Admiration is a strong sentiment.
It came up in a conversation with my best friend D recently when she asked me what I thought about the actress Aishwarya Rai. She herself doesn't like her too much, and considers her too beautiful- "She has perfect features, you know, but she's so plastic- she's just not real, and she can't act, either." My answer to that was that I think she's untouchable. She's in a place, a dimension where she can't touch me in any manner- physically or emotionally, and I can't reach her either. She may as well be a holographic projection.
Since she (D) didn't understand what I was trying to convey, I told her of the people I do admire in the film industry.
As I've said, admiration is a strong sentiment, but it is especially so when directed towards people. It becomes a personification of who we are, what we like, and who we want to be. What we like about other people should tell us what we want from our lives, I think.
I told her that I like Leonardo Dicaprio, because the projects he takes up mean something, both to him, and to the rest of the world. I think he seems like a genuine person- some one who wouldn't hesitate to help you carry your bags out of the grocery store, even though he's supposed to be such a star. I like him because the 'star' bit doesn't dazzle him, and he doesn't want it to dazzle other people either. I think he'll look just as good in an Armani suit, as in a rumpled T- shirt and denims, and that that has much more to do with character than make up or fitness.
In the Hindi Film Industry, I think the only person I truly hold in any lasting regard is Kajol. She's a great actress, sure, but even more that, she has the ability to laugh at herself. She's not a star- she's an actress.
Of course, I don't normally watch too many movies, sports really is just so much better, in so many different ways, than a bit of pre- recorded drama. And most of the stuff they churn out these days leads to higher levels of bile in the body, in my humble opinion. The only reason I chose examples from that particular industry was because we had been talking of an actress in the first place.
The exercise actually got me thinking- what qualities do I value? And what does that say about me? Why do I despise a Paris Hilton, and adore a Shaun Pollock?
The answer I came up with was this- I don't like or dislike everything about a person, but there is one aspect of their personality that somehow outweighs everything else, and becomes the deciding factor. I don't like being in the lime light, so I don't understand people who are constantly hankering for it. If then that person stoops to levels I would never get down to, to get their fifteen minutes of fame, my reaction sours to lower levels of scorn. If they continue along their chosen path, so does my scorn, until in reaches the stage of despisableness, and then finally a combination of scorn, despise and indifference.
Even amongst the people I regard highly, I find that the reasons may not be similar at all- For example, I like Kumar Sangakkara because I think he's hardworking, and because I'm not so at all. But I also like that he enjoys reading, just like me. So I like him because he has something I feel I don't, but also because I feel we share something in common.
J. K. Rowling- I love her for sharing Hogwarts with me. I really do. But I truly esteem her for caring about girls who suffer from eating disorders and have self image issues. Here, I am definitely grateful to her for the magic, but also happy that she supports a cause that I'm vocal about.
I was content that it was none other than Michael Phelps who broke all those records at the Olympics, and became the greatest Olympian ever, because he did it for and with a sport I have loved and lived. Swimming, you dolts.
And then there is wistfulness. I want to be able to achieve a level of creative freedom where I can do what I want, no matter how different, and do it so well that the world stands back applauds- and remembers, like a Leonardo Da Vinci or a Johnny Depp.