Sitting in my hotel room, I am switching channels to catch the latest NBA game. Turns out , there is no game tonight. I chance upon a show called 'The Bachelorette' on ABC. It's the premier of the show - there are 25, no, make that 30, white American males trying to win the heart of this girl called Jillian Harris. Her claim to fame? She was one of the contestants who made it to the last four of another reality show called "The Bachelor". Of course, she wasn't the one that the Bachelor chose; she wouldn't be doing this show otherwise. This is her chance for redemption - she got dumped on TV, now she can dump 29 men.
Anyhow, I do not intend to discuss ABC and reality shows. It does seem a bit surreal, though, to see the ancient Indian practice of swayamvar being packaged as a reality show for a divorced-from-reality tv audience, circa 2009.
Back to the show! 30 males trying to win the heart of this girl. all of them come in and introduce themselves. 'Hi, I am XYZ, I am a general contractor', or, 'Hi, I am ABC, I am a Financial Analyst'. It set me thinking about one of the oldest existentialist dilemmas - who am I. Have you ever wondered who you are? Or, are you one of those sure-of-yourself, got-everything-before-you-are-thirty, successful guys in life, and have never thought along these lines before now?
I, for one, have wondered about this many times. And, I have diagnosed myself with multiple personality disorder! To my wife, I am her husband who is never perfect, but she still loves me. To my daughters, I am a imperfect but loving father whose sole reason to be is to take care of them. I do not grudge them that certitude; I wish I had that kind of asurance myself. In my college days, I was many things to many people. To the people who envied my popularity with the girls, I was the Casanova. To the general students, I was the eternal neta/ politician - dishing out favours and collecting votes. To my friends, I was one of the funniest guys with my ready repartee and unfunny jokes. To my professors, I was one of the more intelligent and troublesome students.
Back in college, I thought, I was just being me; I was just behaving normally; I was just being a regular guy. If you didn't know how to talk to a girl, that didn't make me a Casanova. If you couldn't solve a Maths problem, that wasn't my problem! I always got irritated with some of these impressions of me. To me, they represented a selective impression of me - kind of like the six blind men describing the elephant. No one saw the true me, the complete me. I thought I was the sum of all that the other people saw me as.
Now, I am not so sure. I am still many things to many people. But, I don't know who I am anymore. Well, I didn't ever know that, but I wasn't interested in knowing that earlier. Now, I want to know that. Not only that, I even wonder about my raison-de-etre. I do not have any answers. Do you?
A very close encounter, too close for comfort
3 years ago