Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hard to get

I find that I was in error when I thought of the respect accorded to being hard to please as some sort of isolated reaction. ("So, what else is new?" you say, I know, having assumed that, if I say something, it has to be erroneous. I cannot always be answering you hecklers.) I have now realized that it is only a subset of a more generic condition. That which is easy to get has no value and people chase after what is hard to get and, thus, a compliment from an 'easy to please' person has no value since it is not hard to get.

Let me first define what I mean by 'hard to get' before I get into specifics - otherwise you may end up bombarding me with online and offline options that make things easy to get anything (though, hitherto, I have mainly seen ads that make selling things easy) with appropriate footnotes indicating various financing options that will tell me what my EMI will be but will conveniently remain silent on how long I would have to continue paying them.

Where was I? Ah! The definition of 'hard to get'. I do not merely mean things that will require you to cross the seven seas and climb seven mountains; brave the efforts of genies and demons to stop you; pass through fire and plunge into active volcanoes before you can find them. Nay, in fact, I do not even talk of such things. I only talk of the more mundane things that will chain you to your desk, wailing for freedom, while you work on earning enough to pay that confetti shower of bills that shall inevitably land at your doorstep every month. Or those things, which will cost you so much in effort and stress that, when you eventually do get what you slaved for, you may not have any time or energy to do anything with them.

A thing that is 'hard to get' is worth far more than anything that you may think you want. If you are guaranteed a decent living, what would you prefer - a six bedroom independent villa, household help, a dependable power supply from your own gen-set, a sparkling river by the house, clean air and a huge garden OR a one bedroom flat on the sixtieth floor, no household help, erratic power and water supply, smog-ridden air and a couple of wilting potted plants? A no-brainer! The latter, of course! Why? Well - the one-bedroom flat would probably cost you a few crores since sixty floor buildings are likely to be in the heart of a city whereas a six-bedroom villa would probably come cheap since it would be in the heart of the hinterland. And, if the latter is so easy to get, it must be value-less.

I had read a SF story long back about a future time where the protagonist lives in a huge house with all the luxuries and only one day of work permitted to him. He dreams longingly of the day when he would rise so high in Society as to be able to afford a single bedroom non-service flat and six days of work! The future projected by that author seems to be today's reality. The successful people of today are the ones who work 24x7 - as opposed to the 'losers' who only work a five day week of eight hours each. As for the living accommodation, check the previous paragraph.

So, there we all go, playing a giant game of monopoly and collecting all the items, which we can possibly collect, that Society has decreed hard to get. And, if someone asks you about it, the following conversation will probably ensue.

"What are you rushing to get?"
"This hard-to-get-thing"
"Do you really want it?"
"Of course I do"
"Why?"
"Because it is hard to get"

And off you go to pledge the next five years of your life to get a SUV, which will take you an hour of crawling and a lot of curse-power to maneuver through the half kilometer of narrow roads that separate your house from the main road, once each in the morning and the evening. The less said about what happens after you reach the main road the better.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that what is hard to get is the only worthwhile thing to pursue. An intra-city forest a few kilometers away from your house is so much trash when you can spend half a month's earnings on a weekend getaway. As they say, "Ghar ki murgi, dal barabar" i.e a gourmet meal at home is nothing more than another hamburger whereas a hamburger in a five-star hotel is a gourmet meal.

SO - all you guys eagerly reading my lips for pearls of wisdom - if you want respect, play hard to get. Don't blame me, though, if no-one strives to get you. It is not given to everyone to walk that thin line between playing hard enough to get so the getting seems worthwhile and playing too hard to get.

AND, no, my being single has got nothing to do with having failed to walk that line!

26 comments:

  1. "It is not given to everyone to walk that thin line between playing hard enough to get so the getting seems worthwhile and playing too hard to get." - Guruve Sharanam :) :) :)

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    1. You make it sound like I am teaching a course in some online university, Mahesh :)

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  2. Oh I'm one of those losers who works only 5 days a week and hates extending beyond the mandatory 9.15 hrs...Ofcourse, there are 'successful' managers who tell their subordinates that they dnt like people who work from 9 to 6 as what is done beyond that is a value add... !! I think I have to play hard to get! D

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    1. I think you do not run after what is hard-to-get, Naba! Nor did I :)

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  3. well atleast l like to believe that I am hard to get :P

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    1. And I hope you are not always running after what is hard to get :)

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  4. Hmmm, I'ld love to be that protagonist of the Sf you mention. Sounds like lot of fun! I am too lazy to run after that 'hard to get' which will unravel into a never ending list!

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  5. I have had a lot of people calling me "hard to get". I still do not know what that meant :P

    Most people pretend to be "hard to get". They are the most easiest catch I have seen. Professionally, you would be named a snob and ignored for the rest of your life :D

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    1. Do they mean 'get' as in possessing (Get you for a friend and things like that) OR 'get' as in understanding (I did not quite get you sort of thing) ? :) ME - I am a easy mark and everyone knows it - and easy marks also get ignored for the rest of their lives :)

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  6. Brought a smile on reading this post... Well written!
    Guess playing hard to get has its pros n cons...
    But you ought to maintain a balance not to shift to either extreme...
    On one end your value goes up n on the other you become someone whom everyone chooses to ignore...

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    1. Life is such a tight-rope walk and I have no head for heights. Alas! :)

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  7. That's thought provoking and a little different from your usual dose of humor. What's the title of that story?

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    1. I have forgotten both the title and the author of the story, Saru!

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  8. A watchman is lolling at the gate when someone accosts him 'why don't you do some part time job to earn more?'
    Watchman -why?'
    accoster 'so that you can lead an easy life'
    Watchman 'i am already leading an easy life'

    Now please laugh!

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    1. Hahaha! Well, you know i am easy to please Indu :)

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  9. I am certain that I left a comment here yesterday. Anyway, I will try to reiterate. Lovely philosophical truths of life masked under your trademark humor, Suresh. Indeed, you said a lot in this short post than what the books take pages to say. I quite loved this one.

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    1. Thanks Rachna! So sometimes I do make sense :)

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    2. Dekho compliments par counter question -- yeh achchi baat nahin hai :-).

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    3. That was not a question -it was a surprising realization about myself :)

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  10. That is why diamonds are so expensive I guess. Always scarcity rather than value sets the price.

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    1. Nowadays, scarcity seems to be the only value :)

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  11. Suresh, you alarm me with that sci-fi dystopia you have mentioned. God forbid that such a thing were to happen. But that does emphasize your point. Is it because we are all hard-wired to chase the hardest things on earth? Time to switch to Geeta's philosophy.

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    1. Looks like we are hard-wired for that, Uma! And THAT Sci-fi dystopia is already here as far as i can see :)

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