“You can’t always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes you just might find,
You get what you need”
Prelude: Just sometime back I mentioned in one of my status updates that it is easy to get your faith back when there are many things in life you are grateful for and you don’t know who to thank for all of them. I had spent the better part of the last three years cribbing and complaining about how life sucks at a hundred different levels, and in the process, had found solace in declaring myself an atheist (though it must have been horrifying for my extremely spiritual parents, and left them wondering where they went wrong with me). But this post is about unadulterated gratitude. And about wanting to believe in the fairness of it all, even though the ultimate wisdom to be handed down for ages has been “Who said life is fair?”
When this semester began around three weeks back I was this hopeless pathetic mess wallowing in self-pity and wondering out loud what I had done to deserve all the loneliness and pent up frustration inside me. I would brood about it half the time and the other half sigh and complain some more to anyone who would care to listen. Mostly it would be R who would have to bear the brunt of it with most of the conversations ending in teary “Why the hell are you so far away from here?”s and “I hate you for not being with me”s. And just yesterday (yeah, three weeks was all it took) I had this sudden warm fuzzy feeling inside me that made me look back on all those times with a little regret, a little embarrassment and well, loads of self-criticism (That it was right after my HUGE shipment of dark chocolates and liquor chocolates had arrived from that land far far away just goes to show just how important I think chocolate is for world peace, and why I swear unwavering loyalty to this manna for the mortals).
So I was talking to R yet again, or rather, trying to, because all that happy hullabaloo rendered me incapable of coherent speech, and counting out loud all my blessings (exactly, me the atheist talking about blessings) and then remarking that I would have to be an extremely selfish woman if I didn’t take note of all of them. And that’s what made me think about the whole idea of why more than getting what we want, it should be about getting what we need. Because if truth be admitted, half the time we don’t know we want.
I mean, when this semester began I wanted to be left alone to brood on my own, and I wanted my so-called “space”, and I disliked my new room mate for the sole reason that she was sharing a room with me when I had got used to being on my own. I wanted to spend evenings all alone in my room with the blessed net and music and coffee, in contrast to going out for the whole evening, every evening, like I used to in the previous semesters. Most of all I wanted people to let me be depressed at peace. And that was what I thought I wanted to be happy. Little did I know what I needed.
I think it all changed from the moment I got to know me and my room mate share the same birthday. And I believe it was that very thing which made us strike up a conversation, and heaven knows now we can’t stop talking once we start. We even have the daily evening tea ritual which we religiously follow no matter what. And while I had sworn off stage performances and the unwanted limelight which would later invariably translate into infamy in this sad, sad place, all it took was one kick-ass show with my band to get me back into my groove. Just like I suddenly realized that, while all my life I had been complaining about how all my friendships are one-to-one, and I never really belonged to a “gang” like my sister did (and still does), I found myself being surrounded by not one, but many groups of friends for the first time in my life. And it was not even because I consciously sought them out, but because I simply gave up trying to get what I wanted (or thought what I did). So while it was crazy lunatic midnight laughter sessions at times, at others it was about belting out song after song to karaoke videos in my room. Or a good meal at a good restaurant in “town” (we live, by definition, in a “farm”) with free-flowing conversation on the side. Or being able to walk around the town aimlessly with girl-friends, window shopping and at times reveling at a chance bargain. Or knowing that a soul-sister I have never met was celebrating my birthday in some far away part of the country; something no one had done for me before. I know now it was just what I needed to be pulled out from the abyss of misery I had dug myself into. And I got it without even trying.
But of all the good things to have happened to me, I guess the best was the one that happened without me even knowing about it. And it took me some time to realize that what I had most needed to save me from myself was none other than my “pardner” in everything, R. I had always known what I had wanted in my so called soul-mate for life. Now I know all I needed was a friend who would tolerate me through all my cribbing and crying and complaining, and worse, through my bouts of mush overload and extreme affection when I almost smother and suffocate him. I thought I wanted a poet, one who would sing praises for me (in rhyme, too!) and sweep me off my feet with his words. What I needed (now I know!) was someone who would let me dabble with my words in peace, and appreciate it with all the sincerity of someone who doesn’t do it himself. I thought I wanted someone who I could take care of, when actually I needed someone to take care of me. I thought I wanted someone to laugh along with, but well, I needed someone who could make me laugh at myself.
All said and done, I come back to what I had started with. For all the times when I had yelled out “Life’s not fair!” because I hadn’t got what I wanted, I want to say a thank you for getting everything I needed. And maybe it is how it must be for most of us. We don’t really know if we need what we want. The trick is to realize the difference between what we want, and what we really really need. The sooner, the better. And allow me to gloat, but I feel what makes me lucky (and hence concede the fact that there is some fairness in the world after all) is that I got what I needed without even knowing that it was not what I had wanted.
Adios for now from a very happy me.