An Account of My Life

I am reflecting on what to mention and what not. I have lived, as on today, for over 66 years. I was brought up in a rustic surrounding; obtained my education in various/different institutions, was married, have children, worked for over 33 years and finally retired. Presently, I live in Delhi. In course of all these, I met many people, did many things, visited many places and also lived in many places. I also thought many things, some of which led me to act in a particular manner. In some of my endeavours I succeeded, in some others I failed. I made right decisions; I also made wrong decisions, committed blunders, chose wrong irreversible paths, reached at a dead end or totally unwanted, disaterous destinations from where there was no return. I paid heavily, through my nose so to say, for my follies, for my blunders. All those - an account of all those, may or may not be interesting or relevant to others. I am at describing them, nevertheless. The days are coming fast when I will be disintegrated back to the elements - panchatva - the state of being reduced to the five - dust, water, fire, air and void. All that I know and all that I know not but have been believing that I know - the illusions (bhrama) - will be lost to the four winds. I have nothing much to leave behind, nothing much to give to my posterity. I could not pay back my debts - debts that I owe to my progenitors, the debts that I owe to my teachers, the debts that I owe to the society that made my life comfortable by offering all material, social and intellectual capital to me. Those debts are paid back, not personally or collectively to those from whom I borrowed; those are paid back to the stream - the flow of society - that go to the posterity. That is arpana, that is tarpana, that is worship, that is gratitude and that is paying off the debts. Trust me, I wanted earnestly to pay my debts back - which alas! I could not do.

Writing on one's own life, frankly and honestly as much as possible, is a dificult task. One has to reflect and do a lot of introspection and retrospection to account for the debts, all of which may not be an onlooker's view. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reflect indifferently, too. We all wear a persona - a facade, a pretence, that we want to appear to others and, perhaps, others want us to be like. It is a social necessity. It makes a room between the personal and the social spaces. It is also a compromise between ego and superego.

One's thoughts are significantly determined by one's anima (or animus as the case may be), while appearance - the persona - is determined by an interaction of anima with the outer environment, social and material. What we want to be like, appear, in the eyes of others? What role the society and the circumstaces have given to us? What sort of apperance would make us acceptable and appreciable by significant others? What are the advantages of our persona? Our persona may be deceptive, it may simply be camouflege. In turn, thoughts are also influenced by what we really do, whether willfully or under compulson, whether deceptively or earnestly. In an extreme case the subject may acquire a shallow, brittle, conformist kind of personality which is 'all persona', with its excessive concern for 'what people think'. It may lead to enantiodromia, the emergence of the repressed individuality from beneath the persona. the subject may either be completely smothered under an empty persona or an enantiodromia into the buried opposites may occur.

Carl Jung said all these to happen with (human) persons; I have seen all these things happening with institutions as well. Institutions develop a 'persona'; a deliberate attempt is made to appear what they are not; a deliberate attempt is required to make those institutions appear what they really are not. Thus develops what I would call a 'statistical personality of an institution', what sort of data, information, statistics are presented before others to appear what others want those institutions to appear like. The people who work in the institution feel it, understand it, take the statistics coldly, are critical of them, but when they meet the people from outside, endorse them.

The account of life is an account of interaction of a person with him(her)self; it is an account of his interaction with his family members; it is an account of his interaction with others in the society, the colleagues, the friends, the adversaries, the neighbours, and the others who are encountered occasionally. The account of life is a story of performing, earnestly or deceptively, one's duties, assigned to him by the society, the institution he is working in and for, the roles that he has accepted, and so on. The account of life is the story of building and rebuilding 'persona' and its interaction with the anima, what one could be really within. It is an account of individuation as well.

I want to say something about these. I have a lot to say.