The Knowledge

There have been quite a lot of things going on in my mind lately. But today, I am determined to take some time out and write about the little changes happening in and around me, just to acknowledge, at the very least- how these changes are setting me free and how these changes have let me to hope, a thing that I had scarcely allowed myself to do in the past.

Anyone who has ever talked to me for a proper ten minutes, shall agree that I am naive at heart. I may be street smart because my parents, particularly my mom, paid great attention to it. But when it comes to introspection, well, I suck. I mean, who needs introspection when a caring elder brother is always present with his bag full of experiences and solutions. Yet, I knew that at some point in life, I had to learn the ways of life myself, because my brother won’t necessarily be there for me forever and to be honest, it would be very unfair to ask him to actually be.

Luckily, for me, the time to learn worldly wisdom came recently. Better late than never, right?! It came in the form of articles, books, movies, songs even WhatsApp conversations, and what not. But, the greatest teacher among them all was Life, the daily experiences, the random flow of events. Yes, a talk or two in the train with a friend. An incident on the way to work. A news of current happenings. It’s as if each and every thing happening to me or around me has had some deep knowledge rooted in it and my task was pretty simple- to identify and comprehend this knowledge.

As I was assimilating all this knowledge that was coming my way, I couldn’t help but wonder, as to the purpose it served. Initially, I believed that this knowledge would provide some future assistance but very soon I realised that this knowledge was not for some obscure event of the future. Rather, it was for empowering my current lifestyle. It was to make me realise how foolishly I had been doing things which had no meaning and were outright noxious. It was indeed to change my perspective on a wide variety of subjects.

Insecurities, Fear

I perfectly remember that ever since my early schooling days, I was very insecure and afraid. Insecure about my standing in the class and fearful about almost everything else. Infact, I had hit such a low once, that I outright rejected the proposal of teaching a topic to a dearly loved friend, due to the fear that she might score better than me in that subject.

And as time passed, these insecurities and fears manifested themselves to higher levels and began including Luck and Chance with them. Infact, the severity of this problem can be gauged by the fact that I wore my “lucky” watch for all the papers of my Inter CA examinations except Audit and guess what, yes, I ended up failing only in Auditing.

But, these insecurities and fears were not all that bad. They helped me stay away from “Relationships”. Let me tell you, though I have been away from Relationships, the people closest to me have not- They have all been struck by Cupid periodically. That, in a way, gave me a perfect opportunity to study how Love actually sublimates over time and transforms into deep rooted insecurity and fear, if not properly dealt with. Well, that’s for another day. For now, it should suffice you to know that I am victoriously fighting my war against fears.

Humility, Courage

I know a lot of people consider me to be full of ego and stuff (even my mom complains about it sometimes) but I never had the slightest traces of it, at best I can be called finicky. Instead, I had cupboards and cupboards full of shyness and introversion. And even though knowledge helped me empty most of them, a few vestiges still remain. I still won’t be the first person to initiate the conversation but surely I’ll listen till the last second. Talking is not my forte, listening is. And that is what I realised when I bathed in that knowledge pool.

Speaking of courage, every human being who ever lived and who will ever live shall be termed as courageous. Seldom comes a life, which has no challenges, no hurdles, no obstacles. Everyday, each one of us strives to make the most out of our present situations. You might not acknowledge it, but what you are essentially doing, when facing those challenges, is being courageous. Courage is not limited to Don Quixote (yes, he was a fool but he was a courageous fool) and it has nothing, whatsoever, to do with fighting ghosts and demons.

Loneliness, Solitude

To the unaware, both might seem the same. Yet there is a subtle difference. To be honest, I knew the difference even before the knowledge dawned upon me. But, knowledge surely helped me to understand it more deeply and profoundly. While loneliness is more about being alone and grimacing about that fact, solitude is about being alone and enjoying your own company.

Loneliness is more of a vice and solitude is a virtue. I am lucky enough to be embraced by solitude because loneliness is hazardous, even life taking. I can’t even comprehend how a person might feel when s/he realises that there is no one to be by her/his side in this world, which is awfully full of people. Surely, thinking about it alone gives me jitters. I am fortunate enough to enjoy my company with nature and the cosmos. I am fortunate enough to not get affected by loneliness and I am fortunate enough to help people struggling with loneliness, you all only expanded my knowledge.

