Fame, of whom, by whom, for whom?

by | Oct 1, 2020

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What started as the sad end of a young, promising actor, gradually built up as a media frenzy wherein the person departed was turned into an analytical object and as many versions have been created of his life as the fancy of the analyzer allowed. The truth that emerged out of this hectic media coverage, that has not yet abated, like the calmness at the axis of a storm, is that a person’s life does not have an unequivocal meaning. There are as many stories as there are people telling them. And they are telling these stories because people are listening. But why are people listening? Are they distracting themselves from their own multiple stories?

We find a myriad of biographies written and there are even autobiographies in case of famous people. I had the privilege of assisting Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in writing “Wings of Fire.” Twenty-one years after it was published, it sells in large numbers, purely because both Dr. Kalam and his story are liked by many people, most of whom had never met him. But why do they like him? They like in him what they themselves wish to be – a celebrity, in spite of his humble background, his average academic record, and a simple, no-frill lifestyle that makes him famous and the hero of millions of ordinary people. 

There is a marvellous book, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” by Swiss psychiatrist and philosopher Carl Jung (1875-1961), wherein he wrote about the “self-story” about what his life meant to him, sharing a privileged insider version of the life to help others to understand their lives better. The point Jung makes in his book is that there is no ultimately privileged point of view in any life.  Each person lives circulating stories that stand in a dialectical relationship with each other, demanding continual revision, as if different actors are playing the same role in a drama, and different singers, rendering the same song in their own styles.

However, there are some “facts” which belong to the deceased indisputable existential life facts, deeds and dates about which there is consensus, and artefacts mementos and possessions. People have created institutions that lasted much beyond their lives and their personal values have become the hallmarks. In stark contrast, we now have various chat apps, social media posts, light-hearted musings, and carefree exchanges that become “truths and facts” after our bodily death. There are no more footprints on the sands of time; there are “records” of every careless word you utter, a picture you click, and a joke you crack.

Be aware that an average person is watching over three hours of television each day. We have indeed become a “time pass” society, watching others. Play-acting has become a living for us, and we are selling our attention for free. We are expected to stick around, glued to the same television channel, irrespective of the number of commercial breaks. It is time to introspect how far you are willing to go, diluting your own personal and inter-personal life for these shows. 

In our super-competitive modern life, the ladder of success is hard to climb. For every person who makes it into public celebrity and culture-hero status, hundreds, if not thousands of others of equal merit and ability go unrecognized and suffer the agony of defeat in the winner/loser creed of modernity. The success and publicity market devalue the accomplishments of the unrecognized; their genius goes largely unacknowledged. In every scientific laboratory, there are people doing high value work that is “not in sync” with the powers in control of their times. They need affirmation, encouragement and energy to continue with their work, which may even bring them immortalization.

All of us are “luminaries,” carrying a speck of the immortal soul. It is the degree of muck that covers it, sometimes due to circumstances, but mostly due to carelessness about not cleaning it, and almost always by the willingness to live with it. The drama of this world is a crowded show – there are no pantomimes and monologues – each one of us carries circles of our existential cast of characters: the people whom we encounter in our lives and with whom we establish a lasting and meaningful personal relationship. If these circles are not harmonious, we are not only wasting our time but are also carrying the ignominy of show-spoilers. 

We are living in an age of upheaval – what was normal when 2020 started, is unlikely and remote in the future and by the time 2021 comes, we will be living in an altogether different world. Don’t resign yourself to the fate of living in a flux. Be not some virtual ghost but the author of your life story. Include in the story, real people around you, family and co-workers. The members of the existential life-community living in genuine reciprocity do share a fate together and are meant to better each other’s lives. Be the star in the eyes of the people around you, the flame in their hearts, and remove the muck so that your soul can shine through. 

You are complete, full, and gloriously gifted already. Know yourself, put your act together, and perform without the fear of someone else’s disapproval. The world is designed to bow before those who dare to rise. Know yourself as a superstar in your own ensemble, an irreplaceable, valuable person, best suited to “perform” the role that has come your way. There is no life that cannot hold a work of art, worthy of appreciation. Once, travelling in a train, I met an old man, who sang a song so soulfully that tears rolled out of every eye in the compartment. People paid him generously. Life, for this person, had obviously not turned out well for his talent, means, and circumstances, and yet, he articulated and preserved his gift and was displaying and celebrating it. 

