Thursday, January 07, 2010


For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen

Something  big has happened in protagonist’s life. He has been beaten by Mafia ,Loan shark of his village  has auctioned his farm, His girlfriend has ditched him ,his father has been killed by goons, his mother died of cancer, his wife  was gang raped by relatives or His sister has been burned by her inlaws. Details of events are inconsequential what matters is that its  A turning point in his life .His whole world, his perception of reality, his value system ,is undergoing  a tectonic shift . He is visibly shaken but he takes it very bravely. And Why not ? After all he is our HERO and this fact alone guarantee his survival .

An upbeat music start playing in background. Our protagonist start running . a montage of images from his past life start flashing on the screen . A globe start revolving , hands of an old Victorian wall clock start ticking , pages from calendar start moving in a rapid succession . Covering a journey of few years in few celluloid seconds. By the time music reaches to crescendo  Our protagonist is transformed . If he was a kid few min back He truns in to a MAN (a well established policeman, industrialist or gangster depending on the demand of script . )

His past avatar is not dead we are told. Its buried somewhere  deep inside him . He is  living in a self imposed denial .He tries his best to disconnect himself from past but invariably his past catches up with him toward the end of the movie . Again depending on the demand of script A lot of drama or action follows .protagonist   either settle some long overdue score or reconcile with others character and in Very few rare instances manage to get himself killed .But invariably He ALWAYS manage to prove his point .Family and police arrive and we start waiting for end credit .Movie is  over .

When it comes to transformation only Vampire , Unicorn and Werewolf can match our Bollywood Heroes  and thanks to the staple diet of Bollywood movies most of us get in our formative years .our idea of transformation is something like what I described above. But I have come to believe that THIS conception of transformation is precisely the reason why we rarely get to see a FUNDAMENTAL transformation in people around us. In majority of the cases people don’t change . Not in any basic ,tectonic way as shown in movies . Life progress in a linear fashion till the day we die .  Future , in most of cases is Past continuous tense . They want to change but they can’t .

Why ?

Most of us don’t acknowledge the effect movies have on collective psyche. We despise the idea  that we can be manipulated in to thinking something by a movie. Some of us can’t, but most of us can be manipulated and are being manipulated.  So if you are one of those pseudo intellectual who love to fancy himself as someone who is in control of his/her life and  you are beyond the scope of being manipulated (or even influenced) by anything. Then do me a favor. Move on .there is nothing here for you . I won’t even attempt  to explain anything  to you. Rest of on

The modus operandi of transformation shown in movies is not wrong .the problem is that in order to make it work we need to comply with it underlying premises .which is very hard .sometime because these premises are not obvious  and some time because its not humanly possible for us to follow them.

First premise is that protagonist knows that THIS is the turning  point .He can see everything as black and white .There is no confusion about the intent and character of people around him . Good and bad stand apart from each other. Unfortunately Real life don’t work that way. We are never sure of the intentionality of evil .  We always tend to think of evil act of our peers as some sort of circumstantial breach of trust  .After all, these are the very people who were good to us in another place and time . add to this the prevalent popular wisdom of not being judgmental  which is pushing  our whole generation into the realm of  quasi nihilism. Fact is that sometime you need to decide ,some time you Need to be judgmental. Funny thing is that almost each one of us is passing judgment all the time but since its not fashionable we just don’t stand for it .We don’t  want to pay the price for it . ergo  only time  we act on our judgment  is when we do some thing cunning or calculative . Transformation never happens out of  calculation . That’s not the path of protagonist that’s a shortcut to mediocrity .

Second premise which goes unexamined (or underestimated ) is of effect of time . Time can heal anything . its true .time not only heal but it also makes us stale ,we loose our steam. Perhaps that’s the reason  our new year  resolution don’t last . Most of us tend to forget very easily and most of us love the cozy conformity of routine. While our heroes manage to keep the fire burning for a long time but we give up somewhere in between . Nothing brings down the moral of a soldier than fatigue .we often underestimate the need of perseverance in transformation. 

Along with time, success also play a catalytic role in deciding whether we actually transform ourselves or not . Funny part is that most of the time we give up after the first brush of success in our quest .Its hardship which keep us going . As they say Good is often the biggest enemy of best . Sadly our first validation is also the first(potential) nail in coffin of our ambition. I think I felt it for the first time when I was in 12th standard I was amongst the top 3 of my class. Everyone was sure that I can crack engg entrance easily . I bought in to the story and appeared in exam and cleared it . My plan was to skip  classes  in first year and enroll in IIT JEE coaching but I was somewhat enamored by all the appreciation I was getting from family ,friends and relatives . Complacency creped in and against my better judgment I decided to settle for engineering course .I regret it till this day .

But I might not be a worthy  example. So I request you to test it your self . Go pick up biography of ANY revolutionary/Iconoclast you admire. I can bet that there will be a passage in the story where establishment presented a temptation of inclusion to him and He refused .That’s the reason their stories are being read today. Most of us get tired and give up to the first temptation of Inclusion . That’s the reason no one will read our biography (they might read our blog . I hope J )  . From  Aristotle to OSHO and from Charles Darwin to Richard Dawkins this is the case .Real challenge of a transformation is not hardship of battle. it’s the complacency  of initial success . 

Last thing we don’t notice is that often times we derive our motivation from a desire to prove a point .  its external and what make it worse is that often time it lies in humans .We want to prove something to our peers. But unlike the movies there will not be a reunion  of all the character toward the end of our lives . We realize that no one actually gives a shit . The very people who caused the turmoil have became a distant and passive observer NOW. Busy in their lives. Circle of their lives are concentric to us but they don’t merge in spiral .Since as a hero we have to prove a point we see it clearly that it won’t be happening no matter what. Often time we give up our quest on realizing that.  Of all the reason I mentioned above this is the best reason to give up . Life is too precious to waste it  proving a point to someone who don’t care .

Epilogue :
It’s the time of year when we all make our NEW year resolutions. I haven’t made any resolution this time.  But if you are making any resolution than I hope that this post be of some use to you. I wish you a Very Happy and Prosperous new year . Good Luck and Godspeed!!

Pic Credit : YellowCakeMushroom


Alaknanda said...

I liked ur a few of them across the years. Love ur sense of humour.
All the three things u say in this post-judgement that's necessary at some point, complacency of initial success and emptiness of proving a point- I really agree with...and you have written well, succinctly.
Enjoyed reading ur 'valentine posts 1 & 2' a lot. You can get a coffee from me for that. :)

Prashant Singh said...

Thanks Alaknanda , I am glad that you liked them . those Valentine posts were written in a whimsical and humors mindset but surprisingly those are the posts i get most compliments for :) .