"In Facebook we are lucky. We have the like button to say that I like it. But in life, we are under huge trouble. Since, no word could match the way we feel when we like someone."---Anu
I never believed it. But I have to tell you how drastic the change in my view was. After meeting the girl I met in my town I started believing in it. Nothing serious: I never once believed ‘liking’ someone, something, etc. could be propagandist. No, it certainly and seriously should not be.
Being a propagandist myself, I can inform you what propaganda really means. Well, don’t misunderstand me. Propaganda is a word usually used with politics and people associated with politics. I am no politician. I am teacher. And believe me, teachers too can have propagandas. Not political, though. But there are teachers with political desires under cover. And I never intend to be one of them, frankly. Being a teacher, I have my own propagandas. Like, a good student is someone who behaves well to teachers inside the class room and outside. He or she must read all the books prescribed as the course material. The questions he or she asks should strictly fall within the course structure. Using mobile phones is harmful to health and they should understand it and abide by it under any circumstances. (They should not question teachers even if they are spotted using one.) Finally, they should always strive to be a good student. I preach this as some mantra
My propagandas exceed this, but I limit them unto this. The reason, again, is propaganda. Another one: the reader will lose interest in reading this passage. The rest of the passage is really important. In fact, we did not even discuss the primary matter yet. ‘Likes’ and ‘dislikes’, indeed, are not motivated by propagandas. Or that was what I had thought. My students ‘like’ to chatter in the class. They also ‘like’ to call me their best teacher (secretively, though). And in some curious occasions, they ‘like’ do this weird thing; to bunk the class. An angel in the back of my head used to tell me, ‘you try your best, and yet they don’t think you are worth listening. Why can’t you stop?’ And I never listen.
It was a public strike day. At my home, honey ran out accidentally. It was actually spilt. Mr. Stranger, the rat, the night before. So the first job of the morning was to go to the town to get the early morning shop, to get some honey. And I was chosen for that job. How important honey is for a middle class Keralite family is senselessly clear. Honey is not part of the daily diet of the family. There is every chance that without honey one can survive even a whole life time, here. No one even cares about it in the actual life, or ordinary life, except during the festive sales and exhibitions conducted by the IHRD or the state handloom union, where they sell some really good quality honey, directly obtained from nature. The need of honey in my house was actually motivated by the Ayurvedic-come-astrology guru in the telly. He advises, and mother listens to his advices carefully, that a bottle of honey in your home can keep the positive energy surveying your building constant. You will prosper, as a result.
And for the hypothetical prosperity of my home, I went for the exclusive utilitarian morning walk. A couple of shops were opened for the early morning business that was the specialty of these strike days. There might be someone with some emergency. The shop had just opened as I reached. There was one more person I knew, apart from the shopkeeper. She was my colleague in the college I teach. I knew her house was in the same town, but never intended to cross her, as a result of the fear of losing my precious privacy. But there was something I must tell you. I had seen her there in the town at a distance, and smiled at her. She too had seen me. It was, therefore no surprise for both of us to find each other there.
She got her purchase and was waiting for me to finish mine. I had my Honeybee and I looked and surprised to find her waiting for me. She had to take a different turn of the road. So I was relived. It would just be a good bye anyway. I said something, but my throat was not prepared and the voice did not come out. “Are you apolitical?” She asked suddenly. “Me what?” I asked back in bewilderment. What is there to be so political so early this morning? It is almost 6 am. By the next half an hour the strikers would come and make the entire shoppers close down and people go home. Yes, indeed that was political. It was not she who was being out of place. If at all there was something incongruous that was me and my big ignorance. I decided to do it. There was no way, even if I liked otherwise. I picked it up.
“Are you a political person? Then what do you think about this whole day strike, known as Hartal?” She took a little time to answer. It seemed she was serious all of a sudden. Her expressions changed, the same way I found almost all of the people in and around Kannur change their expressions when asked about their political views. And surprisingly enough, they all say the same answers. “Yes, I do. We are all Communists; generations of my family are. And strikes are all part of democracy, what do you say?”
“But you are a teacher, and you know what loss such strikes cause to the people, young and old alike, to business, to the economy…”
“I… I know…” She looked down and suddenly looked up straight into my eyes. I felt a bit uneasy. Was that an attack? “I told you. This is a strike called by the Party. And I support it as my family does. So eventually, I like the strike too.” her expression was mixed. I read a little contempt and a lot of determination. Sometimes, what we like is what people want us to like. As they say propaganda decides likes and dislikes. May be or may be not. The story goes like this, I went back home with my Honeybee, and she took her road as well. Soon the people of the Party, whom I call “strikers” (a nick name for convenience) came and closed down the shops.