There are times when I think I can't do things, there are times when I feel like giving up with things and then at times, I find a compulsive urge to ensure that I successfully complete whatever I am aiming at. And each time I find this compulsive urge, I find myself driven by a sea of confidence backing me with it. The downside of me being that rare are the times when I concentrate so much on a task that I find that 'compulsive urge' to get going.
What I recall as the one of the best turnarounds I managed was when I was studying in class XII. My school had the practice of conducting 2 prelim exams before the ultimate examination - one in the end of December, one in February while the final exam would be in March. I used to be one of the bright students in the class but hardly managed to remain so during most of the year of class XII. But I realized how low I had gone down only when I saw the results of the December exam coming out - I had flunked in Biology(!), I was booked for being low performer and was asked to attend additional coaching in Chemistry(which I did not attend). My scores in Physics and Mathematics were so so at around 60% range. It should have come as a total shocker for me as I was never used to such scores anytime before. The only consolation I had for myself was that I had not really given any attention to studies most of the year and spent time whiling away, and the scores were nothing more than a reflection of that. But we all know how important is to make a good score in 12th exams, otherwise for which the chances of getting to a good undergrad school would be doomed. Instead of getting panicky, I calmly decided that I shall spend rest of the time catching up and making sure I get more dignifying scores in the second prelims in February. The plan was to be in the top 3 of the class by then but I did not really think I would make it. I made elaborate planning for that and made timetables to ensure I will manage to study everything in the books within a span of one month. And so I did, sitting with the books 13 hours everyday without counting the Sundays off. And whatever I studied, I did with complete concentration, putting all my mind into the books and nothing else. The facts that I loved Physics and Mathematics and enjoyed solving problems also came to my rescue, but I had to accept and live with the resentment of remembering all kinds of chemical reactions and many other unwanted things in chemistry. With my complete intolerance to Biology, I kept it away from this schedule. After studying for exactly 30 days very meticulously, I came back to my relaxed manner and started spending my time carefree again. It is the February prelims results that showed me how well I had done all that - I was surprised myself with the results. I had surpassed my own expectations and had topped the class in Phy-Che-Mat and my scores were pretty close to 100 in all the 3! But neglecting biology had its effects and I had flunked it again. But that was no surprise for me. I repeated the whole exercise with Biology alone for a week for the final exams and managed to come out with decent scores in that too! In the final exam, and this time without any surprises, I had managed to top the class without any problems.
Looking back at it, it is not topping the class that makes me feel any good but the way I was able to turnaround things from a state of flunking. And what is really unfortunate is that more oft than not in the later years, I have found myself not reaching up to what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be not because it was out of my reach, but because I never made up that determination to succeed. Coming up to me now are a few occasions where I intend to do a few things but have been lax as usual in executing them. I hope I will get working to see them going flawlessly...
I am beginning to feel so alien-ish these days in these territories, and add to that is the fact that I knew it is going to be like that around 3-4 months back. High time I accelerate whatever I am doing towards changing things from the way they are. Further inertia can be expensive...
A couple of days back, I had gone for lunch in an upmarket restaurant in town with two of my friends. After we finished the lunch, as usual the steward got us the feedback form. We took a poll on the food quality.
So we ticked on 'average' from a choice of 'bad', 'average' and 'good'. Rest of the options such as ambience, service got good marks as they were indeed good and we returned the form. The steward had a look at the form, came back to our table and addressed B who had filled in the form.
Steward1: Madam, is there any thing wrong with the food?
We all echoed to him that food is fine. S1 addressing B again -
S1: But ma'm, you have said that the food is average. Any reasons blah blah blah....
Naturally we did not have any clear answer for it. We had just felt that the food was average and so we had ticked it, but we did not have any 'explanation' for that - something he was looking for. He looked at all of us in a questioning manner, as if we had committed a sin and we now need to justify it in his court. There was a moment of uneasy silence from our side as we frantically searched for an answer. Finally -
Me: There is nothing wrong with the food, it's alright, only we felt that it can taste much better.
S1 did not have much to say for this and returned. But that was not the end of it. Soon came another one who was listening to our conversation
Steward2: The thing is that average typically means it is not good and we need to understand if we can do blah blah blahhh
It was basically his problem but he was trying to get on us with it. And he seemed to be intent on getting a 'good' feedback from us and again this was getting nowhere with us. This time B was ready.
B(with gleaming eyes and feeling triumphant): Do you want us to just tick on 'good' or do you want an honest feedback?
She seemed to have a winning remark but S2 still did not heed and made some more remarks. He stubbornly persisted and it was again becoming an uneasy battle. Once again we were left with little to say and it was followed by a short stint of silence. This time A(who I have seen, is pretty good at handling/managing conversation with the staff at restaurants) had found an answer. She pitched in -
A: The so and so dish you had served had less(or more) of so and so ingredient blah blah blah...
Fortunately he did not have any explanations here. His face showed that he wasn't really expecting such quantified answer. He could not even hide his disappointment and simply said to A -
S2: Thank you ma'm (or did he say that at all?)
and returned back without even telling how he can try to improve that dish for us(for courtesy's sake at least). And so ended the conversation and we were all relieved.
While starting from home today morning, I decided to change the tape I had been listening to for more than a week or so. Just like driving without music is not much fun, listening to same thing for a long time is also no good. While going thru an ocean of cassttes deciding what to choose(decisions!), I saw a tape of Osho's preachings lying unattended. I recalled that it was (more or less) thrusted to me from a friend who said it is worth listening, but had never even played it once to see what is in it. Today, curiosity made me pick it up. I did not even notice what was the topic covered by this particular tape.
I inserted the tape and started listening to it. Osho's voice was coming out very slow, only a little faster than Ataljee and immediately I figured out it would be difficult to concentrate due to lack of quick flow of the message. My mind was consciously working to listen to the tape but it rarely worked -
Osho's voice: "...freedom and love. They are of no value when one attempts to find one and not the other. They must co-exist and one is never complete in the absence of the other. Freedom without love is lonelyness. Love without freedom causes possessiveness and leads to bondage..."
Me: ...When will our people learn how to drive. Especially these autowallas. They can't get any more rude. There is so little space and he is trying to squeeze into it...
...yes Osho seems to be speaking some sense, but I don't think that is completely correct view. Why should he speak low about a sect of people and condemn their views...
...God! please give that stupid person some sanity. Is there no limit to honking. What is he gaining out of that anyway. If he expects the road to clear suddenly as he honks, dream on...
And so it went and I had reached my destination. I was glad to see there was still some parking space left for me. And when I was getting out, I suddenly realized that the Osho tape had pretty much served the same purpose as playing music! Nothing more, nothing less!