No. It’s the scariest word in language. It drives people into frenzy. It instigates wars on a global scale as well as at the individual level in the form of violence and rape. It also sits deep inside the heart, every No we’ve ever heard, burning tiny holes in our self-esteem and eventually our ability to dream.
What about this word is so powerful that its supposed counterpart YES cannot boast? NO draws a boundary. NO suggests identity. NO shows us the face of another’s will. Does it nullify the existence of our own?
A friend asked what we do when we are rejected. I said I drown myself in work to forget. Someone said they remove their WhatsApp profile picture. Are these two the same thing? I rush to create a new identity (as efficient and successful) as a reaction to feeling nullified by NO. The other appears to acknowledge their feeling of non-existence by becoming a non-person, at least temporarily onΒ a digital platform.
What happens instead if the answer has been YES? Do we actually remember all the YESes we’ve experienced? No, only the major ones (a marriage proposal, a pregnancy confirmation, a contract) and even these we find ourselves needing to commit to memory with rituals, pictures, anniversaries and the like. Our lives are not changed drastically by YESes and we have to work hard to remember them.
The NOs however, embed themselves inside us and forever determine how we live and who we are. A NO is a changemaker, the magic source of identity-shifting, of evolution, the essence of life itself. It’s true. It’s not pretty or comfortable but neither is birth (or being born). Maybe we are all just a collection of the NOs we have experienced our whole lives.

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3 thoughts on “A Connoisseur Of NOs”
  1. You have approached the topic, looking at the various Yes and Nos in the various contexts. No can be about the rejections that we face but at the same time when we go for it, it’s a huge change. So many times, I’ve never been able to say No and when I say YES for things that I don’t want, it can be quite a shitty scene. Rejection is another story and quite an
    ordeal, embedded in our psyche. I enjoy reading your thought-provoking posts for it helps to get perspective, Ramya.

    1. @vishalbheeroo: I’m really glad these resonate. Writing (for me at least) is a way of making sense of the world, a talking to myself. Hearing that it is standing up to another’s reading is validation.

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