Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Getting Influenced

At some point of time in life, each of us have been influenced by someone, some incident, some thing. The ma'am who taught Math at school, neat - always in neatly pressed Cotton Saree; always punctual and kind but strict with the students; or the Chemistry professor whose attitude was as effervescent as the chemicals in the laboratory; or the young and handsome Computer teacher whose fingers moved flawlessly on the keyboard, your omnipotent-potent mom who always kept things in order so that you or dad were never late to school or office or your neighborhood 20 something handsome hunk on his sleek motor cycle.......we wanted to be like them at one point of time.

We are impressed with someone or something, for no particular reason. Its the basic human trait to copy, get influenced. We aped the monkey and polished our traits better, and thus; here we are condemning each other, making fun of each other. The traits are within us.

So is it about losing your own self? Your identity? You forget what you are and try to be someone else? Does that hint you are of a weak personality, who lack confidence in you?

Not at all, its after all basic human nature; just as you yawn seeing some one else yawn. Some of the tactics you learn by aping someone actually does you good. It helps you gain a skill, isn't that why you are actually influenced in the first place? Because you liked something and felt good about having the same skill.

Generally the "getting influenced" thing happens mostly in your growing up years when you are a kid. You get attracted towards things that entice you and hence want a part of it. Getting influenced by a cartoon character, by a movie; This happens when you are in no position to judge whats right and whats not.

"I want to be a Spiderman!" yells a kid while bringing both the palms forward and trying to emulate the way Spiderman does to shoot webs from his fingers...."tweetch...tweetch..."

"I want to be a pilot" because your uncle is a pilot.
Few days later, "I want to be a doctor".
Else "I want to be a police officer. Look, how the officer chases the thief and shoots him down. I want such a gun too".
Further down, "I want to be a film actor. They can be doctors and pilots and engineers and police officers as they like. So a film actor!"

But as we grow, our paths become clearer. We know our own pros and cons, we realize that was all a fantasy, part of growing up years. One realizes that one cannot be like his/her teacher. She was unique, a charming persona. The boy realizes he cant be just like his neighborhood hunk...maybe much better than him huh! Why not?

In a culture like ours, where we are molded to be "guided" and with oodles of suggestions and advices, we do get influenced no matter we are young or old.

Getting influenced at work. Trying to imitate a person's working habit. It may not suit all. Many a times, it strikes back and affects you. You cant be someone who you are not, thus bringing down your confidence further down and affecting you overall.

Sometimes, getting influenced can turn you into a disaster. I was always put in a fix whenever I have got influenced. I was under influence of my English teacher's pronunciation at school. So I would emulate her to impress her. Whenever my pronunciation of "education" was EDU-CATION, she would change hers into EJU-CATION and vice-versa. Same thing with "schedule". It was SKEDULE for her when it was SHEDULE for me and vice-versa...My bad luck.

And I have struggled more than once whenever I have tried to copy my friends' eating style. These guys had a large appetite and can gorge in anything like a pig; yet remain slim and fit, thanks to their wonderful metabolic rate. Whereas me, would have to struggle to slim down!!

Getting influenced can turn the events funny and thus make you an object of ridicule. Posted one such event long time ago. Find it here. The gentleman got influenced by the American accent.

Another funny incident of getting influenced happened with my friend.

A colleague of ours at our work place has this habit of adding "y" to few words while speaking. Something like - "I love that thingy".

This colleague and my friend had a cultural practice for one of our events at office on a weekend. Conversing with her had such influence on my friend that at the end of the practice session, he had to change to his pants and shirt and head home. He uttered thus -

"I will be back, have to change my panty!"

Heights of Getting Influenced huh?


  1. Ha ha ha... When we see what someone else has accomplished, we get to know what the possibilities in life are. In some situations you wouldn't have thought about these possibilities in life. So once you see a whole new world of possibilities out there, they is no doubt that a person would want to pursue them. One might not blindly follow just because he/she is influenced, but because he/she might have realised that he/she is not all that bad in that activity and so why not give it a shot!?

  2. The interesting truth Gautam, is that most people just blindly follow without actually knowing if they are capable of it. That is why its called "Getting Influenced". Otherwise it would have been "Learning". Isn't it? Anyways few people , very few people like you are clever enough to follow with intelligence. I am dumb enough for such things :-)

  3. Nice and entertaining. Your problem with pronounciation when growing up and your office friend saying "panty" for "pant" are not your fault. After all, English is not your mother tongyou.

  4. Hey Mano,

    Both are comical situations. My friend very much realized his mistake. He got influenced by our colleague who added a 'y' after every word.

    And mine was a stupid stuff as each time I used to try to win over my ma'am and end up having a hard luck

  5. I read the blog for the second time. On a serious note...Making the experiences of others, the basis for our own is the biggest folly one could make, because then our life would never completely be our own.

  6. Very true Mano.....But thats our basic nature isnt't it? Getting influenced without realizing the after-effects is a bit sticky


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