Archu From The Archive, General

Identity Inquisition

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Asked who are you, I would most certainly answer just like any other female of our species, “I am so and so’s daughter.” or to keep it generic, “so and so’s so and so”. A common answer to not an uncommon question. Are we answering correct? Read again – it was ‘Who are you?” and not “Whose are you?”. Pause…I’d blink twice at the intention behind the question before I come up with, “I am a software engineer, I am this, I am that”. Vocation defines ‘what are you’, not who. Yet another pause…Alright, “I did my schooling at…blah blah…college at blah blah”. Stop! That gives the “where of you”. Once again “Who are you?”. Deeper pause this time. “Who am I?” I can’t obviously be a Jackie Chan movie. I must really be someone or at least should intend to become someone. What is that? For the fourth time, “Who are you?”

I was pissed off at suffering an identity crisis, way after my adolescence for it was my inner self that kept nagging me and made me wish the wish I wouldn’t do everyday – Wish to be born as any teeny-weeny creation of God than living the kind that I do, the kind called mankind. Free-willed and merry, I would have had my life at my own disposal, unbound by pre-defined rules, set to be followed from the time of my birth, to the day I become fertilizer to the soil. Naturally, I assume the role and play it to perfection. Lived – Died – Buried – Decayed – Amen. Is that all? I mean, is that really all about the fascinating four lettered word called LIFE? Back again, “Who are you?”

At an official meeting with my superior, I was posed with this question. I stammered a little and he completed the rest. Done with the agenda and back to my seat at office to resume my work but this single question kept reverberating inside my grey matter, over and over again, “Who are you?”. Echo effect was most evident to me at that moment, making me deaf to the hiss and buzz of the numerous keyboards being punched by the tired professionals, striving to meet their deadlines. What a strange pre-occupation for a mind in the middle of the day when there were things of higher priority awaiting my attention!

A sip of coffee beside the glass enclosure, up above the world so high from the pantry in the eighth floor, is all I need to ease my thoughts and finalize decisions, usually termed as “Cool it buddy!” I was peeping below at the tiny human figures on the ground, hurrying about in cars and bikes with different chores. A world of haste making life a waste! (Wow! That rhymes, doesn’t it?). Frustration could be dangerous for it poisons you with deadly self-pity. Waking up with routine, cooking and cleaning, going thru monotony all through the week and spending weekends in tired slumbers, forgoing matters that interest, for the want of time and energy. For what? – A few pennies which would invariably be denied on various pretexts, leaving a little to fill our bounty. Shame! I was inwardly fuming at the injustice of it all, trying to keep a calm face to save my professional ethics.

Its two months already since we screamed “Happy New Year” and I am surprised that I had let two months go by uneventfully, just as I had let the months of the previous year go by having done nothing worthwhile. No wonder “Who am I?” makes me ponder so much. The drop in the frequency of my blogging, the reduced number of calls to friends, for that matter, the reduced communication with the real tangible world, the neglect of book reading are all obvious proofs. I wouldn’t relate it to disinterest for I am all interested in turning the world upside down and energized with enthusiasm as well. It’s just that I have been caught up in a swirl of boredom and ironically, I don’t have the time to feel bored even.

I could feel ‘the me’ that I had been gradually evading away making me a mechanical moron and I have no one but me to blame. Preaching balance to my mates, I am losing balance myself. Good gracious! One or two hours per day is the maximum that I could hope for myself in solitude to do the thing I like or speak to the one I love. Amidst the hay of activities that consumes my day, this meeting held a check point.

“Who are you?” made me want to answer in hundreds of fanciful ways on various contexts both philosophical and practical. But finding myself dumb-folded as I couldn’t justify my answers myself makes me feel utterly remorseful. ‘The Monk who sold his Ferrari’ seems to smile at me in his Godly halo, with an invitation to join his league. No, not yet, I do not seek to redefine myself at the moment. All I need is to remember to live a life and grow to become a somebody such that my fellow folk would answer it for me when asked “Who am I?”

