Cliche

Currently everything is moving at snail’s pace, I feel like this because I am leaving for home soon. I am tempted to pack everything up and wait till the day arrives. But, I am trying to hang in there for another couple of days. After all, when I go home it’ll be a while before I travel elsewhere outside India. So a part of me wants to deal with this like the last few pieces of chocolate in the chocolate box.

Lately, I’ve been holding myself back. I feel like if I say something it might lose meaning. Do you ever feel like that sentence which holds so much meaning to you if said suddenly becomes pointless? I think that’s the reason why we never move past the surface in a conversation. Why do we take so much time to share what we feel? Half of us like texts because you can say what you want to say in drafts before you hit send. A conversation between people is mostly a game of single shots.

We’re all privy to the current culture of films and music that keep reinventing cliches to sell to us. We buy it. Cliches are mostly the reason why I am afraid as a writer, because they are so hard to avoid. And as a reader who writes I know that cliches automatically initiate an eye-roll. But they are a plague every artist or writer must at some point face.

It’s one of those battles you must fight, just get in the ring and deal with it. But cliches are engaging. Everybody knows that at times we prefer the cliches. When things play out the way we thought they would it makes us happy. It depends on our mood really. We like to believe in the excitement that occurs outside of the realm of possibility so much so that even fantasy has become a cliche. Anything that becomes popular is deemed a cliche.

Yet, non-cliche things are discarded as ‘unpopular’. It’s so one-sided. ‘Types’ of people have become cliches. Honestly, we live cliche lives and yet we have a problem with cliches. That’s because we have had enough of the ordinary. But if stories or art aims for something unattainable, it becomes a category of cliche, one that doesn’t represent reality. While I’ve tried to avoid cliches in my life, sometimes it’s inevitable.

I don’t mind cliches as long as they are entertaining. As long as it keeps me interested. Just because something is cliche doesn’t make it boring. Have you watched a love story and not been excited over certain cliches in the films? Haven’t you watched some movies twice just to rewatch a cliche scene or read a book more than once? Perhaps I’d like the cliches at times to change things up. For example, the guy falling into the girl’s arms for a change.

If we’re not recycling cliches we’re creating new cliches. I always wondered about making a place for myself by writing, I realised originality isn’t as simple as being honest. They are two very different things, you can be honest but that doesn’t mean you are original and vice versa. Often people confuse the two. I thought it’s enough to say what’s on my mind, but no, I realised I am trying to avoid similarity. I feel like that everyday, like I am stepping on toes.

I sometimes watch dramas or movies wondering why they’re following every cliche in the book. That’s mostly true of a series, you can etch out the milestone episodes. By episode five there will be a doubt on the characters’ minds that they are feeling something for one another, by episode eight the antagonist is fully etched out and we see a plot twist most probably a connection between the characters that goes back to when they were kids.

By the twelfth episode the lead couple is together but something goes wrong, by the fourteenth episode the director is trying very hard to tie up the lose ends because he took too much creative freedom and now realises he’s running out of time. And by the sixteenth episode all crises have been averted, all’s well that ends well.

It’s a great strategy, you watch five dramas or series which are different versions of the same stories and then you come across one drama where the plot is different but the soul is still the same and you’re impressed. The odds are alright, not great but they’re ok. I notice this in books as well. That’s why I am a fan of the classics, because they were the ones who introduced cliches to all their succeeding generations. They showed us how to create cliches.

The stories that are too original, which defy cliches, revealing that life is more than cliches, are either meant for libraries or for the textbooks. Only those who want to one day write a book or tell a story will read them at university, for assignments and exams. I say unabashedly that cliches are a manifestation of our own desires. Try as we might to deny it, but at some point we’ve all either lived a cliche or wanted to be part of a cliche.

We get a limited time on this Earth and we want to live exciting lives, discovering our magical abilities, or be parts of experiments gone wrong and become superheroes, or bump into the love of our lives in the hallways of school, or be the underdog who comes out thriving. We live in a world of seven billion cliches. It’s beautiful, because these cliches emerge from our mundane existences, born in the minds of people just like us. I find it amazing and fascinating.

I try to write things here that are both honest and original to me, but I am often faced with a dilemma that reality has taught me, that it’s the lies which sell. I’ve realised that my cliche existence is all I have to go on, because that’s really all that anyone owns which is the story they live. It’s one of my traits I write best in first person, I am not good at creating new characters, that’s because the character I know best is me.

This life however cliche is mine, I lived all these years to be soemthing unlike anybody else, unique, becuase I didn’t fit in. Then when I grew up the misfit became a cliche, and there I was wondering if my life is just a soppy story like everybody else’s. Now I don’t care, so what if it is cliche, I realised nobody else is getting to live my life so it doesn’t matter if the story is similar to someone else’s. We live on the same planet, part of the same community of humans, if I thought I was completely different from seven billion people, then I was kidding myself.

If you happen to resemble a cliche without intending to, then own it, these cliches don’t exist for us to exclude. These cliches were given to us to tell us, that we all belong. If you feel you are not represented in the current pool of cliches, don’t worry one day you will find your existence as part of a cliche or you might add to the pool by telling the world there are people like you. Cliches are not bad, but there are cliches to avoid, you know like being the cliche antagonist, if you relate more to those characters you could use some change. No matter how different our lives, unrealistic or realistic, we’re all entitled to them. If you don’t get what I am saying, it’s ok.

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2 thoughts on “Cliche

  1. Poonacha PG says:

    Very interesting reflections.I think lie sells because it is creativity, has many shades and makes it more interesting than truth which can never be known. Be honest and be original and that is it and the rest is, “We get a limited time on this Earth and we want to live exciting lives, discovering our magical abilities, or be parts of experiments gone wrong and become superheroes, or bump into the love of our lives in the hallways of school, or be the underdog who comes out thriving.” Keep writing more.

    Like

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