Thoughts and other trivia...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Disparate notes. Or, not.

For those who’ve read the Wedding belles! post, the news is that my friend has turned out to be one fast worker! She seems to have found someone she thinks is it! He thinks pretty much the same about her and, apparently, they talk till the wee hours of the morning every day!! Although he’s based in New York, fortunately for both, he has been in India on an assignment for a while. And, they’ve met quite a few times already!!! Clearly, things are going well for them and I’m really glad for my friend. However, each time she calls, as she did this morning, I do try and tell her to take it slow. Of course, I try as hard as possible not to sound like a wet rag but, thankfully, she also agrees.

They met over a month ago but things really took off only a few days ago. I guess I’m being a little cynical and wary but, then, that’s the only way I know. I’m not sure what it is about this that makes me tell her to take it a step at a time...is it the speed at which it’s all happening or is it the sudden emotion that she says she is feeling? I don’t know. The trouble is that, while she may not be a babe in the woods, my friend is an extremely innocent and straight person...the kind that you don’t come across these days. And, I guess I just don’t want her to get hurt...especially because she really likes the guy. Anyway, I’ll be keeping my fingers, and toes, crossed that it works out for her.

***

A few days ago, I received a picture postcard, on which the sender had written some lovely lines from Neruda. For some reason, and not necessarily because there is a direct or indirect connection between them, those lines immediately reminded me of what must rank as some of my favourite lines in poetry.

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

— T.S.Eliot

That’s life, isn’t it? A constant process of learning and, if I may tweak the words a little, of constant disillusionment. Of having to start over.

Call it my defense mechanism, but I don’t expect that things will work out for me or that a project will materialise or that someone will live up to my expectations...because I have no expectations. Sure, I’d like a lot of things to happen but I just don’t have any expectations from anyone or anything. In fact, my friend, whom I’ve mentioned above, always asks me if I’m excited about the upcoming TV series. I should be, I know. Because, all said and done, it is a bloody big project. But, over time and with experience, I’ve learnt that things don’t happen until they actually happen...and this is true of everything in life. Just because something should happen, doesn’t mean it will. So, my answer to her, as always, is that I know better than to be excited. Cynical? Maybe.

But to return to what I was saying, what strikes me as really funny, on the rare occasions that I can see the funny side of this, is that even with the lack of expectations, people still have this amazing ability to disappoint you. Not in who they are but in the way they conduct themselves.

On second thoughts, then, maybe I exaggerate the absence of expectations in myself. Because, maybe, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have any.

All this, of course, stems from a recent experience but, to be honest, it’s nothing serious or even important. One lives and learns...and that, I think, is what worries me more. Because one learns to be afraid. One learns to be distrustful. And, one learns to be cynical.

30 Comments:

Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

i've also found i'm generally quite underwhelmed when long-awaited things actually do happen. does that happen with you as well?

5:10 pm  
Blogger km said...

TR, what you describe is a sure sign of an incongruence between one's current state and past state. Part of the "growing up" process, I suppose.

Ghost, a funny thing I've learned about projects and keeping expectations low: what you fear the most WILL happen. Lowering expectations is a way of dealing with the fear of failure (not failure itself), but worse, it always pushes me into that funky, algae-covered pool of stasis.

7:41 pm  
Blogger Arthur Quiller Couch said...

Dude, you'd be a lot more fun if you'd loosen up a little. You won't comment on my blog because we had that issue about "reel / real". You won't mention specifics that have upset you. Come on, spit it all out!

And if your friend ever asks, tell her she's doubly a fool - once for getting hitched and twice for getting hitched at short notice.

8:01 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

TR: Not really. Not as a rule, at any rate. But b'cos I keep the expectations as low as I do, sometimes, I do feel a little overwhelmed when things work out :-)


KM: I didn't mean this only abut projects and work. About lowering expectations...I agree. It's almost as though I'm trying to cushion the fall before it comes. You know, if I didn't know better, I'd go so far as to say it's all a big conspiracy :-)


Arthur Quiller Couch: Oh man, is that what you think? That I don't visit your blog and leave a comment b'cos of that "reel/real" thing? I wish you'd mentioned this earlier b'cos it's so not true. The only reason I don't visit your blog is because you hardly ever put up a post. Not regularly, anyway. Then, when I remember and go there, I find that you haven't posted for a while. On occasions I may not have posted a comment simply b'cos I didn't know what to say immediately, as with your previous post.

