Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The consensus

Once again, M, H and this guy met up at a local cafĂ©. It was one of those routine meetings. The subject was always the same: the guy and his life. For 28 odd years, M and H had met him to ‘discuss’ things. But M & H never saw eye-to-eye on anything. For each was the opposite of the other.

M was the mature, wise and practical types. H was emotional, carefree and tended to get carried away. M believed in being diplomatic and shrewd all the time. H believed in going a little crazy whenever possible.

For instance, if they were going for a movie, H would suggest they take the plush, lazyboy couches while M would ask if it’s worth spending 300 bucks each for a movie that might turn out to be dull after all.

If they were passing by a fantastic view of the rain-soaked city, H would suggest they take a U-turn and see the view all over again while M would ask H to take a look at the cab’s meter instead.

If they were going for a trek, H would pack a pair of binoculars and a camera while M would carry a first-aid kit and mosquito repellent.

For this guy, M & H make life rather interesting, though a little confusing at times. Every single one of these ‘discussions’ end up in arguments. But, more often than not, the guy goes with what H suggests. Which is why, M is a little bitter. In fact, M does not show up at all for many such discussions. Except when one of H’s suggestions gets the guy into trouble; then M takes the spotlight, enjoying one of his ‘told-ya-so’ moments.

But today was one of those special occasions. The guy had fallen for someone. “Not again”, M said. “Another adventure”, H exclaimed. “Well, what do you think?” the guy had asked them, after promising them that he’ll listen to both of them this time.

After mulling over it for an agonisingly long time, H said, “go for it”. The guy heaved a sigh of relief before turning to M.

M lit a cigarette and took another sip of his coffee. He could feel the guy’s and H’s eyes on him. He frantically went through his notes, considered a myriad of things, consulted past experiences and reviewed future plans.

After an eternity, M set down his mug of coffee and crushed his cigarette. He took off his glasses, rubbed his eyes and sighed. The guy and H were looking at him anxiously.

“I hate to say this, guys”, M said, “but I completely agree with H.”

Monday, June 04, 2007

The balancing act

Tucked amidst Hinduism’s overabundance of wisdoms is an existential gem.

“Every person is born with a fixed quota of joys and sorrows.”

Let’s measure joy and sorrow with the unit of ‘hours’. Say you are born with 150 hours of happiness and 75 hours of sadness in your life.

So if you’re happy, good for you. Enjoy it. You deserve it. But remember how grief feels. And be sensitive to those who are not as happy as you right now. But if you’re sad, angry or unhappy, try to find solace in the fact that your quota of sorrows will be diminishing by as many hours as you grieve. Look forward to the happiness that’s waiting at the end of your sorrow. You deserve sorrow too but just so that you appreciate happiness more the next time it visits.

It’s like light and darkness. Darkness does not exist physically; it’s merely the complete absence of light. Bask in the sun, sleep off the darkness. You’ll wake up all sparky when it’s light.

So the next time you are sad, annoyed or angry, try to think happy thoughts. Smile at your boss, throw a biscuit at the neighbour’s noisy mutt, take your work for a walk, smile at complete strangers, smile at co-commuters who jab their elbows in your side, give someone a hug, swim a few laps, send flowers to that girl who broke your heart, listen to music, watch a sunset, throw a punch at a cushion and, hey, go get wet in the rain.