A brick and mortar thing that stands to define — define what? It stands to define a limit, a defence, a protection. A wall around a property protects the land within it. It tells the insider how far its rights go, to the outsider to limit its encroachment. It defends its occupants, so that they live in peace.
But there are other kinds of walls too. Walls that are not made of bricks and mortar and so not visible to the eye. But walls, that are far more strong, walls that define of who we are and what we will be. Walls that we need to respect. Walls that are built by us, but maybe we need to rethink and reduce them. Walls that we have built that need destruction. Walls that need to be built anew so that they no longer are cursed by the foul odour of their predecessors.
Our heart and brain are walls that, through the tongue, let others know what lies inside the wall. It allows a peek inside our own selves to ourselves too. This wall defines how we act, perceive and retaliate. It projects how we have been treated and how we would like to treat.
An invisible wall around a woman is the indestructible defence that defines and protects her purity. It is a clear message to humanity to respect it with eyes downcast. This wall is beautiful too as it nurses a heart full of love, a brain that can accept any challenge and a physical being that can weather a storm. Violate it and society is just going a step further towards its own extinction. Are we really this foolish?
There are yet other walls that we have built so high, that we can no longer see the beyond. Walls of “we are the best”, walls of “don’t care”, walls of “so what”. The strength of these walls are so great that it has ended up in fragmenting humanity. “Humane” is now a lost word or rather a misused word spoken when it benefits the speaker. It has led to building more and more walls to an extent that it is stifling now.
Moreover, we have learnt to live within these walls so comfortably that we are no longer interested in checking out whether we are indeed the best! Funnily when there is even a slight crack in this loved wall, we are the first ones that cry out that we should be cared for and not subjected to “so what”. Hypocrites, aren’t we?
A further kind of wall is one which we, the present generation, have built for our future. A wall that was supposed to be a challenge, an encouragement to scale, has somehow reversed itself and is posing a threat to our future. These walls are now hurdles that our future faces at every step it takes. Walls that have such polished surfaces that one can’t scale them. Even by chance one is successful, the next is worse.
These walls thrive on cheating, lies, hatred and misconceptions. It thrives on denying the deserving, because the other type has warmed our pockets or happen to be of the same blood. Oh dear us! Do we not realise what we are creating?
“You reap what you sow” — is an age-old saying and it couldn’t be more true. We are sowing the seeds of greed, of contempt and of disrespect. So when the time comes for reaping we shouldn’t blame the future for what it will become. We have been and are being irresponsible. So who are we to complain?
But among us there are ones who are working relentlessly to crumble these frightening walls. There are us among whom humanity still thrives. Work is being done not to build any more walls. To be all inclusive. To tell the future that all is not lost, that there is still hope, that things are still achievable without having to face monstrous walls. That walls are not our reality, not our essence. That we need just one wall around all of us. And funnily, that one wall becomes redundant when we all are one!
Mamata Bandyopadhyay is a homemaker based in Dubai