Misguided. That’s the term the older generations and the not-so-open-minded of our generation use to define us. They use it when they are losing an argument, are offended, just don’t have anything to defend their point with or simply want to feel morally and intellectually superior. I have heard it so many times in this short span that I have spent on the Earth, that from irritating me and moving on to amuse me, now it just makes me smile triumphantly and exclaim, “I knew this was coming”. Seriously, I can claim to be a clairvoyant and tell someone that in their next argument with an ‘elder’ or a ‘better person’, they are going to hear the statement, “You are misguided!’ after the third or the fifth sentence in the argument and the person would come back to me and ask me how much I charge for predicting the future.
I had a heated conversation with a very knowledgeable man a few days back. Now, this person I am talking about has been a teacher for some three decades, has read and analysed the classics of world literature, can talk about Tolstoy’s writing style and how certain things are lost because English is not as rich as Russian, can engage in debates on politics and social evils and can bluntly disagree with someone irrespective of who they are. I respect this person because he has the guts to stand up against what he thinks is wrong and is very open-minded when it comes to regional, religious and gendered boundaries. His English is impeccable and he is good at a couple of other languages too. He has been my role model and he is the one who encouraged me to write. The conversation started this.
Mr. Know-it-All: Hi dear. How have you been?
Me: I’m good. How are you?
Mr. Know-it-all: I didn’t see any updates on your blog for quite sometime.
Me: I have been busy with work and experiencing writer’s block.
Mr. Know-it-All: Hope you’ll get over it soon. I miss reading your posts. Anyway, when are you getting married?
Me: I don’t know. It will take a year or two. I need a steady job before I get legally committed to someone.
Mr. Know-it-All: I’m so proud of you. A woman needs to be financially independent.
Me: I agree. Before giving her word to a man/woman, a woman needs to make sure she can take care of herself. One cannot force the partner to play the role of the provider. It has to be mutual.
Mr. Know-it-All: Wait, did you just say ‘woman’?
Mr. Know-it-All: Are you into women? 😮
Me: I was talking in general. Not everybody is straight.
Mr. Know-it-All: Are you saying homosexuality should be promoted?
Me: I’m not saying it should be promoted. It can’t be. I’m just saying that it exists.
Mr. Know-it-All: It’s a crime. It is against the laws of nature.
Me: Er…so is life support, organ transplants and a bunch of other things.
Mr. Know-it-All: Well, it is unnatural because the purpose of sex, reproduction does not happen in a homosexual relationship.
Me: So, you’re saying all straight couples have kids?
Mr. Know-it-All: If you’re supporting homosexuality why don’t you support rape and murder as well?
Me: Homosexuality has consent, which rapes and murders do not.
Mr. Know-it-All: It is an immoral act that is polluting the society.
Me: Immoral? So, throwing garbage on the road and wasting water and electricity is okay?
Mr. Know-it-All: Guess what, you are misguided. You are just following the trend. You’ll grow up one day. You are trying to find your identity. You’re trying to figure out where you fit in this vast world. That is the problem with this generation. I don’t have to worry about the ongoing trends because I have found my identity and purpose.
Me: May be I will also attain that state of wisdom when I’m your age. Till then, I will be ‘misguided’, I guess.
He got the sarcasm and thus, the very enlightening conversation came to an abrupt end.