1990: People are judged for not being religious/spiritual, engaging in extracurricular activities, wearing revealing clothes, and not getting married ‘well in time’.

2021:People are judged for being religious/spiritual, for not engaging in extracurricular activities, not wearing revealing clothes, and not getting married ‘well in time’ (yes, some things never change).

The point is that humans judge other humans for the choices they make, their demeanor, their appearances, and just everything; they always have, and they always will. Somewhere between the quest for new definitions of societal acceptance and to become progressive, we came up with very specific definitions of ‘coolness’ and ‘interesting’. Photography is cool, being camera shy is not. Getting drunk on the weekends, dancing your heart out, and doing things that become a blur the next morning, makes you interesting. Choosing solitude over this puts your name in the category of boredom. Being vocal about your opinions on your Instagram page is cool, doing something without making noise and clicking pictures makes you irrelevant. 

Now I am no one to enlist the pros and cons of each side to determine the better way of life. I don’t intend to bring a biased moral compass into the picture or use an imaginary scale to rate you as a human. In fact, we all should be human enough to avoid doing that, so that people are not bound to wear virtual masks, concealing their true selves out of sheer insecurity and the fear of not being accepted. 

It’s not about favoring one side over the other but growing beyond the labels of right and wrong. It is cool to be a solo-traveler, but it should not be uncool to want to spend the weekends in your bed’s ever so loving arms. It is cool to be ambitious, but it should not be uncool to be content with whatever you have. Why does being cool have to come at a cost of completely denying the goodness of what exists in the opposite world? Why is it not cool to accept people for who they are for as long as they are harmlessly just going about their lives? Why are the ones who choose dal-chawal for 50 years until they die, are not considered progressive and alive enough? 

Why do people forget the importance of warmth while pretending to be cool and fit-in? 

If even in 2021, we want to put people in definite boxes and impose labels on them, we haven’t really come that far in our quest for a world that’s accepting, more inclusive, and has an equally respectable place for everyone. In that case, we have just begun to choose a set of tags over the other and that does not account for having actually progressed. And that is anything but cool.

I think for as long as you have a heart that is warm, you should not have to worry about being cool..Because the ideal definition of being relevant will keep on changing, but being humane must never go out of style. Only if we start considering unbiased acceptance of people with opinions different from ours cool, ‘cool’ and ‘warm’ would walk hand in hand and the world would become a better place to live in, a warmer and happier place to live in.