I had heard about brownies in school and all that I knew then was then was that brownies referred to small cakes or pastries. And, who doesn’t love cakes? Of course, I also knew about brownies as elf like or goblin like creatures that lived in the nooks and corners of homes working into the night oblivious to all human eyes. Courtesy: all the fairy tales that I devoured. But, imagine my surprise when I discovered that not only could you eat brownies or fear them in the night, you could also earn brownie points! Over the years, we all have earned brownie points for a host of things, some deserved, some undeserved. Have you ever wondered about them? How much of them were for public favour and how much for the satisfaction of your soul?
Gaining Brownie Points or Losing Them
There was a time when I lived in an idealistic world practicing little acts of kindness. I would seek out opportunities to help someone in distress, sort out squabbles to the best of my ability. In short, try to live my life to the standards of saints and creative people who practiced what they preached. It was easy then. I was studying. I had no responsibilities except for my academics. The very fact that others benefited from my actions gave me immense pleasure and maybe, the brownie points that I was earlier talking about. It had to be that because then I did not believe much in good karma. All that I wanted was to feel happy within and score brownie points for my soul. Was I wrong?
I don’t do it as often as I used to now. I have responsibilities and let’s get it straight, “I am no saint.” Ironical as it may sound, the very ideals that inspired me to strive for those brownie points were no source of inspiration now. While I helped people earlier going out of my way, today, most of my brownie points were restricted to my home, its family members and my profession. A random brush of aid here and there. It was okay for me if I earned some brownie points here and there to stay content. Sometimes, even that was not required. I let time do what it thought right. Still, we can see a lot of people around us who are constantly collecting brownie points be it to impress a girlfriend, please a boss or create an impression with the friends one hangs out with. It may seem flimsy to even give it a thought but think of the times when you have longed for appreciation or even acknowledgement for something good that you have done. Earning imaginary credit for yourself seems the best way to survive with dignity. What do you say? It seems a self defense mechanism, very apt in today’s indifferent world where you are treated either like a doormat or left to carry on your life for yourself.
We are a creation filled with extremes. Either we clamp up and keep to our world or else resort to creating an impression for ourselves through the process of earning brownie points. “What’s harmful in earning brownie points or even losing them if they are not real,” you might ask.
Valid question. As long as they don’t affect anyone, these little rewarding points seem good enough to boost our confidence, our ego perhaps or bring it down when our attempts fire back.
So, does it really matter? Earning brownie points that is?
(By the way, the origin of brownies seems to trace back to the Girl Guides in USA who were trained to be ‘helpful Brownies.’ Of course, the imps, elves and goblins folklore was believed to be an origin too.)