In Bad Books?

The best kind of teacher, they say, is not one who gives you the answers, but shows you how to find them on your own. This is quite true. It invokes the curiosity to explore and not have them handed to us on a silver platter. Quite a few of my teachers were such, and when in college, a teacher asked me to read, understand and take class for a couple of chapters in a semester, I too followed a similar style of teaching that I felt to be very satisfying. But let me not beat around the bush here. I am not going to talk of teaching, but of society.

Every life is affected by society. But in what way?

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Everyone has an opinion on everything, even if their knowledge on the subject is less than 0.1%. It is more prominent these days when that opinion is voiced with 101% confidence on social networks, as if they are the foremost authority on that subject. That’s just for the subjects that are prominent in society and media. It gets attention, but we’re far more affected by the opinions of society on smaller things in our life. You’re seen in a restaurant having lunch with a friend on a weekday, and society pokes its nose and wonders why you are not at office slaving away, trading your talent for money. It opens its mouth and whispers into the ear of a loved one and asks why they let it happen. After all, the high and mighty ‘society’ didn’t do it that way, so when we live our life in a different way, it feels dismayed and when it sees that we are not conforming to its whims and fancies, it goes to someone who it knows has, at one time, danced to its tune and changed. And yes, that someone will play the devil’s advocate on society’s behalf and apply pressure from a position we, at times, find difficult to withstand.

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It’s like a teacher who not only gives you the answer, but tells you there is one and only one way to solve the question and find the answer. If the answer is four, it has to 3+1 and not 2+2, 1+3 or even 0+4. Conforming to that one way stops not only the freedom to experiment, interchange steps and arrive at the answer, but also the curiosity and the eagerness to ask questions about how the answer was arrived at. Rather than allow us to think differently, society tries to cut our thoughts and shape them and stuff them into the box they have been taught to.

Barking mad, I agree, but that’s what I’ve experienced society to be. And seen those around me try to push me into the same path that society wanted me to follow. I admit, long back when I was naive enough to not understand its ways, I changed to fit into that way, but I started to fight against the box after a while, the creativity that had been struggling to break free finally doing so. And that fight is another thing that is never accepted. The pressure is intense these days, and I wonder, how long can one withstand that pressure and stay away from society which runs behind us trying to change our uniqueness?

Life is no bed of roses, but it’s this pressure, this intense pressure to be part of the crowd and not different, that makes me think life is all about the thorns than the petals.

What way lies ahead… to conform and be accepted, or break free, be myself and be labeled a misfit in society’s bad books?

I know what I’d choose, but what would you?

Written as part of B-A-R Wordy Wednesdays which asks to use a phrase with B (in Bad Books, Beat Around The Bush etc.) as inspiration.

(© 13th January 2016)


Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

20 thoughts on “In Bad Books?”

  1. It’s sad. But we are brought up in a society where being different is simply labelled as ‘weird’. And yes, everyone seems to have an opinion on everything nowadays, even if they have no idea what they are saying! Something that’s noticeable with the surge of social media.

    As for me, I will always listen to my heart and face the consequences rather than suffer silently.
    (Aathira recently posted… Crimson Red)My Profile

    • Yes. I agree. Even the smallest of differences is enough to bring that label, and the question, “Why can’t you be like so&so?” which irks me more. And social media, yes, brings a lot of armchair opinions on anything that’s under the sky. It’s perhaps agreeable if the opinion is a proper one, but people share and debate anything without knowing, and that twists things more at times, I feel.

      I know you would listen to your heart, Aathira. 🙂 You’re a fellow non-conformist. Absolutely!
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… In Bad Books?)My Profile

  2. Yes, the world sure is filled with an overwhelming majority of Know-it-alls! The dilemma to be happy non-conformist (and probably a social misfit) or its contrary is one’s personal preference indeed!

