Overcoming the rut

What kind of a crazy person has three blogs? My thoughts have three levels of visibility. To be honest, I don’t know what brand of thoughts goes into what blogs. Between publicity, publicity + anonymity and outright anonymity, I suppose my three blogs with varying levels of visibility, indicates a sense of insecurity around my thoughts and who I am. Yet, in the interest of personal growth, I have to venture into the uncomfortable given the nature of the tough decisions I foresee myself taking in the next few months.

You know, I think to some extent I have figured out a few things about my present state of health, mental and physical. Be it my backpain or the sense of low I have endured mentally, somewhere I think I deserve it. In another instance, I was walking back home and saw a woman with two kids sitting outside of the local police station crying. Against all wisdom, I decided to wait and watch. As the police started shouting at her and she started dragging herself away, I felt compelled to go in. I finally did intervene, found her a shelter home and gave her numbers of social workers who could help her. 

Yet when another friend whose help I enrolled tried to tell me what a good thing I did, I was eager to prevent her from doing so. When she persisted and said it, I felt terrible. 

Another girl that I met recently. I was surprised at how nice I was to her. It was almost natural. She was still dealing with the aftermath of being dumped and I spoke to her for hours making her feel better. Yet the moment she wanted to reciprocate and reach out to me during the recent phases of depression, I was terribly angry at her. I am eager to avoid her now simply because of all the love and affection she feels for me and sends my way. 

Part of this self loathing might have come from childhood experiences where traits, inseparable from my identity, were talked of as tiresome and requiring psychiatric intervention. Stuff like my sensitivity and righteous indignation were constantly treated like a pain in the backside and everyone had me convinced that I sucked the way I was and I had to change. While my job salvaged the situation to some extent, I still feel deficient as a human being. 

I think the break in terms of a master’s degree in a good university will be good because in that kind of an atmosphere, my individuality will be respected. The best thing about university education in the US, I feel, is that it celebrates diversity. It doesn’t coerce conformity, but rather encourages dissent. Better still, I would at least find a damn apartment without landlords insisting that I should be married! Living here can be exhausting man :P  

Share

Finality

How does one live with the decisions one takes? Life in all its complicated glory never allows for a black and white approach. Its all shades of grey. We all live lives where pain and pleasure are part of everyday existence.

We all want a story to our lives, a deeper meaning to our existence. Different parts of our lives form chapters of this narrative. When seen in this context finality is often erroneously confused to be a bad thing, a sort of negativity. Yet it is inevitable and natural. Young ones of many species move away from their parents. Does it mean that there was animosity or mutual disgust? Absolutely not. It simply means that the parties decided to find their own narratives, write their stories and form their own chapters independent of each other. In the context of humans, this severance is not easy given the deep bonds we form, yet their necessity cannot be denied. Because for our stories to continue in a healthy manner and for their chapters to evolve, complete severance of certain ties is critical. Acknowledging the necessity of the same is crucial for effectively writing that narrative.

Slowly but surely I am training myself to see the past in perspective. It is not easy. But it has to be done. The world around me has moved on with many of its inhabitants finding their bliss and beginning another chapter of their narrative or their story. I am no longer relevant to these narratives and as the example with the young ones go, it is time that I be left to my fate to continue my story. Yes the human conscience will find this difficult and thats deeply admirable, but I have to be left to write my story and its next chapters and it is entirely my problem whether this ends well or not. After all its not helpful when irrelevant people are deemed relevant. If that means I have to assert my irrelevancy through finality, I have to do it.  This is neither wrong or bad, it is simply reality and it is what is natural and I will have nothing but gratitude forever. Personally though, I see good things coming my way  as I am sure the bad will as well and I will face them as I have, unprepared and eager to survive.

Going forward, I will find distance and I will enforce finality. But I do so, not out of a sense of bitterness or anger, but simply out of respect for the events that have already occurred and well beyond any of our control. There will be nothing but prayers wishing best, yet these prayers will be said in private and at a distance. The optimist in me stands vindicated though, for In the grand scheme of things, all is well that ends well :)

For the take of other LBC members on the same topic, please visit the links below

Anu, DeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpieMaria SFRamana sirShackman,PadmumPaul,  The Old FossilMaxi and Will.

