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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Self-assured, or merely pig-headed?

A very interesting idea raised by a recent comment-writer is that I sound very ‘self-assured’ in this blog.

I could choose to be facetious (or unkind) and imagine that she meant dogmatic or pig-headed, and was just being polite.

However, I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt, and believe that she meant it as a compliment, as a recognition of a good and rare trait. And then I turn around to take a good hard look at myself, and ask – am I really as self-assured as I sound?

Well, here are a few things that occurred to me off the cuff:

Firstly, I grew up rather quickly and started fending for myself (not just financially but morally, aesthetically and intellectually) from a very unusually early age (I meet so many 30-plus children these days!). And I have been buffeted by not only the slings and arrows of fortune but by contrary ideologies and ways of life rather more than most men, even if I say so myself. So God knows if I hadn’t had that kernel of self-assurance (and consequent self-reliance) to see me through the bad patches, I’d probably not have survived and functioned sanely till this late date. I congratulate myself for it, and consider myself deucedly lucky too. There have been times galore when I have felt lost and drained out, and just somehow managed to keep dragging myself onwards. (If in the process I have grown a bit of a thick skin and a habit of raising eyebrows at people who want to re-educate me, I guess that cannot be helped).

Then again, I am not really as self-assured as I give the impression of being. I am not really very sure that I have done the right thing by not wearing jeans and not bothering about cricket all my life, and by laughing at and steering clear of every brand of organized fanaticism – from traditional religion to the gospel of the market to Marxism to arcane “Theories of Everything” in Physics. I am not at all sure that I have a lot of ‘valuable’ advice to give to my daughter about how she should grow up (as so many parents and teachers do – I marvel at their self-assurance!). And I have no clue if there’s one person alive and kicking in this world today whose life I have strongly influenced. How’s that for modesty?

But there are indeed a few things about life that I have learnt well, and on them I won’t budge an inch. If someone has been a regular, long-time, attentive reader of this blog, s/he’ll know exactly what I am talking about. If the above-mentioned comment writer had that sort of thing in mind, I thank her for noticing. And I hope she will wish that I may continue that sort of pig-headed, hard-nosed, unrepentant self-assertion for some more time before I hand in my dinner pail. Reed I may be, and a very unimportant reed to boot, but I shall not be deterred from having my say – if and when I have something to say.

1 comment:

Noodle said...

I smiled and shook my head for a while. This is a very honest post. Most of us do not want to acknowledge what we are. I am sure; many of us are conveniently oblivious of ourselves too.
So this piece came in like a breath of fresh air.