This appeared in The Financial World today
|Picture Courtesy: The Financial World
Would you like to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond? A group of teenagers were asked in one of their life skills classes and the unanimous answer, rather a chorus, was ‘A big fish in a big pond’.
Add another 20 years and ask 40-somethings the same question. They would want to be a big fish in a small pond. Add another 20 years and you’ll have 60-somethings who couldn’t be bothered being a small fish in a big pond. You can bet your last penny on this. The definition of success shifts along with one’s receding hairline or a widening waist line.
I posed the same query to my daughter and sought her idea on what ‘a big fish in a big pond’ meant to her. After a long brain-racking session, she concluded, “Like being a celebrity.”
If youngsters consider being a celebrity as a symbol of success, then we really have some fodder to regurgitate. Two, are all celebrities successful?
You become a celebrity when you are famous and easily recognized in public. You are successful when you achieve your aim or purpose. Politicians, philanthropists, social workers, artists, sports personalities are all celebrities by the above definition. And their success can also be measured by their respective activities and performances. So can we call them successful celebrities? Perhaps.
But moving on to showbiz, the artists have their success defined by others. Unlike other public figures, their success depends on the number of eyeballs between the public and their figures. Crass, but the truth, nonetheless. So what’s the yardstick for their success.
Consider the just-wound up Cannes episode. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was analysed to shreds. The lady stunned the breath out of the so-called fashion police, yet they took her by her hair, neck and waist. Some even by that peep of her flab from beneath her underarms! But then, Ash is much more than just a celebrity. She is angelic, jaw-dropping, spittle dribbling bewitching. My journo friends tell me, “I dislike her…but man! she’s so divine looking. She oozes glamour, my my!” Can you term that ‘my’ her success?
Now, consider Vidya Balan. She’s not a celebrity as Ash despite her body of work speaking louder than Ms World’s. So isn’t she successful? There was another ‘little known’ celebrity Nandita Das at the Cannes who got a fleeting mention. Or did she even? Talent personified, but not big a fish as the other two, only because she falls far behind in the socially-accepted beauty quotient. She plays in her own league. Does that make her less successful?
So can we take the terms celebrity and success in the same breath? Perhaps not. But then, why not? Success is what YOU make of it!
And, please scrap the pond and fish. There are oceans and sharks.