Sometimes, on one of those very rare occasions of being ‘profound’, there is a serious thought that arises within. A thought that is disturbing and offers no sort of enlightenment; a thought that is a bit too obvious to be called a ‘thought’; a thought that reiterates the problem and issues a warning but offers no practical solution.
The thought about expectations; and how unfailingly it disappoints us every time when reality fails to match its high standards.
In a way, expectation can be equated to a business, where you invest something and it either turns out to be a profit or a loss. But then, the expectation business is far more sensitive, as the investment is more than ‘materialistic’. Here, you directly invest your emotions. And that can easily affect your well-being.
You should possess two key ingredients to immunize your well-being affected from your expectations. We shall come back to the first ingredient later. The second one, by the way, is luck. But regrettably, not many in this world have it. Resultantly, disappointment happens more often than not.
And, the well-being is affected more when the expectations involve the people close to you. A “gt sme wrk. nt sure abt meeting fa lunch nxt week :-/” text from the girl is good enough for the boy to be grumpy throughout the following week. A “Have to attend an important meeting, honey. We’ll visit your mom next month” from the husband is all that it takes for the dinner to go bad at house. An “I don’t think I can be there on your medal ceremony. Will definitely be there next time” from the dad could be the greatest killjoy the kid ever had.
Sometimes, it takes a great deal of effort from the other person to meet even the tiniest of your expectations. And so, after desperately seeking happiness, you end up reaching disappointment.
Yet, there was always one individual, very close to our hearts, who kept exceeding our expectations. ‘Fulfilling expectations since 1989’ would be an apt tagline for Him if He were a brand (actually, according to many, He is already one).
He kept fulfilling our expectations from Him, even if it grew in geometric proportions, day-by-day. He gave us a cozy blanket of warm joy to cover our worries and disappointments.
The expectations began when He announced His astounding arrival to a nation that was slowly falling prey to the epidemic of cricket, with a 664-run partnership with His friend on a school tournament.
He was then expected to translate his school success into the international arena. He was supposed to testify his title of ‘prodigy’ to the world.
He scored a test hundred at England as a 17-year old.
And then, He kept scoring them. And whenever he did, He gave us joy.
He was expected to make a transition from a prodigy to a genius who could master the whole world.
He conquered whatever he saw. He became a legend. More than anything, he became someone close to all our hearts.
Whenever things went awry in the game (which it did, most of the time) He was expected to save the day. Not anyone else; only Him. Because we identified Him as our hero and only He could give us our max-gratification.
We wanted Him to have the most beautiful cover-drive. We wanted Him to hold all the batting records. We wanted Him to win a match that was played after we were rocked by a deadly blast. We wanted Him to gift himself and us a world-cup win.
He quenched our thirst at every level: aesthetical, statistical, emotional, inspirational… To a nation that was perennially ill with the disease of cricket; He was the medicine.
But there’s something about human expectations: its appetite is never full.
As he kept fulfilling our expectations, we praised Him, rejoiced Him and venerated Him. And there began the problem. Along with the veneration, there were more expectations of an unrealistic nature. “God never fails; and so shouldn’t Him”.
There was an incredibly desperate period (for Him and us), when He was one step away from reaching that “supposedly” magical figure of a hundred international hundreds. Every time He went out to bat; He was expected to score it (by us-because we are suckers for statistics and symmetry. And himself-because we are suckers for statistics and symmetry and we will keep jabbing Him till it was achieved)
The little man couldn’t bear the collective expectation of a billion people. It started getting on to Him. He couldn’t live up to it.
He gave us disappointment.
We elevated Him to an altitude where He was not really comfortable. Probably He did not want us to use His pronoun beginning with a capital ‘H’. But then, we are humans. We easily get intoxicated with happiness and we keep expecting things from the people who materialize it.
So now, let us come back to the missing ingredient that cures this problem.
Try accepting whatever is offered to you and embrace it with both arms. Do not expect anything from anyone. And true happiness will find its way within you.
Now, probably you are wondering about the authenticity of the previous two lines, thinking if they were lifted directly from a self-help book that offers all types of ‘easy-to-hear-but-difficult-to-d0’ advices.
Of course, it is really difficult to apply that into our lives albeit great if we really manage do it. But then, this is not some ‘Make your life joyful’ article. This is an appeal to all of “his” fans, like yours truly, to expect nothing from him when he will step onto the cricket field for the last time in a series.
Enjoy watching him: his short-frame, his round white hat with the S.T. initials, his towering presence in the team huddle, his discussions with Dhoni, his cheer-yells, his devoted fielding, his divine batting, and if it happens, his uncanny bowling.
Have an open mind when he walks out to bat. All the drives, punches and cuts… let us relish every single bit of it.
Let us not throw up our hands in despair when he finally gets out. Instead, let’s thank him for whatever little joy he provided us during that inning. And for the infinite amount of joy he provided us for twenty-four years.
Let us not inhibit this joyous experience by putting a prefixed score in our minds. Even if he scores a first ball duck on all his four innings (touchwood), the mere sight of him on the field would make us happy. Such is the bond we share with him.
Let us not make him disappoint us in his last test series. He shall always remain as our source of joy.
Let us not expect anything from him; let us just accept.