Share

Self-Diagnosis

Perhaps the first of many days I hope. Today is a day for reflection and introspection, an exercise rendered necessary by the excess of both :P

On the financial front, I did something I haven’t done in 23 years and I realized the necessity of the stupidity of what I have just done. No doubt the school of thought of my father is both sensible and appealing. Yet I am too young to walk that path, which means both; wanton lack of stupidity and the regret as a consequence thereof, both which I ought to avoid.

To begin with, I have for the first time realized the diabolical consequences of solitude addiction. Too much time spent alone only instigates laziness and a terrible longing for emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy and the resulting vicious cycle, is well, vicious. So note to self, more time spent outside with friends and family and generally more time and effort towards social activity. Solitude is a sort of addiction, offering unrestricted will over oneself and control on one hand and self inflicted damage on the other. The human body is built for society and solitude in prolonged doses seeks to enforce a fiction of absolute independence. Nothing good comes off it. Never before has the term “Solitude is a good place to visit, but not one to stay” been as true for me as it is now.

 

I have also to some extend diagnosed what has caused this conscious effort towards social withdrawal all these years. In the result, I have promised to stop taking others and myself so serious. So hopefully this is the last of such posts. From today, I am working towards unlearning and undoing. Time for reinvention! Life shall be more frivolous and less serious from now onwards and that is an effort I intend to invest myself into wholeheartedly :)

 

Share

Acceptance

Of the many good movies I had the occasion to watch, “X-Men First Class” did stand out for the effort it invested in creating and developing characters within the movie. Yet two things in the movie stood out for me. One Professor Xavier neither hates Erik Lensher nor Mystique who left him with a bullet wound that paralyses him. Not only that, he calmly goes about building an academy to help mutants. Secondly, although he clearly loves Moira, he wipes her memory clean so that she may not compromise the location of the academy. Neither of those events could have been easy to accept, but the man did?

I guess Viktor Frankl’s emphasis on finding a meaning to one’s life is indeed the secret to acceptance and recovery. The good and the bad shape who we are, perhaps the latter having more of a memory impact. The bad tests our will to meaning and the good provides us with the necessary arsenal to deal with all the adversities. But once you find that meaning to your life, the hurts and injuries, of physical and mental nature will cease to affect you.

Our lives, mine being no exception, is full of experiences both good and bad. We have made plenty of mistakes and will probably continue to do so for ages to come. But I find myself questioning if “good” and “bad” is too simplistic of a classification to have any practical bearing. There is no good or bad decision, so long as we are capable of making peace with them. When one begins to find meaning to seemingly random events of unfairness, one will see both the inevitable as well as the necessary nature of such events. The lesson for me is to make an honest attempt to see the guilt, the hurt and the anger invoking moments in my own life through the context of what meaning I have found for my existence and hopefully that should find me peace, much like Professor Xavier.

For the take of other LBC members on the same topic, please visit the links below

Anu, DeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpieMaria SFRamana sirShackman,PadmumPaul,  The Old FossilMaxi and Will.

 

Share

Faces

As people, we always step into different shoes and wear different faces. I always take offense at anyone judging anyone harshly. Perhaps I am being too judgmental myself in this regard. Yet I cannot help feeling personally offended when people brand others of a particular type without investing the effort to truly understand the context and the circumstances for the subject’s actions and conduct.

My work in recent weeks has taught me that all of us have different faces and one can never be too careful in assessing someone by what they see. On one hand is a lady, an ardent spiritualist and a voracious reader dwelling everyday into the realms of knowledge. Yet, when she is a mother, the wisdom from infinite reading can be undone with a few harsh words unsaid, but ever more effective through the silence. Then there lies a gentleman,  a run of the mill business owner with many children living in a largely dull and middle class neighbourhood free from incident. However, in the family lies a dark history of fights, domestic violence and sexual abuse envisaging two generations. Yet the side shown to the outside world was of a committed businessman, calm and serene by all accounts.

