Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
    Volume 8 Issue 64 | April 3, 2009 |

  Current Affairs
  Cover Story
  Writing the Wrong
  Art - Seeing life   through Symbols
  Art - Young,   Experimental and   Daring
  Star Diary
  Book Review
  Post Script

   SWM Home


‘It just wasn't meant to be’

Aasha Mehreen Amin

There are two types of people in the world, generally speaking. The overachievers and the underachievers (we do not accept the word 'loser'). Let's talk about the first category. These are the organised, disciplined and over efficient breed who have their whole lives planned out, down to the square of land that they will eternally rest in (you know with all the overcrowding these days). All you have to do is look at their desks to realise what neat freaks they are. Everything is in neat little piles, the 'right now' files next to the 'can be postponed till tomorrow' files next to the 'discard' files; the pictures of family members who look like models on one side, the shiny new computer on the other, the tidy little row of stapler, staples, staple-opener, scotch-tape holder next to the pastel coloured post ids, pencil holder, envelope opener and of course the squeaky clean mug that says 'You're the Best and Lord knows You Know It'.

These people know exactly where everything is - it's all been fed into their computer you see, in the latest software that categorises, sorts and labels all documents, events, friends, enemies etc. Needless to say, this species always remains outwardly calm and collected even when the computer has crashed taking irreplaceable files to the netherworld. Because these smart Alecs have made back up files in another computer!

At home their rooms are impeccably clean, books in alphabetical order of authors' names in the bookshelves, fluffy cushions on the bedspread, clothes in hangers according to days, occasions or colours, shoes and accessories, similarly organised.

These individuals manage office, kids, bills, socialising etc. as smoothly as a bored juggler who adds in a few more balls from time to time for a bit of challenge.

Then there are the rest of us. The well-intentioned fumblers who go through life stumbling through the obstacle race, falling frequently, sometimes flat on our faces or backsides, getting up and tumbling on again.

Nothing is smooth sailing for us, not even going to the office bathroom where the low-down may disintegrate with a single flush or a tap may come undone. We live in perennial clutter, at home and at work. The desk is a pyramid - of invitations to last year's weddings and seminars, bills we forgot to pay along with the late fee fines, keys to our former flat that we never found, magazines from the 80s, 2001 desk calendars, post ids of reminders we forgot to remind ourselves of.

Let's face it, things happen to us. We bang into the glass door, get the sequins of our saris caught on a stranger's blazer at a wedding (much to the suspicion of the vigilant wife), rabid dogs arrive out of nowhere when we go visiting a new, chic friend and the yellowest daal will fall on our whitest clothes (What were we thinking, wearing such a dangerous colour?)

Is it coincidence or some kind of jinx that we are destined to carry all our lives? A friend once told me it was the negative energy exuded from people like us that come out of negative thoughts, low expectation and general mistrust of everything. It goes something like this. You are standing in queue at the ATM booth. After a 20 minute wait when it is your turn the machine audaciously tells you that it is out of service. The security guard informs that the machine has probably run out of cash so just wait a little (maybe half an hour) for the bank staff to come in and get things going. I call this plain bad luck. My friend, the Optimist tells me it's because I was fuming away while in line and thinking 'something is bound to go wrong now', that's why it did. So basically it's your own fault if you're unlucky. Incorrigible optimists like my friend or shows like Oprah, will constantly tell you to ‘be positive, think positive and good things will happen to you.’

I keep repeating this mantra in my head every time a crisis threatens to give me a short fuse - like a regular columnist bunking at the last second on his/her column or the rare photographs of a famous personality which I had vowed to return, goes missing, or when the heel of my shoe implodes and crumbles away in the middle of a formal party.

Think positive, I say as the smoke seeps out of my ears. Everything happens for a reason. It just takes a lot of imagination to see it. Yet it is hard to see the beauty in the devastating scenarios just mentioned and so easy to look skywards and just scream silently: Why me? Why me?

But perhaps there is something to this 'think positive' notion. When we are stuck in the worst gridlock of the year during the worst downpour, we can look on the bright side. We can take a much-needed nap, daydream about being Nobel Laureates or watch the number of people creatively pick their noses while waiting in the traffic. Similarly, when the power goes off in the middle of the must-see episode of the last season of the coolest TV show, remain calm. It just wasn't meant to be.

.Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2009