Monday, October 30, 2006

When?

While planning my office fun day, one of the organisers sent a mail asking people to volunteer for various games. He also needed someone to dress up as Snoopy - the mascot of our team.

"Yeah right!" Most of us thought when we read that.

I wondered who would agree to dress up like Snoopy for the event. It had to be one of the crazy designers or illustrators. Or maybe one of the crazy editors would eventually agree to do it. Someone like me.

So I was really surprised when I found out who had agreed to do it. The most amazing part was - she was the last person anyone would imagine agreeing to be the mascot. She was a dignified, elegant, calm and composed lady. Bole toh, apun ka exact opposite. And I thought to myself - how is it that someone who is generally as jumpy as me did not agree to become the mascot and someone like her did?

"There must be a catch!" I thought. "Why would anyone in their right mind go on a 5-km walk in the Macritchie forest wearing a Snoopy head?? Ah, I know! Maybe she's gonna tender her resignation and wants to make a statement before that!" Whoever heard my theory gave me the "You and your hyperactive imagination" look.

A couple of days after the fun day, said mascot tendered her resignation.

"I told you so!" I said it aloud to everyone who'd laughed at my theory.

Though I was proud to have had my theory verified, I was also forced to think. "What if she'd not quit? What if she'd really wanted to be the mascot? What if she just wanted to have fun? Why was I so suspicious of what could have been an earnest desire? Why should there necessarily be a catch if something is out of the ordinary?"

Every time we want to do something out of the way, we start thinking of what others will say. We try to get into the minds of everyone except ourselves, to see what they would think, what they would say. We try to cater to the expectations of everyone except ourselves.

Why are we so relcutant to behave out of the box? Whatever happened to the spirit of having fun? Why is it so hard for us to convince ourselves that if we're comfortable with ourselves, no one can make us feel uncomfortable? When did wearing something a little adventurous become an act of 'courage'? When did we start demeaning the concept of courage?

They say it takes a long time to wear a sari. It took me a year, to be precise.

Last year in my office when we had a Deepavali-Hari Raya party, and we had to dress up in ethnic wear, two of my colleagues asked me if I'd be wearing a sari.

"Are you kidding me?? Sari??? Me???? No way man! I'm SO not gonna make a fool of myself in front of the whole office!"

The truth is - I was DYING to wear a sari for the party. Any party. I was basically errr.. dying to wear a sari. To me, the sari is the ultimate attire. There's nothing quite as elegant as the sari.

It was not the fear of walking around like a penguin in a kimono that stopped me, it was my fear of what people would say/think if I turned up in a sari. This year, I realised how stupid I'd been last year, and how fortunate I was to actually have an event where I could flaunt my national costume in a foreign country. I just had to believe that I could pull off the sari look.

And so, this year, wear a sari I did. And I did not stumble or fall, nor did I walk like a penguin in a kimono.

Everything was fine. Everything was great.

As I reflected on how much fun it was, I realised that the little act of wearing a sari at my office party meant a lot more to me than I thought it did. The more I thought, the more questions floated around in my mind.

When did we become like this? When did we stop having harmless nonsensical fun? When did we start stopping each other from having harmless nonsensical fun? When did we start dictating one another's lives? When did we start imposing our standards on others? When did we start allowing others to impose their standards on us? When did insignificant things become so significant? When did we start staring and judging? When did we become so self-conscious in the company of others? And who are these 'others' anyway? It's us, isn't it? So when did we start making one another so conscious of themselves? When did we start penalising people for not being like us?

When did we stop giving a damn about all the things that really matter?

When did we start giving a damn about all the things that don't?



38 comments:

Inder said...

probably when we started 'thinking'. life will be a lot easier without the so called sixth sense :)

Bivas said...