I can’t understand the world sometimes. My actions are the creatures of my thoughts. My thinking doesn’t permit me to walk the line that many others walk. I eat at wedding reception of friends and family, without regard to how members of another caste will be judging me for what I eat; for I neither care nor should in the first place. I pursue my inclinations with due regard to decency and the law and have largely made peace with what my personality and character have come to be. In this chaos, I too am forced to wear faces for the implications that could come about with certain disclosures.

I intend to break free one day. The “me” within “me” is tired of camouflaging, hiding and playing different characters. I want to stop letting the way, I talk, eat and dress be dictated by the preferences of the world around me. One face is difficult to wear, one too many is just impossible. God knows how people fool themselves all the time, but I sure know I can’t keep this going beyond a certain threshold of tolerance.

For the take of other LBC members on the same topic, please visit the links below

Anu, DeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpieMaria SFRamana sirShackman,PadmumPaul,  The Old FossilMaxi and Will.

Share

Fire

If this is a victory, what’s a defeat then?

Is this a victory or a defeat? Is this justice or injustice? Is it gallantry or a rout? Is it valor to kill innocent children and women? Do I do it to widen the empire and for prosperity or to destroy the other’s kingdom and splendor? One has lost her husband, someone else a father, someone a child, someone an unborn infant…. What’s this debris of the corpses? Are these marks of victory or defeat? Are these vultures, crows, eagles the messengers of death or evil?”- Emperor Ashoka after the Kalinga far.

To me fire, symbolises spirit. I try and keep the fire in me running. In hindsight, my average scores at school although from a family of above average scorers, instigated considerable skepticism and remarks that expressly suggested that God save the souls of parents who might end up with kids like me. Thankfully, my parents would never endorse that view about my merits as a child, yet they too felt that the genius was my brother and I was the one with the recessive genes.

Yet what if I worked hard to overcome the skeptics and walk the path they all thought I could never walk? That would have been indulging the skeptics. Thankfully the fire in me intervened. The need was not to prove them wrong, but walk above these notions; to embrace something that is a little more constant and not as volatile as success and failure. Yet I did try to prove them wrong, earn their approval even and the harder I tried, the faster I failed. Then one day, forged by many falls, a thought dawned upon me, an Eureka moment so to say.

I felt that the first thought in my head when faced with a situation is the same thought that occurs to every human being faced with such situations. So I need to ignore that thought and look deeper to find that thought which is truly my own, free from social conditioning and so creative, that it exists by itself independent of me or anything else. Suddenly, the skeptics or the complimentors (pronounced similarly as “dementors”), the disapprovers and the approvers, stopped mattering. This thought was not mine, but came from an unknown source. It offered a solution and I could become its medium, provided I look deep enough. How far, I have implemented this thought process, I don’t know. But in my effort to disregard the conventional systems which determine a man’s worth, I have embarked on a journey to develop an honest and realistic understanding of what I am and it has helped me earn wisdom at a relatively faster pace.

I now a walk a path, for which I alone can claim responsibility. Whether I reach my goal or not, I know that no one else is responsible save for me for the outcome of the choice that I have made. Since I walk this path for myself, the approval or the lack of it of others have stopped mattering. Yet the learning in this path has been in geometric progressions. Its made me more courageous, toughened me up and best of all; instilled key perspectives in me that have changed the way I live. Now since my needs are small, I am always rich; since I don’t expect and sometimes don’t even accept; I am above disappointments and since I find my work itself so enjoyable, I am the biggest achiever on the planet.

But the most beneficial result is the joy I feel in seeing the achievements and happiness of others. I always believe that it is not just a question of altruistic motives when one takes joy in the success of others. No, this ability to appreciate the progress our peers make has to be earned and cultivated. The one who gets there is lucky and one should thank one’s fate for this super power. The ones that feel jealous and antagonized when faced with the progress of their peers, are to be pitied for theirs is a life full of misery and unhappiness.

So my advise, keep the fire running. The likes of Buddha and Gandhi were rebels who refused to get sucked into prevailing schools of thought. In their efforts to find a path unique and customized to their attitude, they discovered a greatness of soul. One should be spiritually rebellious, question oneself and challenge all that we think and do/do not do. The fire is indispensable, fuel it with the right exercise of thought and I assure you all, the results will be of substance, not form and the joy from that is of a different world, a divine world.

