Some ominous short-cuts

Promiti Prova Chowdhury
Wednesday, May 16th, 2018


Image: Pxhere

 

“Why hurry over beautiful things? Why not linger and enjoy them?”

 

Very recently, I completed a course on acting at a renowned theatre school in Dhaka. I joined the one-year course with a motive to regain “myself” that was bogged down with depression and anxiety triggered by multiple factors. As days passed, I started to pat myself for making the right choice. However, about six months later, an SMS arrived saying that the authorities suspended the course as the attendance was growing thinner and the regular students will be summoned in due time.

 

A few months later, the authorities called up and said a new batch has arrived for a six months course and we, the previous batch, can join them to finish ours. At the orientation programme, the principal said the duration of the course, which stepped into its 28th year this year, was cut down to half because people these days are not willing to learn throughout a year, rather they are looking for short-cuts to be screened on television.

 

There is nothing wrong in wishing to be a celebrity overnight. Who doesn’t dream and we actually have little control over our desires. Sure! But, “Why hurry over beautiful things? Why not linger and enjoy them?” (Clara Schumann, German musician).

 

The internet is swarmed with articles catering 7-step plans to lose pounds in just a week. Now, it even has courses that one can purchase online to find their true love in 27 days.

 

We also have short-cut ways to find out whether our partner is really into us or not. Remember the headlines that pop up every now and then on our newsfeed? Seven signs that s/he’s not just that into you, or, seven signs that s/he’s totally into you! It will also display points that you can check out quickly to find out whether you are a terrible toxic parent or your parenting skills are out of this world.

 

Looking for short-cuts not only deprives us from the sheer joy of learning, but also leaves us with sh*t focus, observation and concentration.

 

During my childhood, I used to hear sounds of my mother tearing papers while writing letters to her brother late at night. She wanted the letters to be flawless, have no spelling errors or overwriting. Most importantly, she would draft them over and over to make sure that the letter carries the genuineness of her greetings, messages, queries and overall love and affection.

 

Basically, she wanted to be understood. We all do. That’s the main objective of communication. But how many times have you felt content and fully at peace in your head after writing an apology to someone in a text message or in worst case, in Facebook messenger with a sad emoji? When we hurriedly write ‘tc’ (take care) to someone in a chat box and shift to another where a completely different thread of conversation is flowing, do we really show concern for the person? Do we or the person receiving the message really care?

 

We express our grief with crying emojis. We seek/need help. We give out virtual hugs. But the receiver may find out the message 24 hours later and reply with an “Oh!” Apps and e-commerce services that bring restaurant foods and even monthly grocery to our doorsteps are great short-cuts. We are busy, under stress and meeting our cravings instantly can save us both time and effort. However, walking to a nearby shop, touching the products, gazing at them, a little bargaining, or even a simple chat with the shopkeeper may release some of the stress blocking our head, breath and vocal.

 

Having junk food while watching sitcoms is no sin. But all hell breaks loose when it becomes a habit and you forget that you are a human being who has to eat some real food in order to survive and in order to do so, you need to cook. Also, having the “fast food” at a fast pace reaps indigestion and nothing else.

 

A friend of mine recently said he has been busy with a write-up. When I asked him who or which institution or newspaper/portal he was writing for, he answered “for Facebook”. Whoopee! Another short-cut! Singers only on YouTube and writers only on Facebook are fine. But wouldn’t it be cooler if you could showcase your talent on more appropriate platforms and to such an extent that you wouldn’t be chasing the world rather it became the other way around? But that requires practice, time and effort. Not short-cuts.

 

Tamanna Rahman (pseudonym), mother of a five-year-old boy who goes to a renowned English-medium school in Dhaka, said the school authorities these days take Tk 200 to laminate the text books of the children.

 

Sadly, gone are the days when it was a joint task by both parents and kids to make covers for the new books, copies. Calendar papers or brown papers were preserved for the task. While parents made the covers, children would help by cutting and folding the papers into right shapes. They would place tapes and very carefully write down their names, roll numbers, subjects and title of the book on the fresh smelling cover, using their favourite ink and fancy fonts.

 

But now, the short-cut way saves (read omits) the family time that children could enjoy with their parents and also generates some bucks for a particular section.

 

The short-cuts may not bring what we really need as they are mostly based on laziness, not reality. They can generate wrong habits in us and undermine our true potential. In today’s world we see many businesses gladly selling such strategies to those who are looking for magical, quick fixes to feel good. They even may be meeting the need temporarily but the long-term outcome is highly unlikely to be pleasant for any of the parties.

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