So, arise, awake and claim your own fame!

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33 Comments

  1. Such a Beautiful and Inspiring article. Thanks sirji for the motivation. The defining line was “All of us are “luminaries,” carrying a speck of the immortal soul. It is the degree of muck that covers it, sometimes due to circumstances, but mostly due to carelessness about not cleaning it, and almost always by the willingness to live with it. “. This is so true. Take a look at a child. Till the time, her mind is not influenced by other people’s ideas, she will display the curiosity of a scientist, the gusto of a sports champion and the oratory skills of a well established speaker, no matter who’s around. The child is uninhibited. And of course, like they say if a two year old offers you her toy phone, you answer it. Such are the extraordinary skills displayed by a child. And the child has a lot to teach us. A child is a pure Soul. The dust has not yet gathered.

    There is none of that hankering for validation. The child is like a Saint, who is ever enjoying the Pure Bliss of the Divine. The only difference being that the Saint has gone through the waters of the routine life and understood that the Real Bliss lies Within. The child still has to take that plunge. And that is the entire gist of the game. To really experience that Bliss, one needs to have a Guru, and at the same time learn from the lives of all those giants who lived their lives in service of humanity. The Giants who made the planet a better place.

    Like rightly mentioned, we are living in times where people are offering their invaluable attention for free and in the bargain receiving crap most of the times. They get exposed to hollow individuals who serve them untruth and over a period of time, people start idolizing these fakes. An entire generation is being exposed to these networked influencers, who dish out whatever they have been paid for and people accept it unquestioningly. This is a dangerous trend.

    The last para gives a strong solution to reverse this trend by making people aware of what they are actually capable of. The lines “You are complete, full, and gloriously gifted already. Know yourself, put your act together, and perform without the fear of someone else’s disapproval. The world is designed to bow before those who dare to rise. Know yourself as a superstar in your own ensemble, an irreplaceable, valuable person, best suited to “perform” the role that has come your way.” are so powerful that when one reflects on this fact, one gets charged to take Real Steps in the Real Direction. Thanks once again sirji for such a Beautiful article. Jai Swaminarayan!

  2. Sir, Reading your blog a few times and going through the comments demands attention and time. Longer, it takes, more rewarding it is. Multiple interpretations and insights by the accomplished commentators in response to your provocation are valuable even if they may not match your craft of simplifying the clutter.

    To me, the whole incidence shows Indian governance and media in a feeble light. Governments have been cut off from the people in proportion to their powers. Probably the Emergency during the mid-70s was the worst time.

    Governance, as inherited from our colonial past, has never been so palpable as in recent times- several parallels from the emergency period come to the mind. The media is tamed and pathetic and shying away from important issues.

    Probably the political parties have already oversold the communal card and can no longer drag it on without fear of backlash – this time joined by the majority. The whole episode of bringing the Bollywood to bad repute show our unthoughtful laws and a lousy diversion from the main issues.

    Your story focusing on the area of our positive concerns inspires us to arise, awake and claim our fame.

  3. The demise of a very young, talented actor has really shocked everyone, however, you are absolutely correct that the way media had handled the same was bit shocking too. People sharing the pic of his dead body, his whatsapp chat etc was not really very low. I always thought and my heart pinched every time, I think what his family may be going through after hearing numerous stories about a son who is no more. How come our society has become so insensitive towards such a emotional and sensitive issue?

    People dnt know how to tackle their issues but yes they will pass judgments on other problems. Media highlighting these stories is one of the contributing factor. I have never seen any news related to science and technology being hyped. Why its so, India is progressing in many fronts, why dnt we spread some positivity in such a dull Corona world. One of the reasons, I really dnt feel like watching news, it really pains my heart and unrest my peace of mind. We all are gifted in one way or another, lets cherish it and preserve that.

  4. Dear Arun Sir , Thank you very much for such an enlightening & mellifluous blog. This blog like all previous one , is blend of science ,philosphy ,empirical example of past & present which ignites guiding light & energy for prosperous & sustainable future both for society & ecology of body mind.
    This blog talks about behaviour and habit of both individual who made indelible foot print on time which will last forever & masses like our daily consumption time for TV …. And making most of us slave for some AI’s algorithm & marketing people which creating stark inequality in society across the nation … Which dangerously contributing towards the lack of technological advancement of our nation & also diluting our bonds with some of our great traditional culture….