//Whatever happened to the spirit of having fun?
Yeah...'Spirits' are a lot of fun esp when mixed properly ;-)
On a serious note...u ask when did we start giving a damn to things dat don't matter...well...probably the same time we started thinking that we're adults and have to behave in a certain way...but then we have to ask ourselves this question..."Who dictates/defines this certain behavior?"
Okay am probably typing something very confusing...but simply stated...we're what we're...we may be influenced by our environment butat the end of the day, deep in our hearts we're what we're...always!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

yeah, ever since we started playing to the imposed rules of soceity...and now it's second nature, so it's hard to shrug off. It's good to shake it off every now and then..you are your own best friend, judge and critic.
I liked this post, and i got third rank!!!!!!!!

satish said...

06/06/2001 @ 00.00 hours

Lizabeth said...

Dear Sayesha,
You have given voice to my thoughts. I also have the same problem. I live in U.S. and it is getting cold now. My parents want me to wear a hat. In my mind, I to want to wear a hat. But it always ends up in me not wearing.I always think that nobody
else is wearing, if I wear they will laugh at me,I will be a dunce before them etc..".
It is so difficult making up my mind because of that. I hate myself for that sometimes. But I don't think I will be able to decide. I can't give more examples because I am sitting in a computer lab and there are curious kids on my right and left.

Lizabeth said...

Dear Sayesha,
You have given voice to my thoughts. I also have the same problem. I live in U.S. and it is getting cold now. My parents want me to wear a hat. In my mind, I to want to wear a hat. But it always ends up in me not wearing.I always think that nobody
else is wearing, if I wear they will laugh at me,I will be a dunce before them etc..".
It is so difficult making up my mind because of that. I hate myself for that sometimes. But I don't think I will be able to decide. I can't give more examples because I am sitting in a computer lab and there are curious kids on my right and left.

Lizabeth said...

Dear Sayesha,
You have given voice to my thoughts. I also have the same problem. I live in U.S. and it is getting cold now. My parents want me to wear a hat. In my mind, I to want to wear a hat. But it always ends up in me not wearing.I always think that nobody
else is wearing, if I wear they will laugh at me,I will be a dunce before them etc..".
It is so difficult making up my mind because of that. I hate myself for that sometimes. But I don't think I will be able to decide. I can't give more examples because I am sitting in a computer lab and there are curious kids on my right and left.

Thisisme said...

Hey sayesha

V well written :)

U have asked the right questions and i too wonder as to when did v start being so conscious of the world..
blv me..i was like that till last year..but then finally decided ki enuff of the world..after all..who is part of this world?? U n me?? so y b so bothered..every1 is like us only..so nothing to b worried or scared of :)) ..but then yep..this kinda thinking does have its own side-effects ;))

Anonymous said...

ever since we "grew up"(!?!) :(((

dharmu said...

directo from the bhai's brainy!

do i ever disagree with you???

Aashun said...

"They say it takes a long time to wear a sari. It took me a year, to be precise."

Would you just quit making me confused about this sari concept? First you said, you have to roll and wear it and now this penguin-in-a-kimono comes up.
If one day I would reject a girl just because she was wearing a sari, it would be all your fault :-)

Sakshi said...

Sigh. Lost my top 10 rank.
I wish I could march to my own drum all the time but we have to play by the majority rules. And people tend to care about what other's think way too much ..
Never understood that. It is MY life and I only get to live it once. Should my enjoyment in it all that should matter?

Strider said...

very well written!! Set me thinking..

Bivas is bang on target when he says
"u ask when did we start giving a damn to things dat don't matter...well...probably the same time we started thinking that we're adults and have to behave in a certain way"

saty said...

don't realy feel tried telling you that you write infintely well, we are a part of a a society which expects us to run to certain norms and rules, ( is it really wrong?)diplomacy sall we say?...when told that diplomacy is nothing but hot air, a diplomat replies:- "yes it is, but that whats it is in the tyres also and see how it eases out all the bumps and the holes." its all individual, as long as we remain unruffled about the norms it okay i guess, otherewise we can always ignore them, and sing:- accho ko bura sabid karna, duniya ki purni aadat hai.. :)

Hari said...

