A Touch Of Whimsy – And, Who Am I?

Who Am I?

And so, we come to the question that has plagued me since birth. Has it plagued you?

Who am I?

I was a son, till my father died. I am a father, husband, friend and lover.

I was a corporate executive. Now, I am not. Am I a struggling entrepreneur?

Am I a dilettante? Or, am I a scholar?

Am I a fully truthful person? Or, do I tell little lies and thus become a chronic liar?

When I was young, I was told to be a man. When I asked the people around me what it means to be a man, I was told be tough, macho. Hard drinking, hard swearing. Catch the woman,swing her up onto the horse, and gallop into the distance.

Now, they tell me to be a man. When I ask the people around me what it means to be a man, I am told to be strong. In sensitivity, lies strength. In gentleness, lies strength. Yet, if you need to kill, do it mercilessly. Do they coexist?

When I was a corporate executive, I was told that to be successful, I must exude confidence. I must never display doubt. It is a sign of weakness. I must be one of the boys. I must be able to blend effortlessly with the bosses, laugh at their inane jokes, and say ‘yay’, when my heart says ‘nay’. I must express the ‘nay’ in a manner that says ‘yay’. In my youth, I was to be a tough, ruthless leader. Almost to the point of rudeness. Now, I must be a servant-leader, yet be ruthless.

Who made the rules of the game?

Who made the game?

Who told me that I should clap for the leaders who preach tolerance, yet practice violence, corruption and intolerance?

When I was born, I had no teeth or hair. When I die, I may yet have no teeth or hair.

When I was born, I was helpless and dependent. When I die, I will yet be helpless. I will depend on others to cremate me well, and bid me well as I journey into the darkness.

What happened in between? What did I do that was truly of significance?

Did I measure up? To whom? To who’s standards?

Who am I?

Am I me, or am I an amalgamation of the many masks I have worn?


  1. Who made the rules..? Now, there’s a real question. Your questioning, Rajiv, shows a sensitive heart, a fine mind and a soul with compassion. i like this post very much.
    My best to you

  2. “I am a flower quickly fading,
    Here today and gone tomorrow.
    A wave tossed in the ocean.
    A vapor in the wind.
    Still You hear me when I’m calling.
    Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
    And You’ve told me who I am.
    I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours”

      1. Those are lyrics from a song I like ….I hoped they would help with the who am I??? 😄Hugs and much love Rajiv…and a happy dussehra too ❤❤

      1. While it’s not too unnatural to have typhoons, the frequency & strength of them has been very overwhelming this year 😦 Autumn is usually mean to be ‘dry’ but we’re having none of that, it seems!

      2. I thought autumn was dry. I remember when I had moved to Beijing, and travelled to Japan, the sky was yellow. When I asked why, they sId that this was the dust from Beijing that blocks the sky in Japan.

      3. Ahh, the yellow sky. Now that you mention it, I think we’ve been spared the dust this year (wherever it comes from) 😉 Haha! That’s enough rambling from me 😀

      1. When the question becomes tough for me, I re-center. Breathe in, breathe out… I become still and wait. Then the confusion drops away and I see what is keeping me from being who I am.
        How do you do it?

      2. Somehow I knew you would say that. The peace of you shines through in your photographs and art.

      3. Oh, I did not realise that! Thanks very much. I did give up photography for over 10 years at one point. I realised that i had become very arrogant, without having the right to be arrogant about my photography.

  3. Reblogged this on lovehappinessandpeace and commented:
    In my opinion, this is the question with which We shall leave: ‘What did I do that was truly of significance?’
    Our Tombstones will be scripted by Others, most of the time Charitably. We shall be visiting these stones to assess Our Satisfaction. That One question will be the one with which We shall be spending Eternity.
    If I had followed standards set by others, my ‘Self’ will keep berating me. Because it has its own standards. And it will not be Fooled.
    Altogether, it is a question of ‘What Useful thing have I done?’

  4. Rajiv, this is perfect. Thank you for answering such tough questions. I enjoy learning more about you. You are a man of strength, devotion and color in all breaths of life. My first love, in college, was a man from India. He was working on his masters and we dated heavily for a few months, until I fell in love with him. It was then that I had to leave him. What he told me, while walking me home from the bar the night we met, I then knew would never leave my mind. He told me he could never marry an American girl, but he would very much like to show me the world. His name was Sri. Srinivas. He taught me more than I could ever express in words. Good and bad. Your spirit is very much the good of what I found of my time with him. Thanks for answering those questions with such honesty. Beautiful. Who Am I.

  5. Rajiv, this was a wonderful essay that tackled so many of the questions that resonate through each one of us. I think that yes, we are a complex recipe of all our experiences and all our interpretations of this life. We are rich and complicated, confusing and revelatory creatures. I think you did a beautiful job of presenting exactly that and so much more. Congratulations.

  6. A very honest post – and the questions posed – the answers deserve to be honest, most of all to ourselves. The world judges and will continue to do so, no matter what we choose to do or not to do. As to the question, Who am I? The entire vedantic thought is based on that. But I hope you find your answers. Thank you for sharing Rajiv.

  7. I think you are a little bit of all the masks you have worn because each one of them rather you still personify that person/mask…has helped shape who you are today! The sum of all I think is pretty wonderful! In my opinion! Love this post and your art! It’s beautiful!

    1. Thanks. You know, in Hindu mythology, the three Gods made the Goddess, Devi. She was the sum of all their parts, plus a bit more. Maybe, we are like that, with respect to our masks.

      1. I think maybe we are and let the parts that are useful fall away! I know I’ve worn many masks but each one I glean and gather something wonderful from and let go of all that wasn’t beneficial! 😀 Hope you had a wonderful day! 😀

  8. We all wear masks throughout life until we reach the stage when we say, “Look, this is really who I am. Take it or leave it.” To find the real “you” can be a daunting search. It leads all the way back to childhood and your first choices. That’s where and when your basic nature began to show itself, before you layered it with other people’s demands. Be the man you were meant to be on your own terms designed by your basic nature.

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