    Dear sir in last few days I learned Three new words:

    1- ” Menuha ” a jewish word which means a moment where body & mind rest in cheerful unison.
    2 ” Arkasia ” a greek word which means like inability to act on own’s better judgement or we can say (specially in my case) domination of procastination against the will of waking up early in morning .
    3-From your previous blog which you got from your African friend who is High Comissoner of Tanzania in Canada “Ubuntu” Which means I m because you are.

    Pro & Cons always exists ,Where is action there is reaction. It is one’s understanding & clarity of actions which gives desired result. In 2018 Yuval Noah Harari a famous historian wrote a book ” 21 Lessons for 21st Century ” very first line of this book is ” In a world deluged by irrelevant information clarity is power ” Dear Arun Sir , this blogs provides clariry to subject it talks about.

    If I hv to conclude my thought for this blog in few words ” To achieve MENUHA & defeat ARKASIA one needs clarity of thought, action ,understanding of society UBUNTU etc Which this blog provides.”

  5. While the media’s focus has moved to this actor, and possibly the state of things in Indian cinema, it seems that this is what the media wants us to focus on. It has unfortunately shown the government agencies in poor light with the leaks emerging, assuming that they are true. There is a paid media which is imposing its view on us.

    Would it not be the media’s function to portray things as they are and allow us to make up our mind on their state? There is little doubt that the media is not not highlighting the state of the economy and the way matters are run in each state and the country, which should be a concern for the well being of this country at this critical juncture of this nation’s financial downward spiral which cannot be blamed solely on the pandemic.

  6. Bollywood has Great Impact and influence in public lives for many decades. We have seen it change since 60’s. How we heard that Mahatma Gandhi was influenced positively from the movie Satyavadi Harishchandra to today’s Item songs culture of Bollywood. As you have rightly said It is difficult to determine, if the society is influenced by the Movies OR Movies follow the change in the society ? As Raj kapoor said he made Mera naam Joker and made big losses and he made Bobby and he made a lot of profit !!

    Behind all that glory and glitter of Bollywood, there is a very dirty culture and off late the effect of Kaliyug have fully set in. Suicide of Sushant Singh is one more proof of the lack of spiritual and cultural base in the Industry, which can help the person face the problems in life without giving in. TV and Web are the “two-edged sword” While it has a Great positive that can be used for good reasons, it equally has a Great Negative, if used without “Veevek”. I wonder how in today’s times people have 3 hours per day spare to waste !! People have no idea as to how the time can be put to good use; for the personal progress and community at large.

    On the other side we have Greats like Dr Kalam whose life continues to inspire and motivate people. The choice is ours who do we select. People have no interest in reading now days and waste time on reading useless forwards.

    Another interesting and important point you have touched upon is in this super competitive modern life, the suicide and stress levels have gone up, as people have high expectations of themselves and as not everyone can score No 1, in life, they can’t come to terms with accepting whatever position or status they achieve which may be a result of destiny or circumstances etc. One must learn to give their best in whatever role they have managed to fit in. One can contribute meaningfully in his or her local community/Surrounding and if they can make a difference to a few people’s lives, It would be Great.

    I love the message “The World is designed to bow before those who dare to rise “Hope we all learn and remember this from this Blog.

  7. It’s a nice read about the greater purpose of life with an anecdote and interesting examples. Long-term, meaningful goals that foster a sense of purpose and potentially change the lives of other people too can develop over the span of our lives. Emotions and behaviours like awe, gratitude and altruism also foster a sense of purpose. Counting our blessings are much more likely to help us contribute to the world beyond ourselves. Also keep in mind that the nobility of our purpose reflects the company we keep. For instance, all of Dr. Kalam’s friends reflected a part of him. Thus, the company we keep can help us to see our own strengths which increases our sense of self-efficacy. If we are continuously motivated to seek the experience of purpose and meaning, then we must consider ourselves as the chosen ones. Finding meaning, all along the way is sure to strengthen our will to survive and a feeling that life always remains worth the effort.

    The profound lesson we ought to learn from clean and honest leaders like K. Kamaraj and Abdul Kalam is how to lead people for the greater good, not just from the mind but from the heart.

    Above all, equating fame with money and wealth does not augur well because it triggers the morally weak to turn corrupt which destroys the very purpose of life.

