I lost my wallet last Monday, the 17th.
More precisely, it was stolen from my person as I went to temple in the morning, it being the first day of the new year according to the Malayalam calendar.
It had nearly half my month's pay, driving license, identification card at the hospital, and my two ATM cards.
It hurt that I had lost the money, that I'd now have to go through the laborious process of getting another set of documents issued as well as preventing misuse of the original.
But what hurt most was the dent in self-image. The realization that some common crook could pinch it off me and I didn't even know it: That the apparently efficient and competent professional could be outwitted so completely by a professional of another kind. That hurt.
There was not much to do, retrieving a wallet lost in a sea of perhaps a thousand being what the old adage 'needle in a haystack' is exactly about.
'Hope' is a strong feeling. Sometimes, it is all that stands between man and madness. In such hope, for gaining a degree of apparent control over the situation if nothing else, for retrieving a bit of that lost self-esteem, we tend to do something – anything – that might be useful; often, in the face of overwhelming odds and reason that tells us otherwise.
So I go to the police station, report the theft, get a receipt for the same that says my driving license is stolen, and then – wait.
I need not have bothered.
But something did happen. Life went on. It was not as much of a catastrophe as I'd thought at first that it would turn out to be. It hurt still, the actual loss as well as the feeling of being outwitted, but fortunately – and this is important - there was no pressing engagement that I needed the money for.
There was a sense of Deja Vu, though. There have been other occasions too in my life, when something that I thought would hurt deeply, turned out to be not that bad to have happened, after all. It was the fearful anticipation that was harder to bear than the actual event when it happened.
The converse has been true too. Something one anticipates to be infinitely pleasing, turning out to be just one more good thing to have happened. Here I would remember how getting into Medical College turned out to be a mixed bag.
Then there were the times, those things that happened, that brought so much happiness that one could never have thought possible beforehand. Case in point my buying an old, second-hand Royal Enfield motorcycle that leaked oil from everywhere. Life has never been the same after that.
And finally, some things in life, you never know how much pain and hurt they will cause, until the day when finally lost. Ask anyone who's been in love and lost it.
So, it turns out there really is no telling how much something would please or hurt until we actually get there. Turns out it may not be a very good idea to plan your entire life ahead of you, for who knows how we might happen to not really like what we had planned for ourselves, or conversely, how we might actually like something we didn't quite bank upon.
I guess there is some merit to living under the stars after all.