When I was in my 20’s I wanted to be Amitabh Bachchan, meaning that I would mould myself to ingrain and internalize his persona. Now in my 50’s, I want to be Mamata Banerjee. I want to think like her, act like her, feel like her, in short, be like her.
Like her I want to just follow myself; not care whether I am being fashionable, whether my views fall into the acceptable framework or whether I talk like a pedagogue or make facile assertions. Like her, I want to be free of all schools of thought, of pre determined views of the world. I want to be able to see things directly, in their merit, in their own terms, in their own centredness. Like her, I should not be ashamed to support people who are right even when they are not wholly acceptable by the society. Like her, I should see no shame in supporting any political party when they speak sense, irrespective of what their professed ideology is. I should not worry about what people think of me if I follow my heart, I should never worry whether my discovery of truth is generally accepted by the era I live in.
I should not look to being rewarded, praised, lauded and supported. I should not be upset when people write me off, when people attack or defame me. When I am rejected by everyone around me I should never worry because I should never regard my own self in any importance instead look ahead at what I have felt is the truth. Like Mamata, I should learn never to compromise on the promise of light that for the time being I alone seem to have seen.
I want to be like Mamata in the simplicity of veneer, in shunning fine clothes and desire to look good. Like her I should not care what the world thinks of me, how they assess my worth by the style I keep, of whether I am being presentable in a gathering or not. Like her I will not wait to be wooed or adorned, chaperoned or guided. Like Mamata I should be able to never assess others by the clothes they wear, brands they use; by the wealth they keep but like her accept into my herd any and everyone who wishes to be led by me, or to accompany me to a pilgrimage whose destination I alone know.
Like Mamata I wish never to seek power but be sought by the powerful; let kings and queens come looking for me because like her I wish to return to my simple home as the dusk falls on another day. Like Mamata, I should dream of no home which is built to specifications, suave and swanky; like her, I should be able to regard any corner of the earth as my home as long as it gives me shelter. Like her, I will accept with open arms my neighbours without discretion of who they are and what class they belong to.
Like Mamata, I will see deep into the minds of men and women, listen to the unspoken, articulate the unsaid. Like her, I will know never to align with men with money and power but to defend men with thoughts. Like her I will choose those who have no one to stand by them, those who are abandoned by all, exiled and excluded.
Like Mamata I will not worry about my capabilities, never fear failure, for even when I fail, I will know, like her that I am loyal to my beliefs and while it is possible I do not know my craft, it is entirely impossible that I will compromise on my beliefs. Like her, I should not be apologetic about being impatient to justify my stand to others; like her I should be able to move on ahead of those who do not choose to accompany me. Like Mamata, I would like to extend my invitation to everyone irrespective of whether they have been my foes or friends, like her, these personal enmities should never matter to me. Like Mamata, I should be calm when it comes to things personal to me but like her my fury should know no bounds when what I know as the truth is attacked.
Like Mamata, I will not care for history because I will never believe in inevitability of events, notwithstanding their ubiquity across the globe, and like her, I will have faith in only that kind of development that encourages maximum participation. Like her, I will remain fiercely loyal to what I demarcate as my homeland. Like Mamata, I shall not fear death even if it means ignonimity and like her, I should not care whether I am reckoned with or relegated into anonymity.
Like her, I should listen only to the voice inside my head, not care whose it is, whether of God or of the Devil for like her I must remain ever the self same whether in fame or in disrepute, whether in power or out of it, whether in the hallowed portals or in the streets, whether celebrated or castigated.