  8. Very nicely written Tiwariji. Unfortunately, Sushant’s life has now become fodder for the media’s TRP hunt. The another point you made out is that we all constantly seek for approval in all the small things we do. This is very valid and is the disease of today’s society. A person’s happiness is decided by the number of likes and comments he gets in social media. Having said this, it is also very difficult to move away from it as it has become the norm. In my opinion, this needs a strong internal discipline to put things in place.

  9. Dear Sir, this is a powerful piece, which makes us look for answers. I have not been following the news about the actor’s death. I wondered when you said “why are people listening?” What would make someone curious, almost gleeful, about knowing about others’ complicated existence and nefarious deeds? Is it a kind of projection that makes them feel better about themselves?
    Indeed, it is a sad reality that we as journalists acknowledge — Bollywood sells, dirty politics stories sell, sleaze and corruption sells; whereas no one in interested in serious issues that concern the public’s life and welfare! Surely this is a reflection of sickness is society. And what about laying bare “records” of private chats? — it is in extremely poor taste, showing deplorable levels of human decency. I fear the next generation would really not know `right’ from `wrong’!

    At the individual level, as you point out – this “timepass”, the slavery to such shows, comes at a cost i.e. dilution of personal life and relationships. An even more alarming effect is the impact of these impressions, images, sounds and complex thinking on the mind. Especially young minds can be irreparably damaged. Anxiety, neurosis and various obsessive disorders are becoming extremely common — these can easily culminate in rampant suicide and other harmful behavior. The need of the hour is to get out of this ‘head and brain space’ and involve our people in the real world, in serving others and doing useful things in society, working with their hands and feet. And, not as a fad, but consistently.

    The other main thread — about shining in our given existence, our circumstances, including the circle of people around us, and understanding and realising our own inner potential to the fullest — couldn’t have been put across in a better way. `Fame ‘ comes on its own to those living in this manner. Dr Kalam is one example, and we have seen some such people in our families and circles, to whom living a life of ‘dharma’ was its own reward. And, how their brilliance shone through, and attracted and soothed others! Thank you for this very positive post in times of Covid. People complain that they are bored; but there is so much ‘work’ to do!

  10. The key is not fame, it is to be in the arena, an active player in events. As the great U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt stated: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of his achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory or defeat.”

  11. Thanks for this beautiful piece Arunji. There is little one can add to it, or say, that can further illuminate the motif you touch upon, but if you permit me, I would like to say it is ‘complete, full and glorious’ indeed!

    There can of course be no gainsaying the fact that it set off different lines of thought, not all of them germane to the idea of fame that you have so comprehensively covered.

    Long before the advent of 24 hour news channels, Andy Warhol had presciently stated in 1968 that, in future, ‘everyone will be famous for 15 minutes’. This is indeed coming true and, it is becoming more like 15 seconds of fame to each with the mushrooming of, & competition amongst, the news channels & their unending need to fill up the days & nights unto eternity. There is now a tribe of folk who are famous for just being famous and it is getting clear that fame (which is famous for being fleeting) is not fleeting enough in some cases.

    As fame gets more & more egalitarian while getting very thinly spread, it will, hopefully, reach universality and move away from something that everyone hankers after. With the increasing reach of the (internet and) social media, people are already getting wary of putting themselves out there. But with the runaway spread of technology & internet speed, it is a moot point if people can continue having the option of being unfamous.

    Allwyn Toffler talked of ‘future shock’ as early as 1970, and Dr Gerd Leonhard (Futurist & Humanist) too says that the world is likely to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 500 years (while Toffler said it had changed more in the last 500 years than in all of previous human history)! It’s all becoming a mad race of technology (irrespective of whether it is good for us), and TRPs of course.

    Dr Leonhard also says that rather than contemplating on what the future will bring it is time to realize we make the future, and focus on what we would want. It can’t all be about GDP which measures everything except the worthwhile things in life. Marshall McLuhan has similar caveats: ‘we shape our tools and thereafter they shape us’ and ‘all extensions of man are also amputations’! Dr Leonhard also suggests a ‘technocratic oath’ (like the Hippocratic oath for the medical profession) and a global digital ethics council to rein in the runaway technology impact on all industries and the rampant ‘profit at all times’ approach. Our future is driven by science & technology but should be defined by our choices, values and ethics: people, planet, purpose & prosperity (in that order, he suggests).

    Elon Musk has invented/developed something called neuralink which he even demonstrated on pigs. An implant in the brain, which connects to a computer outside and there is two way communication with the pigs limbs being able to be controlled from the computer too! This is expected to cure neurological conditions in humans in future but it can also back up human memories & experiences. And presumably, link up to the worldwide web too and all contents of all human brains being available on the cloud in due course! Total networking will be achieved for all with no downtime.

    This may mean the putative ideal of all being equally well known (or famous) but probably also that we become incapable of functioning in the world without the chip in our head! And the benefit of being well known may not anymore be something one can opt out of, without opting out of being functional in the world!

  12. Another wonderful piece of writing Prof. Tiwari! Our society today indeed places extraordinary value on one’s accomplishments by measures of their financial wealth, popularity or other subjective parameters. We should be at peace within ourselves as to the contributions we make to society as the ultimate judge and clarity comes with the almighty God above.

  13. Prof Tiwari, Once again thank you for bringing to our attention what needs to be done every day in exploiting the talent God invested in each of us irrespective of what the world’s approval is like. Many lives have gone into their graves unspent, with little being said about them save for the oxygen they helped consume.

    This last week the Anaesthesia fraternity in East Central and Southern Africa (ECSA for short) lost a very dear person with a very distinguished career and life, while he had his ancestral roots in the Kingdom of Monomotapa (modern day Zimbabwe), the mourning transcended the political jurisdictions of the Republic, the main reason? He spent his life well impacting the lives of many people around him. In an orbituary note posted on a page dedicated to him, one former patient of his described Dr Edson Chikumba, as a gentle person who prayed with them before the planned complex surgery! The patient goes on to say that they were so confident that all will be well because of the doctors commitment and confidence in God

    In the Bible, Jesus Christ invited people to come to Him not just for the rest but for labour of reaching out to others with his love while inviting them to become his followers, fishermen were made fishers of men, tax collectors became people collectors all were motivated by love! Love is an ingredient without which the equation of life remains incomplete, life can not be lived to the full if love is not at the core, self sacrificing love I mean, motivating people to go out of their way in helping others not because its their duty nor because of material benefit but because of other people’s welfare. The Good Samaritan story (Luke 10:25- 37) is the greatest epitome for this and a living lesson to all of us.

    We shall only claim our fame in this life and have our names immortalized if we so lived!

  14. Pure Gold !!!

    Your advice is universally applicable. It’s so simple and straightforward.
    Whatever we are we are adequate. No question about that.
    Whatever difference we can make we must make and feel good about it.

    Homo Sapiens are capable of creating their own stories. Create a simple one.
    The most attractive to me is being a problem solver. And most important it is to solve one’s own problems and then others’.

    Once you solve a problem enjoy the inner glow that shines through you.

    Stay healthy, stay busy, and stay cheerful.
    You have enough. You are enough.
    You can give plenty in whatever form you can.

    And here is the most important thing you can give to others.
    Like you have said Arun. Do not waste your attention.
    Give this to others who need this. All the best,

    PS: I liked Kalam saheb’s hairstyle. 🙂

  15. Sri Arun ji, your blog has become like a beautiful reminder that comes up regularly to push us to make the most of the beautiful time of life we have. It inspires, motivates, sometimes even taps on our back or slaps on our face to ensure this life is not wasted away on the temporal amusements but instead engaged more positively for overall peace and good..

    What touched me most was –

    “We have indeed become a “time pass” society, watching others. Play-acting has become a living for us, and we are selling our attention for free. We are expected to stick around, glued to the same television channel, irrespective of the number of commercial breaks. It is time to introspect how far you are willing to go, diluting your own personal and inter-personal life for these shows.”

    So true that our attention is getting sold for free. And that too sold on petty momentary things which very likely don’t have any value the next day or next week. We act busy doing things having little value down the road and we cry no time for things which are perennial and of long long term value.

    May people like us learn to see brighter side of world with the guidance of authors, philosophers and noble souls like you !!

  16. A very comprehensive and thought provoking analysis of the contemporary human behaviour around the world. The concluding message, ‘So, arise, awake and claim your own fame’ is very apt. There is growing tendency to claim fame through inheritance or grab it through manipulation and foul means. However, such fame is short lived. Self earned fame is the one, which is long lasting and a source of inspiration for many others.

