Bad to the bone
By Tinky Ningombam
The “I used to be a bad boy” image is the most sought after by contemporary wannabes. Kids fall in line to set up the mysterious image and make a mark in the hall of bad-ness. Teenagers especially go through these soul-searching phenomena. Girls go gaga, media loves the scoop, people love the gossip.
One thing I learnt really early was that we cannot always be the good Samaritan. Notwithstanding the inherent superficiality that humankind need to exercise to survive, being good has always been taken as an excuse for being available to be exploited on all occasions, be it in the times of help or as scapegoats. The entire city-life is based on ways of not to be the “dumb” do-gooder.
First of all, the attempt of a good so-and-so guy is to please everyone. This includes running errands to just saying yes, he becomes too accommodating. Friends start taking them for granted in a poll vote, as he becomes the quintessential “Yes-man”. In time, he becomes a push-over and the invisible.
Okay before any misconceptions on this topic, let me reiterate the basics of this observation. The metaphorical good person is one that always keeps other people’s wishes before himself, sacrifices all his time for the well being of the ones he knows and even strangers that need help, these are those buggers who will work overtime, do his friends’ extra-homework, always talk good about everyone, never bad-mouthing the most meanest boss and is so gooey good that it becomes incredibly impossible for someone to believe if he is actually a human being. Considering that it is an almost extinct breed, we are now witnessing people who fake this goodness to gain something or people who have given up and have become dictates of life’s connivers.
And I have never met anyone without a bad bone in them, however miniscule or fractured it is. But absolute goodness is something that I have only thought of, but never seen. Goodness has always been measured in relativity and is subjective towards one person or thing to the other.
But I also believe that a little bad is always a nice feeling to carry around. People always have the inner devil which prompts them to be mean to someone, conspire a small revenge, trample on the neighbours’ better looking flower beds. The bad side takes much more of the goodness to suppress. And funnily so. Many a sleepless nights have been spent by young girls being sad and jealous of who gets more attention in school. Or by the braniac who scores less than his friends.
‘The human brain always gives the two options, the one in which we think of what people might say if we did something bad or the one which says that it doesn’t matter. And most of the time, it’s the later one that wins.
I have had a lot of experience where I have struggled to be good, at times when there are annoying friends who call for help and I think twice before actually doing it or while trying to tell someone that I am happy on their behalf when I might not actually be.
I think more than human goodness and niceties, this has more to do with societal etiquettes, especially the ones that tell us that if we spoke out loud whatever we thought in our heads, we wouldn’t have any friends or family. But ask if all good guys have only good thoughts? That, we shouldn’t be so sure of.
Bad guys for that matter do not have anything to lose. If they are mean to people, people take it as part of their personality, if they get bashed up, they get more famous, if they do some good, they get applauded. It’s a win-win situation for them. The hypothetical popularity chart is defined by people as these. Somewhere in the heart of our hearts, there is an urge to have a dark side, to be the brooding and mysterious anti-hero that people gossip in closed rooms.
And adulthood seems to favor the baddie; today’s society has almost erased the definition of what is bad and good. The money-minded, the conspiring and the conniving elements in the neighbourhood are lauded as smart and enterprising. And the once-good lots are jealous of the luxury these guys enjoy. Wondering if they themselves had not stuck to the good image maybe life could have been different and maybe not be so worried to break it now. Because breaking a good image that one has built is the hardest part but once that is over, the rest is easy.
(Just saw the big headline with Mr. Chidambaram’s TV interviews “The Super-rich cannot get away.” Too much Gotham City inspired India is becoming. Where is Bane anyway? )