I wanna be
The voice of change!

Hmmm… what is change?
What changes?
What can be changed?

I wanna be
The voice of change!

Governments change
Times change
People change
Change changes!

I wanna be
The voice of change!

I change channels
I change course
I change my mind.

I wanna be
The voice of change!

What else can I change?
Change light bulbs!

Go, change a diaper!
Or change passwords!

I wanna be
The voice of change!

Bring about change,
Be with change,
Pursue change,
Have faith in change!

I wanna be
The voice of change!

Phew! What do I choose?
Eureka! I have the answer –

I wanna be
The voice of change!

Yes, today is fine.
I’ll change tomorrow!!

Change is opportunity, change is hard-work, change is sweet, change is better… but most important, change is an interpretation! Change is, as Bruce Barton remarked: ‘Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.’ At each stage, the one thing that is obviously inherent in all, is interpretation!

The voice of interpretation

Yes, the secret behind anyone wanting to be a voice of change is ‘interpretation’. Interpretation is behind the way things are perceived, the way solutions are thought of and proposed, the way the answers are implemented, and the way life is lived!

Interpretation can lead to the poetry that we see and feel.
Interpretation can be the war and the anguish that the world experiences.
Interpretation can transform into the intrigue behind a glance.
Interpretation can end up as the romance in any relationship.
Interpretation is what brings out the devil in us.
Interpretation is responsible for creating a heaven on earth!

Just reread the poem at the start of this article and you’ll find that your interpretation of the final stanza converts the essence of the poem. Someone may read it as a wish to convert the days to come into something better and someone else may say that the poem talks of shifting the mood for a change to the next day. One interpretation has a resolve oozing out of it and the other is nothing but an amorphous lump of feelings that are lazing and procrastinating undisguised!

The doors we open and close are all because of the way we interpret a situation and decide on the action. It is this action that can trigger a chain reaction leading to evolution through involvement… however there is an equal probability of a misinterpretation leading to an action that fizzles out whatever spark there was for begetting a profitable change. The action, in both cases, is equally strong and influential. It is the substrate for this action that needs to be tackled effectively and firmly if we want to favour a positive change that leads to an evolved state for humanity… and this substrate is nothing but an abstraction called ‘interpretation’.

Yes, I’d want to influence and change the way we interpret so that every action that emerges as the resultant is a step forward and takes us towards a brighter and a better future!

Arthur Schopenhauer had written: Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal. I’d want every mind to be seeped into an eternal, perpetual, and immortal state where a wrong interpretation is just not possible.

The video at the end of the article is also projecting the need for a fruitful state of glorious interpretations and I’ve even included the lines of the poem above to represent the emotion.

I had just finished writing the above lines and was considering uploading them as the blog post that I thought was complete in itself when Specky (my wife) walked in and stood beside my chair in our study.

‘The article is complete,’ I declared, ‘want to read it?’

She said nothing and just sat on the vacant chair there, took control of the mouse and began reading it.

‘The poem is good.’

‘And the rest of the stuff there?’ I asked.

‘Interesting,’ she said, ‘But it is seems like I’m inside a classroom…’ and noticing the pained look on my face, continued, ‘Well, a classroom where the teacher is really good. Make that really, really, really good!’

‘Ok,’ I was relieved, ‘what do you think I ought to add now?’

‘Examples,’ she said, and then waited for me to say something.

There was silence. The kind of silence that’s there when two minds are desperately searching for the right examples to prove an abstraction. She was more primed to this task, having done her doctorate in mathematics from York, so I wasn’t surprised when she spoke before I had even let the problem be understood clearly.

Interpreting technology

‘Look,’ she said, ‘when we talk of buying a new television or a smartphone, or any other new gadget, it may be because by making a buying decision we are simply wanting to get better.’

‘Right,’ I answered rather slowly as I was trying to understand what she was saying, ‘And obviously you interpret ‘getting better’ becoming easier when you adopt technology.’

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘Now this interpretation doesn’t happen everywhere or with everyone. Does our maid interpret the way we do?’

‘Ah!’ I was happy to have found a good example, and continued after I had exhausted my stock of Ahs! and Hmmms, ‘So Meenu would be making her technology-buying decisions because she interprets differently… right?’

‘That’s right. She interprets her need to boast and show-off as a valid reason to buy a new TV,’ she paused and then said, ‘or a mobile phone that has features she’d never understand given her literacy level.’

‘Got it,’ I was excited now, ‘so her mis-interpretation is what leads her towards more misery instead of becoming a panacea.’ The concept was now clear in my mind. Meenu was using interpretation to get more enmeshed into loans, besides weaning away her children from focusing on their prime need to study harder. Her faulty interpretation was thus becoming a problem for her and her family.

