I am but a number

This post springs from a conversation Ma and I had. She was telling me about some very famous man of her village who supposedly performed miracles! And she put it exactly this way: If you asked anyone in the village, they would tell you, he was tall, about 7 hands tall. Had a very dark brown skin, bloodshot eyes and was very strongly built. There was only one person in that village of that kind and you couldn’t miss him………

I was impressed! Not by the man or his ability to perform miracles (I, in fact, sincerely doubted this part). What impressed me was that everyone knew him, right down to the skin colour and bloodshot eyes! Impressive! Mom’s era was nice, very personal, everyone knew everyone!

Fast forward to this era! I book a ticket in my name. Identification cited: Driving License number

I joined IISc. Identification attached to me: My ID card number

I apply for VISA. My identification: Passport Number

I need money. My identification: My account number

I buy something. My identification: My ATM card number

What am I reduced to? A faceless, identity-devoid number! A number here and a number there! And a number everywhere! The number reflects nothing of ME as a person, it’s just “A NUMBER” and nothing more, nothing less! I am but a number………….

(I know it is impossible for all the world to know me, but then being reduced to a mere number feels funny, at times)………



  1. Tata said,

    June 22, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Yes, humankind has now been reduced to numbers!

  2. Sathya said,

    June 22, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Jug Suraiya had lamented about this in his TOI column ‘Jugular Vein’ a few years ago. Can’t find the article on net, it might be easier to search the article if you have his PAN or passport number …

  3. Sujit said,

    June 23, 2008 at 10:28 am

    These numbers are our conveniences. I don’t complain. We all can’t complain for being known only by our numbers. I think, we do enjoy our share of friends, families, admirers and acquaintances.

    Life is a lot more complex these days. We do a lot more than people of earlier times ever tried. I don’t say that it adds more meaning to our lives. That’s surely debatable. But we do get to explore more possibilities.

    In my opinion, there’s still hope of maintaining sanity. Let’s give ourselves those minutes and hours of rest and fun with our friends and family everyday, while we flow ahead in the assembly line of the world, proxied by our numbers.

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