For the take of other LBC members on the same topic, please visit the links below

Anu, DeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpieMaria SFRamana sirShackman,PadmumPaul,  The Old FossilMaxi and Will.

 

Share

Editing

In the limited time I served as the editor of my college journal, it was a rather thankless job having to undertake the job of editing. As a writer, I hate it when others take liberties to edit my work, but accept it as a reality of the world around. In my capacity as an editor, I would rather than not provoke a writer by taking liberties to edit his or her work. This perhaps explains why I am not a editor :P

 

A fine example of the inherent job in editing is the following comment left by a spammer. It is so hillarious that my conscience did not permit me to delete it. Yet given its spam like nature, I could not publish it. So for your reading pleasure ladies and gentlemen,

 

“The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!”

 

I couldn’t help but laugh at the fate of the ipad and the levels of despair it had pushed the spammer into, so as to force him/her/it to vent on my blog. So editing? No, thank you. Too much responsibility, too much flak and not enough benefits. I prefer my job better :)

 

For the take of other LBC members on the same topic, please visit the links below

Anu, DeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpieMaria SFRamana sirShackman,PadmumPaul,  The Old FossilMaxi and Will.

 

Share

The Olympics

Usain Bolt, I heard, holds the record for hitting a speed of 38 kilometres per hour and I ask myself, would human beings under ordinary circumstances consider it achievable? Most likely not.

 

The olympics too me symbolises the finest physical strength of human beings. With each passing olympics, records continue to be broken leading us to the inevitable conclusion that a select group of men and women are evolving towards greater heights. The message is obvious that if you dedicate yourself to training, you embrace the terms “Citius Altius Fortius” in an entirely different sense. The message here is that we cannot stop trying to become better.

 

The character of Batman as displayed in Christopher Nolan’s version is perhaps the best example of a man who turned altius citius fortius into a lifestyle. From a billionaire to a skilled assassin who manages to knock down an entire SWAT team in the Dark knight without killing anyone or shooting a single bullet, Bruce Wayne’s character is truly a legend. Yet before the training, before his stint at the league of shadows, lay a spirit that refused to believe that the city of Gotham was irreversibly in the hands of the criminal and corrupt. Everything else was built on the foundation of that spirit, which refused to accept defeat.

 

As Indians, the challenge to us is similar. We face a far bigger threat than just criminals and corrupt officials, we face the threat of a bad attitude passed down to us through the generations by cleverly disguising it as traditions. The sorry state of affairs merely reflects the fundamental flaws in our thinking and all that we do or don’t do as a result thereof. We are faced with the challenge of embracing the constitutional values which seemingly challenge many of this “traditions”. Yet if we commit ourselves to reaching that stage, by training our minds out of inaction, to move away from despair and embrace a sense of hope which alone can drive us act; we can salvage the situation. So Citius, Altius and Fortius ladies and gentlemen and may the best man and/or woman win!

 

For the take of other LBC members on the same topic, please visit the links below

Anu, DeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpieMaria SFRamana sirShackman,PadmumPaul,  The Old FossilMaxi and Will.

Share

Deadline

Quite ironical of me to be speaking on the topic when I am posting a day late. I am a man who views deadlines as a serious responsibility. Yet I confess that I have moments when I find meeting deadlines quite difficult. Between my job, my other job, krav maga, writing and being a good friend to many good friends; the many hats I wear coupled with an apparent lack of determination has led me to miss many deadlines in the recent past. I am not particularly proud of it, but in my mind, I am a fairly laid back person and my soul is greatly disturbed when I am forced to abandon peace.

I live so because I wish to savour moments which, many of my peers, fail to do in their effort to run all the time. I begin most meals by closing my eyes and letting the taste of the food percolate into my taste buds. No matter how bad life gets, the joy of there being food to eat is something that I cherish and am grateful for. While reading something, I wish to invest time into really experiencing the substance of what I read, the beautiful arrangement of words that makes the idea so meaningful and inspiring, the depth to the characters, etc. While watching a movie, I wish to absorb the content, marvel the direction, carefully pay attention to the dialogues and take ideas from the acting unfolding before me. While sleeping I wish to take comfort in the softness of my pillow, the warmth of my blanket and the sense of security which my mosquito curtain provides. All of this is who I am as a person and it is precisely because of such an attitude that I find myself at peace notwithstanding the uncertainties of entrepreneurship. Yet ironically, I attribute this idea to a deadline.

