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There is a famous cliched statement across Indian cultures that females are incapable of secrecy. Nothing remains a secret in a female’s closet. I often wonder if it were the males who used these tags to understand the other correlated human species or these statements were given by women who perhaps shared an iota more of ‘power’ and ‘independence’ than their “domesticated”  counterparts.  The very terms used to designate a girl such as ‘women’, ‘female’ and ‘fair sex’ are themselves so relative that ‘women’ (in the lack of an appropriate word to designate this species) have always to be viewed in their identity and their very existence with relation to ‘men’ .  Feminism and gender studies have tried for centuries to ponder into this deeper equation regarding cliches and biases based on gender.

However, secrets are a great source of curiosity for either sexes. Mythologies say that god kept the secret of life from Adam and Eve through the alluring red apple which to eat was supposed to be a sin. If human-beings entered into the very problems and processes of life by eating the ‘forbidden apple’ and thereby infringing upon god’s most well-kept secret, then “secrecy” is something which needs deeper consideration in critical thought. Why am I writing this post about secrets?  That’s a secret 🙂 ….Well, recently someone advised an old friend to learn to hide a few aspects from even one’s own shadow. That statement made me curious and drove me to write this post. They say every human-being has a ghost in his/her closet — ghost of one’s past. I can not say how true is such a statement. But, strangely secrets are mostly associated with women. Thinking of those Hindi movies of 60s and 70s  where characters played by Sadhana in Woh Kaun Thi, Anita, Mera Saya etc.  and even Waheeda Rehman’s roles in Bees Saal Baad or Kohraa were always shrouded with mystery and secrecy . Some movies like Kati Patang or Ghumnam had Helen or Bindu playing vamp-like roles with secrecy as their major point of reference.

In fact, if you look deeper into the dynamics of the daily soaps that run through all national and international tele-channels, secrecy is a major trope. Secrecy forms the core of the individual characters’ relationships, professional dealings or their commitments. I was watching a few episodes of a series named ‘Emotional Atyachar’ while at home this summer, someone in my family explained me its context and its popularity. Well, personally I did not like the format of the show and the raw-dramatizing of the most sensitive aspect of people’s lives. However, on the flip side the show’s producers and crew would claim that there is nothing illegal about it. This show is about ‘consenting adults’ who would want to test their own kith and kin or their partners on national television. But besides that point, if you observe the series closely it is all about “SECRETS” and raw-revelation of those secrets in a manner that might impair an individual’s life forever. Such shows in the name of “social service” and help gives way to the most negative aspects of human emotions finding their way from closets into living room.  Well! There is also another secret about the show which I am curious to unravel. Is “temptation”  as the crew puts it such a huge factor that people are willing to give-up emotional attachment of several years to succumb to those few moments? Might be true though I can’t vouch for the authenticity, temptation one either side might lead to the greatest break-ups and misunderstandings with friends, partners and spouses. A moment’s temptation can indeed become a source of trauma for a lifetime — for the one who has been tempted and also for those related to her/him. Perhaps psychologists might have an answer to this deeper issue of temptation and secrecy….

Mystery and secrecy go hand in hand and one is connected to the other.  Many of us find secrecy as the key to mystery and one leading to another. If there is an aura of mystery about someone then that person appears to be attractive and worth noticing. Greta Garbo in the West, Rekhaji and Suchitra Sen in India are often cited as the famous celebrities of all times whose very lives have been their best-kept secrets. Greta Garbo’s mysterious black veil, her life and her ways of keeping herself away from the prying eyes of the press have been considered to be master instances  by film critics  throughout film history. I have observed some friends from my closer circle at various hostels and their biggest TRP is their ability to keep their secrets from the world and to keep themselves mysterious deliberately under all-circumstances. Whether it be research or their personal life everything would be a matter of speculation for the general public and lesser mortals.  I sincerely feel a tinge of secrecy does add to one’s appeal and some people who call themselves ‘simple’ by revealing every details of their life are either considered to be ‘bores’ or are ‘stupid’ and ‘immature’.  We do not like an open book lying somewhere on the desk, it is the closed one which has a power to attract through its cover and its title.

Einstein had once remarked that the “secret to success is knowing how to intelligently hide your sources” . Secrecy has been a part of research battles and to be able to keep a research plan or proposal secret is considered to be the a,b,c…of good research. How to keep secrets? Well, this blog is about identifying human traits not about self-help.  Even I am attempting to figure out many ‘how to’… 🙂 .

Life is a string of events and accidents — some good ones and the others really tough ones. Secrecy on the positive side can be a great help to keep your career and your life away from professional and personal tumult. On a negative note, secrecy can be the very core of every tumult. If there is a secret which is really worth discussing with your family, your partner or friends that deal with your health or is giving arise to any feeling of guilt — better shared than kept as a ghost in the closet that returns to haunt you every time.

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