Who Let The Wolves Out? – Part 2

Baggageless in the palace…

As it turned out, my apprehensions were not as unfounded after all.  Thirty minutes after we landed at Jodhpur airport, our through-checked bags failed to appear on the conveyor belt.  ‘There is only one Delhi-Jodhpur flight everyday’, the over-apologetic Air India official informed us; ‘You will need to manage without your bags for 24 hours’.

A queue of trumpet blowers greeted us when we arrived at the palace.  I suspect the royal welcome must be a major kick for most of the arriving guests.  But we felt it more like a noisy, awkward intrusion on our privacy.  A glass of chilled sparkling wine was thrust in our hands as we reluctantly followed the escort on a pre-check-in tour of the palace.  Apparently, thousands of people worked for fourteen years (1929-1943) to put up the majestic structure.   ‘So massive that it is infeasible to air-condition the central courtyards’, our tour guide proudly proclaimed.  Rajasthani July had extracted its toll. We were sweating profusely when our guide finally concluded ‘The construction itself was an innovative act of large-scale job creation when the region was hit by a severe famine’.   As we wobbled back towards the check-in counter, an unpleasant image flashed through my mind—the countless construction workers earning their survival by toiling in the scorching heat of the desert sun.

When we finally made it to our room, there were flowers and a bottle of Bordeaux waiting for us.  I was not surprised, it was a part of my plan.  However, as I stole a sneak peak at the bill, I was surprised.  I had requested the hotel for a good wine, but not this good!   I popped the cork & we clicked cheers. A few sips later, the inspiration stayed elusive.  Perhaps it was not the wine’s price tag, maybe the right ambience itself was amiss?  So I clamped my iPhone onto the room’s docking station.  The music didn’t do much for us. We both have a limited choice of songs on our gadgets, as this is primarily the kids’ department.  The anniversary day so far had been a complete drainer. It made sense to crash out and wake up rejuvenated.

The evening was designed to get better.  I had organized a special surprise—a private romantic dinner on the sprawling lawns against the splendid backdrop of the palace.  But now we were staring at a bummer.  We didn’t have access to a fresh wardrobe, let alone the attire appropriate for a stately dinner. I called housekeeping, and we soon floated downstairs in the hotel’s complimentary free-sized cotton pajama-kurtas and bathroom sandals.

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
(Photo courtesy: Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces)

‘The weather is too hot for outdoor dining’ our butler informed us.  Instead we were rushed through the long corridors until we reached a closed door, and then made to wait outside, as the room was not even ready!  It was a secular collapse—missing baggage, noisy welcome, blistering weather, sycophant guide, expensive wine, mundane music, humbling attire, and all capped by an unromantic climax!  Oblivious to Ritu’s elbowing, I gave it off to our butler: ‘Your noble king couldn’t figure out more benevolent ways of creating employment, such as construction of roads, schools, sewages, parks etc.?’
‘Be positive’, it’s one of the most abused phrases in motivational talks.  For, when real life comes knocking, the entire punch of ‘be positive’ is reduced to an abstract jargon.  How do you stay positive when you are in a state of utter resignation? Sure, Air India was a past mistake that my mind was just unable to let go.  But with limited options, if I had to do it all over againmy choice wouldn’t be any different.  Sure, I felt powerless in the present chaos.  Then again, who has the power of intervention when a circumstantial set of sequential things just keep going wrong?  Sure, I was unprepared to face the fate of our anniversary behind that closed door, but where was my remote control to control that future

My vision was blurred.  I knew I was facing a simple set of obstacles, yet I had lost the will to wall myself. To objectively analyze the ‘time zone’ pattern for the downer, and leverage that revelation to snap out of the negativity.  Perhaps Robin Williams was in a similar dilemmatic state, only amplified a zillion times? 

Maybe Robin and I are not too different?  While Robin evangelized the power of laughter to tackle life’s adversities, I am a strong advocator on the supremacy of an analytical mind to take life head-on.  But the truth is, we both are no better than a theoretic preacher on the podium.  For when it comes to walking the talk, we are as clueless as the guy sitting at the back of the audience, playing with his mobile phone. Who let our own wolves out: the past, the present, or the future?