Pain, Forgiveness

Whenever humans and human emotions are involved, pain is definitely involved. Infact, it wouldn’t be wrong to call emotions as precursors of pain. The flow is simple- Emotions make us obsequious and being obsequious, being servile is the easiest passageway to pain. Though it may sound crude, I’ll try my best, to get the point across.

Almost everyone can universally connect to the emotion called Love and so, I will take the same and attempt to make my point clear. What is love? Poets across millennia have described it in the most animated words. Love can be the affection and attraction for many things- other people, nature, a doll, a car and what not. But as Kabir put it- “The lane of love is narrow, it has place only for one.” And though we may root for the accepted myth that Love is selfless, it is not and that pains. And if it is indeed selfless, it causes all the more pain- because with selfless love comes an even greater burden of expectations. You are only fooling yourself, if you believe that expectations don’t form a part of selfless love.

But, mysterious are the ways of the world- as pain and suffering are so omnipresent, we also have the options of acceptance and forgiveness. In fact, Forgiveness is akin to Godliness. This is where the knowledge comes into play. Suffering is difficult and forgiving is even more difficult. But knowledge helps us in accepting the situation as is and letting it go. Once we taste liberation by letting go the pain, by forgiving- we actually begin to live a more meaningful and purposeful life and that is the true purpose of living, right?!

Conclusion

Frankly speaking, there are so many things that I have learnt. So many things about which I can write volumes on. But in these busy times, I am lost for the want of time. Also, my writing skills won’t do justice to those forby subjects- atleast not right now. And I am guessing that the handful of you, who reached this far, must surely be waiting for it to end too. Thus, I would take one final moment to let you know that I am grateful to you for taking your time out and reading patiently.

P.s. Gratitude is a virtue too. The latest one that I learned.

Until later.

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The Tree called Life

Four score and five years ago
At one opportune moment, nary another,
Birth of a seedling-
The Gods hath witnessed with wonder.

Thus spake the King of Kings
“Lo and behold,
This here is a child
Who is to become humanity’s Gold.”

Seven years hath passeth
Since that glorious day,
The seedling is now firmly planted
With the clear intention to stay.

In company of Banyan trees
Or on old school benches,
Everyday the seedling learnt
And grew itself new branches.

Twenty years hath passeth
Since that rejoiced day,
And now the Shrub has become fascinated
By a Nightingale- and its grey.

Yet an impossible choice
It has to face,
Does it wish for the Nightingale
Or is it the moment of greatness which it is destined to embrace.

Thirty years hath passeth
Since that illustrious day,
The Tree now firmly entrenched
Braves the Storms like a child’s play.

Neither the Thunder
Nor can the Winds now wake
The countless nightingales
Who sing everyday of its great tale.

They rhyme and chirp about a Tree
That sacrificed its branches and a bird,
To stave away a ferocious Serpent
And saved an entire herd.

Many years hath passeth
Since that extra ordinary day,
The Tree well past it’s prime now
Has nothing more to wish or pray.

It just waits patiently
Knowing that time has come for its decay,
Very soon he shall be rejoined with the Nightingale
And this time for Eternity.

If 50 million people say something foolish, it is still foolish. 

Legendary novelist William Somerset Maugham’s ageless saying is easily one of my favourite quotes. The abrasive manner of the quote adds a deep sense of  gravity to it without changing its simplicity. 

A simple experiment carried out in the 1950s by legendary psychologist Solomon Asch shows how peer pressure can warp common sense. A subject is shown a line drawn on paper, and next to it three lines – numbered 1, 2 and 3 –one shorter, one longer and one of the same length as the original one. He or she must indicate which of the three lines corresponds to the original one. If the person is alone in the room, he gives correct answers – unsurprising, because the task is really quite simple. Now five other people enter the room; they are all actors, which the subject does not know. One after another, they give wrong answers, saying ‘number 1’, although it’s very clear that number 3 is the correct answer. Then it is the subject’s turn again. In one third of cases, he will answer incorrectly to match the other people’s responses.

In our world of abundance where we have 500 varieties of a product, seldom do we compare our choices. We tend to purchase that what is in vogue, quality notwithstanding. We feel the need to buy that what everyone is buying, acquire that what everyone already has. Most of us have at least once tried imitating a person we adore, a person whom we look up to, right? The advertising industry is the biggest beneficiary of our behaviour because people like ‘you and me’ appear on the small screen and catch our imagination unawares.