  17. Thank you Sir, for making a important point about our attention or focus on these celebrity as hero. We are making such a big mistake. We should suppose to teach our kids from their childhood itself about the real haeo, about our traditional culture. That one can make big difference.

  18. True and this realisation is required at this point of time. The earlier we realise what and who (borrowing your words), all of us can contribute to the btterment of the society.

  19. Dear Professor Tiwari, This most recent writing contains a number of very powerful, intertwining threads of living. As a combination they are a reflection on the meaning of life, with the need for appreciation of ones own beauty and value – and how even a simple act of kindness by you is as great a measure of worth as the applause for a celebrity. Another of your threads is the idea of presence, of being with the people and places around you and reacting as these second by second events occur. We each can add value in what sometimes seems a trivial way but that can have a cascading and permanent impact on the lives of others. And it is not, as you so elegantly describe, the work of one but the collective value of the group that often makes this change a reality. We are born of a social community and create the beauty of our world more often through combinations. Finally, you have highlighted what is probably the thread that helps to unite all others – the passage and changes of time.

    As we age and die our place on this planet is stored in the memory of history, sometimes in books, but more often in the reflections of those we worked with, helped and loved. Time becomes a scorecard and way of seeing how we live with a theme of a greatness realized in small and big ways and our impact on the world. As you and Dr. Kalam well understand, it is the compassion you feel for others that should be the substance used to create all threads. In that world, compassion and empathy are the foundation of a great life with applause a random reflection of a moment. It is by no means the measure of an individual’s worth. Love others more than they love you and you will have lived a great life. Again, something that you and Dr. Kalam well understand. Thanks for sharing your words, which continue to inspire me and those around me.

  20. Dear Arun Ji, You have beautifully presented the essence of your article in the following lines:

    “You are complete, full, and gloriously gifted already. Know yourself, put your act together, and perform without the fear of someone else’s disapproval. The world is designed to bow before those who dare to rise. Know yourself as a superstar in your own ensemble, an irreplaceable, valuable person, best suited to “perform” the role that has come your way.”

    Japanese have formulated a framework called “Ikigai” for leading a happy and meaningful life which somewhat mirrors your thoughts. Ikigai framework encourages people to reflect on 4 questions: (a) What are you passionate about, (b) What are you good at, (C) Does the world need this type of work, (d) Can you be paid for this work. Rather than bothering about fame, we should be guided by our Ikigai. Thank you.

  21. Arunji, Thank you for sharing the blog. Very well written. I liked your statements which I practiced ‘Be the author of your life story’, ‘Dare to rise,”You are best suited to perform the role that has come your way.’ Thank you once again.

  22. The media has indeed made a mockery of SSR’s case and the clowns i.e the ‘janata’ is so keen in believing anything that they say. His death seems to be just another way of increasing TRPs. Political parties are also out to make the most of it all. The amount of time, effort and resources going into the investigation when there are bigger concerns in the country is being questioned on various platforms.

    But as your question is sooooo to the point Uncle – Are we distracting ourselves from our own multiple stories through all this? We should rather claim our own fame as we are already gifted.

  23. Sir, I have been working with you for over a decade. We did world class work in Telemedicine, actually we were pioneers. But because there was no commercial model, this modality was not picked by the medical profession. People have to come to hospital for ‘revenue generation’ of the business enterprise.

    The medical consultation has become a very small part of the equation. Even during Coronavirus pandemic, rather than Telemedicine being used, hospitals made tons of money by raising bed charges manifolds. Today fame has become a commodity. Rich people are buying it and using it as a lever to become richer.

  24. “All of us are “luminaries,” carrying a speck of the immortal soul. It is the degree of muck that covers it, sometimes due to circumstances, but mostly due to carelessness about not cleaning it, and almost always by the willingness to live with it. ” – This statement is so pertinent. We get so busy with life and other distractions that we leave no time for introspection. Our mind is never “free” to let the thoughts pass through us while we observe them and learn from them. It’s a wonderfully written article sir, which we could come back to read again and again to reset our thinking.

  25. Thank you Sir for sharing this article. The media, social platforms, countless debates with no positive outcomes, verbal and social abuse, all of this has definitely taken a toll on a normal person’s life in concordance with the ongoing pandemic.

    It has become a norm to find flaws and argue about something or someone rather than patiently listening to someone. The media circus shows us the same thing. It shows us that nothing is right in the world.

