Let me share two stories that I picked up over the years. I don't know who authored these stories and let me warn you that these stories may affect your sensibilities, for different reasons!
Story 1: An aged rich man managed to get a young girl into his bed... or was it the other way round? The young girl managed to get into the bed of the aged rich man? No matter how it happened, let us proceed with the story. They were cuddled up in the cosy bed and the aged man was getting into action.
Making right use of the occasion, the girl started demanding gifts. When he removed each cloth and touched each part of her, she held his hands and asked for a new gift - valuables like cars, diamonds etc. He kept on agreeing to all those demands and finally managed to get what he wanted.
Finally after the act, the girl wanted to make sure about the promises. She asked “My love, when will you fulfil all the promises that you made to me?”
To her surprise, he replied “Oh dear... what promises? Those were mere words to make you happier. Tell me; didn’t you get the best orgasm of your life now? That is the effect of those words!”
When she protested and accused him of being a heartless man to have gone back on his promises, he merely smiled and went on to say, “When I am hard my heart goes soft and when I turn soft my heart goes hard”.
Story 2: This story is set in a remote village of Kerala. It was a Sunday and the local Parish Church had assembled in full strength. The priest was giving his weekly sermon, trying to win back all those lambs that have strayed into the paths of sin. Trying to make his sermon more interactive and to prove his points, he kept on asking questions to the members of his audience. Some of the less believing types say in private that worse than the sermons was the priest’s habit of asking questions, because that compelled them to be attentive throughout.
His subject this week was the virtue of sharing one’s wealth with his neighbours. After speaking about the virtue of sharing, he started his question-answer session:
“Thomas, if you have two houses will you give one of them to someone who does not have a house?” Thomas replied “Yes Father”
“Chandy, if you have two cars will you gift one of those to someone who doesn’t have any?” Chandy promptly said “Yes, Father”.
Feeling very happy about the effect of his sermon on his followers, he continued. “Varkey, if you have two cows will you give one to someone who doesn’t have any?” To Priest’s horror Varkey whispered in reply, “No, Father”!
Priest chided Varkey for not receiving the lessons of God and being selfish unlike Thomas and Chandy who had very readily agreed to share their wealth with the needy.
Varkey, with downcast eyes replied “Forgive me Father, Thomas has only one house and Chandy has only one car, but I already have two cows!”
I know it is would be irreverence on my part, to explain the common thread in these stories to my readers. Yet, with due apologies, I am undertaking that task for the sake of completeness of this Blog!
Human beings are definitely more lavish in their words than their deeds. We keep seeing people making all kinds of promises, irrespective of whether they will be able to perform them or not.
I have known some people who are very sincere while making promises; with all good intention of fulfilling them. The problem is that while making such promises, they never consider the practicality of fulfilling them.
Yet another group of people are out and out frauds- making promises with the intention of breaking them once their purpose is served.
I don’t know in which of the above categories our politicians belongs to! May be there are politicians who belongs to both the groups? I sometimes wonder even our so called representatives of Civil Society are making grand promises, only because they don’t consider the practicality of fulfilling them or they are convinced about not being accountable for fulfilling these promises, ever.
Apart from the above mentioned specimens, lot of us fall in the group of normal people, who make promise without actively considering that one day we will in a position to fulfil them and when the occasion arises conveniently forgets the promise. Like that character, in a Malayalam movie, who promises to his Goddess a golden chain of 8 sovereigns if she resolves his problem, and then adds as an afterthought that the promise of 8 sovereign is given only because of his excitement and the Goddess need not take that very seriously!
Same for a Boss who promises you a hefty bonus if the company achieves a certain high level of revenue/ profit and conveniently forgets about that promise once the Company manages to reach that target! Or, the boyfriend who promises you the moon to get you married to him and then, not much later than that happening, forgets to even get you the moonlight. Like our Thomas and Chandy, we go on promising what we do not possess but whenever we are in a position to fulfil that, we are reluctant to do so.
Like Varkey will tell us, parting something in your hand is much tougher than promising something that is only in your dreams.
Can we change that human character? I do not think so. But what we can do is to be aware of the chasm between words and deeds, so as to control our expectations. Expectations lead to disappointment; Disappointments lead to failure of relationships. If our expectations, whether from believers, friends, spouse, boss or even children are in control, irrespective of what any of these may promise to us, then we can be realistic in our lives and be prepared for its twists and turns.