Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Back in high school, and even during medical school for that matter, I was always notorious as a student who never paid attention in class. I would spend the long hours during dreadfully boring lectures, engrossed in drawing, or doodling if you may call it, on my notebooks. While on the absolute contrary, my over zealous colleagues, would be scribbling away every word that our professor would utter, irrespective of whether he was making any sense.
Human psychology interests me to a great degree, and being the truly self obsessed person that I am, there hasn't been a day when I have not over scrutinized my self, over every trivial detail.
Now as I look back, the one thing I would constantly draw in my book, were islands.
I was, and am obsessed with them. I would draw islands of various shapes and sizes, make up stories about island kingdoms, and so on and so forth.
I suppose it never occurred to me so as to why I was so obsessed with the concept of an island. But now as I look back and try to comprehend my juvenile leanings, it makes all the more sense.
They say you are what you eat, or in this case what you draw.
Frankly, any creative outburst if I may call it so, is personally a reflection of your inner self. Even the clothes you wear, the food you eat, or the way you arrange and choose furniture can speak volumes about yourself.
And therefore, in retrospect, in my case what reflected me was what I drew.
And that was an island.
Now, what is unique about an island?
I suppose, is its sheer isolation. Apart, aloof and untouched by all and sundry.
Inaccessible, remote and unscathed. Beyond anyone's reach. And surrounded by the vastness of the ocean. Nestled amongst its great waves.
To me an island signifies isolation and security .
And I suppose that's who I really am.
To me, seclusion meant comfort. It meant security from a dozen prying eyes. It meant being by my self. Rather than hobnob with those I had little or no interest in.
I am not a loner though. I made a ton of great friends. And though I claim myself to be anti social, I am quite friendly and approachable by default.
But by the end of the day, I always craved solitude.
To be alone, unwatched and beyond anyone's scrutiny.
Somehow I found it to be more of an ease to be by myself than to be burdened by social obligations. I always have loved being on my own personal island.
Though not meaning to sound pompous, for most of the time, humans have always bored me. I cannot say why. It could be on account of not having any siblings, or the fact that I have more or less lived in hostels and boarding schools for a great deal of time. Either way I have always ended up feeling that no one has truly understood me.
I always detested going to parties and get togethers and make small talk with people I barely know. My first instinct on such occasions, would be bolt away as soon as possible.
There is a reason I like to blend with people I am intimately close to. And that's so I can be myself. A few choice guests on my private island if I do say so myself.
The thing about being on an island is that you are your own master. Its your own world that no one can trespass. No one can question you, or judge you.
Yes, humans are social by default. But than not all of us are born with human instincts.
Given the choice I would rather be on my island than allow any trespassers.
But I have been often reprimanded for that attitude.
Its just that when I meet people, I feel obligated to act and behave in a certain way, so much so that I have ended up putting on so may masks, that even those who claim to know me might not know me at all. When in society, one is always expected to be something what society wants one to be. To be consistently charming, productive, sociable and bendable to their every whim. You spend so much time being someone you'd rather not be, and in consequence lose out on being yourself.
Like Shakespere said, "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players"
We don on masks to be identified and sought out, but frankly to me, the more masks you don, the more distant you become from your true self, and lose out on being an individual.
As all things in life, everything comes at an advantage and a disadvantage.
While not everyone can remain secluded, there are times when one ought to be by oneself.
If we let hundreds of people define who you are and what you are meant to do, there may come a time, when you realise, that you have been living someone else's life all along.
I suppose everything needs to exist in a certain balance. Be it seclusion or socialization.
Now when I look back, a lot of artists, thinkers and leaders, were often dubbed to be eccentric. Because they would always appear aloof, babbling to themselves, because, they would prefer their own company rather than be amongst those who could never understand them. They despised influence and were rebels in their own right.
If they had allowed trespassers on their islands, it would have yielded to influence, and the dilution of the individual spirit.
The world then would have never heard of a Picasso, or an Einstein or a Mozart.
I do not wish to don on myself the tag of a genius, but I certainly do brand my self to be individual in my own right. And for the time being I cannot allow anyone to trespass on my land.
I am what I am. And not what someone makes out me to be.
For those who wish to judge me, they shall never get to see the real me. The masks I own are plenty. But I do make it a point to remove them when I am by myself. And retire by the end of the day to my island.
Untouched, unseen and unscathed, far far away.
Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixellou, http://www.flickr.com/photos/storm-crypt, http://www.flickr.com/photos/elijah, http://www.flickr.com/photos/todojuanjo, http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomasfano.