I recently put down ‘The Mystic Masseur’ by V.S Naipaul. A writer of his merit doesn’t need a review out of the mouth of babes (like me). And I am no spoilsport with a malicious intent to snatch away the joy of discovery while reading a literary treasure. I mentioned the book’s name for two reasons-
1. It is a must read,
2. Reading it would make you realize the amount of pride that goes into the process of embalming our society.
That being said, I would now leave the book out of this conversation. The book made me think of this pride and its followers rooted well in our society. I cannot speak for the rest as I have not stayed amongst them, but I can boast of some first-hand experiences with pride which has marinated our country and its citizens.
A simple question like, “Where are you from?”, would incite a reply like, “I am from Delhi (or, Kolkota for that matter)” , and when one would think that this was an apt reply to the question, the replier would take a pause and add, “ You know the city which boasts of India Gate. Our roads are much better than the ones here. Our girls are much hotter than the dowdy looking ones here. Our houses are much bigger and grander than the shanties here” and the boast balloon continues to bloat to an unimaginable extent. This was residence pride.
Then there is the parental pride. “Is it a boy or a girl?” the proud parent screeches, “a boy, what else!” Ask them, “How old is he?” they would eagerly tell you how bright he is, how strong he is and anecdotes of his bravery would soon follow all these.
“Is that your daughter?” would get you, “Oh yes! She is. She has grown to be a lovely looking lady, don’t you agree? You couldn’t recognize her, right?” then an exhaustive description of all the lovely looking ladies in the family would soon follow.
The parental pride also includes the educational pride. Ask them (or, the kids for that matter),” What are you up to these days?” The scraggiest of kids would evolve into the Incredible Hulk right in front of your eyes and would reply, “I am studying to be an Engineer (or, a Doctor)”. Even the university or college with which they are associated with gives them the right to brag.
And it isn’t only owning materials or going places, in a nutshell the society’s definition of success that triggers the pride reaction. The lack of success and the scarcity of riches have the same effect.
I am sure you have met students with back papers who liberally flaunt their lack of achievement with PRIDE. Parents who revel in their children’s success of misconducts are overflowing around us beyond our imagination. There are many more partakers in this pride laden party. The dishonest and the corrupt, the criminals; you get the drift, right?
Pride doesn’t need an excuse to bloom. It is like that ancient tree in the backyard (ironically in which your family takes pride in) which heavily leans on the pride-worthy ancestral home and can neither be uprooted nor chopped down. What do the house and the tree signify? Why, the society is the tree and the pride the ancestral house. Without the house the tree would come crashing down.
In fact, after much contemplation I have come to believe this that pride is one of those elements which keep us humans going. In a battle ground where we have been at war with life for centuries now, it is pride which motivates us to fight on.
Lets for a while imagine a world without pride. Parents would stop taking pride in their little ones. Little ones would stop taking pride in their abilities. Businesses would stop taking pride in their achievements. Sporting fans would stop taking pride in their favourite team’s endeavours and their eventual achievements. Countries would stop taking pride in the story of their freedom struggle and history.
Without pride we would be a bunch of apathetic people. We would not be motivated. The lines between success and losses would become transparent and eventually dissipate. So, while pride is essential, pridefullness can be done without. Makes no sense, right? It was the same for me in the beginning. Here’s my take on it.
One should be (and would naturally be) proud when they (or, someone they know) touch the sky-high goals. But it is natural for some to be pulled back by the intense force of gravity. They take a fall and sometimes these falls are beyond unpleasant. Fortunate ones fall to rise up again. Few unfortunate ones never rise up. And when one hits the ground the intangible fear that sets in is indescribable. In times like these the pride which swells in the hearts of sky-high achievers, the desire to gloat and bloat at the sight of the one licking the dust is pridefullness.
It is a constant state of affairs for some. The state of pridefullness is their permanent address. And addresses like these impede the society’s progress. For those who are unmindful of this, would be soon caught up in the process of developmental degradation with nothing to be prideful about!