Show off


A student stabs his teacher to death in Chennai.  Big news.  The Hindu (my favourite newspaper) wrote an editorial titled ‘Murder in the classroom’.  It blames the society.  Not the parents.  Not the teachers.  But all of us.  The society.  You, me, the politician who makes the rules of the society (who may be illiterate), anybody including the Ambanis and the Tatas who can buy the government of India today and the idiotic blogger and the blog reader. 

“The fact is children do not occupy an innocent world of their own; they are very much part of the nasty, adult universe,” says The Hindu editorial.  The Hindu also published an article titled ‘What you lose when you “buy” an education’ on the next page.  The article blames the “utilitarian model of education.”  And who makes the that model?  The society, of course. 

Ultimately, the society is to be blamed for all ills that plague it.  And the society is US.  I mean, we, each one of us, not the United States of America.

It is the society that makes the rules.

It is the society that puts wealth above everything else.

It is the society that puts show off everything else.

Show off.  That’s what matters in today’s world.  And we ask our children to show off.  So they show off.

Stabbing a teacher is also a show off.  Ask the child who did it, if you don’t believe me.

Ask the priest in your neighbouring church, temple, or mosque, what he believes in.  Listen to the words beneath what he utters.  And you’ll discover show off.

Show off.

That’s what runs the world today.

And who made that world?

The society!  We, us, me, you.

Children inhabit a simple world.  They should, I mean.  But we, the adults, have made it “nasty.”  The children cannot even dream today.  Their dreams have been stolen by us, adults. 

It’s our world.  The adults’ world.  Where killing is natural.  Where raping is natural. Where stealing is natural.  Where anything is natural.

Where religion is natural.

Where preaching is natural.

They came today.  To my school.  The preachers.  They preached.  And I watched my students sleep.  They preached morality.  Which they do not believe in.  Which they do not practice.  They came from a religious cult.  They showed off.  And went.

The media show off.  And go.

Everything is an issue which you and I use to show off ourselves.

Even our children are such issues.

Show offs.


Children dream.

Children dream the best world.

“Since they are dreaming this / But are not woken with a kiss / The children in fury / Besiege the cemetery.” wrote Dom Moraes, the poet. 

The child in Chennai sent his teacher to the cemetery.  That’s just a minor difference between Dom Moraes’s world and ours – a gap of a few decades.  The gap between a welfare society and the globalised one.



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17 Responses to Show off

  1. Raghuram Ekambaram says:


    I have said this many times: What ails our education system?
    One word answer: “Parents!”


  2. nittin says:

    Utilitarian is equated as Consumerism. Grey is the color. I am not sure if the color was really Black and White 50 or 500 or 5000 years ago as we usually tend to visualize and believe !

    • matheikal says:

      Hi, Nittin, nothing in the human reality is really black and white. Everything is grey. Except for a few suffer from delusions. However, the utilitarian approach to life, its grey shades notwithstanding, does a lot of harm to society. Why Old Age homes are rising in number in spite of the rising incomes of people is just one thing to ponder in this regard.

      • nittin says:

        I agree Matheikal. What I intended to say was, its not correct to assume that the bad, the % of sins committed and the sinners are on rise every passing day. Almost the same sins were committed 50, 500 or 5000 years ago as well. The population base was very small, the societies were very simple (not interdependent, blissfully unaware of what’s happening on the other side of the world) and so the number of bad deeds, sins committed were either not recorded or bought to limelight.

  3. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    Matheikal, when I said “Parents”, I did not mean the act of parenting, but the life of the parents that consists of philosophies and actions. It cannot be the product of a unitary yet amorphous entity called the society as you had argued in the post. Afte all, the same society gives rise to different cultures even in the act of parenting. Then, who do you blame? The individual parent, whom I hold fully responsible up to the age of the chid in which she grow sto take responsiility for her actions, whatever that age might be. This was my point, but possibly obfuscated by the use of the plural. Sorry.


    • matheikal says:

      Raghuram, I understand the importance of the parent in the upbringing of the child. Even the psychology course that I’m doing reinforces what you say. Yet my view is that most people are just average in their intellectual capacity. [The very concept of ‘average’ implies majority.] The average people go by the standards and values set by the society. Or conversely, the average people set those standards and values. Our present standards and values all revolve round wealth and show off!

  4. S says:

    @matheikal saar,

    What about ‘ pseudo atheism’? Isnt that a greater ‘show off’??

  5. Purba says:

    A very tragic incident. A life lost for no fault of hers, a future lost because no one cared to understand him.

  6. Shajan says:

    Dear Matheikal, show-off is a successful evolutionary strategy. You show off to attract attention. The more attention you receive, the higher your chances of success, and as is common knowledge today, fittest alone survive. Simple, applied science!

    It is no surprise that every parent want their child to be successful and train them from young age. Teachers getting murdered in classroom may be an aberration, but the lifestyle that leads to such aberrations is backed by present day science of life.

    ‘Evolution driven by random changes and survival of the fittest’ is a fairytale and needs to be recognized as such.


  7. keerthana says:

    I loved your post..Children who question things are asked to shut up and follow the rules..and people who make the rules, they don’t believe in those things anyway..its all a farce..and only when incidents like this occur, we stop and ask ourselves, “Where did we go wrong?” and only a few people realise the answer, the rest of us go on living in the illusion!

  8. KayEm says:

    Recently Keenan and Reuben were murdered (showing off?) by someone who misbehaved with the woman they were with. They tried to protect her by slapping him (showing off?) The murderer is sure he has the protection of some bigwig. When interviewed he laughed saying, “Kuch nahi hoga.” What chance does civil society have in such circumstances? We hesitate to get involved and in that sense, I guess, society IS to blame.

  9. KayEm says:

    I know (thank goodness!) so many people who don’t show off their wealth and think it is crass to do so. It takes all types.

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