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14 thoughts on “Identity Inquisition

  1. Hi Archu,
    This is one of the excellent blog of urs which I liked d most. Would like to tell you that the same thought is there in my mind in the recent days. Expecting to know, who u r in the near future. Think this is the first time I’m giving comments for your blog 🙂

  2. well… with life becoming more n more mechanical and mundane by the day, we do find ourselves loosing to the pace at which, the world around us is speeding, n in the process failing to recognise who really are we? .. failing to listen to the real self within us, the thing we call as a personal calling!.. not able to allot time to things considered petty or useless to the world, though it means a lot to us, to our identity and our happiness.

    i personally feel the answer to all questions seeming like or leading to ‘ who am i ‘ and the likes, lies in the realisation of this personal calling. paulo coelho in the alchemist amazes me by his version of ‘the identity ‘..he says ‘ its a blessing.. whenever u do somethin that fills u with content, enthusiasm n joy, u r following ur legend. … if u can get up in the morning, n go back to bed at night, n do what u want to do in the middle, u are what u were supposed to be! 🙂

    well.. having said all that, still on one of those sleepless nights, with thoughts overflowing my mind, n i lying staring at the ceiling, still i do suffer a pitiable defeat to this nagging question of ‘who exactly am i’… 🙂 🙂

    ya, at the end of it all, when i realise i do need some sleep to stay alive the next morning, i convince myself saying that if i had found who i am, then i would have nothing else to ponder on! to muse on.. he he actually to blog on!

    a great post at the right time. two months past jan 1st n still how much of wat i wanted to do, have i done?
    well, congrats.. really thought provoking!

  3. @balachander: ‘Who am I’ is a question that keeps running within everybody’s head one time or the other. We brush it aside and carry on with our usual chores without having quenched that nagging feeling. I just voiced out mine before it would be lost again to set it as a reminder to myself. Am glad you liked it. Let this first comment not become the last. Keep reading and keep telling your views.

    @prabhu: You have continuted my blog and yes for everybody’s benefit. If we do fully realise who were are, we’d be roaming around as saints and rishies. All the same, leading this clueless life though challenging sometimes, is not what we want to be or aspire to become. Am just wondering how could I discover myself atleast partially. Thanks Prabhu, you’ve made me ‘think again’ 🙂

  4. Ah, I have always believed that my name is the only identity I carry and I posses unto my death – everything else is just what comes n goes away. Add a few adjectives to your self that I am a frustrated, passive, angry sould – well, any such kind of adjectives are bound to change at some point in future – you never what it would be that changes you.

    To me and the world, I am Prasoon!

    Interesting blog – liked the thought process 🙂

  5. @prasoon: no re, even name does not become your identity unless you give it a reason to be remembered. With the country’s population, there are people with same names on every alternate street.

  6. @archu: “I am what I am”. I guess that the day I can really say that to some one, who has witnessed my life, I would have done justice to my unique identity. Right now, your post only makes me sit up and take stock of what I’m doing with myself and my life. Good and thought-provoking one Arch!

  7. @meens: thanks meens. we need to entertain such thoughts within ourselves now and then to channelise our life. i am glad that my post helped u sit up, just the way i was up when i wrote it.

  8. very nice post archana… gues even i hv been ponderin over dis ques… “WHO AM I?” finally got sm tym to read thru ur blog… nice goin… wish i was creative enuf to pen dwn thoughts… 🙂

  9. Hi archana, I read a lot like you do, but this has been the only genre i’ve been reading about since 10 th std, after i realised in one sunny physics class that science only studies the effects and properties of things and not the function (source, primordial cause)that causes it( guess you should know about the occam’s razor)! After all you cannot say why a thing is the thing it is. I just thought i would send you the names of some very good books in this genre,

    “Who am i” by ramana Maharishi, there is an e book available online, link posted as follows
    I guess if you can realize the answer to this question then you are a realized saint!

    “Siddhartha” by hermen hesse, I enjoyed this book a lot, (high recommendation);
    “The razors edge” by Sommerset maugham,

    ‘Autobiography of a yogi’ by Paramahansa yogananda
    Mister God this is Anna by Finn

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