Happy NUDE year.

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The Indian male is a funny species. A dichotomy of mind-boggling proportions.

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Today I was informed by my gym that 15 or so members had signed a petition to have my membership rescinded from the gym. My fault; walking around naked in the gym.

No- not in the exercise area—in the men’s changing room.

“Wait, what?” I shook my head in disbelief. “Of-course I’ll be naked when I shower.”

“Yes but you have to wrap yo’ ‘tings when you walk around.” He pointed at my crotch.

“Yes, but there‘s no posted rule, although I?ll certainly comply with the sensibility of other gym-mates.”

 

As I started my warm-up today, I reflected on my issues with nudity. I have a huge problem walking around in the buff unless I have to- but that only happens in front of women. With the guys, I don’t really care- well I grew up in boarding schools where we have community bathrooms.

But the average Indian male is a dilemma.

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At a mind-numbing population of 1.25 billion people we certainly are comfortable being nude and having sex—in-fact seems like we are quite good at it.

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So we are nude all the time—but we just don’t want to be seen naked.

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There’s no nudity in our movies but when a director pulls of the coup of getting nudity cleared from our censor board, we throng to the theaters to see that nudity.

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But we are uncomfortable with nudity.

How does that work??

When we were kids and we were caught naked, all our cousins would sing- “Shame shame, puppy shame. All the girls know your name.”

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Such was the shame associated with nudity—and somewhere it stuck in my mind. I’ve never been comfortable in the nude.

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Years of trying to move forward took a huge hit today. I recede back into a shell which coddles me. I am very very comfortable in that spot.

But a progressive part of my mind urges me to stay naked and be comfortable with it… so I will live to fight another day—just not at my gym.

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WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

Delhi’s air is wretched. My city’s air is getting horrible too.

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Almost 10,500 people die each year prematurely in Delhi owing to the omnipresent smog that has encapsulated the city for more than a decade now. The Particulate matter levels in Delhi are above 3 times the danger limit.

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So when the Delhi government tried to implement an odd even formula for private vehicles (Allowing cars on the Delhi roads on alternate days only) the whole region went up in arms about the ‘inconvenience’ it would cause them (safety/business/recreational- etc etc; the laundry list is endless).

The issue is that we all talk a big game. But when it comes to actions and doing something to help there is just one question we need an answer for – WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?

This is the one question any NGO, Revolutionary, Activist (animal or environmental), 501 3C, Rescue group etc have a very hard time answering.

We expect people to change because of the lecture we are so handily giving them while they are just thinking the same thing-

-What the heck is in it for me?

-Why should I change?

-Why should I listen to this buffoon who thinks he knows more than I do?

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We will crib about it but won’t act.

-We will say no to plastic until we need a drink of water/soda or a pack of potato chips.

-We will not carpool because it’s not convenient.

-We will detest animal cruelty but we will continue to eat animals for variety/flavor.

-We will cry about an unsafe city but we won’t stop to help a person in need.

-We will clean up our house/shops and leave the trash by the roadside.

-We will wait for our city’s air to be as horrible as Delhi before we act.

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We all change because of fear.

-Fear of the law.

-Fear of personal loss.

-Fear of someone else gaining more than us.

-Fear for OUR loved ones.

There is JUST ONE other alternative; Negativity out, Positivity in.

  • Show them what is in it for them. A better life, more involvement. Add personal stakes to education.
  • The ONLY hope is our future generation. So let’s make such things a part of their curriculum and not just lectures/seminars.
  • Grade them on it. Give them prizes and rewards for such work (much like sports and studies).

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Over decades we’ve been making the same inputs and expecting different outcomes. That is the definition of insanity.

It’s time to answer that one question; even for the children.

WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?