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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Funny ME


I have understood one thing lately, that there is no better way to look at oneself than in a way, where we could laugh at our own self. I realised this when a friend recently told me that Proust reminded her of me and showed me a video that tickled my funny bone !! Marcel Proust is a novelist (1930), the author of the seven volumes collectively called" In Search of Lost Time" which is considered a masterpiece because of the underlying philosophy of how to really appreciate life even in the little things. You might wonder what is funny about this outrageous comparison!

I must be excused as I was hearing about Proust for the first time and what I really saw in the video about Proust rather than making me heady with pride showed me something to laugh at..at him and myself. The video of how Proust can change your life conveyed to me certain things about Proust that I accepted that there was a similarity. Although my friend meant that Proust's and my thinking process seemed similar, the similarity I saw, however,  was a bit different.

 Proust's book describes small things at great lengths and so it is suggested that one could read it only if confined to bed with illness or a broken leg with simply "NOTHING" else to do. Yeah I have sometimes had to hold my friends by the neck and shove my writings down their throats. In the video Proust is shown cutting some portions of a page and sticking it somewhere else. Well if he really was the compulsive editor like me, I am infinitely more lucky, I have the computer! Proust is shown questioning a diplomat regarding the minutest details of his routine interrupting from time to time to make him elaborate where he might have rushed past. It was the diplomats expressions this time that made me laugh. Yeah I guess I have managed that expression onto some of my close friends' faces!

Later after I read the book 'Proust can change your life' by Alain De Botton, I could see what I might have discussed with my friend that led to such a linking! However outrageous it may sound, there were certain ideas that felt similar, like the "importance of not fully getting what one wants" as an essential ingredient to be happy. Apart from that, maybe the detached way of dealing with certain topics was a similarity, and especially I think the understanding that no book is complete in itself and we have to depend on our own intuition (according to Proust in a book we may discover our own unexpressed thoughts but these may not be complete in itself without some personal editing). But unlike Proust I don't really indulge my whole self in the minutest details of living like sipping a cup of coffee! I am more hurried. Also unlike Proust I don't think what I write is what I couldn't make use of in real life (However audacious I might sound.) I write mainly because writing benefits me by helping me think clearer and find solutions that take me towards a better direction whereas for Proust his wisdom probably reconciled him to his suffering which (for more or less understandable reasons) he couldn't change.

But what I rather admired is the treatment of Proust by Alain De Botton. He told us how serious people can be so funny. What I took from Alain De Botton is the understanding that what we need is to laugh affectionately at others and ourselves and take each person, their qualities, their faults, less seriously.

Alain De Botton speaks in Ted Talk about his philosophy of success in which what attracted me, was his view on modern society, of how it has become centered on the self. We seek out nature not for health but because we want to run away from the human anthill, from our dramas, we do want to be centered on something that is not human. Yes, It does appear that we have become more serious than we need to be about ourselves.

This touched me more as I had just come back from a nature experience, away from traffic, away from the computer, away from the serials I follow; watching the slow unhurried existence of nature in the Vidarbh region of Maharashtra, where in its windy air unwillingly trying a hand at the kite flying suddenly lifted my spirits when the kite did really take off! It lifted also the drooping corners of my mouth as it brought back the child in me. The rest of the days there, all I wanted to really do was learn to fly a kite, quite like the unthinking, unhurried little child who would take her own sweet time for a wasteful activity. Proust would have nodded his approval.

Anyway who really knows what is important enough to do in life. I guess as long as 'I' am not so important, anything could be worth wasting time on...

13 comments:

Jan said...

Laughing at ourselves is an essential part of life, I believe. This is a wonderful post, well written and charged with tenacity.

Rimly said...

Jerly I thoroughly enjoyed this post. It takes a lot to laugh at yourself but if you do life is so much more simpler and happier.

ANSHUL GAUTAM said...

I have seen several moments, recalling them fetches smiles for me. And nothing soothes me much than smiling on my own. :)

http://anshul-gautam.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-folded-tongue.html

melissa said...

Of your posts, this is the lightest read I ever had :) plus I had a smile on my face too. I guess a good sense of humor is the best cure for neuroses :D It takes off every load we have. I am glad that you have found your way to a very beautiful experience away from the hustles of daily life. I've never tried kite flying, but from the looks of it, being carried off by the wind takes you off the ground yourself.

I love this post Jerly!

Motifs said...

To accept ones self is the biggest challenge possible...And one who does that...is someone who can face life as it comes..Great post Jerly.

rigzin said...

..wonderful post..loved it.. :) ;)

Mani said...

Well u r right we have far becme more serious abt ourselves. I am happy the way I am..bindaas kinda person bt then so much pressure from all zones f life pull from diff ends ...i guess dats d reason people r returning back to nature, to heal them...

Nice post..

Love
Mani

DeEpAK KaRtHiK (420) said...

WOW !
Typical post of yours, loved it i must admit :)
Laughing at us is really a good exercise to sooth mind :)
Dee..

Dangerous Linda said...

Hi, Jerly! ~

Love this: "...we need to laugh affectionately at others and ourselves and take each person, their qualities, their faults, less seriously." Especially "LAUGH AFFECTIONATELY" which means not putting down but rather remaining light-hearted!

Thank you for this lovely & inspiring post!

Corinne Rodrigues said...

I think the less seriously we take ourselves and the 'business' of living, the happier we will be. Glad you're enjoying your "Proustness" :)

FherYmas said...

Oh! Maybe me and Proust can get along very well...I do a lot of wasteful activity too.
Thanks for this post Jerly. I like how you put it that "as long as I am not important, anything could be worth wasting time." Famous people can't enjoy kite flying...do they?

Jerly said...

Thanks for all the encouraging comments :) Fher u asked a question I dont know the answer to. All I can feel is when a person really gets fame maybe he would want to do all the mundane things that we choose not to do becoz we can.And so they may infact go all out to do it! If we look at Proust for an answer, well, when he got fame he hardly bothered about it either. BTW his favourite place was his safe cozy bed where he felt protected and comforted and where he wrote for us the beauty and intricacies of all mundane things including 30 pages towards falling asleep!

J. R. Nova said...

I wish I could look at myself with some more humor :)

Maybe I'll try that!

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