Something mysterious happened this morning. Over a steaming cup of chai (a milk infused Indian version of tea) and a bowl of bread rusks, we somehow found ourselves in the scary territory of expectations. Like most Indian children, this word is so ingrained in our senses that we’ve built a whole life around it. It may not be the life we chose for ourselves but it’s the one that has come to completely and wholly take over every single essence of our being and identity.

Now before you either jump to conclusions on turning this into a debate going sour where I vehemently deny every manifestation of the word, read on. Because this is anything but.

I like expectations. I think that they are required and a very much part of every single person’s life. We have expectations of ourselves, expectations of others, expectations of society and civilisation, and culture, and ways, and systems, and objects. We hold expectations from everything that we come in contact with. Its the natural order of things to assume an intended set of operating behaviours that we expect from things and people. So having expectations is quite natural. But that’s also what makes us so rigid and too defined at times for our own good.

The conversation was now taking a philosophical direction with my mother who was going to cherry-pick everything she either wanted to hear or completely disregard – as it was her expectation of what she was hoping I would say. Either in affirmation with her thoughts or completely to the left field.

Luckily for myself and her, I introduced another word into the mix – hope. I wasn’t cowering from an argument. Hope to me is a much better word to describe behavioural outcomes from people and things. It puts so much less pressure on me and on them to perform. “I hope this does well” or “I hope she gets this done on time” or “I hope he understands me” brings an element of luck and chance into the whole mix. Its the nebulous, ethereal and hazy parameter that changes everything about what I may or may not get. Deep down inside I am still ‘expecting’ a certain action/reaction but shifting over to ‘hope’ over the past six to seven months has meant that I’m a lot more open to how and why people behave the way they do.

And I’m less inclined to feel failure when they don’t behave or react in the way I had initially ‘expected’ them to.

Just a thought for change.