Your post truly reflects the mindset I had today morning!! You know what.. it is raining cats and dogs..no...dinosaurs and blue whales down here in chennai. So today seeing the gloomy weather I wore my black jerkin when my eyes fell on my new TITAN Shades coolers. I wore it and pesto!!! A great looking guy in a black jacket, long wet hair and dark coolers was staring back at me from the mirror! WOW! went I... But I hestitated a lot to wear the glasses to office in my bike!! As you said I went into the heads of all the people who would see me... That guy in the bus wud think I am a show off
That girl would think which idiot would wear a collers in this climate
That old man will think...
That little kid will think...
That stray dog will think...

Then I stopped... Hari what do you think I asked myself...

"The difference between Sharukh and you is that he is famous and you are yet to be famous"

I wore the coolers

P.S: and I just loved it!!!

Maverick said...

bhai bheje pe zyada bhoj nahi dene ke.. nahi to kidney fail ho jaaegi..

RP said...

Why should there necessarily be a catch if something is out of the ordinary?
superb que.

We try to cater to the expectations of everyone except ourselves.
very good ans.

for the serious of whens that you had put up, i have only 3 words - "fear of belongingness". or shud i say, "fear of not belonging" to a certain group. it is a distorted -ve version of BE A ROMAN IN ROME. the distortion is "we try 2 imitate romans instead of blending with them". do ye understand what i am arriving @?? we try hard 2 make a mark amidst ppl who dont matter & show to them (again the ppl who dont matter) that we are one of them. in try 2 prove the point, we do not do that is not done by them. like wearing a sari in US/Japan/Singapore. we would'nt mind it in Srilanka, would we??
Its the psychological fear the "may be we will be left alone" or "may be they will not accept this" or "..." nd this fear runs thro' every single soul on this face of earth. in short, you are not alone. and its gonna take a revolutionary culture 2 eradicate this thought.

Jeevan Baretto said...

There was a Freshers party organised in our company few months back and every fresher had to involve himself/herself in some or the other event. We decided to perform a play. One of the character was to be 'Mallika Sherawat'. Nobody was ready to take up that role.. Ultimately I went forward in accepting the role and had to wear the sari on stage..!! and not only that I had to dance as well..;-)

At the end of the day it was all fun and everyone liked it...

I feel because of that evening, I am known well in the company today. Everyone recognises me by the name 'Mallika'... ha ha

chanakya said...

about when we were 6 months old or something i think (can't remember at what age a baby is supposed to become aware of itself). Since we learned the concep of 'I' as to us, we, them. After all its always the same isnt it. You did stuff sometimes because it will please ur parents when u were a kid because pleasing them would mean pleasing urself in the bragain as well and leaving aside something which might give u greater gratification.
more later now coffe break.
ps nice blog i seem to keep coming back to it.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I think I'll wear something funky to office this friday, thanks to you :D... I like these posts of yours, you know... make me think of things I never bothered to observe... :)

-Sowmya

Sayesha said...

#Inder,
Hmm... I wouldn't really call this the sixth sense... this is more like 'social (non)sense'? :P

#Bivas,
Don't worry, you were very clear. I understood what you were trying to say :)

#Ipanema Gal,
Ya allah! Itne dinon baad bronze liya tuney! :O
ps: Thanks :)

#Satish,
I think you're on the 'spirits' that Bivas mentioned! ;)

#Liz,
Thanks dear :)
I say wear a hat and wear it shaan se! :)

#Thisisme,
Thanks :)

//..but then yep..this kinda thinking does have its own side-effects ;))

You bet! ;)

#Anonymous,
Yeah man... suddenly growing up doesn't sound all that 'happening' huh? :)

#Dharmu,
:)

#Aashun,
Hahahahaha! You know, as I wrote those lines, I thought of you?? I KNEW you'd say something! Hahahaha! :D

#Sakshi,
//Should my enjoyment in it all that should matter?

Hmm... maybe not all the time, but it should be so, most of the time, isn't it?

