Buckle up


That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there – on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 AU), as part of the Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System.

If we ever looked up at the night sky we will see a plethora of stars, twinkling. Realizing that we are just one of the 100 billion people on a planet with a star that is one of the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, that is one of the 2 trillion galaxies in the known universe, is rather humbling. This leads us to the next question. What is the purpose of life? One of the humorous answers to life, the universe, and everything is Fourty-Two. But what exactly is the purpose then?

The millennials are unhappy. We are unhappy at work. We are unhappy at home. We are unhappy at vacations. And that’s not because of any of the old times were simpler craps. We have made our lives miserable. We don’t care about others. Hell, we don’t care about ourselves. Sure, we are richer, we are fitter, we are smart. But yet we are unhappy. Is this because we are busy chasing one thing after another. Or is it because we have prioritized money or success over meaningful relationships? Or is it just the way it is? Is the sense of entitlement making us more miserable now? Or is it just that we are just frustrated our lives with the lives of others and we realize that we are doing nothing?

We lose hope after every single failure. We measure success in terms of materialistic gains. Sure, we work hard. But we fail harder. When I introspect I feel that I am no different. It’s easy to fall down (gravity -.-) and it’s hard to get up. We don’t realize the importance of failing. We don’t learn if we don’t fail. When we teach modern computers through reinforcement learning, it takes thousands of tries to get things right. But not with 100% accuracy. And mind you that’s a computer. For us the learning process is difficult.

The first step towards self-improvement is realizing that there is something to improve in the first place. To accept that we are not perfect. To ditch the sense of entitlement. To throw away that always positive attitude (more on this later). Realize that the purpose of life is just not to earn money or get a house or buy a car.

Now, look up at the stars one more time. Tell yourself. The past doesn’t matter. The failures don’t matter. The problems don’t matter. What matters is what you are going to do right now, to make your life a little better. You are part of a bigger picture. If that doesn’t humble you, nothing else will.

The Milky Way panorama

By ESO/S. Brunier – The Milky Way panorama, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15001611

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Lost purpose


It has been almost a year since I have been living in the United States. I remember the day I got my admit for MS. It was a thrilling feeling. An opportunity to live the American dream. An opportunity to learn more. When I retrospect over the last one year, however, I feel I lost my way somewhere.

What is it to learn at foreign universities? There are infinite possibilities. That was my thought when I stepped on that flight from New Delhi to Gainesville. I didn’t realize that life is rerouted the same way one of those flights occasionally do. Somehow, somewhere, I lost the purpose.

This might sound pretty depressing but it isn’t the way it sounds. Maybe it’s for the best that happens. We as individuals are so used to planning for things we forget what lies ahead. We have trapped ourselves in a box. We have a fixed set of priorities and another one of the goals. We fail to rediscover ourselves because we are so tied up in the unending struggle of failures and successes. We are afraid to step out and witness the world.

We forget to understand that these struggles make us who we are. If we stop teaching a struggling kid after he has failed to learn till the number 10 he won’t understand the beauty of another million that lie ahead. The same thing happens with us. When we fail to keep up with our plans, we start getting a feeling of a lost purpose.

Life is the most beautiful thing that happened to us. The only thing waiting for us is to take another step forward. Another step to fail and then pick ourselves up again. Another step to witness those well-laid plans go up in ashes. Another step to get out of that box. Another step to getting lost on purpose! 🙂

 

 

Keep Going


Not all the days will be smooth

Not all of them will be lucky

When you are stuck in the mud and harder it gets

Tell yourself — Keep going
And some days will be hard

And some are going to be worse

But never shall you lose faith

For guarding you is the universe
When you find nothing going your way

No light to shine and no way up

Remind yourself of the years passed

I know you will never give up!
When you are out of your breath

And just can’t push any farther

Wipe that sweat off with a smile

And tell yourself to push — a little harder
You are down and out 

With scars from the days gone by

You are hurt yet unbent

With another jerk and a sigh

You get up and face the storm

Because nothing can hold you down

You keep your steps strong

For there will be a moment worth showing

And forever you told yourself — Keep going! 🙂

Image from here: goo.gl/OycKR9

Goodbyes


So, here I brace myself for another set of goodbyes (disclaimer: I am still here for the next one month, but this feeling of penning down words has been rare to come. Not exactly the last nail. Time capsule for the future if you may.) Everytime I am overwhelmed at how fast time passes, it continues to surprise me more. It feels only yesterday that I came to Hyderabad, and yet somehow it has already been 2 long years. 

Yes, two long years since I left college. And though I am still recovering over that feeling, another one is bestwoed upon me. Sometimes, I just feel it’s better to cut the crap and stop creating new attachments. Stop this nonsense of making new friends and new memories. It’s hard to leave all these behind and move on. I have stopped counting how many times I have had to do that.

The moment life starts feeling normal is the same one that reminds us that the current one is going to be just that. Just another moment. Another memory which will soon be painful to forget. 

