Is ‘The Real Debate’ Actually Real?

Gauri Joshi
5 min readOct 21, 2021

Jailed in our respective situations, we all are victims of circumstances. But does that mean we lose empathy? Or are we selective in investing our sentiments?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The biggest debate of today’s media is a star kid consuming drugs. Throwback to me protesting against the witchhunt of another starlet accused of abetting the suicide of a popular heartthrob and inspiration, who himself lost the battle to the demons in his head.

I do not wish to comment or single out, or demean his struggle because neither I, nor even the closest to him, let alone those who know the face on the screen, know what he has been through.

All of us will never know, or entirely be able to feel what a person has gone through because our experiences make us adapt to circumstances differently.

So as we get all overwhelmed thinking a Starkid is being vindicated, with stories floating around of him surviving on biscuits, we forget the kid who may be begging on the road thinking that he would give the money off to his parent or ‘boss’ who would smoke or snort it off.

Somewhere, we are donning the black coat of judgement and holding invisible pens, basically ink here is replaced with the words we spill on our social media.

As your social media literacy guide (I am too optimistic that anyone will read this!), I wish to tell you that all you see and hear is strategically planted in your feed.

No, this is not The Social Dilemma. And yes, I have base-level knowledge of communications because I invested 4 years studying it in one of the best places in India. I even work for an agency where we make opinions matter.

Whose opinions? Of those who can buy influence. Are we wrong in trading words? Technically not, because then books should be free and schooling should cost us nothing as well.

And hence, when you see ‘heart-wrenching’ stories of a tortured star kid, know that someone wants you to know each and every detail. That someone is also, you.

And for those who will take this chance to smirk at the situation, have their own reasons.

I was one of the first people to share the screenshot of a tweet where after an actor called the Starkid in question, a ‘kid’, a user wrote how he was looking after his education and living as a 23-year old ‘adult’.

We picked a word and took offence at it. And it hit home, because for the past four months I have faced hardships too, and tried to stay afloat with organic effort.

But just because we have pain and problems, doesn't mean others don't have them too? If our life is difficult, should we stop empathising with the struggles of those who have never faced this situation before?

Why compare struggle and grief?

Some of us believe in destiny. Some of us believe we can change it.

If we can have the right to choose between red and blue, we should also have the right to choose what we believe. There should be no rigid definition of what is right and wrong because all is grey.

No, what I said above is a diplomatic statement. It is safely written to surpass offending anyone. Honestly, I had a stand before I decided to write this piece a couple of weeks back, but knowing some ‘realities/notions’ (that will never see the light of day or be labelled fiction the day they do), I will just tell you a common formula we were taught in computer class in 3rd Grade, but just make a small addition:

What you see is NOT what you get.

The real picture is hidden in the folds of power play. This is a nexus against a nexus. And they are choosing their targets, panning their best moves to deflect.

Narcotics are illegal, but a star kid taking them becomes more illegal because privilege is involved. Somewhere people felt he used the money we spent on watching his father’s movies. We felt entitled to intervene. We felt that this single person represents our nation. We attached sentiments with him because he was in the public glare.

But what about the 21,000kg of narcotics found at Mundra Port in Gujarat?

Adani Port. Gujarat.

The second richest businessman. The home state of our Prime Minister.

Choose your icons and ideals wisely.

We are, indeed selective in our concerns. Or some people have the money to make us believe that this issue isn't as big as a star kid consuming narcotics.

Because we thought they are our ideals.

If you open your eyes, a politician is ideally an ideal, a businessman has the influence and resource to change this world, but we end up ‘idolising’ our stars and expect them to be the heroes they play.

No matter how much we love them, we will never know them. We will know the characters they play. Being from theatre myself, I would say — all of us are masquerades on stage. Or whenever we face more than one person at a time.

So don’t blindly love or hate, because you don't know them.

Punish the kid, as others (Starkids+commoners) have been, because he has done something illegal.

Yes, he is not as important as this system or the common man’s cases.

But is he, or his father running the government?

And what is scarier, a star kid in possession with 10 g of drugs, or a 21,000-kg consignment of drugs and who it will reach, how it will be used?

And rather, who allowed it?

P.s. My blog is as free as the comments on social media. I try to be at equilibrium, but I do have my biases. But all throughout, I have tried to maintain logic. Open to your constructive critique (please don’t make this world more hateful) but please come back with logic and not jargon. Also, because I have studied to be in the business of communications and most of the people in my life are from the media, I know how stories are made. Don’t entirely rely on media stories for your verdicts.