A family friend who is a fantastic professor of English and I happened to meet some time back. He and I share a contempt for the conservative and a common love for liberal values and our conversations are usually prolonged and give me tremendous insights about all that we end up discussing. He once told me that a certain school of thought in Greek philosophy equates our mortality to erotic love. the connection lies that once we are conscious of the certainty of death, we condemn ourselves to reproduction. Yet beyond this anthropological reality, lies a more pressing lesson. We live short lives and we have to savour all of the little moments leading onto our demise.

 

Hence the uncontrolled joy at eating food, at writing this post, at meeting friends, at watching movies, reading books, etc. So I am happy to be on a deadline. When the time comes I just wish it is painless and represents a sacrifice for the benefit of something bigger than myself; but I will welcome it wholeheartedly whether it comes now or in 80 years. My survival instincts will exist, as it should, but somewhere this deadline has hastened the formation of a self-identity; a gift which I am slowly but surely becoming confident of. There is much good that I can do and I need to do it quickly because everyday is bringing be closer to the deadline!

 

So I say deadlines are good, it keeps us committed towards acting and acting quickly. I embrace my deadlines and will work steadfastly towards the same! Good day folks!

 

For the take of other LBC members on the same topic, please visit the links below

Anu, DeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpieMaria SFRamana sirShackman,PadmumPaul,  The Old FossilMaxi and Will.

Share

LBC Presents Care Giving

“They alone live who live for others; the rest are more dead than alive.”-Swami Vivekananda

 

Care-giving remained a concept in principle, until the time my paternal-grandfather came within our care. In the brief week or so that he fell within our care, it fell upon me to attend to his everyday needs; an experience I initially thought I wasn’t ready for, but found rather soul satisfying after having gotten into the whole process. He passed away last September, leaving behind a family that misses him terribly.

 

It also impressed upon me the deeper dynamics involved in the relationships that we share with our loved ones. When we are all independent and in the peak of our health, we seldom think about what we will be called upon to do or sacrifice, when the good times make way for demanding ones. Yet, the question as to whether we will embrace the care giving responsibilities when called upon to do so ought to define how far we want to take the relationships forward. Yet rather than backing out at the nth moment, it is best we understand whether we are capable of those responsibilities or not early on.

 

Philosophers and spiritual thinkers alike swear by the beneficial aspects of care giving. Buddha I believe emphasized compassion as means of experiencing the web like nature of karma which explains how we are all inter-connected. Swami Vivekananda prescribed social service and care giving, vociferously in his efforts to advocate a better future for a person and the country. With the limited insights I have gained from my own experiences, i can guarantee that they all have a point.

 

The recent episode of ‘Satyamev Jayate” highlighted the plight of ageing population in the country. In essence, it merely highlighted the Hippocratic nature of our thinking, which one hand prescribes respect for elders and yet fails to practice the same lesson. The guilty in these cases need to really think if their conscience can agree with what they are doing. Sometimes, the elderly impose a challenge and it is a difficult task to remain patient. Yet when we cannot abandon our children, the same benefit is befitting for elders. It is easier said than done no doubt and this too emanates out of my experience with my paternal grandmother, but something in me still cannot agree with the notion of seeing her feel bad. Ah, sometimes, we becomes slaves of our own decency, don’t we? :P

 

I often wonder if I could bring myself to do for certain others, what I did for my grandfather? Will I have that patience, that commitment and that willingness to sacrifice? I am yet unable to forge an answer. The more I spend time thinking about it, the less ready I feel to answer that question. Hence the withdrawal I have chosen has felt natural albeit its small moments of disappointment, at which time I assure myself that it is a necessary setback for the greater good. I can only hope that I find my soul once again when the next opportunity comes knocking and hopefully I won’t disappoint myself that time. Good day!

 

For the take of other LBC members on the same topic, please visit the links below

Anu, DeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarMagpieMaria SFRamana sirShackman,PadmumPaul,  The Old FossilMaxi and Will.

 

 

Share