Losing It

This happened a year ago. It was morning. I was walking from one office to another and had to cross the Hurkisondas Hospital junction. The signal was green for cars. I waited. Soon, the signal turned red and the traffic stopped. I started to cross. Just then, a motorbike came up from the side towards me. I stopped, assuming that he would as well. He came up to my feet and continued to rev his bike with the assumption that I would step back and let him go ahead. I stood my ground and raised my hand asking him to halt. He continued to inch that little bit ahead, wanting me to give way.

I lost it. I put my hand on the bike as if to stop it, turned ninety degrees, caught the rider by his neck and pushed him. He in turn caught my shirt. I hit him. He fell back, but managed to balance himself. I walked away. He yelled after me. I was shaking, angry and wanted to go back and hit him some more, but managed to keep some control and kept walking.

Now imagine if I was a celebrity!

Within no time, it would have become a circus. The rider would have recognized me and would have gone to the police. Someone would have probably taken a video and uploaded it to YouTube. Another person would have tweeted some crap. In a few hours, it would have been all over the news channels. And the next day would have seen headlines of how I had bashed up someone without any provocation, with all kinds of people adding their rubbish two bits.

Celebrities are soft targets.

I am not defending Mr. Saif Ali Khan. Maybe he was provoked, maybe be wasn’t. But it is all too easy for the opposite party to play “victim”, especially when the celebrity is assumed by one and all to be guilty until proven innocent. You can’t clap with one hand!

You could be having a quiet dinner with family. A persistent, irritating fan could go on troubling you. You could lose it. And…it’s still your fault and not that of the person who was irritating you.

It is a no-win situation. People say that the loss of privacy is the price one pays for being famous. Which honestly is just so much rubbish. Any human being, famous or not, has the right to be left alone if he/she desires so.

Unfortunately, it is never that simple. Over the last few years, we have all turned voyeurs, savoring and devouring the smallest little celebrity detail that the media dishes out, the celebrities too falling over themselves to provide fodder. So, if Ms. Bipasha Basu loves to eat one rosogolla a day with Natural coconut ice-cream, or if Ms. Katrina Kaif uses orange colored nail polish every Tuesday evening or if Mr. Sanjay Dutt has a bath only after 9 every other Friday night, it makes news. Ms. Karishma Kapoor’s wedding was the biggest front-page news item the day she got married and any event, important or not, related to the Bachchan family makes it diligently to the top of the news feeds, as did the episode at Wasabi earlier this week.

We blame the media for blowing up the irrelevant. But it will obviously highlight what sells and clearly there is a huge audience out there lapping up news about celebrity weddings, births, deaths, split-ups and of course bashings.

Honestly, I wonder if it’s worth being a non-politician celebrity any more. You lose too much for too little gain!

19 Comments

  • vipin nair wrote:

    Hi Bhavin,

    bang on… this is what i like about your thought process.. being the devil’s advocate. i remember the piece you did about college students braking one way near matunga and couch activists when anna hazare started his agitation.

    a very well written piece. now who is bothered was mr. saif khan was provoked or not. no one. but who is bothered about the tamasha which followed?? we all are..

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Thanks Vipin. Ideally this should just be an inconsequential issue.

  • Sriganesh wrote:

    I remembered having read this and located it:

    The following was written by Rajdeep Sardesai after Pramod Mahajan’s demise.
    I Quote from:
    http://ibnlive.in.com/blogs/rajdeepsardesai/1/1069/my-friend-mr-mahajan.html
    ===
    In the corridors of power, politicians and journalists share a peculiarly incestuous relationship based on mutual need. It’s a strategic alliance. The politician “feeds” the journalist with privileged information, the journalist depends on the neta for access. In recent times, the lines have got blurred: much of the information disseminated is propaganda, while the access obtained by the journalist has spurred partisan reportage in the mistaken belief that proximity to power is an end in itself.
    ===
    The strategic alliance has just got extended to celebrities from Bollywood, Idiot box, Writers and some Corporate Honcos…
    =========
    Good you do not have such strategic alliance, else we would have to see your facce every day on Page 3!

  • But are there really people out there who lap it up as the media thinks?There might be for a day but not after that.We move on and we have to.I guess the media is over estimating the need of the common man to know more about celebrities.How much does anyone care about movie stars’ travel itenerary?Every day they have pics of stars coming out of the airports.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Gita …. There have to be. Else the coverage just wouldn’t be so extensive.

  • Ravi Gadiyar wrote:

    Sir, Super Mail and at the right time… the kenisthetic touch. Sirji ki Jai Ho !!!

