Them, Freeloaders.

A sweeping glance across a room full of people gives you a fair idea of who belongs and who doesn’t. Murial was a misfit. Like most students pretending to be financially independent, she was broke, and hiding it well. With a cheap discounted belle to  go with the only nice skirt she had, she thought she could pull off a “made-it-in-this-world look”. I want to introduce people like her to the reader. What my ramifications might answer by the  end is, whether or not Murial would fit in to this said group of people. {I will go on to define them, their demeanours, charms, ideologies in far more non-mundane details (if at all possible)}

One might wonder what is the point of bringing up Murial who is broke but has a nice outfit. Here is where I define freeloaders. While Oxford dictionary might define them as <insert-amazing-vernacular-of-a-definition> , I think they are people who deep within feel they don’t belong, but nevertheless try to. They are people a sweeping glance across a room might not detect. They do not belong, but they do. They can hold conversations, injest information afflicted to them through the ‘belonging’ tribe in the group, and look almost as ‘right-where-I-am-supposed-to-be’ as the woman in the hundred dollar branded jacket. Okay, so these people are pretentious slobs why are we interested in them? Bear me for a couple of more paragraphs while I get to the point of this.

In Murial’s experience there are four kinds of people composing a gala event. First are the ones who organised it, put the money in, paid big bucks to get it going. Most of them have a moral obligation to their mercenary selves to feel like they do belong. The second category are the people who knew these first kind of people prior to showing up, and probably paid nearly as much as the first lot to be there themselves. These people owe it to their dear friends their sense of belonging in this room. The third are the ones who find themselves here without much knowledge of who the first 2 kinds of people were. These are the people who overlook the mundane details of the status-quo that these said 2 classes of people would be adhering to, and show up without sparing a micro thought about their to-be surroundings. For instance, Take Teddy. Teddy saw an advertisement in the newspaper about this big launch party. Teddy likes to wear knickers, Teddy showed up in knickers. Teddy was the only one in knickers among a room full of monotone suits. You could tell no atom of Teddy should have been here had the bill payers had their way. But the hero of my story is not Teddy. It’s Murial. Murial was just like Teddy. She was not invited by influential friends. She RSVP’ed to an open invitation. She carefully reviewed the repertoire of the party throwers. She was fluid as a gushing stream, albeit turbulent like a waterfall. She took out her only nice dress, showed up dressed like one of the people who really cared about the launch. She mingled, and she learnt. She absorbed ever ounce of knowledge there was, and she grew. Murial is the fourth kind of people in the room.

People in the room are very close to people in life. We are often not born into an affluent family. We find ourselves thrown in situations (thanks to globalisation and education) which are a few hundred notches above the level of grandeur we have ever imagined in the most stoned of those dreams. In those times, the Murials in life grow, learn and are malleable to augment their personalities with another repertoire of yet another party. These cumulate and find themselves evolving into the language of the world. A Murial would feel out of the place, but learn to blend in. They acquire the ways of people, they mirror the vocabularies, until they do not change but grow theirs. They can hold the conversation of spirituality with a destitute (who is interested in one of course) as well as a discourse on the correlations of economy with war (say) with a (not so busy in making money, cares a little about the world) banker.

It takes a perspective to be shaken out of the quagmire of rut-full thinking. Comfort zones are available for us to shatter them, both physically and mentally. Perspectives are tough to shift, however when displaced, they provide a kaleidoscopic view of the world. A perspective that has, in my opinion, plagued our moral mould is that of being a chameleon. Someone who changes colors with situations shot out at them is considered to be socially challenged. But what if we weren’t changing these said colors. What if we were adding them to our palette of being. What if these helped us to accommodate ourselves with the alien surroundings thrown at us (or the ones we volunteered chose to be in) better. What if they helped us achieve a free flow of ideas and thoughts. Because in that gala party room, hardly anyone would care to go up to Teddy (feeding on free food, dressed like a school boy) to converse about the politics of their technology. However, someone might just think its a good idea to engage in that conversation of their brethren with Murial (who looks like she might have a thing or two to say). And maybe along the way, with this new color in her palette she connects the perspectives of broke college students to the wealthy business men. Maybe, she contributes.

While we are at it, it is at this point important to draw a line between intention of pretension. Just like a cyber hacker can be a black hat or white hat, a people hacker can also belong to either of these realms. It is a moral dictum that we adhere to which governs our allegiance to either sides. Murial here wants to be a good guy. This dialogue scopes to that of a good guy.

Having monkey skipped to a lot of different ideas all at once, I also wanted to cite out some of my problem with this trail of thought I just explored. I was pretty disturbed having read the first draft. Much like stumbling onto my own thoughts which seemed offensive, daring and candid all at once. One might question that what is the point of having cultivated intellectual capacities, if at the end of the day Teddy was judged for being in knickers. He could be a hungry, lazy Einstein. And I concur, I was a fat ugly cow for most of my life, my refuge was my intellect, and the stories I learnt from pouring down a multitude of books. This newfound perspective seems difficult for me to grasp. However, whatever our moral compass might point to, the reason they preach to not judge a book by its cover, is because people do. Inherently, the first sense that activates our brain to the presence of an individual is sight. We cannot unseen what has been seen. Its a shame we do not give as much bandwidth to our other sense organs. But I feel that the point of being a freeloader, is not dress like to belong (that is a part of it). But to conduct like you do. Because if you appreciate a certain society for anything raging from its belief system, knowledge, it is important to embrace the whole so as to become one of the whole.

P.S. Let this be my ramble about the `Sociology of Gatherings`!

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