WE TWEAK OUR EGOS, but never accept. It swells when we do something for others who we perceive are inferior to us, may be in age, status, intelligence, economic standing, or material possessions. We always want to show our humanitarian side when piles of old worn-out clothes pile up in our almirahs and we don’t want to throw them away, and realising that an orphanage or poor locality is perhaps too far, we think about just giving these away to beggars on traffic lights or to our domestic help. But then, in return, we also expect prayers and blessings from them or want our beneficiary house maid to return the favour by working even harder in lieu of the freebies.
A Haryanvi's cycle got stuck in the middle of the road, and when a passerby bruised the peddler’s ego by asking how his cycle got stuck, the man fired a repartee that squelched it better than any Oscar Wilde. "So what? Wasn’t that your daughter who eloped with a boy last year?”
When we face our competitors, people at par with us, then our ego gets bruised; you get hurt, one way or the other. ‘I’ have to get ahead’, ‘oh he’s got a bigger car’, ‘his son got through a good engineering college’, ‘her daughter wore a beautiful dress for her cousin’s wedding.’ All these exclamations, even if we hear these in a joyful tone, deep inside our house is on fire. We suddenly get worked up, look for ways and means to boost our own ego and when a suitable situation arises, we indulge in bloating our self. ‘My’ son got a job in an MNC (only the son knows how much he has to sacrifice to keep his job secure, and his and the family’s ego, too!), ‘my’ daughter is going to Europe for higher studies, ‘I’ bought a small 3-bedroom flat in Dwarka, or Rohini, or in some upscale Chandigarh area. There is a quintessentially raw Haryanvi joke which nails it down quite succinctly. A man’s cycle got stuck in the middle of the road, as it used to quite often, but it was another Haryanvi passing by who bruised the peddler’s ego when he posed an inane query meant to hurt: "Oh I see! Your cycle’s got stuck again?” Back came the repartee that squelched it better than an Oscar Wilde. "So what? Wasn’t that your daughter who eloped with a boy last year?”
When it comes to high-end achievers, our ego just fizzles out. We are left with only a sense of pride, our ego stands decimated to a zero. "Ah! We met Dhoni at the airport, and he waived at us! (A hand shake is a far cry, the security and airport staff wouldn’t just let you anywhere close). He’s so humble, down to earth.”
To be at the receiving end of their attention, we really need to be just a common man (which, in usual circumstances, we are not, courtesy our ego). Celebrities, politicians, big businessmen, globally renowned sportspersons, none of them bother about the not-so-great great Indian middle class. You are not crossing paths with any of them. A Priyanka Chopra’s or a Deepika Padukone’s interests might clash with each other but they are not competing with you, there’s no commonality anywhere, except if there’s an ‘achiever’ tag. They might shed their ‘achiever’ tag for a while, for a few days may be, but not for all times.
"Oh, ‘I’ went to the Rashtrapati Bhavan (as part of an official assignment), I saw Sachin Pilot/Rahul Gandhi/Narendra Modi/Smriti Irani — one might hear. They may appear simpletons, but only till the time we don’t offend them. A word of disagreement and you will find out how simple they are. And one really has to be a commoner to ‘achieve’ any kind of benefit or attention.
"Why do we always have to run after this middle-class trap of brilliance? Can’t you be a common man leading a jolly good life?”.
We are always engulfed in an aura of some sense of achievement, irrespective of the middle class rung we belong to. Yes, achievement it is, that is why we are not beggars. If we repeatedly keep zooming into the fall or rise of our evolution graph, we will definitely overbear our achievement or loss. A friend of mine put it succinctly after a peg of Old Monk one wintery night. When asked why he doesn’t push his son to pursue sports since he might excel, his answer set me thinking. He said, "Why do we always have to run after this middle-class trap of brilliance? Can’t you be a common man leading a jolly good life?”
Just imagine the kind of compromises people make to show that they are grounded. "My husband is a big businessman, and arranges langar for the poor. He also took me to London for a holiday, and gifted our son a new Brio, though I urged him to let him have a bigger one as he also has his reputation at stake, but he did not listen!” Another one says, "I am sending my daughter to Bangalore for her graduation, though she wanted to go to Canada for higher studies. But I said no, it’ll be very costly; you study here, we will get a sponsored seat, air travel and everything else, including a car.”
If your achievement, however small, does not affect you, then you are not carrying any baggage of being someone, or somebody’s son, daughter, or relative. Being someone helps temporarily, but being nothing, helps always. Being nothing means ‘no ego’. You don’t have any accomplishment to call your own, even if in the worldly sense there is. You can only feel love, and an aspiration to compete against yourself and your fears. Slowly, those fears, too, become irrelevant. And you are you, not ‘I.’
