Thursday, September 12, 2013

Acquiring an Ambition

I have always been pretty confused about the norms of Society. For example, I never really did understand why people looked down upon someone who lost money playing in a Casino but had great respect for someone who did the same in the stock markets. "Gambler!", they said in derisive terms of the former and "Stock market operator!", they said of the latter in tones verging on awe - though both will claim that they have used esoteric mathematics to develop a 'system' to play their respective games. Warren Buffet will be eulogized by the world while the man who breaks the bank at Las Vegas will not. Going by popular notions, he may probably earn himself a cement waistcoat where Buffet is treated as a guru.

If you won money in a lottery, they dismiss your achievement as mere luck but if the property you were hoodwinked into buying some ten years back suddenly became worth its square inches in gold they praise your acumen. Lacking the full quota of grey cells, I have always failed to understand the subtle difference between the two.

Naturally, this made it difficult for me to pick an ambition to pursue. If you cannot even make out the goal-posts nor can you identify whether you need to score goals or make runs, it is rather difficult to set a course for yourself. So, I followed the regular course of anyone in doubt - I consulted someone. The one big advantage of consulting is that you have someone else to blame for the subsequent disasters.

One of my friends was held up as the foremost example of a man with ambition and a dedicated pursuit of it. I went to him with all the reverence due to an oracle and put up my problem to him. And this is what he had to say.

* * *

You know that my dad was rich and he left me a humongous sum of money. So, naturally, I only wanted to ensure that all that money did not rust away in the banks and started spending it with joy. I had not realized the importance of having an ambition till my neighbors started talking about me as a useless wastrel. I, too, consulted a friend.

He asked me what if I had any ambition. I told him that my ambition was to wake up in the morning and drink myself silly till the night. He scoffed at me and said that it was a stupid waste of time ingesting that garbage and not an ambition. I could have taken any insult to myself, but I could not take that insult to the noble God, Bacchus, and, so, I left him in a huff.

My problem still remained. One of my friends was known as an offbeat achiever and I thought he would have a more sympathetic approach to my problem. I asked him to tell me about how he became known as ambitious. He said that he pursued his passion - though it was offbeat - without regard to what Society said and, now, they respected him. I told him that I, too, had this offbeat passion to drink myself silly every day and, despite having diligently followed it for the last three years, Society still did not respect me. He laughed derisively and said it was an indulgence and not a passion.

I tell you this thing is crazy. You are not free to select your own ambition. Society has all sorts of nitpicking rules about what will be considered an ambition and what will not. Unless your aim fits into those rules, they will not validate it as an  ambition. Why, if you played computer games all day, you are merely fooling around but, if someone in China earns a salary for doing it and piling up points for some American to start his game from the more difficult levels, that Chinese chap was being ambitious. Ridiculous, I tell you. For a moment I thought of just giving up on acquiring an ambition and live as I pleased. The problem is that I am - like the rest of us - hard-wired to worry about what the neighbors thought of me and cannot rest happy unless they are satisfied.

I thought long and hard, let me tell you. Then one fine day, this brilliant idea floated up on top of the Scotch. I told the world that I had decided to become the world'd foremost expert on liquors and was trying out every single liquor in the world in order to gain a complete command of the subject. You will not believe the results.

I still drink myself silly from dawn to dusk - with full Social approbation - and my neighbors now say, "Ah! He was wasting his time till he developed his passion. Now, look at the single-minded dedication with which he pursues it. Everyone must learn from him." Why, they even come bearing bottles from distant lands that their sister-in-law's niece's cousin brings over in order to further my ambition. And, let me promise you, I do not slack an instant in the pursuit of my ambition.

* * *
That was most certainly an eye-opener for me. So, all you had to do was make what you want to do seem like something that Society would want you to do and, presto, you had an ambition. The issue was simple - instead of trying to decide what Society would want you to do, just pick on what suited you best and think of how you can dress it up for Society and there was your ambition.

Now, the problem is that all I wanted to do was loll around in bed. What do I say it is for? I cudgeled my brains only to find that finding my brain was far more difficult than cudgeling it. I may well have been resigned to a life without ambition but for the coincidence of seeing a TV program of someone eating glass bottles.

Now, why did I not think of something so obvious? If you wanted to dress up anything, however silly, as an ambition, all you had to do was be in training for the 'Guinness Book of World Records"

So, now you know my ambition. I am training to set a record for the longest time spent in bed!

