Are we leading ‘three lives’?


My friend had come from Hyderabad. We sat in a local restaurant in Trichy. When I asked him how his life is, he quipped that it was like the dressing gown of a girl. On the outside it looks pretty but on the inside with all the hems and stitches it is ugly and scarred.

I lead two lives, one in the morning where I am goodie goodie with my clients and bosses and in the evening the bottle helps me nurse my wounds in my private space. What he said next took me a bit by surprise – is your family life also like the dressing gown? You post hunky dory pictures on the social media but in the evening in your private space do you have a go at each other? Is what you are doing a way to brand your ‘S S Family First’ project so that you could monetize it?

A rejoinder of the actor Vadivel episode would give us a better understanding – athu vera vaai, ithu naarura vaai. In fact I remember a very successful man telling me – every man in our society is a Dr Jekyll on the outside and Mr Hyde on the inside.

It made me think of the numerous men that I have met who are extremely well behaved in public but their family has a different story to tell. Across clubs, associations and political groups we observe sycophants and a feudalistic mindset where we deify the club president, the association head or the political satrap.

Is it ingrained in our DNA to have double lives through the generations or has this phenomenon accentuated in modern times for men unable to cope up with the day today stresses? Is this the reason why a game like ‘second life’ becomes extremely popular?

Even when I confronted my father for regularly hitting the bottle, he remarked – every man has three lives public life, private life and secret life. He further defined public life as the act and mask that we put on every morning to face the society and earn our daily bread, where we would even go to the extent of licking the boots of a person in the act of survival.

He then continued – the private life is where you bring out your fantasies and unleash your repressions on your family and secret life is the life where we hide our lies, shame and guilt.

On the other extreme when the father of our nation Gandhiji spoke at the House of Commons without any notes, one parliamentarian remarked that Bapu could do so because whatever he thought, he said and whatever he said, he did. This man was an integrated whole. What he was on the inside he extended it on the outside which possibly gave him the guts and courage to boldly share his experiences in the book ‘My experiments with the truth’.

Is the lack of this integrity, the malaise of the society which is forcing every individual to split their energies into their public life, private life and secret life? Is this the reason why we have a dearth of role models, leaders and statesmen in our country? Is this the reason why families are breaking up because it is torn by conflicting interests?

Should the gown have an inside and an outside or should it be seamless, is the question.

This is Shiv signing off from S&S Family First.

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