What is Original?


We all want to be unique. original. different. individuals. But it’s quite surprising that this very need of being unique or different from our fellows is so common that it defeats the very concept on the first stage itself. But, common, akhir dil to dil hai. Isko kaun samjhaye. That need somehow, somewhere very much houses itself in our hearts like the base tune of a song, which you can’t really point out but it drives the melody of the entire song.

Sitting over a cup of coffee in office the other day, I was very much surprised by a comment made by my friend who was also watching TV playing before us. There on the screen was playing the trailer of a recently released movie ‘Barfi’, which I am sure all of us have heard and mostly seen. My friend suddenly turned towards me, sighed and with an exasperated expression said, “Nothing is original in our country anymore. Every bloody bollywood picture is a rip-off. I liked this movie till the time I got to know it was a copy of some Charlie Chaplin movie.”  I couldn’t really react to it since I hadn’t seen the movie myself, but this statement just made me think “what does she mean by ‘original anymore’? How is she sure things were ‘original earlier’? What if she hadn’t come to know about this Charlie Chaplin issue at all?” Answer: She would have loved the movie as she herself admitted. And possibly would have been another person amongst thousands, loudly announcing their appreciation for it on social networking sited, trying to inspire people like me, who still haven’t seen it.

This further brings one to explore the concept of ‘originality’. I can’t bring myself to think one thing which is not inspired or similar to something already existing in this universe. Be it the rip-off movies, ads, literature (whatever I’ve read till now), concepts, philosophies or personalitites, everything seems to be inspired by something or the other. So then what is original? By definition, original means ‘something unique’. Something that hasn’t been experienced or seen before. But just because I haven’t seen something, does that mean it doesn’t exist in this universe? Someone else might have seen what I haven’t and may present the same thing to me as original. So basically, original is a very relative term. That means just like ‘perfection’, ‘originality’ doesn’t exist.

That one statement by my friend made me realize that all our quest and fight for little uniqueness and originality in our work, in our art, in our thought, in our personality is simply futile because in the end I am only as original as the people around me think about me. I am as much a part of the crowd as the crowd is mine.

And, after going through this entire thought process I am very acutely reminded of the fact that I am the ‘n’th person to be talking about such a thing. So cheers to the movie ‘Barfi’ which reminded all of us about the long forgotten Charlie Chaplin movied and helped increase their number of likes on youtube. :)

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