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Bow-wow, a 30-year-old rapper and actor became the butt of ridicule on social media 
for posting a photo on his Instagram account, where he said he was boarding a private jet at Atlanta.  Bow-wow, whose real name is Shad Moss frequently, posts pictures of his lavish lifestyle. He is very successful in his music career, having sold more than ten million albums. He has a massive online following of more than 3.4 million on Instagram.  It turned out that the picture, which Bow-wow posted was an image ripped off the Internet, and it wasn’t even at Atlanta. After posting the picture of ‘his private jet’, Bow-wow boarded a regular commercial flight to New York and travelled economy, where a fellow passenger spotted him, posted a picture of him in the flight, and called out his lie.


 A few years back, the much revered Lance Armstrong, a cyclist who won the Tour De France seven consecutive times, and came back to win again, after fighting testicular cancer, fell from fame to disgrace, as it turned out he was on banned performance enhancing drugs. He had been fooling the system throughout. In 2012, UCI stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour De France titles and banned him for life. Nike terminated his contract and he also stepped down as the chairman of Livestrong foundation, which he had started to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.

Bow-wow’s posting a fake photo is definitely a lesser misdemeanour than that of Armstrong’s. However, what is common to both is that they are taking refuge under falsehood, trying to project a picture, which is simply not true.  

The strange thing is that both Armstrong and Bow-wow are very successful on their own merit. Why then do they resort to unethical means? Whom are they trying to impress when their followers and fans already love them for who they are? Why try to be someone who you clearly are not?

It is not only the celebrities or hugely successful people who think it is okay to paint an incorrect picture. Many of us who lead plain, normal and ordinary lives do so too. A wonderful movie that I watched yesterday called Dum Laga Ke Haisha(2015), written and directed by Sharat Kataria, stars Ayushman Khurrana who plays Prem, a high school dropout. It has a scene depicting an arranged marriage. In the preliminary meeting, the prospective bride and the prospective groom meet at a temple, along with their families. When the groom’s father asks what the educational qualification of the bride is, her father proudly tells them that she is a graduate and is now doing her B.Ed, studying to be a teacher. When they ask about the groom’s qualification, his family lies and tells them that he is a Commerce graduate. The reality is that he has repeatedly failed his class ten examinations. This portrayal of falsehood creates many complications in their married life. We know of many marriages like the above, where truth is hidden in the hope that after the two get married, it will all somehow work itself out.

All of us know that one incorrigible friend or a relative who exaggerates their own achievements or that of their children. They boast telling us of the exotic vacations they took or the fabulous pay packets that they earn.  Their audience simply listens out of politeness, as they do not want to call out their bluff. But once they leave, there are sniggers about the grand claims.

With the kind of lives that we lead, immersed in our phones, our gratification comes mostly from social media. Everyone, including Armstrong and Bow-wow is concerned about keeping up appearances. If you don’t have it, you fake it and pretend you do. We post happy vacation pictures of Facebook and other media to show what a great time we are having.  Never mind the fight that you might have had with your spouse, it is the Instagram photo and the ‘likes’ that you will get which counts more than pacifying an irate partner.


It is mostly for a sense of acceptance and validation that people do it. Our egos need to be stroked constantly. We crave adulation and praise.
All of us want to be loved and admired for who we are. The problem arises when we want to be loved and admired for who we are not.

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This piece was first  published in The Financial Chronicle






Comments

  1. Completely agree Preeti. Guess we love the idea of who we are in eyes of others than who we are in our own eyes. But as you said its not worth pretending or protraying who we are not..as one cant can't pretend for too long.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So true, this age of Social Media has created this false ( happy ) images of every one, that is so untrue. Is everyone soo happy in this world ? The world should have been such a peaceful place then..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Preeti, can I nominate your name for speaking to audience in Infosys. Please provide your email id here. I will forward you tje email. I will be super happy if you come to our more campus and address the audience of lawyers and corporates about your books and writing journey. Please please please accept our invitation. I m not in Instagram or Facebook or Twitter hence i am unable to see your email id

    ReplyDelete
  4. So true and a very valid point. I often wondered why people who otherwise appear normal to me portray a very flamboyant image on Social media. It is their need for acceptance to an image that they want themselves to be.

    I really wish people use social media as a means to connect and then actually go ahead and connect in real life ! 😊

    Thanks for a vey meaningful and relatable post !

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great story and lesson!

    While dropping my 18 year old son to the train station yesterday, going back to London, I asked him, ‘should we change our car as it is getting too old’ He replied, ‘doesn’t matter dad as long as it runs, we don’t have to impress anyone’.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is a really thought provoking post....it is the ease and speed with which pictures can be posted and the corresponding need to make your life look as enviable as possible that makes people do this at least in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete

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