Saturday, June 6, 2020

Of Promises and Commitments

The promise. Who comes to mind when we think of the promise? The mighty Bheeshma from Mahabharata? It is certainly grand to take a vow with Agni or the Gods as your witnesses. Or Salman who does not listen to anyone, including himself, once he makes a commitment.

Promise. Commitment. Vow. Pratigya definitely sounds grander!!

If you are a politician reading this – pls go no further. This does not apply to you as making tall promises (with no intention of keeping them) is what is expected of you. Also some consumer product companies – fairness in 4 weeks and healthier you in 1 month. Miracles do happen, but not these ones.

We make promises to ourselves, our nearest and dearest ones, extended social circle and (sometimes) to strangers. Sometimes to God as well. Personally and professionally. Some are public and some private – one on one with no witnesses. Which promises are easy to break? Those made to ourselves or others? Big ones or small ones? With the right intensions or otherwise? Should we change when times change – circumstances forcing us to wriggle out of our commitments. Do we promise easily and often? Do we believe readily when promised? Better to make a few and keep them rather than too many to keep track, and take one more to make fewer ones going ahead. Also better to pick up the pieces where we left instead of scrapping the whole thing.

We listen to stories of the old times when “zubaan ki keemat” (verbal commitment) was enough and no paperwork was required. Collateral in the form of “mooch ka baal” was AAA bond. Commitments were such that armies started marching when your rakhi sister sent an SOS for help. Ramayan germinated when a king promised his queen that he will fulfil her one wish, no questions asked.
Not anymore. A man of his word is a man out of place and time. Conditions apply everywhere. Paperwork has to be fool proof. All commas, full stops and italics in order. Even if everything is in place, God help you to get your agreements enforced in our legal system. Trust deficit because of too many broken promises? Or were they misunderstandings that the involved parties had a totally different take on what was agreed? That’s why the Tata group is extraordinary. They kept their promise to DoCoMo at a great financial cost. It takes great character to keep a promise, especially when the costs are unusually high.

Only those of us who are single can say that they have not made any commitments. Rest of us have our marital vows (not to be confused with woes) to stand by. But then, these are the days of the prenuptial agreement. You better document those promises. Darling – I will get the stars for you. Figuratively, pls don’t put that in the prenup.    

That brings me to my promise of writing fortnightly. My creativity (if you can call it that) was maintaining social distancing with me all this while. With opening up 1.0 in place, some of it has started coming back, some sparks are flying again. I hope I will be able to keep it going, this time around.

I promise!!