose that day, you're wrong! His fingers went deeper, much to my disgust. And yes, that day I washed my hands probably thousands of times. Meanwhile, I gathered courage and told my mother what the issue was.
When he came again, I refused to sit for class. My mother tried to coax me, but I simply wouldn't budge. The teacher then asked what was wrong. My mother was reluctant to tell him the real reason, but I was like 'tell him-tell him'. Alas, my mother said, whatever I had told her about his nature of constantly digging his nose. Once told, I guess, it made him realize that this habit was not just dirty but very annoying too. Imagine the trauma he had put me through, making me touch that pen which I threw away later. Before he left, he told me I could've said it to him the first day itself. Sigh...maybe I should've. But anyways, I still managed to get the message through to him via my mother. Phew! Like they say about first impression, this incident was perfect for me to get rid of the tuition teacher forever. What a relief! Yes, once you speak up ( even though indirectly in my case ), you stop suffering! Never keep thoughts bottled-up, express it speak it!
AbMontuBolega is an interactive website that nudges people to speak up rather than stay silent, on issues of importance. It is clever marketing by the company where it uses the brand subtly and also brings focus to issues by giving voice to people, using the hashtag #AbMontuBolega. India has diverse range of issues, some highlighted in the new Strepsils commercial as well - featuring the protagonist 'Montu' regarding education, safety for women, suppression of freedom of expression, infrastructure etc and young net-savvy India will definitely have more to opine. In the website too Montu is there, with a loud-speaker, with his opinions as well as popular opinions. Montu interacts by communicating with some clicks on the icons. One can tweet from the website, their issues and concerns, that will automatically include the hashtag too. The trending topics on social media will definitely get more attention with the hashtag #AbMontuBolega. One can only hope along with enabling people in voicing or speaking up, the brand also manages to bring about real change in the society as well. I had a hard time in loading the website at first, but glad, it finally did :-)
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