Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How sycophantic are we

How sycophantic are we

Innate in me is a feeling of rancor towards sycophants. One of my quotidian goals is to spot people with no integrity of their own. One who will be your buddy in arms and forsake you the next. I have come across numerous such mongrels during the last ten years and I am still amazed at how selfish and inconsiderate can one be.

Worst, first you are treated as a pariah and then when by some quirk of fate, people realize you are good at something and then they all vie to be your “close” friends. I remember in school, after the exams we used to have a week or so of no teaching and we used to bring board games and other paraphernalia and kill time. Then chess was a rave. I wasn’t the most sought after person in class; as kids we tend to lick the behind of only the first ranker or the best batsmen. That was about to change. It was a few minutes before the lunch break where I got a chance to play a game of chess against the, let me say, prominent personality of class. Wow! No one cared a damn, other than me. I was petrified. The game was punctuated by the lunch bell and resumed at two in the afternoon. It was almost time to leave and the game wasn’t over yet. And I looked around to find a parliament of owls with curious eyes and some boisterous laughter on my queen being a half bitten eraser. Ten minutes after school was let off yours truly won. A few seconds after that I was the most popular guy. Any queries related to chess, any challenges, any moderation, any coaching, all through me. A few days later I realized human nature.

Another such encounter was in college. People usually think I am a dumb guy on first encounter and the opinion usually lasts for long. I don’t fret much over it as I believe in the cliché “it takes one to know one”. Only can a discerning artist relate to another. It was during our campus placements when the real sycophants came out into the open. An MNC known for its email had visited campus. Everyone wanted in. Other than me. I had already gotten into the company that is into the work I like and wasn’t keen on shifting. But just for kicks, I wanted to write the test and attend the interview to distend my knowledge. On the day of the test I walked into the audi unprepared and fell out of place seeing everyone doing last minute preparations. I was one of the twenty out of some big number to clear the written. Late in the evening I walk into the interview room like a ragamuffin. An hour or so later I was among the 4 short listed for the next round. I sure was ecstatic. I wasn’t prepared and getting to the last four was bliss. Of course, I didn’t make it as fortune favors the prepared. But the next day people who hadn’t uttered a word to me spoke to me like they knew me for years. One guy even began calling me! How low can one get.

What about the day in office where I was standing in line to get some popcorn behind the head of our BU who is a foreigner named David. People who passed by were staring in awe at him. They were smiling in a very sly way. The looks that they and the popcorn lady gave was like God himself had come down to get some popcorn. It was plain preposterous.

Its amazing how we always want to hang out with the coolest person, how we always want to be nice with the pretty girl or the handsome man, how we promptly offer our seat to pretty lass while letting the old man struggle to stand or how we always find time to help the foreigner.

Best describing our rotten nature, is as one described the relation between the sheep to their shepherd “They will stick to me as long as I can find them greener pastures”


Blogger Vivek said...

Dude! I'm a true friend, man! i never thought much of you at any point in time. So, no sycophancy from my side, dude! :)

4:04 PM  
Blogger Shalabh said...

Oh yea...you were pally with me for you wanted me to use my charm over MRP and get you more marks.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Rishi said...

Final four, ye shall say? ;)

While I agree to most of what you've written (I have to disagree somewhere else how shall I bullshit about something), there's a slight problem with the assume-everybody-is-sycophantic dictum.

Most people are social and would get in touch of a new being through a reason. I know a lot of people around but mostly am clueless on how to connect. I don't exactly know the reason. Society puts pressure on you to know them but in case you've got just no reason to say "hi", why would you? That's how Indians function. Americans would actually say "hi" to anyone with a reason as trivial as seeing them every day in the elevator. Sometimes even small-talking colleagues is just because you work in the same company.

So people knew you in college and became friends with you for getting thru into a company don't mean that they wanted advantages. Heck, what could you possibly do for them? Teach them Unix that they're already sick of?

Not everyone is what I suggest. I don't mind writing in a few names here though. :)

1:39 AM  
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