Sunday, May 15, 2005

May I have your unique identity, please?

A friend of mine was telling me about a documentary she saw about a group of people who had gone snorkelling in the middle of the ocean. There was a shark alarm and everyone was bundled back into the boat and taken ashore.

Everyone, except one.

Someone had been forgotten. And he was remembered only after the others had reached the shore.

Apparently, the guy was forgotten because he did not have an 'identity', an 'image' that would make people remember him. Others did. One was the funny one in the group. Another was the guy with the big beard. All of them had a unique identity. Except this guy, who perhaps perished in the sea just because he did not have a unique image.

The moral of the story, as depicted by the documentary was that when you're in a group, make sure you have an image, a unique identity, so that in times of crisis, you are not forgotten. It can even be something ridiculous that you say or do. Someone or the other is bound to wonder, "Hey, where's the short guy?" or "Hey, where's the guy who sings?" or "Where's the guy who feeds the fish every day?" or "Where's the guy with the weird hair?" or "Where's the guy who laughs like a madman?"

And as I heard the story, I wondered, "Do I (and other people I know) have a unique image and identity? Will someone remember to call us if we are snorkelling in the middle of the ocean and there is a shark alarm?

And if yes, what is my unique identity?

Hmmm... xiao char bor (Hokkien for 'crazy girl'), perhaps...?

What's yours?


Ro said...

the aunty who thinks she is a teenager.

Or the one who says weird things like "i have a vegetarian face"

~ weird bald guy with long hair

naari said...

Chatterbox will know you as The woman who gets possessed by Hindi songs..;)

Anil said...

"Where's the guy with the weird hair?"

Are you making fun of me? :p

Sayesha said...

Weird bald guy with long hair,
Kutte ki aunty you mean! :@

I think you hit the nail on the head! :)

Guy with the weird hair,
I shall be honest with you. Yes, you were the inspiration for that part of my post! :P (But surely you wouldn't go snorkelling in that thing??)

Anil said...

Would I go snorkelling in that thing? Mommy! she's making fun of my hair!

*snatches wig from head, buries face in it and bursts into tears*

divya said...


Putting the "responsibility" on the person who is plain enough not to have an identity is just escaping our "responsibility" and i use those "" coz what we think of responsibility is an image of being held to judgement or failure or guilt. And that is not what it is!

Sayesha said...

Well, this ain't no moral science lesson. This is a basic 'how to save your ass' tip.

Cos in the end, really, we are all responsible for ourselves.

divya said...

Naah, I am not talking about morality but simply about what works!

>Coz in the end, really, we are all responsible for ourselves.
Of course, we are. But as a group, (whenever in a group) we are responsible for each other too. And simply acknowledging that we did not save that guy's life makes it easier than to blame the poor guy for not having a personality. By "not having a personality", he has one! Just like 0 is a number too =)

Sayesha said...

Of course, when you're in your group, you look out for each other. But in this case, it was a random bunch of pple put togther on the boat. When you don't know the group, you'll remember (and try to save) the ones whose unique identities left an impression on you, isn't it?

Simply put, I'd choose to be alive rather than dead with a bunch of guilty-looking people at my funeral :)

Anonymous said...

maano toh snorkelling nahin, koyi musibat hogayii!!

Keshav said...

Once upon a time, I fell in a river while rafting with friends and no nick name could have saved me cuz no one saw me fall :( and that too in the most disturbed part of the river, class 5 rapid as they call it. The lifeguard saw and pulled me into the raft. For about 30 to 45 seconds...I had thoughts that people have when they know they are going to die. I wasn't too afraid and all but still thought there is a possibility that I am not gonna make it and that too with not much swimming experience. Friends were posing for pictures and video that was shot by some one from the river bank while I was battling for live under the raft *sigh*.

Also, do people go for snorkelling in the deep ocean or is it called scuba diving with the cylinders and all such equipments ?

Sayesha said...

Oh my gawd that sounds really scary!! :O

Yeah, it's called scuba diving if you go under the water with all your equipment.

But I think you can snorkel even in the middle of the ocean.

Pramod said...

Actually a very interesting point - unique identity. We just had a discussion - though in a very different context - career growth. We a small group - selected for whatever reasons to be on a acclerated career group - were asked what made us get selected to be in that group.

Of course not to let anyone down (mainly ourselves) we came up with a list. But during the discussion - we actualyl spent most of the time talking about the identity.

While the most imp. aspect perhaps was to be at the right place at the right time - (read something I had written about Luck on my site) - next most imp. thing was image. How you speak, how you present, what you wear, how yu walk, how much hair you have (I am exactly the opp. version of Anil in his fam. pic :)) and I guess that helps...ha ha ha). Interesting no one ever talked about performance - I hope its because its a given!! Someone even pointed out that the book The Rules of Work which talks of how to create the image is a top seller on Amazon.

But never thought of that in a life and death context!

Next time when going to a party - make sure you enter with a big bang - lest someone forget you if something goes wrong :)