#Strider,
Yeah man... I agree... childhood was way cooler! ;)

#Saty,
Thanks :)

#Hari,
Hahaha! That was so typically Hari! Did I tell you I love the comments you write? :D

#Maverick,
Apun ka bheja sahi jagah par hai... tu ghutne par zor mat de mamu! :D

#RP,
Yeah, it's always the fear of not fitting in that makes us do the things we don't even want to do. But who're these people we're trying to 'fit in' with? It's us again! We're ourselves, we're the others! We're the ones who have created this system and now we're its slaves :(

#Jeevan,
Wow! Awesome work, Mallika! I'm sure you're more popular because of your act :)

#Chanakya,
6 months?? That early?? :O :O :O
Can imagine a baby thinking "Hey, these days no one uses a yellow pacifier! Get me another colour, Daddy! All my fellow toddlers have the cool black i-pac. I want one too!" :P

#Sowmya,
Cool! Lemme know what you wore, okay? :)

Iday said...

Hmmph... quite a long post and here i am at the end of a really long day :)
Nice thoughts i must agree - but i've learned many years ago that i live MY life for MY self!
Others come in and go out - but the bottom line is that it is my life.

so it has been, at least in the past many years, "I am what I am" kind of life. I feel much much liberated living this way. Recently, when i met my school friends after a long long time, i could see that they were being very judgmental. Since we were meeting each other after a long time everyone was keen to know what the other person has grown into :) So i did get a lot of stares whenever i spoke my mind :D Did i mention i do that always ;)

There are much simpler stuff we don't do coz of the so called Social Sense. I know people don't wanna shake a leg for their most fav tunes, coz they are in a place where they shud not dance :) People who wudnt sing along their all time favorite songs. People who wud feel shy (and sometimes outright bad) to accept that they jus ogled at that girl in the pink dress and offer all excuses to justify why they turned that side. I never know who defines what's right and what's wrong.

The bottom line is that there is no one but us who draws the lines :)
Since drawing so many lines is a huge pain, i don't draw any ;)
Life, for me, is much simpler this way :D

asha said...

nice post

actually too many times it happens that we hide the real person that we are and try to adhere to THE norms , and forget to live for ourselves yeh soch ke ke log kya kahenge. it goes on to such an etxent that sometimes one not only imagines the responses of the other person but also reacts to those imaginary responses, making life really miserable.

have really seen this happen.

by the way it took me 33 yrs to jutao himmat to get into a trouser. i had bought one when i was 20, but kabhi pehna hee nahi. the neighbourhood and folks were conservative (or so i thought).

asha said...

by the way, the movie DOR is a must watch. see it if u haven't. great story, terrific acting by gul panag , shreyas talpade (Iqbal - fame) and surprise !! Ayesha Takia!.

have seen the movie thrice, that too in the theatres. once for myself, the 2nd time so that my pati parmeshwar would see it and today once again. will gladly see it again if any more of friends need company - and i will even pay for my ticket, once again.

the movie is relevant in some degrees with yr post. talks about "mann ki sunna ", about taking that leap into unknown -' imaann ki chalaang' as they refer to it in the movie.

it is not a sermonising movie but touches several issues ' imaan sey' . would like to hear yr take on it.


2 of the songs are good too.

Inder said...

'social'-sense is a sub-set of sixth-sense. we can derive at the sixth-sense as the reason for every bad thing (and every good thing, which is not important at this context) that we have faced, still face and will face :D

chanakya said...

sorry usually before 15 months babies arent self aware but by 24 the definitely are. :D
should have checked upon the facts before i commented :P

When did we stop giving a damn about all the things that really matter?

When did we start giving a damn about all the things that don't?


The question i guess you should put to yourself is what really matters and what does not. If you can slot it in correctly then you will find all your answers. For me its all relative i guess. I cannot really say that this matters and this does not.

Bivas said...

Agree with Asha...Wonderful wonderful movie...would like to watch it again for sure...
ne1 paying for my ticket!!! ;-)

anoop said...

when we had to live in a society, then.
when there was no belief in the self, then..
when the mind developed beyond cognition, then...

