The lost bicycle and the sea shanty

I imagine myself as a man who has lived life with no ego and with a lot of dignity.
It may turn out in the end that I was one with a lot of ego and no dignity. The symptoms certainly are all there.

Ego, dignity, is it not the same coin?

Bicycle Thieves, a film about a man who starts at the top, ego and dignity. Then like the times and the nation he is in, loses it all. Towards the middle, he goes to the same lady soothsayer that he had pooh-poohed his wife for visiting. Ego gone, trying to keep his dignity (or vice versa?) he tells the sage about the bicycle. “You’ll find it straight away, or not at all…” she tells him back.

Was she talking about the bicycle or his self-respect?

The film ends with the protagonist losing all dignity, becoming a thief (hence the plural in the title, I guess) akin to the one who stole his life in the beginning of the film.

Aristotelian tragedy. Achilles’ heel. The fall of an infallible hero who has a fatal flaw.

Was the fatal flaw of the hero in Bicycle Thieves his dignity? Or was it his ego? Or was it the fact that he could not distinguish between the two?

If that is the case, my fate is sealed too.

Unless, I can leave the shackles of self-respect behind and become the true beggar, the thief, the pirate that I may really be.

The genuine article. Truthful, if ugly. The urchin. And may be then, when I can show my true colours, I might even hoist them all and croak my sea shanty.

“Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die”

Right now, I search for ego in the losing of all ego. Stuck in a loop that spirals down.

Note to self: try harder, don’t be a lost cause, like that bicycle. That was a film, this is not.

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One thought on “The lost bicycle and the sea shanty

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  1. Perhaps “tying your dignity to your natural calling” will do the ego a world of good? Align your identity with what you know best and enjoy the most to do. Forget what was asked of you. Forget all the indoctrination of childhood and of present society. That’s straitjacket. That’s for the ordinary and the predictable. You are unique and you are therefore burdened with casting your own mould. Do what you do best and realize how good you feel about yourself. So good that you don’t feel like competing or proving a point. You feel kindly, even “teacher-like” towards all, willing to share your knowledge, knowing securely that no one can unseat you from your competent zone! That’s called ego gratification. Along with self-esteem comes a naturally straight spine and broad chest as well. That’s what most people refer to as ‘dignity’, by the way. The good heart is already in ensconced in there, you don’t have to worry about that one. 🙂

    You, Shaurya, have some very special things in you. But the world needs to know that and you need to let yourself go to tell the world that. May be you need to stop pursuing mindless paths to do justice to the real calling? That’s the question you should ask yourself. 🙂 Cheers.

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