All of you probably remember the famous parable of Kumar and Ganesh debating who is ‘greater and wiser’. Divine ego, indeed! The judgment is to be passed by Shiva and Parvati. The divine couple is in a fix but eventually comes up with an ingenious plan. The one who completes a round of Mt. Sumeru is the fastest is the ‘greater and wiser’. While Kumar, having a peacock as his vehicle, sets off immediately, Ganesh faces a serious predicament, having to travel on board the puny rat. Finally, he completes a round of his parents, saying: ‘You two are my Mt. Sumeru ‘. Ganesh thus proves his greatness as well as wisdom.

In ancient times too, the longing to prove oneself great and wise existed. In modern times, we have a different tool that helps us to prove our greatness and wisdom. Or so we believe. The Internet is such a tool. Every netizen does it. Go to a certain search engine, type their name and search and see how many hits they get. mentions. Fat chance! Unlike Gods and celebrities (While Bill Gates clocks 13,900,000 hits, Aishwarya Rai notches up 1,180,000) ordinary people like you and I are nowhere close, and understandably so. Personally, I am at a greater disadvantage as the search engine invariably asks: Did you mean Gautam Buddha? Well, eh, not really!

Wiktionary defines ‘ego surfing’ as the ‘act of using a search engine to find mentions of one’s name on the Internet’. An, ya! What a fitting jargon to define human ego. The message of such an act is loud and clear: by way of ego surfing, people try to prove that they are great. They count, that they are no mediocre lot, but among the best and due space should be given to their name and by extension to their ego, in the vast cyberspace.

It would be better if others looked up your name on the net, wouldn’t it? Said this, the last thing I intend is impede is your surging ego-surfing yen. We are all free to go on an ego trip, however long! But for ordinary folks like you and me, it would certainly be judicious to safely and slyly take refuge in the bard’s famous mantra: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em. Or else, when the search engine pops up a million (or zip!) links to your name, simply call it karma.