Living Without the Mask.

Masked people that Indian Minimalist

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” 
― Jim Morrison

I met a friend recently.

She left a text saying that she really wanted to talk.

We got to talking and soon she told me about how she is not really happy with the way, her life is going.

She is not liking it and she doesn’t feel the ownership of her life.

If it was me probably 3 months back, I would’ve judged and told her a rant of how people are like this and that.

But no, I don’t do that any longer. At least, I try not to.

So, I just listened.

And, I could get what she said. I could connect.

Because, I remember facing the same. And, there was a common problem over here.

Living with Masks.

Living in Indian Society, or for that matter any society, is tough.

You’ve countless opinions, suggestions, views bombarded on you, almost every minute.

Countless theories on what works and what doesn’t.  On what is right and what is wrong.

I remember being told so many things at so many times by so many people.

It is tremendously overwhelming.

Easy solution?

What I did and sometimes, to a fault, still do.

Wear a mask.

Feeling sad but don’t want to show? There’s a happy-go-lucky mask for that.

People tell that strong people don’t cry? There’s a Strong faced mask for that.

People don’t like something about me? There’s a pretension mask for that.

Look inside you. There are masks all over the place. Thousands of them, countless of them.

For each time, we got scared.

For each time, we were afraid.

For each time, we feared what people would say.

For each time, we wanted to follow the unconventional path.

For each and every time to replace a genuine emotion.

We took some mask, wore it and hide the real us.

I have been doing it since the longest time.

It’s easy and it helps us to hide amongst the crowd of thousands other people who wear masks everyday and go on with their life.

And the effect is that mask gets embedded so deeply within, you start taking it as your own self. The real you.

But that’s not the real you. It’s not. Your mind knows it, your soul knows it and somewhere deep down you do too.

So the important question comes out: how long and far can you pretend?

You can probably wear the mask in front of me and fool me. Probably fool your family, friends. Even probably fool the entire society.

Can you fool yourself?

I urge you to live without the mask.

Yes, it is a more vulnerable way of living. Yes, it is scary at first. Yes, it is stepping into unknown. And yes, chances are people will get uncomfortable because genuine emotions generally rattle those who wear masks.

But, you know what? It will be OK.

Be your real self.

If you’re sad, you’re sad. Acknowledging it will probably help you identify the root cause and work on it.

If you’re happy, you’re happy. Acknowledge it. Ravel in the joy. Amplify it and share it.

If you don’t like something, tell it. Be honest. Be genuine. Yes, don’t condescend or judge or look down or insult. But be honest. You don’t need to lie to yourself and the other person.

It is OK to have a different opinion. It is OK to have different personality. And it is OK to do something which certain section of people don’t approve.

Unless you’re not harming the interest of other people, you’re good to go.

You don’t need people’s approval for everything. You don’t.They might talk. Let them. They’ll anyway.

Who are you living for? Be genuine to your core. To your being.

It is OK to be miserable sometimes.

It is OK to not agree with most people agree with.

It is OK to not follow what majority feels should be followed.

Don’t put a mask. Don’t hide your real self. You’re beautiful, why would you do such a thing? Yes, probably you’re flawed. And probably, you’ve done mistakes.

But who hasn’t?

We’ll are flawed. We’ll are imperfect. That’s how you identify a human.

Be your real self. And wear that.

Keep learning. Admit your failings. Take a stand. Apologize if it is a wrong stand. Make mistakes. Grow out of your comfort zone. Accept your flaws. Be kind. Be compassionate. Don’t judge. Elevate people. Help people. Love people. Take the course you always wanted do. Quit the job if you hate it. Take that vacation. Write that book. Paint that masterpiece.Tell someone what you always wanted to. Be genuine. Be real. Be confident. Be love.

Let the individual that you’re shine. And shine gloriously.

Live without the mask.

Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it is a bit tough.

But it is worth it.

Continuing the story.

We talked a lot that day. And, it seemed that she genuinely wants to be her real self. To grow out of the masks. To come out of what would people say syndrome.

And, we made a rough sketch for her. A timeline, a sort of plan. Something through which she can shed the masks.

And, I learnt a lot too.

Probably, I still have scope of being more genuine and more real.

I’ll keep working on it.

And for you, next time when someone asks you that how are you or how have you been.

Answer it more genuinely than a fine.

Tell them, how you really are feeling.

Get fucking out of the standard mask templates of “I am doing fine”

Go now. Be awesome.

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15 thoughts on “Living Without the Mask.

  1. It is more harder to live in foreign society and culture. Especially when you grew up into it. I am a Paki-pashtun muslim who has spent 20 years in New York City since i was a kid. And since i have co conservative values, it’s even more tougher. That’s why i don’t really have friends. Even the paki-muslim ones. None of them are like me.

  2. Hey Hardik, how beautiful was this post! it is disappointing when people give standard replies like ‘nm’ or something equally vague. I still prefer real conversations over those meaningless ones, over text ie.

  3. Nice topic.Yes, it is true that people wear masks all the time. But once in a while that mask falls. I know that we all need to stop wearing various masks but, it is human nature to never appear vulnerable-the reason being we are drilled with survival of the fittest and we all want to be the fittest. Still as I said there is always a time when you can see a genuine person behind those mask (it can be in times of great sorrow, uncertainty or great joy) but it happens.

    • Hello, Mansi. Thanks for the wonderful comment. Means much.

      However, I would disagree on the part where you mentioned it is human nature. A human nature is what a child is like before being conditioned by the society.

      So the masks which you put is never your nature or even close to it, it is always because of the society or the prejudices or authority that you put the mask.

      Being real is probably considered vulnerable these days. But, I don’t equate the two and I don’t even feel that being vulnerable is bad.

      All I know, we need to be genuine. Inside and out. And things would be much simpler. 🙂

      Keep reading and Cheers!

  4. Yes, we all taught as members of a society to wear masks. We often do so to play our roles within the social networks that we depend, on or may need to depend on in times of distress. Have you heard the expression about how having wealth releases us to be who we really are? Those with wealth may no longer feel a need to depend on others or to have the approval of others and can remove their masks. For the rest of us it may feel difficult to remove our masks because we feel it would leave us vulnerable. Once you make something known about yourself, you can;t make it unknown. There is no going back. It is an act of individual bravery and it would be interesting to see what society would become if we all revealed our true selves.

    Nice blog!

    • Hey, thanks for such a kind comment and I would love to express my views on the same.

      Yes, I do believe that moving into unknown territories do scare us and we end up resorting to masks.

      But, a different point, I have is the statement you made about wealthy people. I know my own share of wealthy people.

      And trust me, they are equally if not more guilty of this and are affected by this. Most often, they are more affected by them because with money, they also have ‘reputation’ to maintain.

      They find it harder to remove masks because they’re more concealed behind a fake image, they have portrayed.

      I strongly advocate the idea of this.With genuine emotions flowing around, it’ll be a better world.

      Thank you for your comments. 🙂

      Keep reading and cheers!


      That Indian Minimalist

  5. Another thoughtful post, Hardik. One of the reasons I liked working in hospice so much (terminally ill people) was that so close to death, people finally have no mask. It is privileged work.

    • Thank you, Theresa!

      You’re doing great work, from the looks of it. Keep at it.

      I wish people could like that throughout the life, things would be much easier for all of us!

      Cheers and keep reading!

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