Thoughts and other trivia...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

My own worst enemy.

I’ve come to believe that, sometimes, we’re our own worst enemies. I am, at least. My own worst enemy, I mean. Some of us tend to get in the way of our own success. And I mean success in the more conventional sense here, relating to work and not personal relationships or life in general. Because, as anyone who has ever read anything I’ve written here before will readily testify, success in personal relationships is not exactly familiar territory for me. That part of my life is pretty much in ruins but, alarmingly, the other half is also threatening to go the same way.

Many of us refuse to toe the line and define our own parameters of what success means to us. And, all of us being different and unique and all that, have different notions of what success is and what we’d like to achieve. Yes, there are a few universal standards that we cannot ignore and against which the world constantly judges us. But, then again, some of us will be who we are and tell the world where to get off. (Please note the confidence!) Of late, however, I’ve begun to tire of the number of times I’ve run myself into the ground. I’m beginning to realise what has been painfully obvious to those around me for long. That I’m struggling to meet my own meagre standards! (Ouch, that hurts!) The less said about how I measure up on the worldly scales the better. What makes it appear worse than it actually is the fact that I don’t deserve what I’m getting, or so I’m repeatedly told by almost anyone who’s bothered enough about me to comment and offer the customary two bits. Apparently, I should be doing a lot better. Because, apparently again, I can still make something of my life in anything I put my mind to and in any field I want…er…except in the one that I’ve chosen for myself. Hmm.

There are two ways to look at this but I won’t go into that…yet…because one’s attention span, I’m told, is directly proportional to the degree of success one has achieved. (If you don’t know better, accept it as one of the new theories that the Americans seem so fond of working out and unleashing on an unsuspecting world.) Going by the amount of success I’ve had, therefore, in serious discussions, I try not to let my mind digress or wander because, then, it becomes difficult for the little fellow to find its way back. Why burden the poor thing!

Anyway, the point, it would seem, is that some of us are pre-programmed to make the wrong choices. And, here, by wrong, as opposed to immoral, I mean any choice that brings grief, misery, ruin and all of those emotions that keep poets in business and make poetry so fascinating to read. For some of us, apparently, the lure of such choices is too difficult to resist. (No, that didn’t come out right, did it? What I meant was that those choices choose us…whatever…you know what I mean!) Faced with a fork on the figurative road, we invariably end up walking down the wrong one. Why? Because our sensibilities won’t allow us to go down the other. And, at times, these sensibilities let us down. Badly. Yet, we cannot abandon them. As a result, like silly moths to flames, we only learn a little too late that getting burnt isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

You’d never have guessed but I make films. The short, boring variety…at least that’s how the world treats all films that are neither Bollywood nor copy-of-Hollywood. For a long time now, I’ve also been trying to get onto the bandwagon and make what we call a feature film, based on my own script. It’s some consolation for me, and truly flattering too, that the best actor this country has produced is willing to act in it. (Note: Best actor is not equal to SRK. Or Big B. Or Big B’s overgrown baby.) The current messiah of what is known as meaningful cinema has also agreed. And yet, I’ve managed to get it only as far off the ground as the gravitational pull would allow an ambitious pig to fly.

Well, I can take the usual route and cry about how unfair life is. I can call Mr. Moneybags and Ms. Pursestrings dirty names (which, by the way, they thoroughly deserve) and generally blame the world for not making this happen. Because, after all, if you want something badly enough, the whole universe conspires to take it away from you. (Okay, I know…the twist is mine.) But, in all honesty, I’m starting to wonder…am I the one to blame? Am I too rigid and stubborn? Do my own sensibilities get in the way? Am I my own worst enemy?

That the above are all rhetorical questions will be conveniently ignored by those who know me, as they rush in to answer in the affirmative. For a change, I’ve begun to wonder too if they’re right.

After all, what does it take to “adjust”, as many put it? Make a minor compromise? Or, as a good friend, who’s doing very well in the television industry, often tells me, to try and change the system from within? Or, to give those who’re in charge what they want? Or, rehash 4-5 Hollywood films and pass them off as my own? No one will know and, anyway, no one cares. Or, better still, blatantly copy a non-Hollywood film because, as the TOI film critic will have us know, not many in India watch such films? (Incidentally, she wasn’t appalled that the film she was reviewing was a copy. Instead, she seemed to think that it was alright to have copied a film that no one in India was going to get a chance to watch.) Or, as my oldest and one of the closest friends tells me to date, to forget about all this and join the corporate world? All of this seems logical and right, I concede. Or, at least, most of it does. Then, why can’t I make amends? If I know what I’m doing wrong, why can’t/don’t I change it? What is wrong in going with the flow?

The way I look at it, the question is: Is that right for me? Unfortunately, not. I cannot change course. If I did, I won’t be being me. I’d be trying to live someone else’s life. Maybe I’ll make more money and live a cushier life. Maybe I’ll be seen as a successful person. But will I be happy? I doubt it. I know who I am and I know what I want. I’ll always want to be doing what I’m doing now. As I put it to a friend, I’d rather work towards what I know will make me really happy rather than follow a life that holds no fascination for me. This brings me back to where I started. Some of us are our own worst enemies. I am, at least.


Blogger Blue Athena said...

Hmm. I don't think we're pre-programed to make *wrong* choices. We make those choices in the first place 'coz they seem *right* to us. :)

We all have our versions of what is right and wrong. Make the one your heart and your gut tell you to. More often than not, you'll at least be at peace with yourself that you did what you believed in. :)

9:01 pm  
Blogger Oreen said...

ghost of tom joad is a wonderful album . . . can hold its own in the company of the best albums of the last century . . .

glad you chose the name.

2:51 pm  
Blogger Archster said...

U go girl! ooops.

I mean atta boy! follow that heart of yours.

4:41 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:25 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

blue athena: I know what you mean and you're right. But, sometimes, it does get worrying when you find that your version of right and wrong is at complete variance from the rest of the world :-)

oreen: GREAT album and GREAT literary character too!

archster: Thanks! That's all I need right now...for people to mix up the gender! Does a lot for my confidence! :-)

6:27 pm  
Blogger cactusjump said...

chilling - sounds like a post i might end up writing four years from now.

in which case this is probably what i'd want to hear:

keep the faith. love urself for being one of the few with the courage to hold on. life has a funny way of giving one a break sometimes, maybe yours is around the corner.

yes, weird bout the universe thing - fools seldom differ? ;)

10:00 pm  
Blogger Ash said...

*Huggie* for you
Like I once wrote on my page. 'I realised too late that I liked art better than management'.
When I am not blaming the world I paint and write and dream.
Nowadays I am saving up money and hope to hold the first exhibition of my art sometime next year.

11:23 pm  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

own worst enemies or own best critics? May be no one will understand us better than ourselves...our faults, our weaknesses and our strengths. So keep the faith and go against the flow if that is where your heart leads you. Pave the path and be a trendsetter. And know in your heart that you did the right thing.

12:31 am  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

cactusjump: Fret not. Fools may not differ but they need not meet the same fate either :-)

ashley: All the best for your exhibition! Do let us know and, who knows, some of us may even drop in!

m: Thanks. Will be a trendsetter, I mean :-)

10:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

best regards, nice info » »

6:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot! » » »

11:25 pm  

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