Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Jerk Alert!

I am on XP now. The fonts look weird. But the ubuntu experiment is hereby declared a failure. Construction has started again outside my office. Delicate electronic items are again coated with fine layers of mud and cement. I have trouble getting access to the windows network for registering my software. A monstrous digger is patting the ground - about 10 meters from my face - in loving taps with its extensible arm. In other words, all is right with the world. Things are as they should be.

Among my favourite people in the world are - V.S.Naipaul; Salman Rushdie; Albert Einstein; Ben Johnson; Diego Maradona; Boris Becker; Sunil Gavaskar; and a bunch of random engineers no one will know (unless they are reading their books or papers for work purposes). Generally though, I seem to have poor luck when I pick role models and favourites. Though immensely successful in their professional spheres, the people I am attracted towards have a tendency to be, to put it mildly, jerks. At least in popular perception. They do crazy stuff with their personal lives - relationships and so on. People love to mention this every time you try to gush about them.

In a sense, its like a person cannot be successful and brilliant and so on unless s/he is screwing something else up hugely. Must be stealing someone's work. Must be discarding and marrying women (or men) like there is no tomorrow. It must be drugs. Has probably made real bad enemies at the work place. Of course for people like Rushdie (I still remain a die-hard Rushdie fan, whatever he does or does not do) are sort of too famous and too rich and too whatever-else.

But even in our everyday lives, if we find someone doing well, we try to look behind and figure out that their personal life is in shambles. If they are suddenly being very rich (I vaguely think this means they are buying property?) we think it must be kickbacks or some other illegal stuff. Considering the dual role we play at my job, the minute a person does well in one of them, we assume that they must have severely compromised on the other. A quick succession of promotions (or whatever they are called) makes you check quickly on the spouse - must be neglected. Children of working parents are always under a magnifying glass, so we can turn around and say "Yes, with both of you being out so much, this was bound to happen" (meaning some particularly annoying tantrum).

On a logical level some of this makes sense. Where did all this extra money come from? There are only so many hours in a day, how can you do so well at work and manage to keep your family happy? How can a person suddenly finish the 100m in 9.83 s? How can one make more runs than anyone ever did unless one played the game for making records and not necessarily to win? How can a child possibly grow up well when the MOTHER has work-related things to worry about for a good part of the day?

In a strange way, I was thinking of these things recently because of the movie 'Fashion.' I am an avid reader of movie reviews. I have a very poor strike rate when it comes to actually watching a movie the review of which I have read. Maybe 1% (I assume that means that I watch 1 movie for every 100 reviews I read; is that what Strike Rate means? Not sure). I read the two reviews by Mayank Shekhar every week in the TOI. I read Brangan sometimes. I read the ones in Tehelka. So a total of about 100 reviews in a year. We watch a movie a year (I mean at the local Multiplex; am not counting movies seen on flights or on TV - which are anyway also very small in number). Anyway, I generally read these reviews because I like to. MS's reviews are awesome because I feel like he does - that all these things are a bunch of baloney and waste of time. So why does he review them? And why do I read him and attempt to watch some of them? Oh well.

I somehow seem to have read a whole bunch of people's comment on this movie, however. I have never managed to watch 'A Madhur Bhandarkar' entirely. I have seen bits and pieces of "Page 3" and have of course assiduously avoided 'Corporate' and cannot remember any other movies of his right now. But this I thought I would like to watch. To add to my general knowledge; in the same compartment of random stuff as The Devil Wears Prada and another book of that genre by someone who is called Ira or Ila if memory serves and who was in some Miss India type contest and wrote a book about it. But what I got out of all the reviews what this - that a message from this movie is that in order to be super successful in the world of 'Fashion' (whatever that might imply); one has to compromise on a lot of things, including one's morals (whatever that might imply).

It is sort of scary. I am bringing up a child. I want her to do good things with her life. I want her to do enjoyable things. I want her to do well; whatever she chooses. I want to tell her it is possible to really marry personal and professional and hobby lives and really do good stuff in all aspects. I want her to be able to make prudent choices. I want her to compromise on things but never on internal ones. I want her to feel that hard work always pays, someday. I want her to learn all her life. I want her to be nice, pleasant, well-mannered (ha! She is far from it now!) but also to stand up for herself and her rights.

People of course write nasty stuff out of a sense of jealousy at times. I cannot write such a book as the Bend in the River so let me trash the guy instead and go after his personal life and insist from my high horse that he is an abrasive old fellow and please don't read his books because he never says nice things about MY country. I am not trying to say I am above this. I am still vaguely suspicious of Usain Bolt for example; though as I often say, he is so cute, I really want to believe that he is that good without any nasty drugs coursing through his veins.

And meanwhile there is my parenting mantra of Role Modelling. So I better go work. If not for anything else, just to show the child, who is busy in school in her pink shoes, that I can (and not be a jerk about it either).

Now here is a mean looking spider is crawling around, it has explored all the crevices of my printer (which is not yet installed). Must have emerged from the dug up ground outside... Yes this is right.


Sraikh said...

First you think Bolt is cute? I thought his chest thumping run was cute, he not so much. :)

All that you listed for your child is something I assume every parent wants for his/her offspring. But sometimes I wonder how much of that am I instilling in my kids/girls. Is my obession over weightloss going to cuase my girls to have weight issues? Is my controlling the TV so much going to turn them into couch potatoes when they are 18.

I haven't read reviews or heard of the movie Fashion.(see which rock I am under) But will keep an eye out for it next time I am in desi store.

kbpm said...

Of course he is cute. Whats not to like? He has additood. I like that. Especially if you make world records alongside. And the last one around that made me feel like that looked like the Missing Link.

Dont think Fashion should be watched. Just read the reviews instead!!

dipali said...

Pardon my ignorance, but who is Bolt?
I love your philosophy of child rearing.
And the whole post- it is so easy to look for loopholes in the life of a successful person:)
As for you, given all that you seem to pack into your days, are you sure you aren't a syndicate?

choxbox said...

Absolutely Dipali - she IS a syndicate!

Kenny, there is a smart way out. You can be lazy (like me) and make others (like you) role models for your kids! Have already sealed this deal with you remember?

Oh and it works the other way too - her kid is well-behaved/clever/has nice ears, because she does not work. Or, her kid is so spoilt/clingy/brattish, because she does not go to work. Can't win either way!

kbpm said...

Usain Bolt is our current 100 m champion; he won the gold (and set a world record) with effortless ease recently, and of course i became a fan along with billions of others.

& yes, its definitely true. Cannot win either way!