destination india

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

identity crisis

Until recently, a person was identified as the son of so-and-so. The reason was simple – the son was the obedient offspring who did what his parents wanted him to do. He did not enjoy the freedom to do what he liked to do; a profession was forced upon him. In all probability it would be the profession of his father because, in that case, he could benefit from the vast knowledge and experience that his father had acquired from his father and so on and so forth. The trend continues even today in certain areas, the most important one being in politics where it is in the interest of all concerned to ensure that the work of serving the people does not grind to a halt. In other areas, times are not the same any longer – the parents of today want their son to make a mark for himself in his chosen profession. As a result, the son usually always outshines his father and an identity crisis of sorts emerges. The father is now known with respect to his son – like, he is the father of Doctor So-and-so.

With every passing day, the identity crisis keeps getting more and more unmanageable. Since I am a salaried person, I am the proud possessor of a PAN – the identity for the Income Tax men. I have to quote it in all my business transactions so that, if ever the IT folks want to pin the charge of assets greater than known source of income, I can wriggle out by lining the pockets of the lawyer. Sometimes, paying the IT may work out to be cheaper than falling in the trap of the black coats.

My identity in the bank is as customer account number so-and-so – the bank is computerized and the tiny four digit account number has expanded to a 12 digit one. Then there is the credit card with its unique password – I am supposed to remember it and not keep it written down somewhere. On top of these mandatory numbers are the 10 digit numbers of mobile telephones and the twelve plus digits of landline telephones.

Each of these numbers identifies us in different ways to different sections of society. Once you juggle the digits, you land yourself in an identity crisis.


Post a Comment

<< Home