Besides, do me a favour and go back to the reel/real post and check...I've read many posts after that and left MANY comments too. I think you've got this mixed up with someone else...Honestly, I only stopped visiting regularly because I find that you don't post as often. If I had any problem with you, I wouldn't have visited your blog at all.

It's entirely up to you to believe, or not, what I've said. But, as far as I'm concerned, I have no problem with you. And, to be honest, I quite love reading your blog :-)

About my friend, I'm not sure she's a fool for getting hitched (or even wanting to get hitched). But, as far as the short notice bit is concerned, that's why we're keeping our fingers crossed...so that it works out.

Finally, you're right about one thing. I do need to lighten up but, believe me, not nearly as much as you might think ;-)

10:34 pm  
Blogger Prerona said...

All the best to ur friend. I understand what you wrote abt interms of feeling a wish to call her back and tell her to go slow, be careful ... but i guess like u said life is about experiences and they bring us our learning or gifts with the the price of the risk of getting hurt. the balance between the lesson learnt, the gift, the hurt, the price, varies maybe :)

1:20 am  
Blogger Fingers said...

Undo
Undo
Undo
All that learning to be
afraid
distrustful
cynical!

1:15 am  
Blogger kundalini said...

ghost - if, in fact, you are able to keep expectations low, i consider you very fortunate. you must definitely suffer less than most. :)

9:14 am  
Blogger Bidi-K said...

best of luck to your friend! and all the best also for your series. i have always found that low expectations do help... the good part is that when things do work out better than you expect, then you feel much more happy/relieved than if you had high expectations and you grew grumpier when they failed you a bit each time.

1:16 pm  
Anonymous chandni said...

what cynicism!!!!!

c'mon life is not that bad...all the time!!!

If there's been a recent bad experience and u're thinking of everything negativel, there will be a time when things will work out and then u'd be more positive!!!

good times and bad times have to go hand in hand or atleast alternate in everyone's life...its never all good and never all bad!

2:44 pm  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

Cynical or not I find it hard to believe that someone can be devoid of expecattions. Expectations are what makes every relation unique. We have them inspite of ourselves. We cannot help it. And they are the ones that hurt the most. Like you say one keep learning.

5:54 pm  
Blogger sattva said...

ghost, i just cant not expect, tho maybe, with a few people, i have reduced my expectations; but ONLY maybe. we'll know the next time i am disappointed :)

and i dont think one learns to be distrustful/cynical/afraid. i think one 'chooses' to learn to be so. one can choose to learn other lessons out of the same experience.

6:17 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Prerona: I know what you mean but it's a bit like being saddled with so many useless gifts that one doesn't know what to do with them :-)



Fingers: :-) This learning process is not voluntary, you know that :-)



Kundalini: That's what I tell myself :-) but I guess it's impossible not to feel disappointed and let down at times. And, like I said to TR, since I consciously try and keep the expectations low, it is sometimes a little overwhelming when certain things happen.

10:56 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Bidi-K: Hi there! Absolutely. It has to be the, for want of a better word, fear of disappointments that makes us keep our expectations really low. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?



Chandni: Sometimes things do get that bad, don't they? And, it's only when they don't even out that you start to get a litle cynical about what is happening around you.



M: You're absolutely right. I did concede immediately that it isn't possible to be human and not have expectations. You're also right about how we do it in spite of ourselves. But, what is also true is that, at the conscious level, I do try and keep them very low, if at all. Don't you think this is also a lesson that one learns from life...to be wary?



Sattva: I concede, one cannot not have expectations. Maybe the degrees vary but we all have them, except that some of us keep them very low.

