Grapes Were Re­ally Sour?

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - COVER STORY - Shob­haa De is a colum­nist, author and opin­ion maker

branch of a ridicu­lously tall tree. On fail­ing to do so, he walked away de­scrib­ing them as sour. Loser!

But I have my doubts. By declar­ing it sour, the fox moved on to a happy life. Would we rather he spends the rest of his life in re­gret? Feel­ing anger. Feel­ing shame. Feel­ing cheated. Go­ing on and on about how those priv­i­leged mon­keys can al­ways get ac­cess to those de­li­cious-look­ing grapes that dan­gle se­duc­tively from vines that curl tena­ciously around the top­most branches of ridicu­lously tall trees. Must he trans­form his pain into po­etry, and be­come a courtier of the lit­er­ary cir­cuit? Must he trans­form his longing into art, or the essence of his fu­ture iden­tity?

Or must he just re­frame the sit­u­a­tion, see him­self as na­ture’s lucky one, who es­caped eat­ing hor­ri­bly sour grapes? Maybe even poi­sonous ones?

Who de­cides if grapes are ac­tu­ally sweet or sour? The ones who eat it, or the one’s who don’t. Who is this Ae­sop who judges the fox who is de­ter­mined to un­leash his imag­i­na­tion to be happy? Why do we let other peo­ple de­ter­mine the pa­ram­e­ters of what is suc­cess and what is not? Isn’t that the great­est fail­ure: the wil­ful let­ting go of our abil­ity to write our bi­og­ra­phy on our terms, be­liev­ing that ev­ery de­ci­sion taken is a march to­wards suc­cess?

It all de­pends on what we make of our life to­day. If we are mis­er­able, then yes, all those ad­mis­sions we did not get, those boyfriends we did not meet, those jobs we did not find, are the sweet grapes that went to the lucky oth­ers. But if we are happy with what we have to­day, then we can heave a sigh of re­lief that we did not get those ad­mis­sions/ boyfriends/jobs. Who knows what sour taste they would have left in our mouth?

Hu­mans have the gift of imag­i­na­tion. We use it to imag­ine the pa­ram­e­ters of suc­cess, and hence fail­ures. Imag­i­na­tion also en­ables us to re­ject these pa­ram­e­ters and cre­ate those that make us deliri­ously happy. There are no real pa­ram­e­ters out there. There is no Ae­sop.

There is only the fox and those grapes dan­gling se­duc­tively from vines that curl tena­ciously around the top­most branches of ridicu­lously tall trees.

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