PS. The Sindhi dinner coupons are still up for grabs



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9 Comments

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  1. We should do our best in order to fulfill our duties. Hence, even under the shadow of great obstacles, we should never give up. We should perform our ‘Karma’ without the greed of getting the best fruits/results. Additionally, we should learn to forgive others for their mistakes. And, we should learn to adapt to difficult situations/circumstances.
    (My earlier attempts to grab the dinner (past) should encourage me to focus on the present to write the perfect answer to win ( future) !

  2. As the Part 1 of this journey . all the energy was consumed by what might go wrong. that is what kept you all engaged in your present at that moment. when it ended , your fear of anything going wrong, actually got real. hence strengthening your fear of adverse outcomes.

    Then the sequential fall here and there . kept adding to the frustration. Still the picture of the perfect end was there in the mind.

    When the final picture came into play, or was about to be played . in a totally different scenario, then what you planned it to be. The control of the future went away.
    Now you were fighting to just make a sense out of the present. The question to the butler shows that

    Analysing what all happened , since you got into the hotel. all was living up to the expectation. Now all that was keeping you questioning yourself, was the probable future.
    Still fighting and accepting what it might be.

    When the champagne was perfect, the dining experience has to be Awesome. As the hotel staff , by now should be given the confidence to get it right.

    What’s kept you still on edge was, The Probable future.

    And Robin had no one to rely on . no one was there to held responsible for the probable future, but just himself. And it ended the way he saw it ending.

  3. A little of each, in a way, forces us to be someone apart from who we actually are. Meaning, that while our past holds a significant importance even in our present, the importance is thankfully restricted by our perception of the past and how badly we let it affect our today. Which also means that we can deal with it in two ways: By giving in, or by fighting back.
    Now the solution our bigger problem doesn’t lie so much in the choice, as on the premise to our conclusion. Why is it that we chose to do what we chose to do ? Here lies your remote control to control your future.
    In my perception of the event, there are several plausible scenarios to the story, each scenario leading to a different future depending on the action taken.. Also known as the Butterfly Effect.
    So, maybe our plan did not work out, but to be able to improvise and think on our feet is a virtue we must all possess.
    In the immortal words of Ayn Rand, “The question isn’t who is going to let me. The question is, who is going to stop me ?”

    PS: A few weeks back, I lost the Genie to my childhood hero Aladdin. Although he gave in to his problems (and I can not even begin to fathom what he must have gone through), I do not believe it is this which defines him. I will forever remember him as my Captain. And I will forever hold on to my spark of madness, because he asked me to.

  4. First of all I feel sorry for such an experience our writer had to go through.
    Bad experience from past had already set expectations and conditions in present just added to the spices of this hot mix and voila, a sad experience with no control of present, unable to enjoy anything and no control of future.
    Extrinsic factors such as these cannot be controlled by anyone and the exposure has to be adjusted by looking out for solutions with a calm mind and open eye and it’s no easy way to say it but what is lost is lost and our mindset cannot be positive always in such conditions to which I agree.
    Enough of theory and time for some practical answers. I thought what if I am in such a mess, may be not Umaid Bhawan but some place simple but with facilities available similar to what are available inside Umaid Bhawan to me might be available outside but definitely the same travel choice – Air India. Sounds a fair case study.
    What resources do I have? Use them.
    Air India has a policy – “On domestic flights , if baggage is delivered the following day / subsequently, 50 % of the amount, towards purchase of casual /formal clothes like shirts, pants, night suits etc. may be reimbursed, subject to a maximum of INR 2000/”
    I understand it’s not something enough to cover the wardrobe what we plan to use on an outset such as this but certainly least available option which I would like to use.
    Umaid Bhawan has arcade of shops inside the palace for Shopping
    Inside the palace, an arcade of shops and boutiques await. Guests can browse through the Jawaharat Boutique for ethnic jewelry, garments and souvenirs. Or saunter through the rest of the shops and peruse for books, garments, handicrafts and antiques

    Result – My Vote –
    Umaid Bhawan was certainly a plan which was planned out for our writer but had it been this incident would not have happened, the dinner or tour of palace would have been spectacular experience given in the same conditions.
    The ghost of past experiences were laid out already and they fed and unchained these wolves into the present and thought process was blocked out for any possible solution which could have been used for a slightly better experience and future.

  5. It is definitely PRESENT SITUATIONS and ACTIONS THEREUPON taken by us will be foundation of our future prospects/actions/reactions…

    However many a times PRESENT SITUATIONS which are unfolding in front of us are not in our control. Thing to keep in mind though is -> Our ACTIONS/REACTIONS on those unwarranted/undesired situations are still in our hand and those will differ person to person based on their earlier experiences/personal traits which is integral part of one’s VERY OWN PERSONALITY.

