Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
By Ritu Goyal Harish He’s unassuming, almost diminutive and easy to overlook in the clutter that surrounds a fast paced urban life. It’s the board that first catches your eye. “You’re Perfect” says the board. At first you’re taken aback, and then you may smile.  Or curse.  Or question the young man who holds the board. “Yes some of the reactions I receive are aggressive. Once a guy showed me the middle finger and I took a bow” says Tarun Gidwani, a paralegal who began flashing this message on the streets of Bengaluru about three years ago. Since then he held this sign at bus stops, street corners and outside cafes/restaurants in Pune where he worked briefly and now holds it up in Hyderabad where he lives. Tarun’s tryst with the sign began when a long quest for spirituality ended about three years ago. He was shy at first he admits and would just sit next to the board, as inconspicuously as possible; until one day a woman came and sat down and said, “I needed to hear this today.” That is when he realised the power of the message. We ask him - Why “You’re Perfect”, why not “You’re peace or happiness or joy?” “After these two words, nothing needs to be said. These two words are the most provocative” says Tarun adding that perfection comes from the fact that there is nothing to compare other than arbitrary social constructions. “But fundamentally, I will never see this form and this flavour anywhere else. Each person that passes before the board is a unique mutation” he explains. Tarun has received an entire range of emotions from people who see the board - from indifference, happiness, to positive and aggressive. He has also been asked if he is being paid by the café or restaurant he stands around. Some people have thanked him; some want to be counselled; some want to engage in a conversation. Tarun does it all - “I engage until I am exhausted.” Initially adverse reactions from people used to make him sad. “The very fact that something so obvious (that everyone is perfect the way they are) should evoke such reactions tells something.” In three years however, Tarun’s own expectations vis-à-vis the reactions of people has changed dramatically. “Now I know that it (the reaction) has nothing to do with me. It’s between the sign and them. Now it fills me up,” he says. Tarun recalls an incident at Dadar Station in Mumbai that he shan’t forget. “A bunch of taxi drivers came to me and gave me a food pack and a bottle of mineral water because they saw me standing for hours with the board. To me all of this was a big learning - breaking of stereotypes. When I started out I obviously had a lot of filters inside. I’ve now realised its all stupid. I’ve had the best and the most aggressive reactions from all kinds of people” he adds. Tarun recommends that people hold the sign at least once to break free from pre-existing notions and conceptions in their minds. “It is very liberating” he adds as he goes back to the sign that according to him ‘says it all.’ Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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