Saturday, April 08, 2006


To err and regret is human, to forgive and forget divine. However hard I try to keep my tear glands under check after accidentally toppling my glass of milk, the tears form a crooked line along my cheeks. This is not saying that we should brood over our mistakes or could-have-beens, but its just perfect to look back and clear the throat about missed chances. Ask Alan Donald if he doesn’t regret having not gone for that one run in the last ball of the south Africa versus Australia 1999 World Cup semi-final. Or go to Roberto Baggio and speak about the last penalty kick he took in the 1994 World Cup final versus Brazil, and what do you think will be his first emotion? Regret is obviously not restricted to sportsmen, the person after whose name the yardstick of greatness is measured, Alfred Nobel, himself regretted having invented the dynamite when he learnt about the destructive ways it was being put to use.

Again it’s not just the rich and famous who are aware of this human emotion. What do you feel when you reach the airport five minutes too late because you stayed back for the last five minutes of a re-run of your favorite soap? Or for that matter haven’t we heard so many incidents where a person missed meeting some of their close ones for one last time because of some avoidable circumstances? What else will you except in such a situation but regret?

Even our literature is replete with stories of regret. Take our favorite English couple, Romeo and Juliet for example. Had they known that they could live, and that too happily ever after, would they have given up their lives and would we have regretted till date? Would our desi Devdas have been portrayed by K.L. Sehgal, Promothesh Baruah, Dilip Kumar and Shahrukh Khan if like a good lover he had married his sweetheart while there was still time? Regret is the most nagging of all feelings and leaves us totally helpless because however rich and powerful we are cannot undo something which has been done once and is beyond repair. I hope I will not live to regret writing these seventeen essays in one night, only time will tell.

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