If you grew up in an Asian household, you must have heard "log kya kahenge?" or another variant of "what will people say?" at least once in your life.
Maybe when you decided to pursue commerce instead of science? Or the time you decided to go abroad for grad school? Or the time you told your parents you didn't want to get married any time soon? Or the time you told a nosy aunty that you don't particularly like little humans (babies)?
I think when a desi baby is born and doesn't cry immediately the doctor smacks its butt and exclaims, "Arrey, roh! Cry! Log kya kahenge?"
I think when a desi baby is born and doesn't cry immediately the doctor smacks its butt and exclaims, "Arrey, roh! Cry! Log kya kahenge?" It's like the motto conservative desis everywhere live by. While others put up "Just Do It" posters, desi parents, if given half the chance, would put up humungous "Log Kya Kahenge" posters across their living room. In fact, I think the Indian government should have printed the new 2000 rupee notes with Log Kya Kahenge emblazoned across it.
Our people are very worried about what others think. They feel their reputations rest on others' opinions of the women folk in their family. Yes, honour rests wholly on the shoulders of wives and daughters. So they must live their lives being careful that no person has a negative opinion about them. It's an invisible prison made of strangers' character evaluations of you. Can you imagine living your life being told you must bend and sneeze and walk and please according to the whims of others? A lot of us can.
But I am done with it.
I propose a radical change in the usage of this much despised phrase.
Let's not abandon "log kya kahenge" altogether. Instead, let's use it to attack the backward practices and regressive attitudes in our country. When you find out your loud neighbourhood aunty is demanding dowry from prospective brides of her ass-faced son, march up to her in public and exclaim, "DOWRY?! Parlog kya kahenge?"
When your bigoted uncle makes a horrible comment about another community, stop him right there and ask "Chee! What nonsense are you saying? Log kya kahenge?"
Guys, when your best bud or colleague makes a rape joke or tells you "she was asking for it," slap him and say, "Khamosh! Log kya kahenge?"
When your neighbour stops his daughter or son from pursuing further education in a field of their choice, knock on their door and give them a huge cake which has bold chocolate icing saying, "Log kya kahenge?" Guys, when your best bud or colleague makes a rape joke or tells you "she was asking for it," slap him and say, "Khamosh! Log kya kahenge?"
When your minister drones that "boys will be boys" and girls should prevent rape, vote him out with a loud and clear LOG KYA KAHENGE?
In short, make horrible, racist, sexist comments and actions be the things people are shocked by. Make this world a place where chasing your dreams doesn't raise eyebrows, but holding back someone from doing so does. Where being yourself is no one's concern, but hindering someone from being their true self is. Where the people as a collective look out for each other's well being instead of weighing them down with the chains of societal norms and expectations.
Are you ready for this LOG KYA KAHENGE revamp?