  6. Holding on to past successes or failures will undoubtedly ruin both the present and the future. Just because something worked or didn’t work in the past doesn’t mean it won’t work in the present or the future. A wise man once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache” – we plan, hope and “expect” that the future turns out to be exactly how we have pictured it, whether it’s career, business / personal decisions even mundane or special days , including the way you hoped your anniversary day would be.

    While planning and analyzing is good, imperative and essential – there are always situations and forces beyond our control. In every situation we have a choice (reaction and/or decision), the way we shape our careers / personal lives / days is a result of our choices. “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” – Aristotle.

    The choices we make in the present, influence not just our future but our present too. The trick is to keep an eye on the eventual goal and adapt to make the most of every situation. Our present and past shape our future, but holding on to the past or anticipating and hoping to orchestrate the future is futile. Live in the present.

  7. I feel its about how we feel at this very moment. If I feel very happy right now, I see my future more bright and I do not see my past bad experiences.
    “Hope- its a good thing. In fact the best of things. And good thing never dies.” I might have a bad experience with a particular product or service but given that I have no choice except it, I will be hopeful that it would be better this time. If I let my past experiences trouble me, I will not enjoy my present. An open mind and positive attitude will let me enjoy my current situation. Take it as this way- Have you ever got a chance to enjoy a stately dinner in pajamas and bathroom sandals?!! Wow, lets experience it and have fun. Its the matter of how you react to the situation. Be Hopeful, be open for surprises and be positive. Who knows, next anniversary you may remember this experience and laugh out on the series of misfortunes that you faced. Its about this one moment of anxiety, when one is surrounded by negativity and utter hopelessness, that makes him commit a heinous crime of suicide. But if he survives that one moment with a hope that “this will also Pass”- that’s all he needs.

  8. As hard as it is being positive is in a dreadful present situation, saying had ‘no option’ means we have not at all learned to from past experiences. Not learned to be prepared. That is what past is for. Learning from experiences, as experience is said to be the best teacher-only if one is willing to learn.

    There would come many situations where we would have far too few or no option but to make unpleasant choices that have proven to be disastrous. The choices and decisions however remain ours to me made. If we remember in the back of our heads that the unpleasant outcomes are in fact our choices, we could lessen our grief and feel powerless. Thus we’d be learning from the past mistakes.

    Present day obstacles are tiny bits of immediate futures unfolding before our eyes in a sequence from worse to manageable or vice versa. We are left powerless and have to endure these obstacles of the present as they unfold and try and foresee a future sans any such obstacles.

    Future is comprised of things we can as well as cannot control. For the ‘things’ we cannot control we can only hope and expect. But hopes can be black holes and expectations can turn to be revelations. Differentiation of these elements and keeping track of controllable elements and drawing out plan A, plan B and so forth for the uncontrollable ones can allow us to reliably control or as much prepare for the future.

    Time zone if analyzed truly can help come out of a downer. No matter who let our wolves out-the past, present or the future, they can always be tamed.

    The Genie in the lamp (also referring to Robin as our Genie in Aladdin) will grant our three wishes. What to wish for is entirely up to us. So is captivating our past, present and future.

  9. The Past, The Present Or The Future …..
    This has indeed always been a big question that has always haunted us (Humans) over centuries now and yet there is no definite pick that we can go by.

    I simply feel it all lies between the journey we face from “Expectation” till “Dissapointment”.

    Our mind which holds the capacity to travel faster than light gives birth to millions of thoughts and we always keep on pondering upon the one that we are most looking forward too, the one that brings the smiles to our faces, the one that boosts the adrinaline within us, the one that we have planned for our near and dear ones. Obviously, our thoughts at that moment have no flaws, no turns or obstacles at all and they’re just like a straight smooth route.

    But then, while we enroute our thoughts and see the real face of life with obstacles, turns every now and then, disappointments etc., it slowly but eventually starts adding up to our frustration which leads us to take actions that we never thought of or even wanted to.

    And fianlly this journey from “Expectation till Dissapointment” results in despair.

    Hence, I would just want to conclude by saying that we should be grateful for what we have and simply smile even in the most difficult situations as that will always give us strength to see what life throws at us even we are left with no other choice, but to accept it.

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Who Let The Wolves Out? – Part 2 | Arun Nathani Blog