‘Labels’ bother me. It’s annoying and yet we exist in a world full of labels; where labelling comes easily to all and is frequently wrapped with great expectations that accompany these hastily bestowed labels.
Either we get labelled as a child and then we grow in to the person we are perceived to be or we get labelled as an adult, according to our career choice, the country we live in or the spiritual/political/ sexual preference we may have identified with. Once knighted, we are expected to adhere to the responsibilities suited to the labels. “Down with the labels,” I say!!!! Labels limit, labels commit and labels forbid us to change. Mind is a wanderer, choices are infinite and labelling smells of an overwhelming bias…….so, allow a bit of freedom.
Stop. What about the flattering labels? Successful, Charismatic, Trendsetter, Star, Diva, Debonair and many other charming ones?
Oh, they are fine for a while, but they tend to be limiting too, because even these charming and haloed ones come with their own sets of caveats, restrictions and that dreaded word, expectations. Ask our gorgeous celebrity, Aishwarya Rai. All she wants is the freedom to discard the ‘Glamorous’ label and to don a ‘Lovable Mommy’ label if she so feels inclined to. Ask Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, who has been labelled ‘Underachiever’ by the Time magazine when he would have preferred to have retained his original lofty label of ‘Economic Liberator’. Ask another stalwart, Angela Merkel, who would have preferred the title of ‘Europe’s Saviour’ but a title of ‘Europe’s biggest problem’ is sneaking in from somewhere behind her.
Labels wreak a havoc with the ordinary and the extraordinary; with the rich and the famous, with you and with me…..alike. So, let us keep the labelling to a minimum. It’s impossible to let go of expectations altogether, but let’s allow a bit of leniency in there, keeping the fit relaxed and the sides ready with elastic bands for a bit of a stretch, if needed.
Talking of expectations. I expected Fernando Alonso to win the British Grand Prix, after posting the fastest time in the qualifier. In my labelling world, the Spaniard had the style and the reckless, tousled look of a racer. I even expected the aggressive Hamilton, the perennial ‘bad boy’ of racing to overtake Alonso and reach the podium but the race was eventually clinched by the ‘overgrown innocent looking kid’ from Australia!!! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Mark Webber. At 116 points, he is one of the only two to have won twice this year. That’s an achievement! So, his driving is faultless, but we are only talking about perceptions here. To my labelling avatar, he appears endearing but not in the ‘daredevil- come- what- may’; adrenaline pumping; car- racing kind of way’. Unusually tall for car racing, he smiles sweetly and jumps on the podium clumsily, but he still overtook Alonso and won.
There you go, few of my labels were proved wrong, my perceptions at loggerhead with reality and so, here I stop banging on my keyboard and rest my case.