    I realized that there is very little time when we are not on screens. The day starts and ends with this screen ready to bombard us with all the negativity. As you rightly mentioned, we have to remove the muck and find the light which is lost these days.

    I am trying to limit my time to bare minimum to all these news channels and debates, going on in India as well as US. Reading books, honing my personal skills, communication with others, spending time online looking for the correct and important news, all of this should take an upper hand now.

    Dr Kalam was exemplary. He was in every sense the true definition of a hero and a celebrity, an impeccable example for the youth. Me and this entire youth look up to him. Congratulations on the episode on Kaun Banega Crorepati Sir. You deserve all the appreciation for co-authoring such an outstanding book.

  26. Dear Arun, Again you have picked up a current issue, media frenzy! People are glued to TV sets to know what’s happening in the stories, they are interested. It may be because of the curiosity or they might have taken a side due to their vested interest and are biased to one school of thought. This has become the norm these days. What may be the psyche behind these activities (watching TV) of people, answer is difficult to find. But you are right that an average person is spending 3 hrs of his time for watching TV which seems to be significant. One should take note of it, and try to correct it.

    Many of us believe, post-covid things will become same again, but surely it will be different-significantly different. Each one of us will have to search for new ways of living life, some will do better, but many will be sufferer of pandemic. Here your advice that –know yourself, put your act together and perform without fear, certainly useful.

    Here I recall the poem of Rabindranath Tagore:

    “Where the mind is without fear and head is held high;
    Where knowledge is free;
    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
    Where words come out from the depth of truth;
    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
    Where the clear stream of reasons has not lost its way into dreary desert sand of dead habit;
    Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action;
    Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

    So let us say- arise, awake and prepare our fate.
    Once again accept my congratulations for writing a thought provoking blog.

  27. Dear Arun ji, you have rightly touched the chord of life which resonates the most at this time.

    The media frenzy, the analysis, the dissection which continues unabated on the life and times of a celebrity. His death shrouded in mystery has caught the mass attention. Right or wrong, good or bad the story is quite intriguing, murder or suicide? The reason, who are the beneficiaries? Is the needle which the agencies are trying to search in the mountain of hay? It appears a pot boiler from the Bollywood for the Bollywood. We all have our opinions and some have already concluded – Sherlock Homes need not to bother. Reason – the story is interesting, generates discussion, and the curiosity develops interest ….so the masses are glued to the idiot box. Gainers are the media and their advertisers….Losers the person who is no more and his family. A life is lost. The story is being analyzed, why murder..if it was? Why suicide..if it was? One needs to know to live one’s own life devoid of what brought this end to this celebrity’s story. One learns from this story or from story of men like Dr. Kalam or any other world celebrity with which an individual connects, so as to imbibe the same and be benefited. A happy ending to a story is what majority desires.

    That many graves got dug in the process is a different take. High time we breathe fresh air by unearthing and eradicating the menace of acquiring drugs smuggled in by nefarious means. It needs to be uprooted. It intrigues me and leaves a question mark – what if the Drugs are legalized. If we allow Alcohol, the biggest source of revenue for every Indian state and the country, Tobacco and the like with adequate warning. Why veto drugs, probably some relaxation and graded approach for availability might besides smuggling and acquiring by wicked means make life a bit easier. After all it is decriminalized in several countries like Portugal, Netherlands, Switzerland – almost 30 countries with significant differences and levels of effectiveness – Food for thought.

    The last 25 years has seen a massive change, the technology has sky rocketed, and the digital revolution has taken us by storm. What is ‘in –thing’ today is obsolete the next day such is the recurring tsunami of change. Let this change be channelized in uplifting mankind. The mobile phone is literary the world in ones hand. The chats on social media and say WhatsApp have been rightly intercepted and scrutinized. It helps in cornering and catching the miscreants, goons and touch-me-not species. The picture caught in CC TV is evidence which none can deny. Contrary, it has its pitfalls – if in dubious hands it’s a live fuse, a detonator which can eradicate humans on this planet. Beware, for we can be a Buddha or Osama bin Laden. Can preach peace or can blow the Twin Towers….Technology too needs to be put under leash. Life is but not all that simple. More the comfort more is the policing.

