Wednesday, July 9, 2008


In the Indian society, people place a lot of importance on how they are perceived in the society - their image. The other day, I got an alert from my grandmother as I was going to a late night movie with a friend of mine who happens to be a girl - "What will neighbors/ people think of you two if they see you together at this time of the night?" ... My response was "I don't care". I did not say it to brush her comment aside, but I said it because I was truly not concerned about the effect that act would have on my image.

I have attempted to define this word - "image" and no definition that I have come across satisfies me. Image is not something that is within a person or the observer ... I believe it lies in the interaction between the two. Your image depends not only on what you are doing, but also on the observers (their views, values, etc etc). For example, if you kiss someone in India, you will project a different image to your audience than if you were to do the same in Europe. You have no control over who observes you, so I feel it is futile to even attempt controlling it.

This is not to say you should not be mindful of your image at all. If the society thinks you are a murderer, obviously there is something wrong in your actions. In such a case, it is important to realize that it is not your actions that need modifications, the underlying values that govern the way you act, need to be changed. If that happens, your actions will automatically reflect the change and so will your image.

Let the way you act define your image and not the other way around. Don't set a pre-defined image that you would like to project and then act in congruence with that image. The difference between the two is huge. In the first, you are acting upon YOUR wishes. In the second, you are letting others define the way you act and before long, you will realize that you are living life by someone else's rules.