Why do we meet new people? It feels like the sole purpose of meeting new people or making new memories is just to leave them in the past. That’s a cruel algorithm in which life works. First you leave your parents, your school friends behind. Then it’s your college memories. And funnily enough, the more you progress the harder it gets. You feel someday you will be mature enough to deal with this shit. But life leaves you immature, emotional one forever.

So, here I brace myself again. To yet another set of goodbyes. To those late night enlightments with the roommates. To those office friends, who just made the time more bearable. To the mentor, who never left my side. To the khana banane wale bhaiya, who never understood the concept of less oil and more taste. To those undiscovered roads and those impromptu trips. To everything that made me smile in the once alien world.

To the ones who made you believe that no matter wherever you go, some people are always there to make you a better person than you had been. 

It’s not the goodbyes that hurt. It’s all the flashback that follows.

Farewell, Hyderabad.

The Prestige


Halfway through the West Indian innings against India, I could think of nothing but an uncanny reference to the 3 famous acts of magic.

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course…it probably isn’t.

west-indies-chris-gayle-celebrates-his-century-during-a-icc-wt20-match-against-england-at-wankhede-stadium-in-mumbai-1458208980734

Chris Gayle scores brilliant 100 off 48 balls against England in the group match

 

The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary.

West-Indies-batsman-Chris-Gayle-is-bowled

Bumrah bowled Gayle

Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.

 

lendl-simmons-half-century 

The focus was on Gayle throughout the match. We thought these lads were wasting their time and we were going to script another Lagaan in Eden Gardens. But while you weren’t looking, West Indies pull off their final act – The prestige.

Though, it was a tough match to lose, I wish all the luck to the deserving Carribean magicians to take another WT20 trophy home! 🙂

Image

Life’s Project


I was in my college last month. It had been more than a year since I was back there. However, everything looked so familiar, as if nothing had changed. I could imagine myself back on the pathways and corridors anxious for Test -2 (or T2), which was 2 days later. I could see myself wandering near mongi with a cup of coffee in my hand, badly wanting for the next week to end soon.

Everything was exactly the way it was, though strangely, how much had changed. There was an odd feeling that I didn’t belong here. No, these kids were carefree. They didn’t have to go back to job in a few days. Goa wasn’t vacation for them, it was a way of life, it was their home, if only for now. I so badly wanted to tell them that they are going to miss this life in a few year. But, I guess, they already knew.

When I met one of my old teachers, I could feel overwhelmed. So many things came rushing back. We sat down  and the conversation to follow was one of the most enthraling ones I had in a few years. He talked about Buddhist philosophy, and the way of life. He talked about life’s project. He asked me what was my life’s project?

Well, everyone has a goal in life. I too have one. But what was my life’s project? Becoming a good engineer and making a change in people’s life, can that be passed off as one’s life project? I am afraid that isn’t true. It should be something big, something with impact, something with a recognition. Right? And, I don’t have that. Maybe not for now. I guess, someday, when I truly realise what is the meaning of this particular dot in my life, I will realize what my true life’s project is.

Well, while I was leaving goa, I texted my teacher, saying it was a real pleasure meeting him. He texted back ‘don’t forget to set out on your life’s project’

Soon sir.. soon 🙂

 

Dreams


A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said ‘Dream is not the thing you see in sleep but is that thing that doesn’t let you sleep.’  Sadly, it’s only when we grow up we realise what is the difference between that fantasy world and the real one. Everything ever quoted seems so right but it fails miserably when you apply that in real life. We dream of achieving big things. If only you could go in the past and tell that little guy, how tougher the world was.

Does it really makes sense to hold onto the dream when you grow up? That takes us to another question. Does it really have to be absolutely necessary for someone to know what exactly they want when they were a kid. What do we call the other half of the population? Losers? How often we miss the fact that most of those dreams were in fact influenced by some or the other person in our life. It might have been our friends who were busy ‘figuring out their life’; or our parents who didn’t fail to make an impression that one profession was more noble than the other.

When I look back, I am really confused between what I wanted and what I should have wanted to be. At some levels, I guess I haven’t even figured it out yet. People said good grades gives you a good college, so I did that. People said good college gives you a good job, so I did that too. But in the end how it doesn’t it all add up? Even now? I am not a pessimist. I sometimes really feel confounded by the sole idea that everyone needs to have a dream.

Maybe it will take some time. Maybe it will take time to find the true passion or the true direction. Life does gives you many chances and I guess I am just one of those who couldn’t figure out the right one. Maybe then I will be able to understand what every other quote means in this world. And someday, maybe I will be the one who wakes up and knows, this is what my dream was to be. Till then, I guess I need to follow my instinct. Because, I guess at some level they already know what you want to be. 🙂dream2

   Image from here: http://www.insideaspergers.com/2015/06/15/dreams-and-aspergers/