To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Sunday, December 16, 2001
But the Best

It is a funny thing about life, if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it -- Somerset Maugham must have found that this principle worked for him. It used to work for me too. I would say to myself that when it comes to quality, I accept no compromise and never did.

But these days, I find it harder to stick to this rule. The act of decision- making has become something of a trauma. I cannot make up my mind even after excessive deliberation and even after I do, I’m not sure if I’ve done the right thing.

I can imagine why neither my sister nor mother would accompany me on a shopping expedition. There’s no way I could tire before I found exactly what I was looking for. Given the fact that I didn’t have the vaguest clue, it took some looking. When it came to selecting something as innocuous as a greeting card, I would pore over as many as it would take to find the one that described my emotions to a T.

Of course, I did find an exquisite pleasure in being complimented for my choice. But it was nothing compared to what I felt when I would reach the end of my search and know that all the effort was not a waste. I kept looking and in the end, I found.

How could it be wrong to set high standards? If you’re a person who cannot be satisfied easily, well, you can be thankful you can be satisfied at all.

I realized to my dismay that where this principle worked perfectly with ‘things’, it was pretty much faulty when it came to human beings. They refused to be slotted into the ‘good’ ‘better’ ‘best’ categories. There was nothing like a ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ person. (If you discounted the people you saw in the movies or read about in books).

Inspite of this knowledge, my hankering after the exclusive and the best had spoilt me drastically. I couldn’t get rid of the silly notion that there were hidden gems of people and that it was in my power and wholly upon my judgment to find them. Needless to say, the gems were never discovered.

At times, I would sense a little glitter, but it would turn out to be the subtle effect of darkness. When all is dark, your senses tend to play upon you and the most ordinary things seem to take upon a character and brilliance of their own. Doesn’t take too long for the illusion to fade. And when it does, the disappointment is acute. You haven’t come any close to finding the ideal and you can’t find it in yourself to be satisfied with the real.

I wish I didn’t have this fetish for the best. Maybe I would have been a far happier and contented person, if I didn’t try to evaluate everything in imaginary scales. If I could accept people for what they were worth and try to see the best in them. If I could free myself from agonizing moments of indecision and accept whatever came of my actions. If I could take whatever I fancied without muddling my head over whether it was best for me. I might not have found ‘just the thing’ but who is to say I might not have lost it ?

(For all that, I must mention, that I've come across some true gems of people........and furthermore, some of them have been good enough to accept me as a friend.......and but for whom, I would have still been like a boat without an oar !!)