Another classic example is that of a student. He is required to study with piety. Whether he wants to study that what he is actually studying is an altogether different question, which is of least concern. He has to study what everyone else is studying. Once he completes education, he is required to take up a job. There is prerequisite for taking up the job. It should be a respectable job, which the society doesn’t look down on. Whether he is motivated by the job, is again a different question. He is expected to continue with that job for the next 40 or so years till he achieves the legal age to retire like so many others before him and most probably a horde of people after.

This urge to follow others (society in particular) has reverse evolved. In ancient times, people followed what other fellow human beings did because those times demanded it. Everyday was dangerous. Every second was a constant tussle between life and death. Moreover, one couldn’t expect a man then, to stand in front of a charging mammoth with an air of audacity, right. He was supposed to run away as his fellow brothers did. But today, times have changed and yet we haven’t. There is no longer a need to run in the direction of the crowd. Infact, today we all have a chance,  which humanity at other times, seldomly had. The chance to stand up from a crowd of people and shine. The chance to break the shackles which are pulling the society down and yet not be looked at with a frown but with approbation and cheering.

So let us all take an oath today that we will henceforth always think rationally before taking any step and not just follow the crowd. And if that happens (and I am sure someday it surely will happen), then another great quote by William Somerset Maugham will find sanctity and that is ” Tradition is a guide and not a jailer“. 

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Things I learned 

I have learnt that words are permanent. Hearts cannot be unbroken and saying I’m Sorry cannot retrieve the angry words that have been spoken.

It is a universally accepted truth that we don’t know what we have until we find it. Conversely, isn’t it true too that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives? 

Success should not be measured in what you will buy or own, but in the pride you feel  in the person you are with, when you are alone.

When one door of happiness closes, another one surely opens & we should not keep ourselves busy staring at the closed door. Rather, we should find the new opening. 

In a survey of people, who were on their death beds, it was found that they regretted not the things they did but the things they didn’t do in life. Don’t harbour any regrets. 

A bright future is based on a forgotten past.

Don’t rely on first impressions. Sometimes, the shortest player is the best one on the team.

No matter how good a person is, sometimes they  can hurt you and because of this we must learn to forgive. 

No matter how broken your heart is, the world won’t stop to tend to it. 

It takes years to build trust and only seconds to destroy it. We don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change. 

The best friendship is one in which you can take a walk without saying a word and when you part, you feel that you had one of the best conversations ever.

Concentrate on the quality of the coffee, not the cup which merely holds it and adds no value to it.

Happy people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything. 

And finally, Life isn’t always fair, but it is still worth living and rejoicing. 

Dream what you want, Go where you want to go. There is only one life, only one chance to do it.

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Is stress required in life?  

Well, most of the readers will obviously say a big NO. I mean, why take stress and bring home all the diseases which accompany stress. Only a fool would believe stress is not bad. And mind you, such fools do exist. 

I am one among them. Personally, I believe that stress is as important in life as salt is in food. Just as food without salt is useless, so is life without stress. It is in moments of stress and pressure that the mind functions optimally. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that stress acts as a stimulus for greater efficiency. 

Take any list which contains influential people. You will not find even one person in that list, who reached where he/ she is now before undergoing a period of stress and utmost pressure. There is an old adage which goes: every carbon molecule can get converted into a diamond, but very few, which take on the pressure finally become one. 

However, just as a lot of salt can poison the entire food, similarly, a lot of stress can harm a person. One should not keep on taking stressful tasks one after the other. Stress is just a part of our life, and yet we tend to make it our life. This can have  serious implications across various dimensions of life. 

To conclude, I would like to urge the fellow readers to remove the perception that stress has a very negative connotation. We must learn to use stress to our advantage. We need to learn, how to use it to navigate through unfavourable situations and turnaround our losses into our gains. And be very sure, this is quite possible. In fact, not just possible but rather probable! 
Happy Reading !! 

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Leave a mark

Life is supposed to have some meaning. We all come into this world to do something, atleast we all come into being with the capability and the capacity to do something. Yet it is surprising that most of us actually perish without doing anything remarkable. 

In the words of the great teacher Swami Vivekananda, 

Get up, and set your shoulder to the wheel – How long is this life for? As you have come into this world, leave some mark behind. Otherwise, where is the difference between you and the trees and stones? They too come into existence, decay and die.

