Beware of selfies, they hide true self

A story about one’s over concern with social image describes a couple about to leave for a movie. Learning that they are heading to Roxy and not close by Novelty theatre, the wife asks her husband to wait awhile. She returns 45 minutes later, a metamorphosed lady in different dress. Responding to enquiring eyes of her husband, she quips: “I had to change it because last time I visited Roxy two years ago it was same dress I wore earlier.” Awestruck, the husband murmured, ‘Great’!

Much water has flown through the Ganga since this story was carried by a weekly some three decades ago. Now most people don’t mind staking anything to stay at in limelight.
Admittedly each of us looks for recognition by others to keep on. Self esteem is vital for healthy growth and strengthening self confidence, essential to forge ahead in life.

However, some get fidgety in the absence of clear nod from others for whatever they do, or look like. Swayed by what others tell them, of their own they are disabled to decide.
Reflexively attuned to become the cynosure of neighbouring eyes, they always
position themselves in a competitive and outdoing mode to keep their façade most attractive and in best shape, reason enough behind mushrooming of women’s, men’s and unisex beauty parlours. Exteriors count utmost, so most ladies can tell the colour, design and texture of sari her sister, cousin, sister-in-law or mother wore on her two preceding marriage or birth anniversaries.

When does one embark on showing one’s best self, simultaneously masking the seamy side of his personality? Only when one wants certain parts of the true self must be blacked out from public domain. Why do such conditions at all arise?

Mind what Tyra Banks, the American TV personality said: “Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It's about accepting all of yourself.”

It is all based on our focus in life: impressing others or becoming a better and enlightened person. Those choosing the former shall naturally show up whatever they have. If nothing else, posting selfies through social media on varied body postures and facial contours while hanging out in popular malls, dining in premium city hotels, dancing in tantrums like newly weds do, driving or diving with thrill, gossiping with prominent figures, decorating salad plate in style, and so on, come as handy choices.

Selfies per say have emerged as a top modality for self glorification, an easy tool to stay above others. “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self” said the American novelist Ernest Hemingway.

Obsessed with selfies
That certain prominent figures from various persuasions, including our prime minister are deeply in love, if not obsessed with selfies, does not legitimise its intent or wide use. Not to elicit the wrath of myriad selfie lovers, the public figures keep silence on growing trend of taking, posting and disseminating selfies in disregard of its mostly destructive, irreversible implications.

Let alone the 15 of the 21 deaths in India last year due to addictive selfies (American Psychiatric Association has termed it ‘selfitis’), the havoc it entails with health and psycho-social development of its players is enormous. Sporadic measures like affixing warning signals against taking selfies, posting guards, declaring some city areas as ‘no-selfie zones’ are not going to curb the pandemic of selfie in earnest.

Like parents themselves believe more in form than in reality, same beliefs are passed on. Parents, school and society unanimously imbue in our children that rather than intrinsic worth, the route to success and grand future is via fine presentation skills. Apropos of ‘70s when M L Kapur, principal of Modern School Delhi, often admitted “to inculcate maximum of confidence in students irrespective of competence” as school mission.

Authors of research papers know the essentiality of adding a full page of bibliography, not necessarily directly relevant to the content, even in a 4-page article to satisfy the presentational condition.

As part of curriculum, schools ask students to submit presentations, which are mostly prepared by elderly sibling or parents, or purchased from market with only printed cover showing student’s name and particulars affixed.

Unless we believe, and let our young ones understand that our actions and successes speak louder and for longer than our words or body styles, they cannot be dissuaded from treading the selfie road that leads nowhere.

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