BY SHAFAQ PARWEZ
Judgments are everywhere – from the deeply rooted aspects of life such as religion and culture to the mundane happenings of our daily lives. We, as a society, have started judging everyone and everything, collectively, and have labelled it as a “freedom.” What we do not realize is it will not get us anywhere.
I remember sitting with my friends in the café at this posh college in Karachi and judging our juniors who were struggling during their first week on campus. I remember sitting at home with my maternal aunts and indulging in lengthy sessions of gossip, having a good time. We would discuss everything under the sun; people we never really knew and why they made the choices they did.
But we made it our business and enjoyed judging and assuming.
I never realized how dependent I was on these “gossip sessions” which were deemed completely harmless by us when, ironically, gossiping is labelled as backbiting in my faith and we will be accountable for it on the Day of Judgment. But even from a moral perspective, I knew gossiping was wrong but I just did not know that I started doing it every time I got together with my friends or family. It was becoming a part of me.
I must elaborate on one thing here, I wasn’t pure evil. I was just … wasting my time! I would discuss such mundane and meaningless things such as somebody’s reaction to something equally mundane and meaningless. Or somebody’s makeup skills which were, of course, completely irrelevant to me.
It was six years ago that I began to see what I was doing was wrong. I found out others were gossiping about me, people who I had grown emotionally attached to. It hurt.
I guess it’s true nothing affects you unless it happens to you. Or to somebody you love immensely. It took me more than six years to gradually shed that thick, rude skin which was never really a part of me to begin with.
Almost seven years down the lane, a dear friend said she liked me purely because I never engaged in gossiping. And then it struck me, my efforts to actively stop myself from judging people had begun to pay off and that other people around me chose me as their friend because of it.
I have been a happier person ever since. Minding my own business has made me grow in ways I never knew was possible. No matter what the reason was for my bad habit, I am delighted it is no longer a part of me.
All the people I used to engage in gossiping with are still very much a part of my life. A few of them have realized it is doing them no good. However, the majority continue to gossip, believing there is nothing wrong with it. This makes me wonder how and where this vicious cycle started in the first place and how many generations it is going to take to stop it.