74 comments:

  1. You just can't defeat me at the longest time in bed! That has been my passion all through! Have pursued that better than the best! :D

    Jokes apart, good observation.. That is what advertising is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are still working and I retired early and YOU dream of beating ME at spending time in bed? :) Sleeping in office does not count :)

      Thanks, Pradyumna!

      Delete
  2. "If you cannot even make out the goal-posts nor can you identify whether you need to score goals or make runs, it is rather difficult to set a course for yourself." - Sound like my story. :)And then - "all you had to do was make what you want to do seem like something that Society would want you to do" - Bingo! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, I hit the target every now and then, Sakshi? :) Wish I could do it all the time :) Thought I had lost you after the Write tribe deluge :)

      Delete
    2. Lost me? Not in this life-time, no ji. Unless, of course, you get that tattoo on your face you spoke about. THEN, and only then I may consider "un-following" your blog, if that's a word. If it isn't a word, well, then I won't do it anyway. :)So I am here to stay - deluge, flash floods or the end of days itself! :)

      Delete
    3. Hahaha! Well that misapprehension came cos of yr silence on the previous couple of posts :) Aadat ban jaye kisi cheez ki tho phir withdrawal symptoms hona tho aam baat hai :)

      Delete
    4. I have missed some posts? I remember reading the Wedding one the last. I will go over and read. The loss is all mine. :)

      Delete
    5. I missed you on them is more like it :) There were two :)

      Delete
  3. All right! you set a record for the longest time spent in bed, let me not give you competition there, though I can beat you if I did :)
    How I envy those who travel around the world and eat, and get money and fame for that. I am not interested in the fame part, but if only I could earn while travelling and eating, so that I can travel and eat more :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a laudable ambition. You pursue that and I will pursue my sleep :)

      Delete
  4. You can specialise in Yoga albeit one asana i. e. Shavasana. You can open a special place where you and others can indulge in shavasana the whole day. You can earn money and also follow your passion. What say? I'll arrange some fantastic blogger to write the ads in the flyer ;)

    Joy always,
    Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Earn money - that would mean collecting the damn thing, paying income tax. service tax and filing returns - too much work. Been there done that - why do you think I stopped consulting :)

      Delete
  5. I just LOVE this post. So much that I am going to read it again. It strikes a beautiful chord with my mind strings. Damn society and its hypocrisy. Long live indolence, the only virtue worth emulating. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At last! I have struck a chord with you Alka! :)

      Delete
  6. Suresh,my ambition is to find my ambition.It is a bit difficult since many have fleeted through my brain till now-what should i do Guru ji?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem Indu - pick something you want to do and train for the Guinness Book of World Records :)

      Delete
  7. Lol...this was awesome. Now I am realizing that I should be sorry that I didnt refer to humour for your post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm! Glad that my humor has also found favor with you Sugandha :) But I meant it - I loved the fact that someone thought my blog worth bookmarking on the strength of the non-humor posts alone.

      Delete
  8. There is no free lunch with Buffet.....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ahhh! Finally you spoke my heart out! Damn this society and its norms! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hahahahh...and how will you know that you have won the approval of society over your ambitious lolling in bed? When they bring you casseroles?
    I must say, if that plan is working for you, I might like to be just as ambitious!
    That was damn funny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will know when they stop coming with buckets of water to pour over my sleepy head :)

      Thanks Rickie!

      Delete
  11. My ambition is to retire early, but as you know, Society expects a man to suffer thru 60 before he can call it quits. The alternative I have found is to tell everyone you are consulting. You don't have to go into details of who you consult for, what you consult in etc etc. As long they think you too are suffering, Society lets you alone and "respects" you for the suffering :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell me about it :) Did I not do exactly that for a time :)

      Delete
    2. Yes you did, you did!

