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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Resentment's Permanent

A passenger on a train was giving the dining car waiter his order. " For dessert, " he said, " I'll have tart and ice-cream." The waiter said they had no tarts. The man exploded. " What? No tarts? That's absurd. I'm one of the biggest customers this railboard has.  Each year I organise trips for thousands of tourists and I've hundred of tons of freight transported on it. And when I myself travel on the line, I cannot get a simple thing like tarts! " I'll take this up with the chairman himself." The chef called the waiter aside and said, " We can get him the tart at the next stop." Right after the next stop, the waiter was back again. " I'm happy to inform you, sir, that our chef has worked on these tarts especially for you. He hopes, you'll like them. And, with them, we'd like to offer you this seventy-five year old brandy, compliments of the line." The passenger threw his napkin on the table, made a fist and shouted, " To hell with the tarts! I'd rather be angry!"

How empty our lives would be if we'd nothing to resent!!

Thomas Carlyle wrote that, " The basic human nature is to fret and fume even if man gets everything at his disposal." Not to be satisfied is the basic human tendency. We always look for the most flimsy opportunities to resent. Most of us enjoy food at receptions, marriages and on several occasions. We gorge on the food, belch with utmost satisfaction. But after returning home, we invariably comment, " Chhole badhia bane the par namak thoda kam tha" (Chhole were good but little vapid) or ice cream mein ek hi flavour tha or vanilla ice-creanm was too cheap, whereas you'd innumerable cups of 'cheap' vanilla ice-cream!! This is not just limited to food, but can be seen in our gudging and willy-nilly appreciation of people and things. We're never wholehearted in our admiration and somewhere leave a clause of not being happy. Even a poet with a much wider range of sensibilities also writes, " Kahin ek maasoom nazuk-si ladki, bahut khoobsoorat magar saanwli-si.." (There was a petite damsel, who was very pretty BUT  had a dark complexion). Here complexion is not  an issue. What's important is poet's somewhat stymied appeciation of beauty.  Resentment's permanent. It's a never-leaving trait. ' It's good but could have been better '. This attitude of unhappiness and incompleteness at everything always leaves us wanting for more. T S Eliot found William Shakespeare's near-perfect tragedy ' Hamlet' to be flawed. Where did he find a flaw in the Bard of Avon's legendary work is still unexplained. Jayshankar Prasad's epic 'Kamayani' is the quintessential work belonging to Chhayavad  genre of Hindi poetry and is ranked among the best 15 epics in the anthology of world literature, yet there're are people who argue relentlessly that it could have been written better.     
 Here's one more anecdote:

The man was a regular customer and the management did its best to please him. So when he complained one day that only one piece of bread was being given to him with his meal, the waiter promptly brought him four slices. " That's good," he said, " but not good enough. I like bread-plenty of it." So the next night he was given a dozen slices. " Good, " he said. " But you're still beig frugal, aren't you? " Even a basketful of slices on the table next day didn't stop his complaints. So the manager decided to fix him. He had a colossal loaf of bread baked specially for him. It was six feet long and three feet wide. The manager himself, with the help of two waiters, brought it in and laid it on an adjoining table, then waited for the reaction. The man glared at the gigantic loaf, then looked at the manager and said, " So we're back to one piece again! "

Lighting a candle is good, but cursing the darkness is fun!! When people travel by cheap airlines, they complain that take off was jerky and the landing wasn't so smooth (as if they're frequent fliers and were delivered on an aircraft!!). And there was not even tea, biscuits and sandwiches (like old Indian Airlines) served on the flight. They forget that when air fares are within commoners' reach, how can the airlines afford to provide any other extra service to the fliers? But our resentment goes on unabated. Because, we've to show our exasperation at any cost. Life loses its purpose without showing annoyance. James Morgan put it succinctly, " Man's unhappy, not because he's provoked to be unhappy. He's unhappy, because he wants to be unhappy."    
                                              ------Sumit Paul

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