  • H.L. Chulani wrote:

    The Friday issue of Bombay Times has just as many pages as The Times of India with rubbish crammed in about ‘stars’. But I guess there are enough stupid people to want to read this and TOI obliges. We get what we deserve! Incidentally, if you were a celebrity you would not be ‘walking and stopping’ on the road!

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Agreed. May not have been at the signal with me walking…the provocation would just be something else

  • Varun Nagwekar wrote:

    @H.L. Chulani. The above stated real-life incident acted as an example to state what would have happened if the author was a celebrity. One doesn’t have to take it literally that he would not be be ‘walk­ing and stop­ping’ on the road.

  • PREM MAHTANI wrote:

    sad you din’t go and bash the biker.saifu is human if someone ask him who is this beautiful kid with you is she your daughter?Iam sure that would provoke anyone.
    Prem

  • Let’s forget about caring for privacy of celebrities’s personal lives for a second. Our society is plagued by lack of respect for anybody’s privacy, period.

    Be it a nosy aunt who wants to know why you aren’t married yet or a friend who wants to know _EVERY_ detail of your life or a spouse who will relentlessly ask you questions until you tell them every detail of your day or a neighbour who wants to know about why the carpenter just visited you (“Are you getting new furniture built????”), the Indian society is full of people with boundary issues.

    It will be a long time (if ever) before we start respecting the privacy of celebrities.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Sangeeta…you’re right. That attitude probably just gets multiplied manifold with celebrities.

  • Good piece of note to read…!!!

    I am really pissed of by NEWS channels when they hopelessly keep showing re-repeats of the stupidest stories(stupid coz it has nothing to do with any issue but just for the sake of publicity) with nonsense titles…
    Whats worse, people enjoy that too…!!!
    NAAKTOD NAWAAB was the latest addition.

  • While I would agree with you on the undue publicity being doled out to a celebrity etc. in this case, I doubt it if any celebrity stalker would end up at Wasabi, which is the trendiest Mumbai restaurant. I must also point out the celebrities tend to think they can break any law and get away…. Remember being in the queue at Barista, Bandra years back when Karan Johar walked in with his friends and went straight to the counter when there is queue of patient people already there. I had to raise my voice to ensure he went back like any of us. This I have seen also at Otters Club where these celebrities break rules without batting an eyelid. They should be cut to size and I don’t care if it means the price for being a celebrity. While we don’t want to intrude on their private domains they too must ensure they maintain their limits.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Manish. Obviously there is no excuse for obnoxious behaviour. Celebrities have to follow the rules…but they are soft targets as well.

  • Very well written. Apart from the celebrity side, I often wonder why the horsepoer in vehicles, brings out the beast in the riders- esp in 2 wheelers!
    I recall a biker talking leisurely on his cell when the green light came on. I was right behind him and got his nasty look when i hooted for his action!

  • Your article is aptly titled “Losing it”
    Actually we all are losing it. I too used to think like you.

    But when I met my spiritual teacher, he would tell us that there are only spiritual solutions to material problems. The solution to anger is not anger but Love. When a person is in anger, he/she is in short supply of love.
    The first step to spiritual growth in Humility. And the second to see the same divine seated in the hearts of all beings.

    Our mind is a lazy creature. It is a pattern seeking self organizing system. It looks for past patterns and reacts in the same way. Hence we always tend to repeat the same mistakes again and again when faced with similar situation. But we have to respond not react to a situation. Every event in our life is unique and God sent and is for our spiritual growth.
    We have to understand that a person is acting helpless according to the Nature he/she is born with. Next time try to rise above you nature and let another person to go ahead of you and see the infinite peace you get. You reacted in anger with biker’s anger and lost it, not only the moment but your entire peace of mind till this day when you wrote the article, and you ruined his day too.
    We allow our petty ego to come between us and divinity.
    Similarly if Saif, who is a celebrity and a public figure, had acted in humility, he would have not only avoided the situation but would have set an example for others to follow.
    In the Bhagavad Gita Ch 3.21 Lord Krishna says, “Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.”

    Try it once and I am sure you shall feel the same way I do.

    Thus, many situations can be avoided by just allowing our ego to take a back seat.

    Peace!

  • Hmm, hate to play spoil-sport here, but the whole piece strayed away from where it started – which is that ‘you lost it’. :o)
    I’d like to believe that in this instance, you instigated the violence, and that’s not okay, even as you, without being a celebrity. There are numerous ways of dealing with provocation, and physical violence, according to me, should not even be the last of them.
    And coming to celebrities, who is to judge whether the comments of a neighboring diner are less or more provocative than those made during a televised interview?
    Nice piece nevertheless ;o)

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Ajit…was using this example as a way of saying how someone like me who is pretty much non-violent can also get provoked into violence when it just gets too much.

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