The Bronze Talisman on the Brink

The Bronze Talisman on the Brink

Ten minutes into the conversation and the smart articulate young man slides in the info, that he is from IIM Bangalore. “Okay, For heaven’s sake! We were discussing movies! It doesn’t matter, nor I care from where you have passed out! We are not here for an interview, so stop acting as if you are on some permanent job evaluation.” I thought, meandering through the purple haze of irritation laced amusement.

He is not the first. He has just confirmed my hypothesis that most students who pass out of premier institute have this urge bordering on ‘itch’ to communicate to everyone at any place, the celestial information that they are from ‘X institute’- their treasured talisman. No matter they are young or old. You are not spared even in the washrooms. At the washbasin, lathering your palms while drifting to nothingness to escape from the suffocating hand wash scent and lo and behold, your Zen moment can be shattered, if you accidentally look at the mirror and make an eye connect with a stranger from a premier institute. Smile, and a few words into the conversation, the talisman is flashed on your face.

The compulsive obsession to share the ‘Bronze Talisman’ on the faces of unsuspecting victims, where is it coming from? Is it to prove a point or to beat the average crowd, the jantha, to submission? Or some kind of validation? What is this obsession about?

Probably a manifestation of the constant need for a pat on the back. It can also be a problem of assessing self-worth in relation to only the degree and institute. Can be an obsession to prove he or she is better than the jantha around!

Not sure what prompts them to divulge their credentials or flash their talisman on an unsuspecting onlooker, who is dazed or miffed, depending on where the person is in life at that point.

Let the institute from its illustrious history give them the conviction to handpick their journey and destination. Provide them with an ability to choose to fight or not, astuteness to select their pit stops or overlaps. Find the strength to stand even when they fail or fall; and when they fall while reaching into their core and discover that power to dust the embarrassment, tend to the wound, and slowly limp back. Let them live life with mindfulness that “I am unique and I have choices”. The ability to melt into the crowd and being just another human without labels and badges is a display of strength. It comes from one being settled and at ease with oneself, not wanting to constantly compete.

When we accept and cherish self, we also comprehend the fact that everyone is on their own journey; one can be super intelligent and have achieved the best, never taking away the credit for being there, but the guy around the corner with little means to resources managing to float is also great, and the rest like distance, height, speed is incidental and very relative in the relentless world.

It doesn’t interest me which planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from the fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or if you can fade it or fix it.

– The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer


Sunitha Lal is a Human Resources professional and organizational culture expert, based out of Bangalore. She has over 25 years of experience spanning diverse industries and geographies. Because of her keen interest in understanding human behavior, she views organizational dynamics through the lens of behavioral science, psychology, and anthropology.  

1 Comment

  1. Reshma Pethani 7 years ago

    Good one

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