‘Filebook’ May Face Failure Due to
Doubting Tom or What If Complex
I thought I created a new concept of a family ‘filebook’ or a book in the form of a file, to be printed only on the computer printer with the number of copies limited to the number of immediate family members and each generation adding new pages to it. As only a few copies are needed the ‘book’ need not be published.
I thought that would inform the posterity about the ancestors and the achievements of some celebrities in the family’s past. To show an example I created a few chapters about my own family, the first about the importance of ancestors who were worshipped before any. By chance it coincided with the pitrupaksha which all Hindus in India celebrate to pay tributes to the ancestors.
Foolishly, I thought the idea would be a big hit, forgetting I myself wrote years ago that if asked what I would like to be remembered as I would answer I would like to be not remembered at all. That idea caught on and today even Google has introduced ‘the right to be forgotten’ and its Indian-origin CEO is being sued in a court for not publicising it enough.
The ‘Laloos’ of India want to be remembered for as long as there is ‘aloo (potato) in samosa’ prompting those who prepare new recipes to point out that while Aloo Poha is very common in Maharashtra, Karnataka in the neighbourihood has an identical breakfast dish of just ‘gatti avalakki’ without any aloo in it. The only thing common between Laloo and aloo is the ‘loo’, reminding you of ‘dirty politics’.
It is perhaps only the politicians who have their sloganeers (paid or unpaid) shout that they be ‘amar rahe’ (be immortal). Most others prefer to be lost in the oblivion of the forgotten past.
Coming to the Filebook concept it appears to be as big a flop as my idea of every Indian living in other states or abroad learning the script of their mother tongue. They can speak and understand but cannot read or write it. Many Tamil and Telugu friends living outside their states or India complain of it. Instead of being appreciated for the suggestion and for pointing out that most Indian languages have a rich heritage of literature, most ‘outsiders’ of my own language shunned me and the WhatsApp group I started for it is a flop.
When I e-mailed model ‘Filebook’ chapters about great ancestors and some celebrities, one replied that he knew all his ancestors and another asked what was great about one person becoming a musician known internationally and another a very popular singer liked by millions in a popular reality show when their fame is ephemeral and temporary. When I pointed out that many had commented about the wrongness of her being eliminated from the finalists, I was told they may all have fallen for her beauty.
Whether it is a ‘So what syndrome’ or a ‘Doubting Tom complex’ taking a cynical view of fame. You may be knowing Doubting Tom is the same Saint Thomas whose hilltop shrine gave the name to the most famous road of Chennai that was Madras – the Mount Road (now called Anna Salai.) Thomas, who doubted if Jesus Christ was really crucified and put his finger in the nail holes to see if they were real but was immortalized as a saint though equally remembered through notoriety (but not by name) is the 13th disciple who betrayed Jesus and made number 13 itself unlucky. So to be ‘immortal’ one has to be either famous or notorious. Godse will be remembered as long as Gandhi and Ravana as Rama.
Few families have persons of such stature and have so have to be content only with recalling names of other renowned writers or artistes with unforgettable contributions and no sense of pride. So they grow up with an inferiority complex agreeing with the (communist) revolutionary poet SriSri to ask what was there to be proud of except blood shed by the strong of the weak crushed under the ‘ juggernaut’ of world history. Is there anything to be proud of in this world of momentary good and bad, of battle ‘bravery’ today regarded as cruel killing tomorrow, and of forgotten fame?
The very concept of achievement is relative. All that is considered great today may pale into insignificance tomorrow. And still you want to be remembered for ever. ‘Forever’ itself is just a microscopic fraction of eternity. Either be proud of the ‘small’ achievement of a family member, however distant, writing a few books, becoming an international musician, achieving great popularity on a music reality show or becoming a film music director or grow up with the complex that you belong to a family of failures (of course with only one exception — you) who achieved nothing.
The choice is yours.