Sunday, June 3, 2012
ALL IZZ WELL….
My erstwhile colleague Anand called after a long time and asked me “how it was going”. When I asked him back the same thing he started off on a long rant unmindful of the mounting call charges “the economy was going south” he started off “what were the bloody Europeans thinking off when they gave those loans to the Greeks?, first the Americans and now the Europeans, everyone seems to be playing with the world economy..And now look at us..The rupee has gone zooming up to the dollar, how can we buy anything at all? petrol prices are sky high, can’t even switch on the a/c on in the car for fear of fuel consumption, the govt doesn’t care, no one cares” he stopped for breath and I got in a word edgewise when I finally got the chance “How are your kids?” he continued from where he left off “oh, fine, fine, they are all well, I say, you should come see them now, they are all grown up since you last saw them, the little one is going to start play school this year. And by the way” he added almost casually “I have shifted my house, you should come see the new house, its right behind DAV school”. “What?' I asked in a shocked voice and then the more important “but why?” he hesitated for the first time before saying “well you know the usual family thing - my mother and my wife had some problems, my wife was complaining that there was no privacy in the house for even talk between husband and wife and to make things easier on everyone, I decided to move away from my parents house to a rented flat- its small but it’s very private- no one to disturb us”..I chewed over this for a few seconds, for when I had known him, he had been a very attached and affectionate son, who had listened like the gospel truth to whatever his parents proposed and ultimately marrying a girl he didn’t even like, just because his mother felt she was the right family type..Well, these things come to bite you back, don’t they? Anyhow I asked him the one thing which felt incongruous in the whole logic “so who takes care of the kids now?” for his wife was a lecturer at an engineering college and had to do a long commute everyday outside the city. He replied happily “my mother-in-law has made a big sacrifice by consenting to come and stay with us to take care of the kids till they grow up a bit”. Ha! So this was his idea of privacy.
Anyway the point of this post is not about anand's marital problems but about the culture of negativity and pessimism some people spread about as if it were perfume. I have never actually believed in the glass is half empty philosophy for I thought that any fool can look in the glass and see that it is half full and until it drains to the very dregs tat the bottom it is not time to start worrying. But there are people around who perfectly epitomize JK Rowling’s description of Dementors – those who spread negativity and suck the fun out of everyone around. These people are a walking talking miasma of misery.
I have met quite a few of these oh my god, my life is so depressing, types. The worst among them are the ones who try to psyche you into a “Oh my god, your life is depressing too”, by enumerating what are all the things going wrong in your life which you are not giving a damn about right now. They seem to know a lot of things about you and your troubles, things which you dont know yourself. In the guise of admiration they say “I really don’t know how you can be this happy with so many problems, if I were you I would fall into a deep depression and never get out of the bed. You are soo brave”. Well hold on, I seem to think when confronted by specimens of this kind – buddy, what seems to be insurmountable problems to you are merely specks in my eyes. To the man who has control over his emotions nothing seems to be unsalvageable- there is always some chink somewhere you can find and solve the problem with. Every problem has its own solution they say- so give me a problem and I don’t look at it - I look at solving it
Lots of people around me, look like they are - always boiling cauldrons of emotions. Me? I am a pool of cool (ahem! Ahem!) But seriously I do take my own sweet time in expressing anger, outrage or even getting depressed. I have never been the violently emotional drama queen type which more and more people nowadays aspire to be, as I stay cool without meaning to or making an obvious effort to be so.
My mother has this proverb which she oft repeats to me “aluvara kozhandaiku dhan sorru kedaikum”...in simple English...The crying child gets fed first. That people like me who wait patiently for their turn, get neglected. Is being patient such a drawback then in reality? Do the fussers and tantrum throwers get everything to the exclusivity of others? Maybe at first – but not always I feel.
The longest I have ever been depressed (as far as I can remember ) is three hours – and that's when the bloody result is stuck on the notice board and some bloody girl scores more marks than you in an exam you swore you had aced. Other than that, I don’t have long lasting depressions which last for days and days. Something or the other always tickles my sense of humour or I find funny and once you start smiling or laughing it’s pretty hard to stay depressed. If I can find humour in even the most depressing of circumstances, it’s a good thing, Right?
Wrong- according to some people. Those people find it strangely eerie that I am not depressed like them, that I don’t have the necessary gravitas for the situation and I am blamed for being an unfeeling type. Hold on, I want to say, being basically happy is also a feeling – you can’t say that being sad is the only worthwhile emotion. Even our films have this bias - heroes who cry a lot (in strange heinous tones) are called thespians and great actors while stars who take things light are not afforded any respect.
So what should I tell people who look at me and tell me my life is so sad and I should be depressed and I should grow a beard or hit the booze? That I only grow a beard during study holidays, to prevent wasting time on unnecessary bodily comforts, time better spent studying? Or that drinking alcohol, will give me the shivers, make my fingers shake and make me professionally useless. And as someone who handles connective tissue grafts the thickness of human hair every day, I cannot afford to have the minutest tremor or vibrations in my fingers and on entering this profession I knew and accepted wholeheartedly that I had to deny myself all indulgences that may produce such adverse results?
What do I tell these oceans of negativity, these Cassandra’s of gloom and doom..Get lost you evil ones...I may stay hungry, I may stay foolish, but I will stay happy? That nothing’s wrong with India, a falling rupee doesn’t matter, that we have a robust economy and a talented population who will see us through tough times? That petrol prices are simply going to make solar power more interesting and viable and that’s the way we should have already gone if not for the addiction of cheap petrol? That the world economy will balance itself out, that science will find a way, innovations will happen, evolution will advance and the human race as a whole is always moving forward incrementally, one small step after another and we will beat all this gloom and doom and one day successfully straddle the entire galaxy as one civilization? If I tell them all this will they believe me or at least listen? You tell me...