Boasting & Posting!

The most glaring eye opener through all of this has been the immense privilege I enjoy and the amazing blinkers that so many I know wear about that very privilege.

My luck or good fortune is up close and personal now. I can’t un-see it even if I wanted to and I often wonder how so many others don’t seem to see it! Their lack of introspection is as astounding as it is troubling. The flooding of my social media timeline of people posting pictures of themselves doing simple domestic tasks ( And making that task akin to scaling a mountain or discovering the cure for cancer ! The elation level seems to be disproportionate to the complexity or difficulty of the task at hand !!) and endlessly complaining about not having their “Servants”

What is it about us that makes us revel in broadcasting our ineptitude at basic survival skills?
But having said that first let’s just pause a minute and look at that word “Servants” That’s a horrible word to describe people who work in your house day after day. The number of even so called enlightened people who use that cringe worthy word is truly mind boggling. This archaic all encompassing word to talk about people who do specific tasks. A word that’s reminiscent of slaves and ownership. A word that has its twisted roots both in Colonisation and in the caste system. Why isn’t the person a cook or a cleaning lady or a house manager or a nanny? Why is it so hard for you to describe them by the service they do or call them domestic workers or your staff?There is technically nothing wrong with the word as per the dictionary but there’s nothing right about it either. It’s just plain crass, insensitive & downright disrespectful to people who you trust your kids with, who cook the food that you live on, who do so many tasks that make your life heavenly and so damn easy. I know that neither you nor I are responsible for their circumstances. Circumstances that force them to leave their homes and loved ones and live with you. It’s a a twist of fate that put them there and us here, but I think the least we can do is to address them, refer to them & treat them with respect. It’s not just enough that you pay them, respect and love is a huge part of the human need. So desist, expunge and delete that word from your mind, heart and tongue.

Now having said that, back to privilege. Ok your staff isn’t there. We get it. What I don’t get is what makes you think that not having basic life skills is something to take pride in and something that you need to publish over all your social media and to anyone who cares to listen. Its totally possible that thanks to one’s privilege (many a time as I said before it’s just a twist of fate) you never needed to learn those skills and that’s sort of but not totally understandable but that’s not the point. Here’s the thing.. it’s not something to boast about that you have now learnt how to sweep or wash dishes or load the washing machine or cook a meal to feed yourself. That’s something you should know and if you don’t know it keep your voice down and go google it and learn it. And go about it quietly because trust me not knowing it is not what’s making you look foolish.. it’s bragging about it and being unaware that the boasting and the posting is a sign that you desperately need to check your privilege!

Privilege privilege,how it makes us all so blind in a way. We just become so used to so much, so very much that we have forgotten how to distinguish between real hardship and perceived hardship. It all feels so real to us. Our pain and hardships are real. From the smaller more mundane hardships like not being able meet our friends or go out for dinner or Nature’s basket being closed to bigger problems of being worried about our businesses & the future. We feel sorry for our kids cooped up in our 3 bedroom plus apartments, so lonely with multiple entertainment options and online schools and meals that fill them up and ACs to beat the summer heat! But the thing is that I am not suggesting that the problems of the privileged aren’t real because they are. They are real, but we have to put it in perspective. Are our or our kids’ pain & hardship really as real? I guess I don’t know! Maybe the only real pain right now is the fear. That fear is real as real for the privileged as it is for the “have nots”. But the glaring difference & something we really need to understand is that our fear is cushioned whether we like it or not. Cushioned by our privilege, the safety of home, the bank account & the power of that privilege that will get us into the hospital or get us the test or just get us more than what the others don’t have. It’s the difference between the powerful and the powerless. For the powerless it’s in an unimaginable fear of not just the now but their very survival. It is a paralysing fear that we can’t even begin to comprehend. It’s a fear of never being able to get up from this.. I’ll be the first to say that yes its a horrible and really frightening time for many of us but for the have nots it’s an apocalypse. Make no mistake about that. It’s an abyss from which most will never ever climb out.

So next time you post about how you washed dishes for the first time or crib on your Whattsapp group about not being able to go to Izumi or how you’re missing your gym… think once again. Check your privilege and check it again and again and again……

21 thoughts on “Boasting & Posting!

  1. Agree with you whole heartedly. The lack of awareness of one’s own privilege among “people like us’ is just shocking. Keep writing ! Cheers

  2. Beautifully written Sagari ! It is so hard to believe that people use the word servant in this day and age. We are all very lucky to have a roof over our head and food on our tables unlike the so many homeless you have in India and here in the U.S.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Keep writing !

  3. I just read few lines and i totally agree .Why Servants? We can always adress them as House-help.Respect everyone deserves.

  4. I so agree with you Sagari…well said…I too cringe at the word servant..well written..👏👏

  5. Sagari your ‘baby step’ is a giant leap of truth – as you showed the society around us a mirror. I agree with all you have written. Each word. I felt the same & just kept it inside as I seethed..but you penned it better than I ever could. Make this your new vocation!

  6. Sagari Nayak… this article is so well written and describes the current state of mind of so many people who really don’t realise what is happening out there except for their beautiful meals and miserable lives. I guess we all have our days and moments but thank you for helping us to keep gratitude and empathy right on the top. Waiting for more of these. 👏

  7. Privilege, to acknowledge it so plainly and to openly call out those who don’t. To call out those who go tom tomming about winging basic survival skills and although we all go through the same fear, privilege is certainly a massive cusion through it all.

    Very few call out their own privilege and fewer call out people in their circles. You’re a rare gem… this was a blunt, honest and important rant. We all need to read this.

  8. Thank you for writing this and thank you for sharing it

    So many people I know who are doing exactly what u have written – and it is so damn infuriating – thank u for calling them all out

  9. Sagari, you have put across my thoughts so bluntly… When I see those food posts by some insensitive people and at the same time see the underprivileged citizens walking miles bare feet under the scorching sun, my blood boils.

  10. Very well written, Sag. We “haves” have never acknowledged the existence of ” have-nots” , happy to turn a blind eye.
    And yes. “Servents” is disgusting.
    I would have thought this situation would get people to introspect and selfcorect

  11. I have been having similar thoughts but could never put them across so so well. It’s like you’re reading my mind. Thankful to the universe for connecting me to you and so many friends who also think like this and teach me everyday to be grateful for all that we have and in a way are blessed and lucky to have.

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