(*The author is a Ludhiana-based independent writer.)
Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
Most shared Punjab Today articles:
AMARINDER, BADALS, KHAIRA, AROOSA ALAM & A JOURNALIST OF TRIBUNE
BUT AAP WON'T GET IT. TUM TO THEHRE SHEHARI
NAPOLEON PAINTING ROW: Punjab Govt insists on riding its high horse
PLAYING WITH SIKH SENTIMENTS: Punjab Govt’s ad depicts Tenth Sikh Master astride Napoleon’s horse
HOW DHUMAL WAS ASSASSINATED POLITICALLY, BY THE BJP
SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary – Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?
SHIROMANI AKALI DAL – Abhi to party shuru huyee hai...
MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS IN PUNJAB: How Congress, SAD, AAP have framed issues
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT
VIDEO - CLASS 5 STUDENT THREATENS REVOLUTION
CHAI PAR SUICIDE? Meet Mankar. Sorry, he’s dead. Modi met him, though - for Chai Pe Charcha
1984 - A RIOT OR A GENOCIDE? Controversy explodes in Canada again as Hardeep Puri tweets
PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA: They are publishing a new book, so please go read an old one
JAANE KYA DIKH JAAYE! Rajasthan, where they write poems hailing Shambu Lal Regar
'IF NOT VANDE MATARAM, then will you salute Afzal Guru?'
LAHORE NU SALAAM – LAHORE CHODD AAYA - Prof. Randhir Singh
THE LOOT THAT RAJASTHAN COMMITTED – An insult bigger than Bollywood’s Padmawati!
TRIBUNE’S HARISH KHARE SHATTERS EDITORIAL SILENCE OVER CARAVAN REPORTAGE
THE DANGER OF RENAMING A COLLEGE
ARNAB GOSWAMI WATCHES PADMAWATI, KARNI SENA IS HAPPIEST
DESH CHORR DO – VANDE MATARAM MAN TELLS SIKH LEADER TO LEAVE COUNTRY
DYAL SINGH COLLEGE TO VANDE MATARAM MAHAVIDYALAYA - A DESIGN NEFARIOUS?
HONESTY CERTIFICATE TO MAJITHIA TRIGGERS CRISIS IN TRIBUNE
THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE
WAS IT MEANT FOR TRUMP? OR US? – Bush, Obama said this on Diwali
WALKING IN STEP, HAND ON THE SHOULDER Aye Bhayee, Bina Dekhe Chalo.
CHALO, PATAAKE CHALAYEN – CM Amarinder Singh & Parkash Singh Badal Jee
NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty
ELECTION COMMISSION - YOU FAILED TO CONVINCE. TRY AGAIN.
THIS IS WHY ELECTION COMMISSION DID NOT ANNOUNCE GUJARAT POLL DATES – Decoding the mystery
BJP TO EDUCATE FARMERS ABOUT AGRI & RELIGION LINK – Will tell them Modi did so much
AYE BHAI, BINA DEKHE CHALO – Walking with the blind in Chandigarh
BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah
MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame
OPEN SALE AT GNDU – Have Rs 25,000? Get your compartment cleared. Rs 50,000 for two subjects
SUCHA SINGH LANGAH : KAMAAL JAARI HAI... Sucha Singh Langah wins, even in his darkest moments
ABEY TU BAHAR NIKAL, CHOWK MEIN AA – The 10-yard-radius protest
PATIALA, VIA PANCHKULA. HAIL DEMOCRACY! Halaat kharaab nahi hone chahiye!
PEHLU KHAN CASE – Will Govt Now Compensate The Magnificent Six? The Nation Needs to Know
MR HOME MINISTER, WILL YOU BE VISITING FAROOQ AHMAD DAR'S HOUSE?
THE RYAN DEBATE: HOW INDIA MISSED THE GREAT CCTV ANGLE? Not covered by cctv, so not covered by tv either
POLITICAL ECONOMY OF RETIREMENT AGE ROW – What’s wrong with retirement age policy?
THE GORAKHPUR DEAD SPEAK TO PUNJAB – From Patiala to Gorakhpur, the tale of the dead
WE WILL KILL 40-50 – Haryana BJP, Govt calculated death toll before firing first bullet
RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience
LET'S KILL PAASH – Dr Sumail Singh Sidhu on the importance of Paash
A DOKLAM IN EVERY FIELD: Farmers not only produce food. They produce peace.
SURGICAL STRIKE YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT: When Indian jawans killed everyone at Pak post
PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.