About your second point, sure one can choose to learn other lessons from those experiences. But, like I said to Chandni, when things don't even out, quite involuntarily, you start to learn some other lessons. You know this is something else that I've wanted to write about...maybe soon :-)

11:12 pm  
Blogger Szerelem said...

you know i think Krishna was on to something when he said do your duty and dont bother about the results. Sure its not easy (and it probably shouldnt be) but its something to strive towards i guess.

Best to your friend. Slow and steady is the way.

12:46 am  
Blogger Fingers said...

The unlearning could be voluntary.

1:01 am  
Anonymous chandni said...

that's true...one can be wary..but that ia exactly what I am trying to tellu...despite the bad times and how long they last....the belief that its temporary, just like happiness is....is called faith and dont lose that irrespective of all other things!

:)

1:53 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Szerelem: Sure, will convey the best wishes to my friend but, considering that she hasn't called for 4-5 days, I'd say, she's doing rather well :-)

About doing your duty and not worrying about the result...it's tough, as you say, but I have no major problem with it, except that, after a point, it gets tiring. And, in terms of what you've written on your blog, after a point, you begin to question the absurdity of it all.


Fingers: No arguments with that but for how long? After a point, you get tired and start questioning things.


Chandni: If you mean having faith and a positive attitude are important for one to keep going, I'm okay on that count b'cos I can keep on even without that motivation. In that sense, I'm okay b'cos the only way I know is to keep going. But I've long since stopped believing that the bad phases, like the good ones, are temporary.

I think I'm starting to sound like a stuck record :-)

11:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess, the T.S. Eliot line is how 'run lola run' starts right?

6:11 am  
Anonymous Hiren said...

Finding the right occupation is as important as finding the right life partner if not more - Make your passion your profession

Then what happens if when it has to happen as you have rightly pointed out.

9:50 am  
Blogger scout said...

I know this will sound very politically incorrect and blah blah... but I have to say it... I get some sort of pleasure out of reading your blog and knowing that I'm not the only one without expectations from most people and things in my life. Not to say I'm unhappy - I find that amusing myself comes easily... but I've stopped caring - and though, to a rational person, a thought like that may be scary - I think it makes perfect sense to me. At least until something smarter comes along! :D

11:30 am  
Blogger MockTurtle said...

I agree with Scout. Low expectations are the way to go.
I always assume that everyone I don't know is a selfish asshole and that all situations will work out in the worst possible way if left alone.
That way when people are nice or situations work in my favor I can take it all as a huge bonus.

..also I know a NY city banker currently posted in Delhi and looking for a bride - it would be too much of a coincidence, right?

8:08 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Anonymous: Really? I wouldn't know...haven't seen the film. However, I do know that, for most part, Lola keeps running through the film. With so much running, she has to arrive somewhere, no?:-)



Hiren: Just what I wrote in a proposal long ago :-)



Scout: Oh, you can always count on me not to have expectations :-) And, no, that doesn't sound scary to me, which must make me an irrational person :-) But, seriously, the fact that I can still feel disappointed and, at times, disllusioned must mean that, even though I argue to the contrary, I do have some expectations. B'cos it's just not possible for us to be completely devoid of them.



Mock Turtle: No, couldn't be your friend. B'cos the guy I'm talking about has been in Bombay ever since he arrived, except for a brief personal trip to Delhi. Then, he's a CA and didn't come looking for a bride...for him the bride and work happened at the same time :-) Coincidence would've been nice :-)

11:12 am  
Blogger footnotz said...

A recommendation on getting 'Temple of the King'. The number is available on a collection called 'Rock Idols'. The compilation has been brought out by Universal Music. It's available at Planet M in Mumbai (I don't know where you reside). You could try!

1:11 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Footnotz: Okay, thanks :-) I'm in Delhi at the moment but a trip to Bombay is coming up very soon. Shall go down to Planet M. Thanks again :-)

5:28 pm  
Blogger sophie said...

i love those lines - they
also begin the magus by John
Fowles...

7:15 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Sophie: Now that you mention it, yes, of course! :-)

11:44 pm  
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