Reviewing – an art.

The statement – ‘we shall get back to you once we have reviewed’ used to freak me out at one point but I realised through my life in academia that reviews play a critical role in shaping the contents, sharpening the perspectives and in my case, correcting grammar and language.

I call it an ‘institutional impact’ where no reviews put me in dilemma. Whether it’s an amazon purchase or an app purchase or a Facebook page; reviews and ratings make me comfortable. I do understand that biases play a crucial role in these, however, the comfort of it, is something that I can’t deny.

Reviewing purchases are far different from reviewing a journal article because the scales and parameters of liking a product are entirely human than checking for scientific contribution or checking for an impact that a particular drug could potentially have on the masses. However, it can’t be denied that products or purchases or brand reviews drive customers in and out. These reviews are predominantly for the masses by the masses. Thus, like fire, bad words and bad reviews spread far and wide in a shorter span of time than one can ever imagine. Even when the fire is put out, the smoke lingers.

Words just like thoughts, once put out, keep ringing from time to time. Once these words are used to construct statements, regardless of them holding truth or lies, things go beyond mass comprehension. It’s these words that one then identifies the brand with, the products with and more often than not, the individual behind it.

I love the concept of adopting a thick skin and putting blinkers on, to just focus on what you want but when your work faces the masses directly, it should be a mutual responsibility. A responsibility of protecting each other’s dignity and that of nurturing each other, given the finite time and possibilities.

Naming, shaming, provoking and blaming rarely offer any solution. On the contrary, gratitude serves all, in different portions. Our time in this world is finite and with defined destinies to meet; words and thoughts could serve all of us better if we keep it clean.

Remember that muddy water that we used to play in as kids? We never slept in those muddy clothes for the fear of disease. If cleanliness in clothes and body is what we, as humans, seek then why should our thoughts and words be any different than these?

Hence, by all means, do review .. Review your purchases, films that you watch, things that you see, places that you visit .. review everything, share your opinions, provide judgements but do pause to clean.

Judgements. Social Media.

I became friends with one of the neighbours on Facebook and the first thing the neighbour asked my mother was whether everything was fine about my relationship? She could not find photos of me and my partner on my wall posts hence it was a ‘but obvious’ thing to ask out of concern.

It then drew me to the fact that how much of judgement of who you are goes around due to your social media posts? The answer is A LOT. I remember I have been asked about my relationship status by another old school friend of mine when I added him to my friends list. He then gave me a free piece of advice to put more and more photos of me with my partner so that the world gets to know how happy we are together and to make a statement that everything is fine as far as my relationship status is concerned.

I don’t have a problem with people promoting their love on social media and neither do I have an issue with people like me not talking about my love on social media. I do not base my opinions on someone’s personal space based on their social media shares and neither do I judge them for they don’t share.

I thought perhaps I missed the biggest point as to why social media gained prominence in the first place. I always thought it was to connect and to share, not to promote my life and especially open up my personal space to the outer world. I should be allowed to breathe in my own little space when I can because I won’t be able to share anything if I am clouded by judgements on what I should do and shouldn’t do to be branded as ‘normal’ by the society.

This then brought me to a fairly interesting idea that are we humans in general like this? Are we literally drawn into the pain of others rather than their no-pain zones of life? Is it because showing sympathy comes more naturally than empathy? I don’t have these answers but I like the questions nevertheless.


Opinions. Judgements. 

If I am made to sit and judge a beauty pageant, chances of me ruining it are sky high. Even though I am sure I’ll be great with the numbers but my biases will be so strong and untrained that I am bound to misjudge everything. But imagine; if I did take up the offer to be a judge because someone else feels that I am fit for the job, and if I let that someone’s feelings become my mantra, and sit on that chair, I, for sure, will be guided by my vanity and pride.

How many times does this really happen .. That you are commenting, judging and giving random opinions on things that you rarely know anything about?! A LOT. Just because we all, more or less, have an access to a space where we can project anything and everything, doesn’t necessarily mean that we must.

I do agree that all of us are stories and we have all the rights to live our stories and even to share them. But do we really have the rights and are trained enough to comment on every story?! Life, isn’t really a film. Films are etched out of life, for sure and thus everyone having an opinion on them (as in films) is justified. Whereas, on life, itself?! How just is that?! 

Biases never leave us. We can never ever measure them either. We can simulate them. Which means we keep running through loads of possible permutations and combinations of the same model; we all do that inevitably. We run our mini life sustaining models day in and out with just few tweaks here and there .. As a result, what we stand for today, changes tomorrow and then what we believe in today, gets either strengthened in time or we move away.. However, at no given point, do we hold the key to the acute and precise understanding of life, itself. We live it, through it, and in it. 

Given this, we do have cohorts. Cohorts that are knowledgeable, that are intellectual, that think and articulate thoughts well, that question to understand; not to judge. We all hold the rights to these cohorts. We belong to one of these many cohorts based on our experiences, education and exposure in life. Although, not every cohort experience is self enriching but then it’s best to have your knowledge and skills tested by the people who understand your work. The opinion of your cohort on you then becomes your lead into life. You rely on them for your growth, you rely on them for your understanding. And it’s they, whose opinions and judgements should matter. 

These public votes on selecting singers, dancers, models and what not, is utterly ridiculous because half the population doesn’t even know what makes a singer singer. Just because I feel like staring at this beautiful face, I am going to keep voting for the face to stay .. reads ridiculous, I am sure and it’s perhaps what happens constantly. Just because that is a friend, I am going to do this as a favour .. Just because of this and that .. And with loads of just because’s .. We all end up in this space where scratching backs, licking asses .. feels alright. 

I do know that money is important and mimicking set avenues for making money isn’t wrong. But then mimicking them shouldn’t take you away from the basic knowledge that you are mimicking it with probably a different model .. You haven’t created the model. If you did create the model, then you wouldn’t be judging or holding an opinion on it because it’s the use and abuse that generates opinions not the creation per se.  

Oh well ❤️