Right from my school days, I have always aspired to be “famous”. The thought of sharing space with the glitterati, being surrounded by the paparazzi as well as thousands of fans, cheering and shouting for autographs, mesmerized me and drove me crazy. And why only me? Today people are willing to do anything and everything just to be in the limelight, and to gain media attention. They don’t mind risking lives, not just their own but of others’ too. They don’t mind gaining mileage at the cost of others, by intervening and probing into their personal lives. They don’t mind sparking off flagrant and controversial issues. The desire for fame is indeed a dangerous thing. It actually brings out the worst in people. They seldom realize that this can cause serious issues to erupt, and the more significant ones to die down.

It is really flabbergasting to note what all people do to enter the record books. There have been many recent cases that testify my point. Take for example the case of Dhileepan “teen surgeon” Raj, the 15-year-old boy who allegedly performed a caesarian section on a woman to deliver her baby, in a bid to enter the record books. Little did he know that it would actually land him in big trouble. Conducting a C-Sec is no child’s play; a considerable amount of risk is involved. This incident has sent the medical fraternity in a tizzy!

Another case in point is the Shilpa-Gere kiss controversy. Though they went slightly overboard and their “act” was not justified, the issue was blown out of proportion. People from nowhere suddenly cropped up and found this as a ladder to instant fame. P.I.Ls were filed against the two by “lesser-known” advocates. Local magistrates started issuing summons. Where did these people disappear when the country needed them before? Where were they when the accused in other high-profile cases were acquitted for no reason? Amidst this ruckus, the vital and sensitive issue of HIV-AIDS Awareness was completely forgotten!

Today people have become more materialistic and self-centered. Their thirst for fame is quenched only by their own selfish, ulterior motives. They seldom use it to influence people or reform the society. Recently, when a poor, delinquent teenager was caught stealing, he was gagged, tied to a tree, and then thrashed brutally by a man who claimed to have nabbed him. He later posed for the shutterbugs, with the boy in the background.

People ought to understand that such fame is unethical, and short-lived like a bubble. In the words of Horace Greeley, “Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.”

Be honest to yourself, be committed to your work, practice true charity and possess the power to influence others in a positive way; Fame will come to you.

In college I have associated myself with the ‘Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust for the Disabled’, a trust that works for the cause of the disabled. On my first visit there, I got an opportunity to interact with some of the kids there. We danced, played and had a great time. On my next visit, I was glad to discover that they remembered me well. Their smiling, cherubic faces and anxious shouts gave me what I craved for.

Yes, I was “Famous”….

Pratik Goel