There is something a lot more dangerous than the politicos and the leaders shooting their mouths off on air and stages- the feeling that I can do their job better than them. Not only is that a lie, but the belief, if any, in such fiction would ultimately result in my face dripping with water from a puddle after a less than gracious fall into the ditch.
But I have the benefit of being surrounded and knowing many individuals well entrenched and very good at being politicians. I mean that as a compliment by the way… pinky swear.
These shining examples of abundant competence demonstrate certain qualities that set them apart as leaders- a) Superfluous use of the word “introspection” without a clue as to how it must be practiced, b) Absolute lack of a sense of humour- mention the word cattle class and consider yourself downgraded, c) A rather strong spine, literal and metaphorical. After all taking the right side (which could be the left or the right, but not necessarily right) requires more backbone than the nerves which flow northwards of the human body d) Loyalty- to justify the unjustifiable, d) Genuine faith in oneself and one’s intentions to do good (also known in common parlance as denial), e) Resisting the urge to poke fun at the fans and instead be grateful for their mindless following, f) Most importantly- the awareness that a spirit of inquiry unlike matters of faith must be private, confidential and at best unexpressed.
To be able to bat for Rahul Gandhi’s abilities, blame election defeats on EVMs or justify a statement that argues that evangelists, jihadists and communists bond over a common hatred for hindus (also known as the Jihadist-evangelist-communist conspiracy)- requires skill set and talent no doubt. But more importantly it requires conviction and the sincere faith in the completeness of these ideas and arguments. The difference between Donald Trump, a leader and Kellyanne Conway, a follower is that Kellyanne Conway pauses a second, takes a gulp before uttering the words “alternate” and “fact”. Au Contraire, Donald Trump is the alternate fact.
Think about it. Having to constantly watch what one can say and do. Not being able to crack cruel jokes, having to be sensitive, pretending to care all the time, not being able to flirt with a member of the opposite sex and certainly not being able to flirt with a member of the same sex. Pressure to be married. Pressure to remain unmarried. Watching what one eats, lest the origins of one’s shit inspire a political scandal worthy of imprisonment. Politicians have it tough. Heck, it is quite appropriately a dog’s life.
I digress. Am I a leader? Not too long ago- I had an interesting conversation with a facebook acquaintance who found my cynicism and sarcasm, rather dull, negative and unsurprisingly irresponsible. The insight in his statement starkly contrasted my own lackadaisical belief that I was expressing myself as an amateur writer and a substandard comedian. It provoked an existential question. Am I a role model? Should I then consider politics or leadership or responsibility?
But unlike the Idi Amins of the world- delusion was soon replaced with reason. Role models made my childhood miserable. Those snooty rank holders with 100% attendance and a pathological hatred for leisure, afternoon naps, cartoons and cricket made leave of absence at school and just the love of hobbies, seem like liabilities. The fact that they were statistically more suited for depression, suicide and existential crises was constantly cited to highlight how inappropriate my own zest for life and a happy childhood was. “At least they will be depressed in an IIT campus”, society told me.
I promised myself as a child- I would not shoulder the karma of having an innocent child be told by his/her parents and his/her teachers that his/her inadequate existence fares poorly in comparison with my own inadequate existence. Rather, I prefer the job of the black sheep. Push the standards to the ground so that everyone can rise above it. Make the leaders look good. Thats the destiny of every member of the Guard of the blacksheep.
It is the information age ladies and gentlemen. Greatness beckons, but how many will answer the call of your nature? Don’t led the turbulent waters of life toss you around. Instead, stand your ground, lead others through the currents and find the banks of greatness. Work hard to discover the faith in the human condition. But remember- to succeed, you need the other guys. The ones who sleep soundly when the turbulent waters transport them. They are the silent guardians and the watchful protectors. They are the heroes you don’t deserve, but need. They are the black sheep…