      But, as you pointed out in a previous comment, you actually made money which created "work" for you with filing taxes etc. I plan to learn from your experience and have a "successful" consultancy making absolutely zilch :)

      Delete
    3. That's always the problem of the pioneer - he always has to do more than those who follow :)

      Delete
  12. So enjoyed your lolling errr drilling the point in :). That was one smart way to twist ambition to get society's sanction. And I am sure you are doing a great job at being lazy. People do bring you food, don't they? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do They do :) And I am grateful to all of them - when I can take a break from sleeping :)

      Delete
  13. Ambition to sleep all day long and setting a record is just what most Indians like to do! Now the candidate for future PM has also endorsed a full roti and only 100 days of work to further make competition more challenging for you:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liking is easy, Rahul :) It is doing it that is the real test :)

      Delete
  14. LOL ! Suresh, great writing as usual ! I think you can even try for sleep-consultant with so many people having insomnia these days or even a mattress-tester :) Jokes apart, I too love to "Zzzzz".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ash! Been there done that :) Consulting is too much work even if it is only of accounting for the income :)

      Delete
  15. So true! Even my mother asks me that why am I not doing anything in life. She forgets like her I am also 'managing' a home with the unruly inmates. So to get her off my back I say "I am blogging"! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You MUST read "Indolent Pleasures" on this blog for that 'doing anything in life' bit :) Thanks, Ilakshee :)

      Delete
  16. Well, after writing such an ambitious enlightening post, you ask us, what do you say? Tell the world you are testing which mattress gives you the best sleep and no pains..:P...Good one, Suresh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No No! I am training for the World Record :) Don't want people asking me every other day what is the nest mattress :)

      Delete
    2. You had me in splits with your reply :)

      Delete
  17. I really like computer games. When I was little, my second aim was to become a game developer. Then, since nature follows the least resistance path, I read somewhere that there are game beta testers and all they have to do is play games and review them and get paid for that. I thought, wow, that is what I would like to do, play all day, indulge myself in games and be happy. Then my father pulled out this article saying 'Computer Games stunt teenagers' brains' and I was disappointed.
    Now that I am past that, I still want to play games, and probably develop them too, but there are other, real games that go on every day in my life which need to be played. And much of it is because society would not feed me if I did not feed it.

    Nice, humourous post there, and best of luck with staying in bed. That is my favourite hobby!

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

    ReplyDelete
  18. That is smart, Suresh! You are achieving your ambition lying low. Thanks for the usual dosage of tickles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks to a friend who's ambition is getting achieved by being felled by liquor :) Thanks Uma!

      Delete
  19. Can't stop laughing! Love the way you bring out laughter in everything :)
    Staying in bed all day, everyday would be fun!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have a similar problem, Suresh. I insist you let me meet your friend :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do you need him Diwa? :) You have the solution anyway :)

      Delete
  21. yeah sigh ! most of the time our society end up making decisions for us:( Now I wish I was as ambitious as you ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm! I am going to spur the development of a lot of ambitious people, it appears :)

      Delete
    2. yeah you have a competitor now for the Guinness records eh !

      Delete
  22. i was a shopaholic. everyone advised me to spend responsibly. now i shop in bulk and people say, "way to go!"

    i quite like your ambition. i slept for 24 hours a few times. but i can do better.

    it was an awesome read!

    ReplyDelete
  23. My ambition is to retire as early as possible and then spend a lot of time in the hills. This would help me to avoid human contact which I think is very important to maintain my sanity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sink into the depths of sleep to achieve the same thing and you want to climb the heights :)

      Delete
  24. Every teen if left alone will beat you to the record, but unfortunately they will not be allowed to. So the record must be in your pocket already..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too much competition in my own age group - I have to train harder :)

      Delete
  25. There, I knew it. Bald men are intrinsically hilarious. I liked the 'cement waistcoat' bit. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Achyut! Now I know that line has not gone waste :)

      Delete
  26. Will you accept me as your disciple?

    Dagny

    ReplyDelete
  27. Everyone has some ambition or the other but the cruel world calls only a few people as ambitious eh Suresh! Sad! You could say you were trying to delve into the realms of telepathy and trying to get things working in the house with the power of the mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arre I have found something much less strenuous to say :)

      Delete
  28. Great post like this must be highly recommended. It is so nice to read such wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  29. After reading the post a song from Sindhu Bhairavi kept playing in my head - 'Thanni thotti thedi vandha kannu kutty naan...' :)

    Brilliant as always laughed a lot :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So - I showed you a way to get the thanni thotti to the kannu kutty :)

      Delete
  30. Tell tales of a confused mind.Lol.But on serious note i would love to indulge in same lollying ambition.And probably i might break kumkaran's record...:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Promises! Promises! :) Only I can try to keep this promise :)

      Delete
  31. Such things are called 'loka sangya' (लोक संज्ञा ). They (what is considered good/bad/acceptable/respectable) change with time and space. (काल क्षेत्र ).

    Good blog.

    ReplyDelete