To be or to behave, that is the question!

Character is what you are and reputation is what people think you are! This is the biggest truth… And the one I live by… I have always believed in fortifying my character instead of worrying about what the world perceives of me… It is no coincidence then that Howard Roark from Ayn Rand’s classic The Fountainhead remains my favourite fictional character… I’d rather be true to my core values than sell out to every thorny situation that I might encounter in life…

But of late, my dear wife has brought to my notice that that we don’t live in such a simple world anymore! In today’s times, reputation seems to be as important, if not more, than character. One could be doing a satyagraha in public and doing unmentionable things in his private sanctum. One could be a Godman in public but a conduit for arms dealers in private. One could be a spiritual guru in public but defiling the modesty of a woman in private. It’s no more about what you are, it’s more about what you are projected to be.

Almost everyone has a dual existence. One for the people in general and one that only he can see in the mirror… Which begs the question…What is more important? Your reputation or your character? You live with others for a few sporadic hours a day but u live with yourself 24/7.. So wouldn’t you rather be a good guy than pretend to be one?

Personally, I feel the world would be better off if people worked harder on themselves instead of what people think of them. Of course, I have suffered at times because I haven’t really given a damn about what people think of me. In fact, when I directed my first film Rice Plate, at the premiere itself, my friends were like – Dude, you’ve directed this film??? Ha ha no wayyyyy…. And I had to convince them that I had actually made it! It’s probably because I have the image of a happy go lucky guy who doesn’t have the depth or maturity to make a film on the sensitive issue of communal strife…But I’d rather be able to do what I do than project that I can do it!

Like there are no free lunches in life, similarly, no act can hold up for ever… You can fool some people sometimes but you can’t fool all the people all the time… The mask will fall! So let’s all work towards bettering ourselves instead of just painting a beautiful yet fake picture of ourselves.

To end it, let me share a brilliant line I heard yesterday from the doyen of acting Naseeruddin Shah. This has nothing to do with the matter of my blog but I just have to share it with you. He says about the legend Dev Anand, “Blood doesn’t run in the veins of Dev Saab, celluloid does.” Wow! Would love something like that said about me when it’s time to pass the baton!