    • Yeah, I guess it is a personal preference, and sometimes we have to. To do something because society says us it is our calling feels strange though. 🙂 Thank you for dropping by, Kala. 😀
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… In Bad Books?)My Profile

  3. I chose my way against the society’s rules about 15 years ago. I became a software engineer only to get into a marketing job. Sheer waste of time, money and takent. And that was just the beginning. Every single decision of my life has been against rules laid out by various groups in the society. It hurt when I was being blamed, cursed or accused. But all in all, I don’t regret any one of them. I m happy and have managed to make everyone proud of my decisions. I no more care about what other people’s perspective about me is. If you know in your heart that you are not committing a sin and you will be happy that way, I believe you should go ahead without any kind of doubt. Being in other’s bad books is better than leading a suffocating life. Isn’t it?
    (Rekha recently posted… My Fears As A Mother)My Profile

    • Glad that your non conformity led to what you knew to be happiness, Rex. 🙂 I think I’ve almost reached that point too, where the other’s perspective doesn’t matter to me. I like the thought, and I intend to follow it. I do know in my heart that what I am doing is not a sin, and that it brings me joy. It’s much much better than a suffocating life, I agree. Thank you.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… In Bad Books?)My Profile

  4. I somehow feel that I just don’t care what the so-called society thinks. People may name me a rebel or weird. But that’s just how they feel. I know who I am, may be a couple of others too. As far as I am concerned, that is enough. 🙂

    • Yes. If we know who we want to be, and that it’s not wrong being that person, and there are few who will support us, it’s enough to just go ahead and be that person. That support makes a whole lot of difference in the end, alle Tomato?
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… In Bad Books?)My Profile

  5. As a child, I followed every instruction by the teacher and family to the T without ever questioning. But things started to change the day I left home to study in a professional college. That was when I learnt to question everything around, weigh it and do as I deemed correct.
    Ever since, breaking stereotypes has become a habit for me. It is a sad state of affairs, because our society is too busy to pay heed to changing times but at the same time, too idle to poke its nose in everyone’s affairs.
    You’ve portrayed the social scene wonderfully 🙂

    • Yeah. I started defying the norms when I was in college too; till then I went along with it. Society always has time to interfere everywhere.

      Glad you felt I portrayed the scene wonderfully. Thank you, My Era.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… Breaking doubts…)My Profile

    • Yep. Society is BS, absolutely, that’s what it feels like at times, especially when it tries to strangle us.

      It pushes me to rebel further actually, when the rules and the norms make no sense! Thank you, Sreedeep.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… Wanderlust)My Profile

  6. I just told you that I stopped writing because people think I am an idiot to share my personal experiences, then they think my poems are just broken sentences, stake one sentence over another and make it look like a poem. I am not Shakespeare or Robert Frost for God’s sake! I have an uncle, very forward in thinking, he always tells me do what I think is right and don’t care about what others think because if I ask the opinion of a 100 people I will be confused with a 100 different opinions and I will be finally lost.

    I agree with what you say! Screw these people. Coincidentally, I am reading the book by Anne Frank where she talks something similar to this topic. Apparently, the girl had the same issue, cannot be herself and gets blamed for being herself 🙂

    • The Diary of a Young Girl is a very beautiful book, though it is the most tragic. And she was wise beyond her years!

      Yes, agree with your uncle, Gayu. Too many opinions spoil our peace of mind, and glad that you’re writing your poetry.

      I personally find it quite beautiful, and heartfelt, and for me, that’s lovely poetry, when it is written like that. 😀
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… Breaking doubts…)My Profile

  7. She is “an Old soul trapped inside the body of a child” 🙂 Yes, very tragic. But I must tell you I have read more tragic books. The kite runner? I couldn’t recover from that book for days! It is so hard to believe what a bad world it is beyond our boundaries and the people we are close to.

    About my poetry, thanks a bunch!! hugs 🙂
    (Gayathri recently posted… Our New Addiction)My Profile

    • Ah. Yes. I agree. Even A Thousand Splendid Suns was tragic & traumatic, but that was fiction, where as The Diary of a Young Girl isn’t. So a small difference there, I feel. And most welcome about my thoughts on your poetry, Gayu. 🙂
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… Breaking doubts…)My Profile

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