Random Forays: All the world’s a stage (these days)

ByVivek Atray
Sep 24, 2023 02:44 AM IST

Even the scriptures have compared man’s lifetime as the performance of a role by the eternal soul, which has donned the garb of a body and mind

Every individual has metamorphosed himself or herself into a performer these days. Almost everyone, anyway. One finds people pouting, shouting, grinning or posing dramatically, almost in every nook, given the plethora of phone cameras that abound all around us.

We are living in a video-friendly era and there is no dearth of performers. (Shutterstock)
We are living in a video-friendly era and there is no dearth of performers. (Shutterstock)

While the teenie-weenie ones were born into this video-friendly era, older generations have adapted rather well. Thus, the preening process necessarily begins at home before one leaves for work, especially if one frequents youth-centric institutions. One never quite knows when one may be required to drop all seriousness and act like a smiling celebrity in order to look the part in a group selfie!

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As a public speaker, one has to go on stage rather frequently. But it does seem as if all the world’s a stage nowadays. The bard of course had much deeper meanings in mind when he coined the phrase. The entire gamut of evolving human roles, from infancy to eventual oblivion, had been lyrically espoused by William Shakespeare in the said masterpiece.

Even the scriptures have compared man’s lifetime as the performance of a role by the eternal soul, which has donned the garb of a body and mind. Thus, each one of us has a part to play on Earth and the endeavour must be to play that part to the best of our abilities!

Given the divine dictum that we are meant to be actors on this planet itself, we should not really be amused at the current generation’s proclivity to actually act as actors! During the pandemic, many of us, especially the educators, had to don the role of a performer before a camera from the confines of our homes. Many a presentation or conference too necessitates not only speaking before an audience, but also looking the part and being presentable enough. Debates, declamations, group discussions and interviews also entail public speaking tasks that cannot be taken lightly. One has to be prepared and be sharp when the moment of reckoning comes.

My own experience is that moments of privacy have anyway faded into the realm of “few and far between”. There is hardly any moment when one might enjoy a quiet meditative period especially at a busy workplace. The feeling that one is always on, and always being watched is never-ending. In any case, most of us have the tendency to post happenings of note or even otherwise on social media very frequently. And some happening ones do so every hour!

The rest of the world is, of course, too busy with its own preoccupations to notice us. But it does make a note whenever we post something unique or zany. To be noticed also seems to be a pressing need for Gen Z. Not being acknowledged or not being lauded is a dire worry that many youngsters harbour.

Not for everyone is a major role on life’s stage, however. There are those who play their parts perfectly well without recognition, but they carry on regardless. The hard-working office babu, or the gate keeper or the courier boy just do their jobs without craving appreciation of any sort.

The housewife has emerged from anonymity though. She has not only started working from home and making a mark in the process, she has also become an influencer at times. Her posts are often sought after and her tips on house management or beauty or healthy cooking or even her singing videos have the potential to become a rage.

Government officials and politicians were always in the public eye, by virtue of their job descriptions. But these days they too have to know exactly what to say, when to say it, and in what manner, because everyone is potentially watching recordings of their actions and statements. Many do tend to slip up, but then who is perfect?

Losing one’s cool in public might be seen as a sign of low emotional quotient. But who can train human beings at large to be at their best under all extremes?

Just as human beings cannot aspire to perfection in life itself, they cannot hope to receive a standing ovation once their part on the world’s stage is over!

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