The Right Pitch
By Tinky Ningombam
When one markets a product, one first identifies an audience then one creates a voice. The reason a product bombs or becomes a hit depends largely on when, where and how it is marketed. Some people come out with products when the time needs it or some do it before time and incite aspiration. The marketeer tries to talk in a language that gets most mass appeal.
Everyone is a sales(wo)man. We either try to market an idea, we try to market our image or we just try to market our words. It is a question of trade, life as we know it. Sadly, we also market truth. We will not get into the entire argument of absolute truth and its subjectivity here, but let’s deal with the obvious truths, the conscientious kind. Some people sell truths by leading with examples, some people sell lies disguised as truths. Power-play dictates stronger voices to have bigger audiences and hence bigger appeal. The weaker people get conditioned or gets used to being quiet, submissive. This is a thing that we deal with everyday.
I have always been in awe of one thing in the people around me in our state, the fact that we have always found a way to be happy with less. How we were always ok with the numerous bandhs, the midnight curfews, the lack of bare rations. We accepted moral policing, we were quiet when the entire economy was in shambles, we became desperate to pay for jobs that were rightfully ours by merit. And the elephant in the living room: the law & order situation. One can see the divide in society did not come about over-night; we just let ourselves to listen to the sales pitch of a select few with strong voices. We have always bought the lies spun around us either by force or through ignorance. In turn, we have sold lies of our own. Living amongst all the wrongs. Ostracizing people, alienating our own people; those who most probably needed more help. (*Recent case of women meira paibis parading that girl victim in the Moirang case: Forget the question of her being guilty or not, we are talking of legal moral policing.
But this keeps happening; scary part is that it can happen to anyone. Ugly forms of home –truths, just shoved down on people, whether you like it or not.)
Another nonsensical stereotyping: women judging other women by the amount of gold they wear. We seriously do not need the luxury of flaunting unnecessary things! I know with this I have sealed my fate and might have just lost the very few of my female readers. We cannot solve the problem of getting mugged or being bombed in our own house for ransom, do we have the luxury to talk about of who has more money? Women of the house will not let others know of their money pots but will show off their gold, strange logic! One need not pay taxes or pay the electric bill but one has to wear maximum amount of jewellery. Now, people can argue and say that they cannot live with a bleak life or be miserable. One needs to enjoy the little bit that one gets. Point noted. My criticism is not of the people who can afford to flaunt being rich but to those who have to struggle to feed the family yet will go all out to buy a 1 lac worth motorbike for his spoilt kid. What is the average income of a household? Meagre or bare minimum? The cost of living is not dropping any time soon. Who are we kidding? Have we planned to self-sustain this economy? Well easy guess.
And why are we sending our kids to fake colleges for fake degrees just to satisfy one’s ego? Why do people care about driving their fat cars when the oil prices shot up to the heavens? Does everyone have that much money to spare? Are we saying that this is how we lead a “happy” life? These are lifestyle questions one knows and we don’t have any need to interfere in another’s lifestyle, but only as long as it doesn’t come in the way of societal well-being. And no, this is not your birth-right; your rights in a democracy cannot stifle another’s right to a civilized society. How many of us can boast of a self-sustaining community? We depend on other states for food & commodities. We rely for basic needs from neighboring markets. Our transport system & routes keeps getting worse. Businesses cannot sustain themselves properly. Half of our youths are killing themselves, much of the other half are fleeing to other places for better lives. Divorce rates are rising. Substance and drug abuse is at an all time high. What kind of society are we leaving for our next generation?
Engrossed with our basic needs, we went into auto-mode and we forgot what ripples it would create. All of these have been spoken of before by many. But if none of these shout-outs are working maybe it means we are talking to the wrong audience. Maybe our audience is not the one that nods their head in agreement and stays quiet but maybe the ones that we haven’t spoken to and whom we feared will argue back. Sadly for us, we do not have one common enemy which would have made it easier. Different people prioritize different problems. While joblessness might be a problem for one, education can be a problem for another. And that is why we are not getting solutions; because there are so many queries and a single person in particular cannot answer to all at once. How easy would have it been if God was indeed a mortal and we went to him directly to solve all our problems, as least we would know someone who was accountable. Sadly, it is not so.
That said, I believe that we should advocate for the right platforms for dialogue. We should not allow red-tapism. We should make people understand where they stand and arrive at a consensus. If the average common man (woman) lives in complacency, it is upto to each one of us to know of what are rightfully ours and what we are missing out on. There is no point of us talking in thin air if no-one is listening or understands what is being said. Communication and communication alone can clear misconceptions, spread awareness, bring people to a common platform. This is where I wish half of the microphones that were used in elections get used for some good.
(The columnist is celebrating World Heart Day today and wishes everyone happy and healthy hearts. Healthy hearts comes from happy lives and everyone deserves one. )