‘You have no ego, you are a team player’ and I look up at the speaker in gratitude conveniently ignoring the inherent hyperbole in the statement.
But I also remember thinking,’ Is that bad?’ ‘Should I do something about this?’ .
I joined a residential school as a student of 8th standard. I was built small and my friend, Soniya told me later that she & her friends mistook me to be a student of 4th standard. That’s quite possible because I was little and was dressed in a frock.
At the hostel I entered and started off talking in English, it was because my mother had impressed upon me that it was difficult to get admission to this prestigious school and that I was supposed to conduct myself in a certain manner.
My mother is exceptionally good at drilling in duties and responsibilities. I remember how as kids, me and my brother were reminded of the difficulty with which father earned that we never ever dared to ask for treats like a visit to a hotel, pocket money or something like that. In fact, we would strictly refuse gifts by anyone.
Well, as a part of my introduction to the hostel routine a customary ragging session was to happen. I was first called into a room by the 10 th standard seniors, who asked me to remove my dress. As I looked bewildered, they relented and allowed me to go. On another occasion, I was called to the terrace by the ‘chechis’ or seniors and I rushed upstairs. There was a rainbow in the sky and one of the seniors asked me to bow to the rainbow and pray. I did that without any question.
My classmates laughed at me for my stupidity. In my mind though, it was like’ what’s the harm if it made them happy?’ It was only later that I learned to counter ‘ so what?’.
It was at a yoga session that the trainer an expert in chakra reading, acupuncture etc. told me that I had no ego and that left me confused to the point of being distressed!
A state of no-ego is beyond too high a standard but it is always good not to think too high of yourself, it does help. As a teacher and trainer and later as manager it helped me to build good teams at my work places.I must insist’ work places’ because in spite of my being a team player and team creator , I could have done much better at the home front,so I feel!
Currently it is my effort to reach a right balance between being accommodating and being assertive. I guess these are not conflicting states of mind but the self-effacing attitude of my parents is what I modeled my behavior after.
I now keep trying to find a mid-space where I am confident yet not arrogant, assertive even as I am accommodating! Life is all about learning, and the learning continues…
So it has been so far!