In temperance we trust

“I told you so”, Nina’s Mom told her for the nth time. I knew this would happen, I warned you against it, I know, I know, were the phrases that Nina’s Mom most used. Coming from a parental background where she was always told not to question the parents, to know what is given is it, Anna, also known as Nina’s Mom lived a life highly shielded. Her own parents were strict disciplinarians who did little but expected loads. Growing up without information about the world at large, all her questions were answered by tight-lipped parents who lived with a sense of scarcity. There never seemed to be enough in their heads, whatever their living condition, there never seemed much. While Anna and Marc thrived on successful careers minting money after becoming successful IT professionals that sheer harshness of life literally got to them. The beginnings were tough with Marc having to raise a student loan just like Nina as they taught themselves how to code while at the same time getting on with assignments, temporary jobs and student politics. However, by the time, Nina came around, a pretty rotund child with shiny bouncy curls there was not a need for anything. But the mind was made up and all the wealth in the world never seemed enough. Nina was always told, they have it better, they’ve got more, we dont have enough, we need more and thus their world spun around.

In school Nina was asked to measure every step she took, she was asked to calculate every grain she ate, and then all her growing up years she was asked to check on every word she spoke. She was asked, asked, and asked. As words, endless words entered her ears she knew nothing better than to follow them. Her own voice was drowned in the endless tirades of her mother. Her father kept his words simple and short but notions were made clear through gestures and actions. Without any body to hold her court she never had a court anymore. The teachers at school spoke too, the shoulds eclipsed the coulds, the musts eclipsed the cans. The poor child was tormented even without having anything to be really tormented about. Words, well they can cut deep, they can mold a person into not being themselves. The loudest in the room can eclipse the softest, the harshest can erase out the meekest. That was just the way of the world. And Nina was soon becoming one such example. A bright child she excelled in things that she ended up doing alone. Like writing her science papers, and conducting specific research on particular topics. From following her parent’s footsteps in IT, after being prodded by them to continuously code, she managed to make her way into the world of science. And when science and tech collided, it resulted in an app that could make lives a whole lot easier. Though life gently prodded her in directions of her merit, Nina’s mother did not think that the universe could be right for her child. And every supposedly wrong turn on the road was approached with her favorite phrases of “I told you so”, or even better, “I already knew it”.

And today Nina got a letter from the investors in her app, there was a hitch. The funding well may have run dry. “We are extremely sorry to have to write this mail. The unforeseen circumstances have tied our hand and the funds allotted to seed funding the Vishwamitra app may need to have a break.” Nina’s eyes welled up. And looking over Nina’s shoulders Anna went on relentlessly, “I told you so. I knew that this would lead to nowhere. You should have listened to me. I know. I have seen life. After all what are you. I know that this is bound to happen. What did you think. Why did I stick to my corporate job. Inspite of all my creativity because I knew doing things like this will not work. I know my Nina, I just know.” For the first time, the girl who had always listened did not want to listen. She looked up at Anna and her Mom knew better, better than to continue. As for the rest of her words, they never saw the light of the day as she immediately shut up and let her daughter be. The incessant background chatter stopped all of a sudden. As for Nina she managed to catch the next flight out to Silicon Valley where she met up with the VC board and presented her case about the application. How close she was to getting the app into the beta phase and eventually strategising its launch became increasingly clear as the days went by.

And just like that, the app was launched, and the world welcomed the Vishwamitra app with open arms. At the launch success part, Nina was asked if she would ever consider selling the app if she got a price of her choice. As she clinked her champagne glass she said, “There is much for me to look forward to in life and much of it has to do with cautioning the use of the words that were entering her head. Temperance in thought, word, and deed, means a lot. To caution oneself from hearing things one need not hear. It is such a pity that we cannot shut out our ears.” She looked out at her colleague. A blonde with impeccable style. She asked, “Georgia, have you ever had the courage to not hear what you clearly do not need to hear?” Georgia smile and replied, “I once knew a man who over time turned stone deaf just because he could not bear to hear what was being said loudly and consistently. All the ill talk he could not bear and over 4 decades, his body willed him to shut off the sense of hearing. It is true, the body keeps score. Either one bends into turning into the words he hears, you are what you hear, becoming one with the words being battled if not battered into you or if one really manages to retain one’s thinking, may slowly go tone deaf.” Nina could not help but thank her stars. And a couple of years later when the journalist said, “What got you here?” indicating all the success Nina garnered. Nina unblinkingly said, “I tempered the shoulds.” And with that she winked as she said, “Maybe you should too.”




  1. the quality of moderation or self-restraint.