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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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/

Happy new year!


Once upon a time…

So, another story is completed and the year is gone, making us an year wiser. New is always intercepted as good. A time for retrospection. To think about the bundle of memories the past year left with us.

When we think about it, we realize the things we achieved, the plans that went fulfilled, the ones that didn’t. The bucket list keeps growing, the elements being ticked off. So many memories in such less time. We meet people, we travel places, we see things. Some bonds grow stronger, some weaken. New people walk into our lives, some get left behind.

A new year gives a sense of freshness. You seek for fresh starts. There is something long pending on your resolution list, you try to make sure it’s done by the end of this year. You hope for a better time, you regret for what’s left undone. You plan and regret and then plan some more. Seconds to minutes to days to month, and wooosh, the year is gone. You don’t remain the person you were then. The last year seems so much older, the new one like a teenager.

So, as the new year sets in, lets hope for a better time. Lets try to get that pending item off the list. Lets add some new ones. Lets meet new people, travel someplace we have never been before. Finish up the book you left uncompleted. Lets try to plan less, do more. Lets not be settled or stuck and make things happen! For those who couldn’t get what they always wanted, lets just hope a little bit more. For the happy ones, lets continue to be awesome.

Let the new year add up some more memories, let it make you wiser and happier. Lets make the best of the time we got. Lets start the year with one of Steve Jobs quotes: ‘Stay hungry, Stay foolish’.

Here’s to a few firsts and a few lasts,
Here’s to a new beginning,
A fresh start,
And an adieu to the past!

Stay awesome. Stay great. A very happy 2k15 🙂

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Start of a phase


It is hard to believe that just 2 months ago I was that careless college kid who sleeps at 4 in the morning, only to wake up 1 in the afternoon. Now, I am this scared person who is afraid to sleep beyond 1 in the night, scared of waking up late for his office.

I am this frustrated person who is afraid of his own words and actions. A person, no one would like to be. I am stuck in front of my laptop for 8 hours, the feel of being in cage becoming more surreal as the days beckon. I feel suffocated. But, that’s how life has become now. I get frustrated with small things, that free kid is begging to be alive again. But again, there are phases and these phase tend to start and end at some point of time.

I don’t feel like writing anymore or reading stuffs. The monotonous life has dawned on the carefree one somehow.

Today, I had a meeting in the evening. I left my office on my bike. I met with a slight drizzle on the way. I had my earphones plugged in. It had been a long time since I have been this way. It felt like the old times. It felt nice that sometimes we do appreciate the fact that even the smallest of things can bring happiness. And somehow, in that smokey traffic and blaring horns, I smiled again. The kid was welling to be alive again. And, as I zipped past the huge array of cars and bikes, I felt free. 🙂

 

rain

The good and the bad


Someone told me once, “No one is good or bad, it is all about the circumstances.” Today I wonder how apt the line is. People say you can know someone in the first meeting. But how complicated is the thing is that, it is only after a variety of situations, you get to know who the real person is. People act differently in different moments at different time. I read somewhere “7 billion people in this world, 14 billion faces.” Saving the generalisation, it can be termed true to some extent. But are people really two-faced? How do you coin someone as good or bad?

How often have you assumed someone as bad and later doubted your own assumption? People bitch behind other’s back. But no one really knows the answer to the reason why a certain person acted in a certain way. Never judge another person until you have walked two miles in his shoes. People tend to act in the way that benefits them. Then again, there are selfless persons, for sure.

So many a times, I have assumed a person to be in a certain way, only to be surprised the way things actually pan out. I have refrained from talking to few people on the ground of them being too absurd only to find out later about how humble they actually are. Somehow, life becomes so complicated that we actually start looking things the way we want to. If our assumption says that a person is bad, even his good deeds start irritating.

I have had a few of such revelations. All I understood is that a book should never be judged by its cover. It is such an illusion to judge a person through assumptions. Open the book, and you will realise how beautiful the story can turn out to be. 🙂

Screwing up


There are moments in your life when you wish you had a time machine. Time is an abstract concept. The mere value of time is realised when we are past the moment. You do things that you know you are going to regret for the rest of your lives.

You try to achieve something. You put efforts in it. You nurture your dream. You work hard for so long. And then, somehow, even though trivial, something is enough to screw up the whole thing. You wish you could go back in time, un-screw up those things. You wish you could have done certain things in a certain way, or hadn’t done the things at all.

No one wants to hold regrets. Some are careful enough to tread with caution, and there are people like me, who tend to screw up almost all the good things in life. And the worst part is that the regrets seldom seem to subside. It stays there in the heart.

I could think over what happened, frame by frame, trying to think about the things that went wrong. I have screwed up so many friendships and relationships, just when I thought that things were starting to get perfect. I guess, life really doesn’t allow for complacency. I tell myself, ‘no, this won’t happen again’, and then again, there I am, BAM, in the same situation.

And the worst part is that there is no way I can make things normal. They get getting worse and worse till the point that the mere concept of existence starts looking fake.

I really need to organise my thoughts for now. I know, someday or the other I would. Maybe, as you grow up, the room for complacency starts getting smaller and smaller. And that’s how life is going to be, I guess. 🙂