And though I know and understand all of this, yet here I am without having done anything. For days I wondered why wasn’t I able to do anything worthwhile. Why have scores and scores of people died unceremoniously. 

One day it suddenly struck me. It is simple- because we are afraid. We are scared of venturing into uncharted waters, well most of us are. The few spirited souls who navigated through those rough waters were the ones who eventually succeeded. 

Having realised that we are afraid, I soon began wondering- what is it that we are afraid of? More so, what is it that I am afraid of? Right away, I began making a list of what all things ailed me. The one gargantuan thing, right at the top was – what-would-others-say?! 

This what-would-people-say has ruined lives. Rather, I would say, destroyed lives. But now, what to do about it. How to overcome​ the monster that is staring at us, laughing straight on our face. How much ever I tried, I was unable to find a way to cope with it. And this remained so, till one day I heard a wise man speak. 

He said, ” Ever since our birth, we have seen, heard, felt, etc. But all this has been done within. If we have seen anything, it is merely the image that has fallen on our retina which the brain comprehended. Any sound that we have heard thus far, has been a sound wave perceived by our brain through the vibrations it caused on the eardrums. And this goes on for everything that we have felt or smelt too” 

I deduced one important meaning that day. Life is really simple. We tend to make it complicated by trying to see, hear or feel what others might feel. Infact, we don’t even know whether they might feel the same way. I mean, do you clearly remember each day when your best friend ended up in a situation looking like a fool. I don’t. 

If we can’t remember what follies our best friend did, then why do we care so much about what others, whom we barely know or don’t know at all, might remember when we do something. The truth is – nobody cares. Everyone is too busy with themselves. They might just laugh at the spur of the moment but afterwards, nobody remembers. 

Still if some of you readers disagree with me, ask your selves the times you laughed at someone because of a certain act of theirs, which is considered as absurd. I bet most of you wouldn’t be able to remember 10 times, when you laughed at a ridiculous situation. 

When you yourselves don’t remember such incidents, then are you not a fool to believe that others might remember your each mistake. And are you not a greater fool, to not participate in activities that might actually be of some utility, fearing a negative reaction from the public.

In the end (RIP Cheston), I would just like to add that to create a mark in this world so that you and your deeds don’t become oblivious in the annals of history, you have to do something worth remembering and not let the fear of what-others-might-think make your existence similar to those of stones and trees. They decay and die! 

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Get Busy

We all want a carefree life, right?!
Some of you might be astounded by the stark irony between the title and the opening lines. Bear with me a little, you’ll understand and maybe even change!

Ever since our birth, we have been flooded with rules and regulations and various disciplines that we are expected to adhere to. And naturally, we being humans tend to revolt. We believe that we can live our life better by making our own​ rules rather than following a standard code of conduct set down by a fat, abusive thinker (hopeless imagination 😂) who could never see others happy because he himself was damned with melancholy for eternity.

Though we may despise rules, we have to understand that the very freedom which we value is because of the rigid rules that make it appealing. It is as simple as understanding that gold is precious because it is rare. No astrophysics required there. 

But then again, we are “humans”. The very term implies rebellion. This rebellion not just means savagery and war-like rebellion but also it refers to rebelling against our inner self, rebelling against the norms of the society and challenging the customs. And this rebellion was not engrained in us by a matter of chance. Infact, it was put specifically so that we could push ourselves to the limit. 

Name one single person who has achieved anything extraordinary without rebelling and challenging the norms. You won’t be able to because there ain’t any. Even a person climbing the Everest has to rebel against his bodily requirements of rest and sleep to create history. 

The bottom line is we need to challenge life at every step, if we want to transform. If one door closes, we need to find another. At times, we will have to make do with the windows too. And if even that doesn’t work, we will have to shatter some walls. 

If you want to be remembered, if you want to enlist yourself in the annals of history: GET BUSY – start revolting. There is nothing good about living a carefree life. To quote Swami Vivekananda, ” Get up and set your shoulder to the wheel. How long is this life for you? As you have come into this world, leave some mark behind. Otherwise, where is the difference between you and the rocks and the trees? They too come into existence, decay and die.”

Finally a dailogue from one the greatest movies of all time: 

You can connect and share your ideas with me on this blog itself or:

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Au revoir !!