Shame can be Fatal, but Shamelessness can be Rewarding

July 19, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

Cristian Newman photo



Siddhartha Rastogi



When I started writing this note, I was in two minds, whether the note should have the tone of positivity or should it act as a deterrent and motivate against negativity. I couldn’t decide and hence this note brings you the best of both worlds, so does its headlines.



3 stories, 3 similar situations, 3 similar emotions played in different eras having different outcomes.



A 17-year-old girl commits suicide in a posh residential colony of a metro city, a suicide note is found next to her body entrenched in a pool of blood, coming out from her veins, slit by a shaving blade. The note said


I am sorry Papa, for ending my life. I am taking this extreme step, as ******* from the neighborhood has been harassing me for the past 7 months. Today he came in front of me and touched me inappropriately and then he put my picture (which he had edited through a software called Photoshop) on his social media page, stating that I am in deep relationship with him. I am ashamed and I don’t know how I will face my friends and school mates. I don’t know how you will react when you get to know of this. I have lost my reputation and I am taking this step. I will always love you Papa.


On the 18th day in Mahabharata, after 99 Kauravas (sons of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari) were killed on the battlefield, Gandhari was filled with misery, agony and angst. She wanted to protect her last and most favourite son, Duryodhan from death, which was near certain in the hands of Pandavas. She called for Duryodhan and told him to come in the middle of the night totally bare as he was born, in front of her. She told Duryodhan that she will give all her powers and Siddhi, which she acquired on account of being blind-folded for so many years. Duryodhan followed his mother’s instructions and took a dip in river Saraswati and walked bare towards his mother’s abode in Kurukshetra. Krishna, the advisor of Pandavas, was hiding in the bushes and emerged suddenly in front of Duryodhan and started taunting that it’s shameful for a king and son to be naked in front of his mother. Duryodhan knew that Krishna was playing a trick and his intention will always be to win the War in favour of Pandavas, but he felt ashamed and thought about the protocol laid by the society and thus he wore an Angavastra to hide his thighs and private parts. Gandhari removed the blind fold and gave strength to all parts of Duryodhan apart from the body parts which were wrapped by Angavastra. She saw the piece of cloth wrapped around Duryodhan’s waist and got angry but was left with no choice. In a duel between Bhima and Duryodhan the same morning, Bhima on instructions from Krishna hit Duryodhan on his thighs (which is not allowed as per duel rules) and killed Duryodhan.


Arunachalam Muruganantham, Padman of India and a social entrepreneur, who invented low-cost sanitary pad making machine was named amongst the top 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2014. He too faced shame, wrath of the society and dejection. In 1998, when mensuration and sanitary pads were taboo topics in India, Muruganantham approached unknown women and girls to talk about the subject but as expected he was labelled as pervert and sleaze by the society and was outcast from his village and home. He didn’t give up his endeavor and tested the sanitary pads on himself and was successful in finding compassionate ladies who helped him in assessing the quality of the pads. His invention was recognized worldwide and he was able to change lives of millions of women and families in poor rural India.



Shame is a very common phenomenon which can arise in any human’s life, irrespective of the age, socio-economic strata, caste, colour or creed.


Let’s try and explore 2 important questions here:


1 –   What are the potential reasons of Shame or Why does it arise?


2 –    What are the outcomes of Shame?



Shame arises mainly due to 3 reasons:


1 –  Actions undertaken by you or words spoken by you in a fit of rage or anger or on account of you experiencing extreme emotions. These actions could also be a result of unhealthy consumption or usage of prohibited substances used knowingly or unknowingly.


2 – Acts or actions undertaken by others, for which you have no mechanism to control. But these actions could be by your near or dear ones, whom you would have liked to be better human beings, or it can be totally unknown individuals who act to harm you and your reputation out of vengeance, malafied intention and in some cases just to have plain fun.


3 –   Some age old rules, regulations, customs and traditions set by society which have labelled you a shameless one. Those sets of rules and traditions may not hold good in today’s world but society expects one to meet all of them.



Let’s now focus on the outcomes of shame:


1 – Shame builds a fear in you of society and the people around you. You start getting the feeling to kill yourself or you literally commit suicide. Even if you are able to save yourself from your own shame, you progress aggressively towards slow death. You move into depression, solitude, isolation, low confidence, low self-esteem and finally one day exit from the world.


2 – Some try and hide the shame by changing the location, job, circumstances or current environment. They wish to hide under anonymity and pray and hope to rewrite their past forgetting all that has gone by. It’s courageous and commendable but the past never leaves you and keeps coming back to haunt one and everyone.


3 – The third outcome is to face the situation, bring lots of guts in yourself and say ‘Sorry’ if you are at fault, else fight the wrong doer and expose the person who has done this to you. This action gives a lot of strength and brings back life and life purpose in focus rather than forcing you to live life like a liability.



With the 3rd Action, you become a leader, you become a dominating force, who shows the path to millions into their future.


This event or incident gives you an opportunity to rise from Good to become GREAT. Within days all fears and traumas are gone. Every new challenging situation which arises looks small and conquerable. You start thinking if one has gone through that hell, then every situation can be resolved, every milestone can be achieved.



With an extreme Shameful situation you can gain 2 irreversible powers:


  • Extraordinary Courage, and


  • Life Lesson to bounce back in any situation.




Spirited Siddhartha says, “Shame is like a springboard, the lower it takes, the higher the chances of you having a Leap Jump in future.”





Siddhartha Rastogi

Siddhartha Rastogi

Siddhartha was born to a learned middle class educated family in Semi Urban India. His father was an extremely honest man who because of his honesty had to pay the price in corporate world. Mother is a determined woman who ensured that children are being well taken care off. After a few years of birth, doctors called Siddhartha, a slow child having flat foot. He would fall more than he could walk. Determined mother ensured all therapies for her son to come out strong to fight the world. Siddhartha joined swimming when he was in 6th standard. Seeing other children of his class, he jumped in 10 feet deep pool and learnt swimming on his own, the very same day.

From that day there was no looking back. He topped his city in 12th and went to score highest in his B school exams. During his profession as banker, he became youngest branch manager of a MNC bank managing their biggest wealth branch in the country. There he found love of his life and got married. His love of his life emerged in the form of his daughter who completely changed him for good.

Siddhartha Rastogi is Director for a boutique Investment bank in India.

Siddhartha is a forward looking thinker & writer who has written a book on decision making. 8 Simple steps to effective decision making.

He writes on various social and current issues via his blog and can also be found on twitter.

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