This Lock down is leading to a lot of Frustration . It is possibly one of the most common emotions that people in India feel today . We just do not know what to do. There seems to be nothing that we can do. This is the most common feeling we carry in our lives. My mother used to say – With half an hour of rain the effect of six months of drought vanishes instantly. Similarly, a major part of our lives resemble the six months of drought, she referred to. A “Well done” by someone who matters, a bonus, a present, a kiss , a hug or just a plain pat on the back and we forget the six months of drought. Similarly, try hard to be patient and see out the drought in our lives. This particular drought and the drought that we are slated to face in the months ahead.
Now, all this is being said with the benefit of hindsight, that elusive mistress I spoke about earlier. Why is it that we write about our experiences? It is mainly to help those who maybe traversing through an area we did, and don’t know how to handle the terrain. Reading something like this can help you realise that there is light at the end of every tunnel, provided you search for the light. Remember, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashrath_Manjhi. Just imagine what motivated him. There was going to be no immediate success , no pat on the back, no recognition, nothing he sought from others. He simply knew what he wanted to achieve and he knew that meant a very long and lonely way lay ahead. He was prepared to face the frustration. In the end “He just did it “( Sorry NIKE). I’m just an ordinary journeyman and someone you can relate to.
In our careers we also have to go through months and months of barrenness and even failure to boot. All this easily leads to frustration and I am always reminded of https://www.britannica.com/biography/Robert-the-Bruce. Now, I do not want you to imagine that I am preaching what I haven’t practiced. In a life closing in to 58 years and a career of 36 trust me I have seen a lot of this. Riding back to the YMCA at Roypettah, Madras, after a day when nothing great happened at work, no letters from loved ones, just the same faces to see again, was frustrating. Knowing that you were not going to get a promotion despite what you thought was a good performance, again did little to lift your spirits. However, in the earlier years, when unlike today, instant gratification never happened, you learnt to put your head down and make the most of the situation. Even till a short while ago I have broken down and cried on my wife’s shoulder fed up of the lack of progress and the attendant problems. Her answer was , ” Don’t worry, This too shall pass”. The problem today lies in ‘Instant Gratification”. We do not have patience. It took me years of failure, problems landing one after the other, with seemingly no end, that made me pause and smile and tell myself. I can handle this in two ways – either smile or cry and give up. I chose to smile. I put my head down and decided to start cleaning up things. It will take me time to climb out of the rut, but I will. In the meanwhile I have to ensure that frustration, that devilish feeling, doesn’t overcome me.
As an analogy, I thought I must share this. I loved cricket more than anything, sometimes more than life itself. A good performance by India could lift me out of any bad mood. A poor performance ( and in my younger days there were more bad performances than good ones ) would just make me feel lower than a snake’s belly button. When I was travelling to Mumbai to bring my late fathers body back, as a 15 year old, I asked the air hostess to check with the Pilot if he knew the score of the India – Australia Test match in 1977-78. I listened and watched every match till the end, never walked off accepting defeat mid way. I always said, just one victory will wash away the disappointments of the various losses ( in a way copying my mum’s rain and drought analogy). I was in Muscat when Saurav’s boys beat Steve Waugh’s boys in Madras to clinch the series. My eyes filled with tears. I called my wife, who was in India then, and I was so happy. After almost 30 years of following cricket we beat a far superior team in test cricket. The wait was worth it. In fact, nowadays I can rarely recall, except when talking about the old days, over a few glasses of invigorating liquid spirits, the frustrations of the old days of Indian cricket.
A funny, yet sad story comes to my mind. While in college, we were a threesome of friends, Manoj, Shyam and I. Shyam sadly passed away 17 years ago but one evening, we were having a really great time at Wellington, at an UPASI dinner. So, it was decided that one person would limit his intake of booze and the other could get sozzled. I couldn’t drive so it was left to Shyam and Manoj. Sadly, Manoj was the designated driver. We left Wellington after midnight and as we drove back a very heavy mist came up from the Ketti Valley and we couldn’t see a thing on the road. Shyam was the better driver so we both asked him what to do. He slurred, use the dipper – bright, dim and watch every marking on the road, one marking at a time. Saying that he went back to sleep. We drove safely to Ooty – but the message was what saw us through. When the light was on full you saw nothing, the contrast, when the light was dimmed, allowed us to see the marking, one marking at a time. A lesson?
Do not allow frustration to get the better of you. Don’t look too far ahead of yourself. There is nothing you can do to handle the situation that may arise six months down the line. Move one step at a time. Each step taken is one step towards achievement of something positive. Remember, even retreat is a tactic used to win. Its important to take the step, whether forward or backward. Don’t stay stuck to one place. Live to fight another day. Don’t see a backward step as a defeat. Defeat can either frustrate you or make you more determined to win. The path you choose is yours and yours alone.
This is a paid opportunity for so many of those working as employees to get a Ring Side view of how this pandemic is defeated. Yes, it will be defeated. Yes, humankind will win. Humankind has to win, we do not know the price we have to pay for it, as yet. Now, there is no need to worry about how we will face the effects of this shut down. Of course the financial losses will be astronomical. Okay, fine. What can we do? We can keep ourselves occupied and wait this out. Exercise a bit, read a bit, do something. When we are able to get back to work remember we are ALL starting again. Just put your head down and take deep breaths. Do what you can do. Don’t try and do too much. Remember, no one else walking this planet today has any more experience on tackling this situation, than you do. We will all start on an equal footing, whether it is the Chairman of the largest Corporate body or the owner of the Chai Kada.
I will end for now by saying that there is no point blaming anyone or circumstances for your frustrations or failures. That will merely be a case of fueling your Self Pity. Today, we in Real Estate face huge challenges. I know many friends who have invested with me who are angry at the delays and losses. I cannot get frustrated as I have to calmly, without thinking of what others think of me and my actions, do what I have to do. If I succeed – good. If I fail, well, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The sun will rise again in the East and set in the West and life moves on. Hopefully, someone has learnt or will learn from your success or failure and benefited/benefit from it. So, a failure is not the end of the world.
Enjoy the weekend.
( Now, I’m going to take a break after this. I think we all need to sit down, ruminate, walk around and not get fed with too much information or advice. Have a good weekend)