The Wall

The Wall

Narendra M Apte

‘Wall’ has many varied meanings and connotations, depending on the context in which we use the word.

A simple definition of wall is ‘ a solid structure, usually vertical, of stone, brick, concrete, wood, etc., forming one of the sides of a building or room or used to enclose, divide or protect something, including land.

A wall, more particularly a boundary wall, provides a sense of security, if not security itself. In case it is an unwanted wall, a sort of obstacle that prevents free communication, it may provide motivation to look for alternatives to break the communication barrier.

If one wishes to write on subject of a ‘wall’, just imagine how many different ideas will fill up one’s mind.

There is an invisible wall of silence or a communication barrier between two or more individuals (or groups of them), who need to interact with each other but often fail to do so.

In the current urban environment, there are many uncontrollable factors which affect our daily lives. Long hours of work, stress at workplace and inability to understand feelings of colleagues in workplace, and lack of communication with them may create invisible walls.

In our society today, number of small, nuclear families are rapidly rising. Both husband and wife are working and grandparents do not live with them. In such a scenario, the couple may find it difficult to spend time together and as also with their child (or children). This situation in itself is not a cause of worry; but when there is no proper communication with each other, an invisible wall is created.

The so-called generation gap, about which we hear so often these days, is an invisible wall between parents and their teenager child, between the old and the young and it is also noticed in the workplace. I believe the generation gap is created on account of an invisible wall that exists on account of lack of proper communication. Child psychologists and social scientists and experts in human relationship management make efforts to suggest different ways to bridge the generation gap.

For students of psychology and psychiatry, a wall is an invisible barrier which creates many a problem for individuals with mental disorders. These individuals may be suffering from autism, schizophrenia, or some other ailment. They cannot communicate with their close relatives, and often feel frustrated. Even in case of so-called ‘normal’ individuals, when they suffer from attack of depression, they create invisible walls between themselves and others. Psychiatrists are trained to break such walls by using different techniques.

In politics, too term ‘wall’ has assumed a special meaning. Political parties, whose leaders wish to be in power by any means, often create walls based on language, caste and religion.

The great poet Shri Rabindranath Tagore had once dreamed of an era when “the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.” Alas, today’s politicians are energetically building such narrow walls between people of different states and different religions.

If one is a finance wizard, naturally one would immediately think of the Wall Street, and be even inspired by success of famous investors like Warren Buffet on the Wall Street.

If one is a student of history, one will be reminded about the Great Wall of China, its historical importance and how even today it attracts thousands of tourists.

The famous Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to prevent people from the Eastern part of the city of Berlin (which that was part of Soviet Union controlled East Germany) from entering West Germany. The Berlin Wall may have been torn down long ago, but many people in Germany still feel divided; the wall is intact in their minds.

The question then is this: can we create an environment wherein all invisible walls will be broken? If that happens, that will be great day for the entire mankind.

(Narendra M Apte, a qualified Chartered Accountant, is a freelancer.)