    While moving ahead in life, name and fame is what all look forward to. It is human to be sensitive, to attain the unattainable, to conquer the difficult and to stand out in the crowd, in whatsoever field. The path is paved with gold we have to be the takers, but to get the Fame, its struggle, hard work and perseverance. We are one solitaire which when dusted will glitter. In your words – ‘remove the muck so that your soul can shine through.’ Let it be known – you are the makers, the achievers and the custodian of your own Fame – of whom, by whom, for whom…. Enjoy this concoction and say Cheers!

    Sir, ‘be the author of your own life story,’ as mentioned by you is hitting the bull’s eye. Your motivation is an anchor to one’s rollicking boat on troubled waters of life and times. To be a star amongst known around you is surely achievable, workable and manageable. The only prerequisite is simple living and high thinking. You’re Guru and mentor Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam was an example in itself. That you were under his umbrella, shared his views and thoughts, co-authored Wings of fire and several other is an achievement of life. Surely you must have been on the same frequency in the same orbit to launch several of your technological firsts. – The nation salutes you no less.

  28. Very timely and to the point article Sir. You are showing the mirror when you write, “We have indeed become a “time pass” society, watching others. Play-acting has become a living for us, and we are selling our attention for free. We are expected to stick around, glued to the same television channel, irrespective of the number of commercial breaks.”

    The situation is no different when people are out – commuting, at their workplaces – it has become a habit to be always online. Your concern is most valid. “It is time to introspect how far you are willing to go, diluting your own personal and inter-personal life for these shows.” Social media is indeed sprinkling freely seeds of discord in society and they are sprouted in minds ready for this already.

  29. It’s a thought provocative piece. Sushant Singh Rajput’s unfortunate demise has rocked the nation especially the youth as they felt that nepotism in Bollywood has killed him. Sociologically, people are more curious to know about other people’s lives nowadays. T.V. show The Big Boss is also a big hit since people wish to listen to other’s stories and gossip. We live in such a strange time of COVID-19 where there is a lack of networks of people physically. Hence, curiosity is getting worse. I do agree that life is like a drama. I feel delighted to read Carl Jung’s idea in your work – we also used his ideas in our sociological study. I deeply admire the way you weaved your thoughts beautifully.

  30. Dear Arun Ji, It is time for the regulators of TV channels to divide their time for showing at least 80% of their time on positivity and rest may be for their gimmicks and dramatisation of events. On the article front, the message is very soothing.

  31. Dear Sir, Another encouraging and thought provoking article from your pen.

    You have rightly mentioned that each one of us has something unique inside and is gifted by nature. It’s our duty to acknowledge our talent or skills and naurish it well to make our own show in the drama of life. Life s all about being and transforming from a small seed to a mature tree laden with fruits for the people who are in touch with you.

    Every one should know the story of Iblis and God to take right decisions in his life by acknowledging the voice of God and not to hear Ebl8s inside him who provokes for harming others sometime person himself like the young actor did. I personally feel a mentor lime you was missing in his life.

    No doubt life is very challenging and it needs inner conciuosness to guide in the right direction. But we need to arise, awake and acknowledge our gifts of life and play our own drama in sync with the world and people around. Warm Regards,

  32. Sir, I am indeed inspired by your call – “Be not some virtual ghost but the author of your life story. Include in the story, real people around you, family and co-workers.” The lockdown indeed pushed most of us in the virtual world, but the trend must be reversed sooner than later.

    Schools must reopen and the service sector resume its business. Coronavirus will continue to be there like many other viruses. Please write in your future blog about the socio-economic wreckage created by the pandemic – how much of it was avoidable? I feel most of it was. While the poor and helpless people bore most of the brunt, rich and powerful succeeded even more money out of it.

  33. Sir, A very nice topic! Our media is indeed out to sensationalize whatever they can lay their hands on. Going by the TV channel, we are a very bad society, highly corrupt and scheming people, badly divided, and ready to collapse any time. Especially, evening debates are like street brawls.

    I had the good fortune of meeting Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, accompanying you. On Monday, there was a question on Dr Kalam’s autobiography in ‘Kaun Banega Karorpati’ programme, and Amitabh Bachchan rightly mentioned your name as the co-author of the wonderful book Wings of Fire/ अग्नि की उड़ान.

    You have observed very correctly, people liked Dr Kalam as they found in him what they themselves wish to be – a celebrity, in spite of his humble background, his average academic record, and a simple, no-frill lifestyle that makes him famous and the hero of millions of ordinary people.

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