That Strange Disease

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
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I have often wondered why I never really got down to doing these things – writing that award winning film script, learning to play the piano, cashing in those mutual funds and just taking off a year. You read this on the back of every damn self help book: fulfill your potential, awaken the giant within, be the surprise.

I would have great moments of inspiration listening to Lose yourself by Eminem while running at my top speed of four on the treadmill; in my head I had already signed many million dollar deals and my new mocumentary series had just gone international. I had also just purchased a small island in the South Pacific which I had decided to turn into a private nature reserve. Then the song stops. I get off the treadmill and spend the whole day waiting for the Internet guy to show up so I can randomly watch videos of people achieving their true potential on YouTube.

As the weeks went by, my condition got worse. I had become someone who would climb a hill and then, over some lovely biryani and wine at a friend’s place, call it a mountain. I projected myself as a cool, outdoorsy kind of guy. I would walk up and down Pali Hill and then meet someone in the evening who would ask where I had been, and my answer would be: just returned from the hills. I had also reached a point where I could not be completely happy about anyone else’s success. My happy-go-lucky personality was slowly changing into that of an old Labrador. I would sit around all day and the only pleasure I’d get was sticking my tongue out at people at traffic signals and chasing ants around the house.

Naughtiness Personified 😉

I needed help from a wiser one. So I decided to take a trip to Delhi, to meet my guru and mentor, Mr Sengupta, who was a handpuppet of a hideous raccoon that my mother has used over the years to give me advice or get me to do things when I was being disobedient and not in the mood to listen to her.

As we sat down, I mentioned my various neurological disorders and, as usual, blamed my current condition on my childhood. Sengupta silently listened then slapped my face, pulled out my tongue and asked me to move the heavy pot from the balcony into the living room. He then said: “You, boy, are suffering from a disease that is slowly taking over your generation. It’s not depression or diarrhea. It’s velleity”.

velleity | vəlēətē

noun (pl. -ties) formal

A wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.


noun (pl. -ties) formal

It is a wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action: ‘the notion intrigued me, but remained a velleity’.

One marketer, Matt Bailey, described it as “a desire to see something done, but not enough desire to make it happen.”

SO. Now, if you can’t get something done, it’s not your fault, it’s velleity.

As I lay on my couch, I felt much better now that I had a name for my behaviour. I made a list of all the wonderful things I had always wanted to do and realised my velleity made me visualise my dreams and hopes not as they really are, but more as they should be. I wanted to go camping in the woods. I had visuals of a bonfire, the sounds of exotic birds, a cosy two-man tent – and a beautiful girl with stunning brown eyes who happened to also be camping in the same spot and who, due to my effervescent charm, decided to share the tent with me, yada yada yada. What I never visualised were the creepy crawlies carrying the tent up the damn hill, and the need to deal with the occasional cobra in the teapot. My velleity had therefore led me to have a great imagination.

Now, there is something great in doing things, but we also must appreciate the true pleasures of not doing anything at all. As someone wise in a drunken moment of sincerity and self reflection in the mirror had said “I’m afraid that fulfilling my potential would really cut into my sitting-around time.”

I’d love to end this article with something profound and life-affirming. This is that moment where i declare my genius !I know I can. I have it in me. I am dying to do it. But…


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