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DIL SE

True fans or fanatics?

ARUN GAUTHAM

PHOTO: K.R.DEEPAK

PASSIONATE FEELINGS: We often overstep the thin line of admiration into the realms of madness.

ANDHRA MEDICAL COLLEGE: We were all drenched in sweat that sultry afternoon and the ruction over the college magazine work added to our woes. From nowhere one of my classmates, highly reticent and reserved, walked on to the middle of the gallery to distribute toffees. The reason- his favorite actor had been awarded a Doctorate by the university. Everybody knew of it, for the sky touching cut-outs, diversion of traffic, stringent security made even the most severe of introverts aware of the event. During the discussion that followed at the parking place after the sweet distribution, we made an attempt to explore the perilously thin line between admiration and fanaticism whose reflection is this prose.

Admiration is a human quality and appreciation is a virtue implicit in our behaviour. Admiration in true sense instils a desire to follow the positives of our hero and also at the time criticizes the duller parts of his/her character. It fuels development of our personality and intellect by triggering a sense of emulation. It even encourages the person on whom the love is bestowed to enhance his performance levels. But too much is too bad. Just as repetitive contractions of muscles causes convulsions, excessive admiration leads us to a mental malady called fanaticism. And when the latter sets in, the person begins to indulge in foolish and reprehensible activities that may be detrimental to society at large, the latest edition of it being terrorism. When we use the word `fanaticism', we tend to imagine the wards of psychiatry and patients shackled by iron chains. But, all of us, at multitude of times, overstep the thin boundaries of admiration into the realms of madness even without realizing it, with myself not being an exception. I watch every movie of my heartthrob twice. If the movie is a hit, watching the film twice is understandable but even when the flick is a flop, I watch it to find reasons for its debacle, abandoning even the most important of works. I never admit that I am a fanatic nor do I bother when people accuse me of foolish preferences and remain complacent that it is very much a part of one's character. Probably this type of etiquette, prevalent in most of us, is making matters worse. Over admiration does not care to discern between the good and grim shades of our heroes. Above all admiration comes from heart with profound reason, while fanaticism arises from ignorance. Ask people in the huge crowd agitating or terrorists captured, most of them remain oblivious of the causes and the consequences of their acts over society.

Another quintessential anecdote for this problem is commercial advertisements. It was raining cats and dogs a few days ago, but my friends ran to supermarket to purchase a fairness cream, which his favourite star had lately promoted, and when I asked him how it could improve our complexion he had no answer. I know a lot of girls who drink only one brand cola, without knowing anything about its composition just because John Abraham appears in the promo. People who once treated applying hair oil as anathema began doing so after their hero became its ambassador. If actors and stars are able to galvanize huge buyer ship, it's not at all wrong. But we as consumers are slowly beginning to purchase products without verifying their authenticity as the illiterate majority of our country is falling into the glittering entrapments of marketers. So the need of the hour is not the termination of genuine admiration, but seeking of limited emotions towards our leaders and stars. Then there shall be no stampedes at new film releases; there shall be no obstructing crowds before cricketers hair cut saloons. The sadder point is that none of these leaders and celebrities hardly speak of education and encourage the youth in the myriad interviews they give to the media and we- the student community though wise enough to comprehend the commercial intentions behind the call, do nothing but to surrender.

The worse has not come yet! Soon the pet of a cricket player will endorse dog food and the driver of a film star will appear in an automobile commercial. If our attitudes do not change we'll buy those commodities without bothering if we really have a pet at home and whether we know how to drive. So the grand entrapment carnival shall be in town soon and we desperately need to open the eyes of people around who have been blinded by insane favouritism. Are we ready for it?

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