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Recycling promises

The toughest thing to do in life is to keep a promise. Every year, we make several promises to our loved ones but by the end of the year we realise that most of them have remained unfulfilled. With another new year, the same promises are recycled. But old habits die hard. So the cycle of making and breaking promises continues. With 2018 coming to an end, Sunday Shillong spoke to random people and asked them what promises they are planning to recycle in the coming year.
Barry N Rodgers, who was holidaying with his wife in Shillong, is “usually bad at keeping promises” but this year he made sure that he transforms himself into “a man of words”.
Rodgers said in the beginning of 2018, he had promised his old friends to join them on a trip to Goa. He had also promised his girlfriend of eight years to get married and before doing that, he would cut down on cigarettes. “And I fulfilled all these promises. We went to Goa in March and the marriage was in November. I have reduced smoking too and to add value to my promise, I have started exercising every morning,” he said as his wife, Jennifer, patted him on the back as a gesture of appreciation.
However, Rodgers had promised a honeymoon trip to Seychelles but that remained unfulfilled. “I wanted to take her on a romantic trip but my father suddenly became ill and we decided to change our plan. But we will go to Seychelles in 2019 if everything goes well,” he said.
While Rodgers made every word count in 2018, Susan Pyngrope rued her “terrible performance”.
“I feel so ashamed to even talk about it. I promised my parents to quit my job and go for PhD. But I could not. I had also promised a friend to attend her wedding in Delhi. That too I did not go,” she said with a sullen expression. “I can recycle the first promise but there is no way I can make up for the second,” she added.
Angelbeth, who runs a beauty parlour in the city, said she always promises her clients good service and lives up to that. This year too, she will do the same and try to get better in her work.
A 20-year-old student, who preferred to remain anonymous, said he usually does not make promises lest he fails to keep them. But 2018 was special as he fell in love and promised her girlfriend to reduce drinking and smoking marijuana. “And I did it,” he said and looked at his girlfriend for appreciation.
For Arpita Pal, 2019 is going to be a year of recycling as she failed to keep all the promises she made to herself and her family.
Pal had promised to herself that she would lose 10kg this year but could not and plans to work on the target for 2019. She had promised her younger sister to buy a smartphone. That too remains unfulfilled “but my sister does not complain”. Her promise to take her parents on a Bangladesh trip will also be recycled. “Basically, my performance this year just hit the nadir,” she said with a wry smile.
According to poet Jonathan Swift, “Promises and pie crusts are made to be broken.”
Rajiv Burman, a professor of Sociology from Kolkata, has something similar to say. He said there is nothing to feel bad about breaking promises because “better a broken promise than none at all”.
“We do it unconsciously and only after breaking a promise we realise that. As long as you don’t break hearts it is absolutely fine. Think about the politicians. They break promises every time, and that too consciously. Do they feel bad about it,” he added.
It is easier said than done, said 21-year-old Jenny (name changed). “Breaking a promise makes you feel bad no matter how much you try to console yourself. We are not infallible but we can try to be a better person every year,” she added.
Though Jenny has not left any promise unfulfilled but someone else broke his promise made to her. “We were supposed to get married this year but my boyfriend, whom I know for a decade now, left me for another person,” she said after much deliberation.
Febby Mirveen Lanong, a city-based counsellor, said people break promises because they keep procrastinating and this habit makes them end up breaking their promises. “Those who keep promises have integrity and they feel good about it. Also, the persons they promise to take them as responsible,” she added.
“My mother breaks promises all the time. Every time we go out and I ask for a toy, she promises me to buy it next time but she never does,” complained little Anthony in the middle of Police Bazar as his mother tried to shush him up.
We all make promises and break them too and we all have endured the pain of a broken promise. “But hope does not fade. So I promise not to break a promise in 2019,” said Pal.

~ NM

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