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THE NEW NORMAL

The title of this piece might seem to referring to the changes/precautions/measures that we have all taken up as a daily regime, owing to the pandemic COVID 19 – wearing masks, social distancing, frequent washing of hands etc. But there is another thing which has become very normal in our lives and it is not at all related to the pandemic – maybe it has become so ‘in vogue’ that it has escaped the notice of everyone. Back in the early 2000s, we hardly came across people using terms like ‘Fuck’, ‘Bitch’, ‘Whore’ etc. as a means of address or even in any kind of communication. Though the assamese or vernacular slangs like ‘Baal and Kela’ had some prominence even during that time, its use was restricted – it was not heard or used as a ‘commonplace’ term. Telephonic conversations, if overheard very minutely, particularly in public transports, have totally lost the sense of ‘etiquette’ – the tone of the conversations don’t seem to be frustrating or an angry one at any point (in fact, the person glued to the phone can be often found laughing), but the no. of times the word ‘kela’ is used in that approximately 6-7 minute conversation, it felt like he or she was being asked to write an essay-type question on ‘kela’!!

And from when did it become normal to refer to one’s female friends as ‘Bitch, Slut, Asshole, Whore?’ As a child, everyone is taught to be respectful in their speech, especially if one is talking to a woman; but, gone are those days! Presently, women are categorized either in the ‘Slut-bitch’ group or as a ‘Behenji’. And most importantly, the young girls and women of today consider this kind of a salutation to be completely normal; in fact, they seem to enjoy these so-called adjectives associated with them as they probably feel that this is the most ‘cool’ or ‘fashionable’ way of talking. It is still understood when terms like ‘Bro’, ‘Babe’ etc. in a gender-neutral manner but what do we say when 2 girls address or refer to each other only by the term “Kutti”?

India, as a country, boasts of its heritage, culture, ethinicity etc. and we are constantly evolving in our mindsets, accepting newness and changes (even if not with wide open arms!). However, the current trend diminishes or neglects a person if he or she doesn’t use statements like “Fuck off” and “Go to hell” as a-matter-of-fact kind-of thing. How can the answer to a “Good morning” message be “See you in hell” – in fact, the implication of that reply is both the people engaged in that conversation should be in hell to see each other there! And the saddest part of all this is people tend to forget whom are they addressing or talking to with these slangs; since a person uses such language whenever he or she is among friends/ colleagues, they continue to talk in a similar fashion at home. Can we at least fathom the repercussions of this – imagine saying “Fuck off” to your parents or referring to your wife or daughter as “Bitch”!!! To be honest, we are not really far from reaching that stage!

People may think that the author is probably is over-reacting to a very simple thing – I mean, a man just calls his female colleague as a ‘Slut’ because of the way she dresses (irrespective of the fact that she is very hardworking and diligent) but in his defense, he might say that he doesn’t really mean it – but has he ever wondered how this might be impacting the girl? My dear readers, (and most importantly, GIRLS!) – If you are ok to be referred to as “Whore” or “Asshole” – Believe me, something is wrong and you need to question this.

The whole idea of this piece is to pose a simple question to the readers – Is this correct?

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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