Thursday, September 19, 2013

Charisma

I never really managed to understand this mysterious attribute charisma. To know that is is derived from a word used by Hindi speakers - Karishma - and, probably, owes its origins to that word is no help. It is one thing knowing the meaning and quite another to know what makes a person charismatic.

I mean there is this guy who can walk into office and say,"It is raining outside" - a fact that is more than evident to all of us, who are busily dripping on the office carpet - and make all of us look at him as though he had said something that brightened our day. Now what makes such a weather announcement seem as though all is right with the world, when we are not even farmers, merely because it comes from him?

Some people seem to be natural magnets - and when they come around all the rest cluster around them like iron filings. What makes them magnets is a mystery. People have attributed charisma to looks or to sweet temper - both of which seem unbelievable. I mean, Adolf Hitler was supposed to be charismatic and, for the life of me, I cannot understand that he was particularly handsome or sweet-tempered. It is maybe that peculiar mustache that made him so charismatic. Not that growing one is likely to help you.

And then there are others, who do not fail to get noticed but do not necessarily attract people like the Pied Piper is reputed to have attracted mice (Eeww! What an unnatural accomplishment for a grown man to be honing a talent for!) These are like large lumps of iron dumped into a congregation of iron filings. All the filings look at them as though wondering "Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed that he is grown so great" without even feeling the urge to accost Caesar and verify the means (and I do not mean only physical size).

The majority, of course, belong to the iron filings category. One may get temporarily magnetized and become the center of attraction - as when one gets married or faces some other such calamity - but, by and large, gets attracted by magnets or tries to stare down iron lumps or tries to look aloof as if to claim that he is beyond all such mere vanity.

Me??? I am special. Ever seen that rare being who can walk into a roomful of the chatterati and instantly convert them into Trappist monks observing an inviolable vow of silence? The person who has that unique ability of reminding everyone about appointments that they were about to miss but for the opportune reminder provided by his entrance? The man whose charisma acts on others like a stone thrown in a pool acts on water - causing ripples of people to race each other to the shore? Me - That is who!

What do you mean people like me are not rare? That is merely envy. It just shows how jealous you are of me - as jealous, perhaps, as I feel about people whose charisma works in the normally accepted fashion!

38 comments:

  1. As for me, I am like the Invisible Man in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie.

    I could walk into a party, drink myself silly and then dance for 4 hrs continuously, the only person who notices me (that too briefly) would be the person cleaning up the dance floor the next morning, when he would push me aside, sweep where I was lying down and then push me back to my original place again.

    Of course, this has its advantages as well, I can pretty much get away with anything and everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! That was hilarious! And, yes, I too prefer seeing the bright side of all things :)

      Delete
    2. As a husband first and a father later (thank God for suitable chronology), I can safely say this man who calls himself 'Mahabore' is also a 'Maha-liar'. He cannot dace drunk for 4 hours. And even if he does, the broom that will touch him will not be the sweepers, but his wife.

      Great post, Suresh. Particularly love how Karishma and Caesar met here. :)You did forget the motorbike called Karisma, or something. :)

      Delete
    3. Well - far be it from me to say that it was his walking drunk that he calls dancing or that it was his wife he was calling the sweeper - can cause no end of marital strife :)

      Bikes and cars as as unknown to me as smartphones and tabs :)

      Delete
  2. Suresh this word is very elusive in meaning-just like the attribute.I like to think of it as a personal charm attracting people but there are also scoundrels attracting thousands of followers,i would never term them as being charismatic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charisma IS unreasoning attractiveness Indu! Individuals may choose to apply it or not as the case may be but the word denotes the sort of attraction exercised by both Mahatmas and Hitlers.

      Delete
    2. And monsters in the garb of mahatma!!!

      Delete
  3. Charisma is an enigma, intriguing and fascinating. You are right, it is so difficult to define what encompasses it. It is just a quality that some people have as you have shown. Of course, most crooks, gurus, babas and dictators have it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably that is what makes it possible for them to do what they do :)

      Delete
  4. After reading this, I spent a long time wondering about the uses of iron filings. And then I realized that their only use was in making the magnet feel important.
    Imagine, what would the charismatic person be if it weren't for us? :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You, Rickie, you! :) Me, I am the repellent :)

      Delete
  5. I believe this that some people have this inborn quality. In fact all of us are either magnets/magnetic objects/magnet but inthe presence of a stronger magnet become a magnetic object. A friend of mine doing research work on genetic engineering said that this is yet a hypothesis but can not be entered as a theory yet. He said that some persons genetic code is quite strange, beyond any explanation. if you meditate then you may improve this hidden power to some extent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no interest in developing charisma, Pradip :) It would make me place my own self-respect and happiness at the disposal of others if I started relying on charisma - and it is a while since I have bothered to assess myself at the altar of other people's opinions :)

      Delete
  6. One may get temporarily magnetized and become the center of attraction - as when one gets married or faces some other such calamity...

    Brilliant :)

    Guruve Sharanam :) !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mahesh! So you did pick on that line :)

      Delete
  7. Well! Your writing does have charisma Suresh drawing bloggers to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah! Ilakshee! Music to my ears :) So all I have to do is keep away from personal contact :)

      Delete
  8. talk about people getting reminded of appointments... hi hi...have come across that quite often. that puts me in the same league as you ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I refuse to accept that I am not unique :)

      Delete
    2. We can call it 'The League of Charismatic Yet Unique ladies and gentlemen' ;)

      Delete
    3. :) Ok! You can be unique as the lady and I as the gent. No need to add more :)

      Delete
  9. LOL, but seriously,

    Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed that he is grown so great, My liege?


    Blasphemous Aesthete

    ReplyDelete
  10. I always thought it was Lux beauty soap for women and Axe deo for men that caused charisma to happen. Now I am confused, Lux and Axe did not exist during his life-time, or did it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They had not learned the art of bottling charisma then, Ritu :)

      Delete
  11. Charismatic post from a charismatic person.i always love the easy banterism in your writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anu! Me - charismatic? Ah! You mean that reverse charisma :)

      Delete
  12. Charisma is good but some people have this insatiable need to be appreciated and never miss an opportunity to convey how interesting they are. Such people put me to sleep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When Narcissism masquerades as charisma, Purba? :)

      Delete
  13. You have been getting more and more philosophical of late, Suresh. Those are astute observations -set me thinking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Uma! There was always a core of philosophy in quite a few of my posts - even ones that did not get labelled Philosophy :) It is probable that the veneer of humor is wearing thin or regular readers are readily seeing through it these days :)

      Delete
  14. Interesting post, Suresh. The English term "charisma" is from the Greek χάρισμα khárisma, which means "favor freely given" or "gift of grace". The term derives from χάρις (charis), which means "grace". Theologians and social scientists put charisma into two catergories: personality charisma and divinely conferred charisma. But whatever the case, it remains an elusive and mysterious quality that holds a lot of "magic." Anyway, great post!
    Penny

    ReplyDelete
  15. People with a fine sense of humor are surely charismatic. And we have a perfect example here!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Charisma, like beauty, lies in the eyes of the beholder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I was wondering about what the beholder beholds :)

      Delete