THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Certain words in the English vocabulary transcend the importance of being emphasised upon. They encompass, within their few letters, such depth and significance, that their explanations suffer from the want of more. Any task, be it as simple and seemingly insignificant as pouring tea leaves from a packet into the jar, calls for sincerity and seriousness, to the extent that the lack of it might end up being catastrophic in the form of infestation finding its way into gadgets, clothes and peace of mind. And to put a word to this phenomenon and to emphasize upon its significance is to talk in earnest about the “Importance of being Earnest.”
The Chaos Theory puts forward a concept called ‘The Butterfly Effect’, which primary states that an action, no matter how miniscule, can trigger a chain of events that can ultimately prove to be catastrophic on the other side of the world. It simplifies this unfathomable theory by stating that something as simple as the flapping of wings by a butterfly on this half of the hemisphere can trigger a tornado on the other side. Although it seems farfetched, a few moments of seriously deliberation can prove otherwise. Imagine that you, in a moment of carelessness, disposed off a banana peel on the sidewalk and someone absentmindedly trips over it during the day. Now it might seem as a one-off event but it can trigger a chain reaction. What if that person was the sole earner of the family and had to be confined to bed for a few months? What is to happen to his family? If you start imagining the possible scenarios, the chain will appear endless. Which is why the importance of being earnest plays such a pivotal role in our lives.
Since childhood, our minds are compartmentalized into things that need attention and things that do not. We’re handed over an itinerary of the nots and do-nots which vary significantly from household to household depending on the upbringing. I wasn’t scolded as fiercely for spilling water as I was for not remembering my rhymes. Although the approach seems justified to an extent, the threshold of its accuracy begs further examination. I remember as a child, in one of our rented houses then, I had spilled water on my kitchen’s white marble floor and ignored it hoping that the summer season would take care of the rest. But it so happened that my father tripped over it sometime in the next few minutes and was bedridden for three months. It was then that I really understood how tasks as seemingly unimportant as these, call for utmost seriousness. And it makes me wonder that had it not been for this accident, I would never have learned to appreciate the need of being earnest. Which in turn makes me want to advocate with sincerity that not every realization should be left to chance or incidents.
We are all so bound by the needs of academic excellence that we overlook the ancillary activities that assist in its growth. We carelessly scribble over projects and diagrams because apparently they aren’t the need of the hour. What we fail to grasp is how these little things can shape the person that we grow up to become. It makes us value the importance of everything, helps us broaden our streamlined perceptions of right and wrong. It helps build up our sense of aesthetics and see the world beyond our scope of binaries. We play games on our computer, have the WiFi cable running all day and during a thunderstorm, the specks of sparks and smell of burnt wires makes us realize our follies. Remember the time when that friend, whom we used to categorize as overly emotional and hence paid no heed to the endless problems, ended up being lost and absent for good? Could we not have listened to him a bit more earnestly? Could we not have helped him understand the way this world perceives people like him and how despite his problems, there is always a silver lining waiting to be found? Every small action fueled by the lack of sincerity, impacts, in turn, the events around it.
As I pen this piece right now, I cannot help but draw an analogy to my own life. There was a time when writing to me was a hobby during semester breaks. I did not read enough, did not emphasize on my errors enough to realize my true worth. Now that I do the things i did not then, I feel happier in my heart to have improved to the point where irrespective of the take of conventional writers, I can sleep well knowing that I did not waste my caliber into carelessness.
The one thing that every dying man takes mournfully to his grave is his regrets. And a major component of regret is the failure of having not been earnest in the times that we should have. We do not need a lifetime of experience and accidents to realise the worth of things. It’s true that every incident teaches us something new. But to realize beforehand that every incident will teach us something new is the first step to being earnest in whatever you do. Remember that no matter how small the task, how incoherent a person, how insignificant an action may seem, all our destinies are intertwined to the extent that nobody is truly alone, no matter how much he thinks he is or wants to be. We spend our lives feeling inferior and we subjugate ourselves to this pessimism that we, as individuals, have no sway or say. And the next time this issue begins to form a grey cloud of depression over your mind, remember the strength of a little butterfly and remember the power of a little word called ‘earnest’.