" No is
NO- Pronunciation [noh]
Definition: Nay; not; not at all; not in any respect or degree; a word expressing negation, denial, or refusal. Before or after another negative, no is emphatic.
Practical definition- Ya; yes; yes definitely; Why not?; a word implying affirmation, challenging; Dar gaya? No is evasive.
God asked Adam and Eve ‘not to’ eat the apple, did they not?;
Lakshman asked Sita ‘not to’ cross the laxman rekha, did she not?;
Zeus asked Pandora ‘not to’ open the Jar/box, did she not?
So, it has happened in the past and happens in the present. Harry Potter and the Gang very well know the pros and cons of entering the chamber of secrets, but the curious brains cannot take no for an option.
The board ‘No Noise please’ literally means- Silence please, practically means- stop here, giggle, be loud, discuss and leave; just as a ‘do not litter’ sign implies- throw the last night’s chilli paneer, the bread wrapper and the waste paper no where else but here.
By all the ‘No smoking’ signs on campuses or other public transports we mean you should technically not smoke, but then, we are a free country and we could not care less. And by now, we have seen n’ number of donkeys peeing at the walls painted “yahan peshab kerna mana hai” or to put it right “dekho gadha peshab ker reha hai” .
The logic is simple, by telling us ‘what not to do’ you have challenged us to do it.
It is like questioning our ‘ego’ which, is waiting for the thrill of defying rules. This is inherent in our culture, in our sub-conscious, we know that we should always atleast try what is otherwise prohibited. When I say, part of our culture, it does not only mean culture in the present day and time. Culture, as it signifies, is ever flowing and hence this nature of affirming to the negative is recorded in our texts and myths since forever.
The meteorological department warns the fishermen of an impending peril to ‘not to’ enter the waters. But the fact that they might get a better catch in free waters leads them to take the risk. At times, defying sanctity of these two letters means taking risk, to face a battle or major consequence.
Whenever you try to warn some one on why the person should not plunge into something, in most cases, it backfires. The person who is warned usually assumes there has to be some concealed motive behind the warning. After all, to trust is considered to be weak and gullible.
You see a little boy in school getting bullied by a strong nasty kid. He comes and takes his pencil away. A group of onlookers aggravate the situation just by their remark “can’t you face him? Dar gaya be”. This negation ‘Can’t’ here questions the very masculinity of the kid and begins the reason for never saying ‘no’.
No symbolises defeat, cowardliness and worthlessness.
The idea has been governing us at every field. No as a yes, guides us in our personal lives, professional lives and social lives. In love life this results in the making of loverboys, stalkers and aashiqs. A girl when says NO has to mean Yes.
The love quotient becomes stronger if it begins with a no. The persuasion increases and reaches new levels till the girl is scared enough to fall in love. But never can a ‘no’ mean a ‘no’. That is a golden rule exploited enough by cinematic medium as well.
The societal value system is such that it encourages us to not follow the ‘no’.
Take for example, a traditional lunch or preetibhoj where the art of courtesy or manwaar is at play. The guests when eating are given due respect, every effort is made to ensure that they are well fed. In other words they have ‘over-eaten’. When you say ‘no’ for a meethai or anything there will be four other people telling you “Arrey take one more. Aise kaise.” So the expression has never meant to us what it should actually mean.
Our ‘on the road’ behaviour speaks for its self. The sign says ‘no parking’ and there will be a long line of cars right in front of it. We won’t learn a lesson till it is towed away or perhaps not even after that. I remember this friend who holds a record on ‘not’ following the red light rules. He prides himself on jumping redlight a 100 times. This is the thrill that comes out with the sheer ‘negation’ of the ‘negative’.
When grown ups get into an altercation about which they cannot find a logical argument to prove their point. We often come across “humein naa sunney ki aadat nahin hai”- “we do not accept no as an answer.”
Not only is it difficult to accept ‘no’ it becomes very difficult to ‘say’ it as well. People sometimes feel ashamed or guilty if they have to say NO. The corporate culture as such, grooms you to not to say no. Because it might harm your career, so go ahead accept everything with a nod and life is simple. They often do things against their will and end up feeling used and resentful.
The startling point here becomes the ‘unsettling’ idea behind the word itself. The two letters individually do not mean anything to us. Yet together they imply a lot. A "no" says something about the individual and that at times mean we are not good enough.
The unease of negation sometimes paralyzes us. We even fear a "no" so much that we put off, or avoid, certain topics to be discussed because we are not prepared to hear a "no".
The expression thus seeks assertiveness, resilience and patience. All three we lack when it comes to accepting this word in its true meaning and principle. In India it stares at us and asks “kyun, dar gaya?”