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Fifteen minutes of (de)fame

By Ankita Shukla | Last Updated: Thursday, January 29, 2009 - 21:17
Ankita Shukla

"I want to be famous, not to make my family and friends happy, but for myself". This statement might seem somewhat self-centred, but it holds true for the 'Gen-Y', the youth of new India, where people are not embarrassed by their desires and don't suppress them the way our elders used to till sometime back. Guess, today one won't even bother to bottle up and forego one's dreams and passions in order to think practically or sound sane. If desperately seeking a desire is insane then be it.

We've been witnessing absurdly hilarious reality shows of late, where a bunch of wannabes (faking their high adrenalin) show their daredevilry or simply indulge in the song and dance routine to irritate us off our senses. Ever wondered what they are suffering from? It is a simple 'Get Fame Syndrome'. When I see anyone trying to promote or market himself or herself, without knowing his/her capabilities, making a complete fool out of themselves on national television, I must say it is least inspiring, in fact it concerns me.

It is astoundingly weird for me to think of indulging into such acts, not because I am a slamming authority here, nor do I command it; I would neutralise myself by tagging myself as a certain someone who is a proud part of the Indian youth, yet a little embarrassed at such amateurish acts of doing any damn thing on earth for those seemingly irrelevant fifteen minutes of fame, which some misconceive to be having the power of breaking or making them. While I won’t deny the fact that fifteen minutes is enough to show that you have 'IT' in you, but no one would deny that these very fifteen minutes are enough to prove you wrong and show an individual’s sheer inability to perform, highlighting his stupidity and nothing else.

Who on earth would deliberately want to be called a joke, not me. But guess any kind of publicity is good publicity for a lot of us Indians sadly. I mean we aren't embarrassed at anything we do, are we? We can pick up cow dung cakes (MTV Roadies style), the stench of which is capable of blocking the senses of even our posterity; we can appear in a reality show audition hundred odd times lest we make it (now I won’t call that not giving up - it’s stupidly stubborn of anyone to do that for God's sake!). Makes me wonder, whether it’s me who thinks a bit too much or if others are still sleeping over it or thinking even more desolately - is this the general definition of sane youth of India?

If this isn’t all, individuals have started putting seemingly irrelevant efforts to attain their goal of fame since there is so much at stake, in some cases their life too depends on it.
The adverse effect of reality shows came into full light, when a young participant Shinjini Sengupta got paralysed after suffering rebuke from judges in a dance reality show on a Bengali TV channel. If this has to be the level of extremity where parental pressures and also self expectations lead you, then there has to be an end to it all.

There is nothing wrong in earning money by doing what one loves to do, but then to jump into something for fame and money sounds ludicrous. It is normal for everyone to have a want to become famous, but in some cases it outgrows all other needs and is the sole purpose of life and that’s where the trouble begins. Some say that a strong need to strive to be famous and enjoy the fruits of fame in some cases has its origin in a deeply felt sense of personal inadequacy and punishing self-doubt.

What lies behind the powerful drive for fame can be an early experience of shame so overwhelming to the sense of self that to become someone extraordinary seems the only way to defend against it. Fame is so desired in this world, as it helps in restoring lost pride and becomes a catalyst for a desperate pursuit of emotional nourishment. But practically thinking, it is a futile attempt to defend the feelings of inadequacies, as it only appears to be that way but isn’t so in reality. This is where the greatest distortion lies in our idealisation of fame.

It is time we realise that true self esteem is achieved where the true self is revealed and not concealed behind an idealised image. The real cure for shame is a gradual willingness to expose to others what you are most ashamed of, and the discovery that you will not be cast out… that you are acceptable for who you are.

The cost of fame, or the bargain that fame offers (if at all you attain it) is strange. Beware all you guys n gals, world’s watching. The desire for fame might bruise an ego or two...

First Published: Thursday, January 29, 2009 - 21:17

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