A: who are you?
B: I’m Subramanyam, director of Pasupati industries.
A: No, that’s your job. Who are you?
B: I’m Subramanyam, MBA, Engineering..
A: No, that’s your qualification. Who are you?
B: I’m Subramanyam, from Hyderabad..
A: No, not your place. Who are you?
Who are you? Who am I? Is life a journey we take to answer that question?
The dialogue is from a movie I saw recently – ‘Evade Subramanyam’ (Who is Subramanyam?). That dialogue touched me. Who am I? Can I define it/him/her without labelling it with some external aspect like the job we do, the place we are from or the family we are from? Did you observe any time, when we meet a new person we say, ‘Hi, I’m so and so’. and the next question inadvertently is ‘what do you do?’ or some variation of that. What gives us identity? Job? Family? Education? Are we nothing without them? Or am I something? Do we have an identity just by ourselves? without these external identifiers? Who am I?
Potential movie spoilers follow
The movie is about three friends who undertake a journey, a journey which is transformational to the main lead. A few more scenes from the movie had me thinking.
- One main character in the movie asks the hero, when was the last time he was happy? what is the last memorable moment he recollects? He proceeds to ask – ‘why do we have only handful of such moments in life? who told us to live life like this? if those are the moments we live for, why can’t we spend more time in creating more of those?’ Why?
- I was discussing with a friend after the movie about the ‘happy go lucky character’ in the movie. When he said, ‘it’s a choice, if you want to live like that, you can’t afford to have responsibilities and once you take over responsibilities you cannot live footloose’. But, what about folks like me who don’t have the luxury of escaping responsibility, but want to find the ‘truth’ of life? (whatever it is)
- Where did Subramanyam go after the movie? The movie ending shows he going on a bike with the heroine towards a setting sun. A very clichéd ending. But, what comes next? How will he survive? What will he do? Probably find work which satisfies him, concentrate more on experiencing life, living every moment of it rather than work for five days longing for the weekend. But, not every job pays well. He could do that probably because he had no to few wants. What if I want to afford a new Apple product every year? I don’t have many wants, but the few I have are not cheap. I need not just a satisfying but also a well paying job (just like everyone else). What about folks like me? Is there no salvation?
- Once you find a job suited for you. Can you relax? My uncle told me in one of the companies he worked he had a co worker who was good at his work, he delivered more than what was expected out of him but he was happy where he was. He didn’t want to move to the next level. He was not interested in the next levels’ responsibilities. The company removed him next year. Why? Because he had no ambition? Can you survive if you don’t want to move on? All around you people are running. Can you survive if you don’t run with them?
- Can you define what winning is to you? what success is to you? How much is ‘enough’ to be happy? Who’ll define that? Millions? Cars? Becoming a CEO? Becoming a monk who sold his Ferrari? Earning enough to survive happily for the rest of your days? Do you have the guts to move out of the pack and say, this is what I want, now that I have it, I’ll stop running the race? If you do, will you become the guy my uncle spoke about? To avoid that, will you keep up with the Joneses? if so, till when?
Questions, dear reader. Questions; that’s all I have to offer.