When in doubt, be stubborn
Can you describe everything in one word? I can but the problem is my cynical disposition isn’t in tune with what is currently required of vocabulary. We need more cheerfulness and, in no fixed interval, loads and loads of success—and success here can be independent of money — stories. As of now, the overall mood is so sullen that we are reading too much into the dark side of things. Why do you think a positive news article gets pushed into the interiors of the pages whereas an appalling piece of information/statistics gets primal focus? People are shown what they want to see, not what needs to be shown or seen. Similarly, a garbage-y post on the Internet will clock more miles than a heartwarming one. It’s reductionist to say that this is how it is.
Because it’s not.
There’s an invisible societal conditioning in place that we neglect, which in turn, is leading to aggrieved distance between individuals. Words like common sense, dignity, care, humility, etc. are gradually getting dusted away along with empathy, concerns, remorse, rectification, etc. They apparently indicate weakness. Moreover, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to hold a conversation which doesn’t reek of cliches and jargon. Unless there’s a therapist involved.
It’s undoubtedly a worrying development. However, it’s not like we as a species got ourselves a makeover overnight. People were always at each other’s throats, behaving like crabs, but what this generation is witnessing is the transformative exhibition on display. We can see what’s going on for a change. Nobody is free of prejudice and everybody seems to be rooting for everybody else’s misfortune. Why? Because we conveniently assume that we are better than them. The worst part? It’s not even about envy anymore. We’re just turning into something else. Something afraid of what’s about to come. Something unsure but prefers to bask in ignorance instead of sticking its head out and seeking answers. Something that’s sold on appearance instead of depth. Something that desires progress in the future even at the cost of its present. Something far away from figuring it out but closer to giving up anytime soon.
We give up too soon, don’t we? I am personally a huge fan of the noble art of giving up on time. Nobody should hold on to the flag longer than the breeze wants him to. But i might be missing an essential note here: how am i supposed to know the right moment to give up? What if this? What if that?
I receive a lot of bullshit on WhatsApp. Yes, yes, who doesn’t? One look and even an untrained eye can detect the morph in place but sometimes, you stumble upon gems too. Last week, i did with this piece of a story.
Harsha Bhogle is full of cricketing stories but his favourite has to be the one featuring the former Sri Lankan cricketer Marvan Atapattu.
Making his debut in Test cricket against India in 1990 at the age of 20, Marvan scored a duck in his first innings. And another duck in his second innings. Obviously, the Sri Lankan board dropped him. So he went back to the nets for more practice. More first-class cricket. More runs. Waiting for that elusive call.
21 months later, he got his second chance. This time, he tried harder. His scores: 0 in the first innings, 1 in the second. Dropped again. He went back to the grind. And scored tons of runs in first-class cricket. Runs that seemed inadequate to erase the painful memories of the Test failures.
Well, 17 months later, opportunity knocked yet again. Marvan got to bat in both innings of the Test. His scores: 0 and 0.
Back to the grind.
Would the selectors ever give him another chance? They said he lacked big-match temperament. Also that his technique wasn’t good enough at the highest level. Undaunted, Marvan kept trying.
3 years later, he got another chance. This time, he made runs. He came good. And in an illustrious career thereafter, Marvan went on to score over 5000 runs for Sri Lanka. That included 16 centuries and 6 double hundreds. And he even went on to captain his country. All this despite taking over 6 years to score his second run in Test cricket!
How many of us can handle failure as well as he did? Six years of trying and failing. He must have been tempted to pursue another career. Change his sport perhaps. Play county cricket. Or, oh well, just give up. But he didn’t. And that made the difference.
The next time you are staring at possible failure or rejection, think of Marvan. Oh, one more thing, he is a qualified Chartered Accountant too!
We need more such tales of perseverance. They are out there hidden beneath the filth that’s floating above, obstructing our view. High time we restart our lives on a hopeful thought. High time i stopped describing everything as depressing.