ABC Challenge #22: V for Vanity

This article has been published in Deccan Chronicle. Read it here.

I am not sure whether I have to blame it on the omnipresent social media, but I’ve noticed a new trend that has been catching up. I am not sure if I’m surrounded by a wave of achievers or by people who falsely claim to have achieved something. I’ve written and reviewed a few LORs and SOPs for a few people whom I’ve known and I was surprised to see a version of people in the written format, something which I probably failed to notice when I was with them. It seems very confusing. 

Remember that neighbour’s kid you met last time at the annual apartment get-together. The kid who was going on and on about what he had done and how you found it difficult to believe a word of what he was speaking. Remember how you virtually stalked him online from Facebook to Twitter and discovered that he was speaking the truth, but everything was exaggerated by around 300%.  Remember your cousin you met at a family wedding. He seemed to paint a picture of a paradise while describing his stay and studies abroad. Remember how you were astonished, wondering how a person with so many arrears made it abroad for higher studies was actually enjoying a comfortable student life. Remember how you went out of the way to get in touch with a mutual friend who gave you the true picture of what was happening. Yes, I am talking about a few people like them.  You would surely have come across them. 

All of us want to look good. As in, we all want to be treated with respect and we all want to be role models for someone.  We want to be appreciated and honoured and we want the whole world to pause, look at us and shower praises at our “achievements”. So what is the easiest and the simplest way to do that? Probably working hard to make sure that all that we speak about ourselves is true, to a considerable extent. Another sensible option that is left is to not speak things which we’re not even remotely associated with. Simple, yet a few people complicate this unnecessarily.

It is nice to see a society where people are confident about themselves. As I always keep telling myself ‘If you are not confident about yourselves, don’t expect others to be confident that you would do something’. It sends out a strong and a good signal to the previous generation and sets a good example for the generations to come.  Of late, what I see in people is not confidence, but overconfidence. There is a very thin line between confidence and overconfidence and people seemed to be swayed to the latter side. As a result, you have people, who are haughty and speak in a condescending manner. The world is just not enough for them. They’re already up in the air searching for a better place with better people good enough for them. After all, we all become mere mortals, in their eyes.

The problem with such people is, the focus of everyone is one them and they’re pulled up as examples to show how bad our generation is. For one, people don’t need any specific reason to talk about the unruly present generation, and these people end up justifying what others have to say. They become bad examples and set wrong trends and before you know it, everyone around us generalize and assume that we all behave like those arrogant ones.

Being excessively proud is not all that bad if one can keep it to oneself. Forcing that opinion on others and expecting others to buy that is not the best thing to do. People need not be overly humble about themselves, but it would do them good to learn that they would be much better staying off from the other extreme of the scale.


Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos

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38 thoughts on “ABC Challenge #22: V for Vanity

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  1. very true.. With this overload of social media I get the feel ppl are busy flaunting themselves, puffing out their chest for successfully boiling water to eating out to just abt everything else.. The line has become a haze.. Sigh..


  2. I don't agree with people lying about their achievments or lifestyle.. that is really cheap and unworthy of them to do so… but on the other hand there might be people who genuinely do not want to show the world their hardships because how is going to help anyways.. or maybe it is their way of being positive.. but lying is surely a no..


  3. The people who appear over-confident on the outside, may have more apprehensions/fears about themselves on the inside. A person is never what he/she shows to the external world.

    Destination Infinity


  4. Ego is something that pulls one down . But we may not notice. Some refuses to notice , it is again ego and arrogance.It is pretty shallow to live deluding. isn't it?
    Perhaps it is vanity , false pride and or simply the longing to present a good facade with some.
    I agree with your points.


  5. People are constantly in need of being the centre of attraction. So they either show off, or spin a lie or two to get noticed. They will change, but it just takes time for them to realize what they are doing!


  6. Nowadays people don't take time to find the people who has achieved something. So we need to advertise ourselves to compete in this competition world.


  7. Very nice post, Ash. The problem with such people is, they live for others and not themselves. They constantly need approval from others saying that they are good. We also live in such a society, so the problem may not be of such individuals but of the society we live in.


  8. We should live for ourselves, living and spinning lies to get attention is a big NO, No.
    When we come across people like that it is best to ignore them.


  9. Some people really never get tired of boasting about themselves..its this- their self obsession and ego that eventually pulls 'em down.. becong overconfident doesn't serve any purpose..
    nice post..:)


  10. This is so true Ashwini. No wonder FB is such a big hit. Instead of using it as a medium to socialise with people it has turned out to be a brag book. But you know, i heard that even recruiting companies rely on FB these days to spy on their applicants! Seems there is no escape from the portal for atleast a few more years to come!


  11. Its simple, isnt it? Just speak the truth. If it's too bad, just don't speak at all. But you have rightly pointed out that we want to show a rosy picture for ourself in front of our friends, relative et al. Thoughtful post Ashwini 🙂


  12. I know a lot of such people who go to Washington and pretend that they met Obama. As you said there is a thin line between confidence and over confidence and many trip on the wrong side of it.


  13. Yes Suku. As I mentioned, if they're genuine It doesn't matter. But at certain places, it is very obvious that people have exaggerated. It's at that time it becomes a bit irritating.


  14. At the end of the day one can only say that a lie has no legs to stand upon and sooner than later, the cat is out of the bag. Braggarts is a fast multiplying species , unfortunately !


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