Make hay while the sun shines

In my school two Biology teachers took distinct views on how to list differences between biological entities. “A is bigger, B is smaller” – was a typical case where their stands were poles apart. One argued it was an incomplete comparison as a full-grown ‘B’ and a newborn ‘A’ may not satisfy that statement. The other group of teachers advocated not to care about exceptions. “There is a separate subject for exceptions and that’s definitely not called Biology”. I kept waiting for that subject to bubble up my curriculum only to witness rocks forming stones and stones soil in the process. One lazy afternoon, as I was strolling the sky on my Zeppelin… of course not, I was just gazing through my window; it occurred to me that this odd subject can’t be taught in classrooms. Soaking in using the five (or six) sense organs till one lives with some consciousness is what it takes to learn. We are not only as exceptionally gifted among the animal kingdom as we believe we are, we glory in our exception handling skills. While mainstream stays in our speech, exceptions hog the news space. We have slurs for ethical, sentences for legal, ‘alternative’ tags for cultural, asylums for mental, sanctuaries for census EXCEPTIONS. However, life throws unforeseen exceptions too, which to a large extent remain uncontrolled. Let me pin my focus on these ‘wild’ varieties.

A friend of mine is scared of losing his job soon. While in the sun, he did buy all the right products to cover him and his beloved ones against any ‘touch-wood’ exceptions. He had saved money through investments, insured life and health. He got married too to protect against a wry old age. Still a transition to a lower income grade, or just the thought of it, made his knees buckle in fear. A life spent in planning to guard against exceptions when we are ‘regular’, finally gives in to jitters when it’s at the door. Steve Jobs, in his youth, was so deeply fascinated by ‘oriental spirituality’ that he pitted it against ‘computing’ as two parallel options to pick from. He finally opted for the latter and went on to make history with computers. I’m not getting into his decision making here. Think about the courage of mixing regulars and exceptions so seamlessly! In his later life, he suffered from a severe ailment and eventually died of it. He was at the peak of his professional career when a spell of an excruciating pain cut his life short. He was forced to take time off work for treatments, but continued to be driven by his passion to work till the end. A genius like him can walk a life crisscrossed by exceptions without compromising much on positivity.

We, lesser mortals, do our tiny bit in terms of living a healthy lifestyle and saving to fight against unpleasant events. Do that bit and stop right there at the boundary of controllable actions. Run devil-may-care or sit cautious; we nevertheless have to face the music once the curtain is raised. How we react to an exception is a function of individual capacity and severity of the shock. Better save the sunny days from the shadow of darkness as long as we can. An accident remains random in most cases. We can never know when and how it’d hit and whether we can pull ourselves out of that ditch given the ammo at our disposal. Let’s go a little passive while planting safeguards – as detached yet sincere as we’re in handling someone else’s fund. Don’t put your heart and soul in visualizing disasters (different combinations, possibly infinite) and waste a regular day in such dreadful imagery. Daydreaming of bad times too often can neither be hailed as a fantasy nor a mark of farsightedness. Exceptions shouldn’t be lived with before it actually strikes. Let’s not fall in love, nor get crippled with the idea of exceptions. Don’t just let a looming cloud cancel an awaited leisure trip.

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