Aashun said...

#Aashun,
Hahahahaha! You know, as I wrote those lines, I thought of you?? I KNEW you'd say something! Hahahaha! :D

-- It is amazing, isn't it? The
way you thought that I ought to comment on it and I actually did. Small things like this are the actual signs of a good friendship!

asha said...

The answer to yr question may be " when insecurity steps in" when we forget to appreciate the other persons achievements .so many times our insecurities and failures do not let us appreciate the good in others. "i cant dance, i cant sing, i have stage fright so instead of fighting my fears and achieving my aspirations, i try and put down the attempts made by others who are striving to overcome their fears. and achieve their aspirations. Or of those who are simply good at it.”

We forget to acknowledge good performances but do not forget to find flaws. ‘u made a fool of yrself there onstage. U were embarassing’ . not for one moment do we stand and think ‘ could I have gone up there and performed. Forget giving a better performance, but going up there and doing it for the fun of it, becoz deep in me I want to. NO, becoz all the while we are thinking, wot If I goof up. There will be a 100 eyes wanting me to fall flat on my face.

A part of me also believes that no one has the time to think about u., all of us have becom so self centred that we only think about ourlseves. And “what will they/he / she think of me’ is just a mind game.

Truly sayesha, this post has set me thinking and hence I keep coming back to post comments. My thoughts are appearing disjointed even to myself. But for once I am writing them as they come to me, bindaas se, not worrying ke sayesha ke adde pe log aur fellow bloggers kya kahenge. (evil laughter echoes)

Jiyo sayesha jiyo

jane said...

Once we become or atleast think we have become all adult-like, we lose the childlike quality we all had (and some of us still have it :D) and a bit of our soul as well. Since when did it become cool to sound shallow and throw around attitude? I don't get it either. Good q's raised, must remember them often! I agree with TGFI, nice post! :)

Hari said...

Did I tell you I love the comments you write? :D

No.Atleast you did it now! Thanks!!

By the way, as I had told you earlier, I was in Malaysia from the 11th Oct to the 14th Oct. The country is so damn clean and I was stunned to hear Singapore is cleaner than that!!!! I am planning to write more about the trip... here is the first installment!

http://thunderthrob.blogspot.com/2006/10/take-off.html

Do read if time permits...

Tarun. said...

Yes we think a lot more about what people are thinking about us.
No one has enough time.
More often then not We just seem to beat the bush and perceive our thoughts while the truth is something else.

Ramkumar said...

i can't answer the question with "we" in perspective but with "i" in perspective, i started giving a damn .....1982.

Sayesha said...

#Iday,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts... interesting :)

#Asha,
//sometimes one not only imagines the responses of the other person but also reacts to those imaginary responses, making life really miserable.

Best line in the entire comment space! :)

ps: I wanted to catch Dor but it did not release here I think :(

#Chanakya,
Generally speaking, it's all relative, but for each of us, we can classify things into what matters and what does not. The problem is when we start caring about things that we know don't matter.

#Bivas,
Sheesh, now I really wanna watch it! :)

#Aashun,
:)

#Asha,
Welcome back... do feel free to drop by whenever you have thoughts... they're very enlightening and (further)thought-provoking :)

#Hari,
Hahahahaha! Singapore is WAY cleaner than Malaysia! :)
ps: Will go check up your post now.

#The Light-House,
Yup.. the truth is something else... that's the truth.

#Ramkumar
Wow you sure started giving a damn early, huh? ;)

Iday said...

//Wow you sure started giving a damn early, huh? ;)
He was born with a silver "damn" in his mouth :P

bellydancer said...

You looked great in the sari! I also had all those thoughts about what will other people think and I realise that that always stop me from doing so many things...

Sayesha said...

#Iday,
Bechara :P

#Bellydancer,
Thanks! So did you! Well, the best costume award spoke for itself! :)
ps: Hope you'll be doing more things that you stopped yourself from doing earlier :)