It was this interpretation that needed to be influenced or changed. Meenu actually needed to start interpreting the need for adult education for adults in her family, school education for her kids, and the need to save money, as the real basis to buy the best from the prevailing technology. Only then would she have the will to buy a TV and teach her family to switch it ON only when the school-work and other important tasks are done. Only then would she stop succumbing to the temptation of loaning money at unheard of interest rates and splurging it all on a TV that will end up making them all powerless puppets of destiny!

‘Well,’ I told my wife, ‘If there is anything I’d change it will be interpretation surely.’

‘Yes,’ answered Specky, ‘Interpreted correctly, even Meenu can go ahead and adopt technology for the right reasons at the right time. After all, what’s the point in buying a smartphone if you cannot read and use the smart features.’

‘I agree. It isn’t buying a mobile phone that is counter-productive. What rankles is when you spend money on something that you have no power to use. And once this realisation or interpretation sinks in, one will get up and opt for raising their own literacy level to then adopt and use technology. Sounds simple.’

‘Yes, only if the mind could interpret things this way.’

‘If I could, I would change the way we interpret,’ I said, ‘We could all stay free of the shackles that misinterpretation brings with it.’

The rich too need to interpret correctly

‘And I don’t mean only maids and rickshaw pullers who need to interpret things correctly,’ my wife had this habit of springing thought-surprises when you least expect, and here is one that she did, ‘Even the well-off need to restate their interpretations for so many things.’

‘I know. Look at the way we are swimming into the vortex of trans fats and getting friendly with all the lifestyle diseases.’

My wife smiled at this and replied, ‘Yes, this is true. This is probably because we misinterpret eating well as eating all the things we shouldn’t be eating.’

A whirlpool of misinterpretations plagues us all

Interpretation was actually getting interesting now. We sat down and started making a list of all the things that were being misinterpreted and here are ten of those that we found most relevant and those that needed urgent attention:

  1. Don’t we misinterpret our need to guide our children and load them with our own unfulfilled and out-dated desires? Interpreted correctly, we’d just let the kids seek their own dreams and live their own lives.
  2. Look at our offices… don’t some officials misinterpret security and just hide even innocuous bits of information? We’ll surely be able to solve most of our bureaucratic tangles if I could change the way our Babus interpreted security!
  3. Corruption is largely an interpretation issue. If the human mind ceases to interpret happiness as more money, the means to get hold of all the extra bucks would vanish!
  4. There are a lot of us in India who misinterpret having a girl child as a massive liability and go for every method that can save them from this perceived calamity. It is time that we began interpreting a girl child as someone who is not less than anyone.
  5. Do women deliberately ask for soft postings and easy assignments? No. It is precisely this misinterpretation that a lot of our women officials come face to face with in their professional lives… and this needs to be changed!
  6. Will crossing the STOP line at a traffic signal give me an added advantage? Will breaking a traffic rule, over-speeding, weave-driving help me reach my destination faster? I’m sure we’ll be better off the day we interpret these concerns correctly.
  7. Just look around and you’ll find innumerable lovers interpreting their emotions as graffiti on trees and on the walls of our monuments. ‘Ranjha loves Heer’ engraved on a live tree is not craftsmanship. It speaks of dulled feeling for our own heritage and needs to be interpreted correctly.
  8. A lot of us tend to take official stationery for personal use. Does this actually make us richer? No. The fact that you save your money when you use office resources is a fallacy, a misinterpretation… and needs a desperate change!
  9. Travelling ticketless, not buying a ticket for a child by wanting to pass him off as smaller than he actually is, or using ‘staff’ as the excuse for not buying a ticket are all examples of flawed interpretations! We interpret that all this will help us save more… but it doesn’t. Now, isn’t this interpretation-technique worth changing?
  10. What do you see most rampant on the social networks today? Copying a small thing like a status update and then basking in the applause of a few friends! Does this make us any more creative? No. Come on, line up and change your interpretation of being called creative…

Well, we were quite happy at our short-list of a few things that we’d want to be changed. This was when my wife smiled and said, ‘What do male drivers say when they see a car wavering or not being driven properly?’

‘A woman driver!’ I said without a moment’s hesitation and knew immediately that I had fallen for her trap!

‘This too is surely a misinterpretation, and needs to be changed.’

I smiled and said after a pause, ‘The time to change is now… and together we can make a difference where it matters the most.’

The video on ‘Change tomorrow and stay free!’..



‘Time to change’, a blogging contest sponsored by STAYFREE on indiblogger isn’t a mere contest. It was an opportunity for me to explore totally new ways of expressing my thoughts. 


Arvind Passey
08 April 2012