Nostalgia

1990. It’s almost 20 years ago. Thinking back, it makes me feel very old.

I was 9 then, in fifth grade. A bunch of us were put in a new class since er.. for whatever reason I can’t remember. Having studied with a class since kindergarten, being put into a new class with a new bunch of students and a brand new teacher who looked scary, was kind of traumatic to 9 year old me. So I did what I thought was best for me, I cried and threw a tantrum and asked to be put back in the class I was in. I must have been very convincing that the school agreed with me. Surprised and happy I went with the teacher, only to find myself in an entirely different class and not the old one. This time I didn’t cry but rebelled and was taken to the headmistress. Asked why I did that (after getting duly punished though), I gave her the reason. I didn’t like the teacher. It ended with me being put in the new class and the teacher who I was scared of turned out to be better than most others. Ah, the good old times. Thinking about it now puts a smile to my face as I realise how stupid I was.

This event came to my mind at the end of a sequence of others, as I finished talking about undergraduate admissions with my friend over dinner. We were discussing about the time when we finished high school and were about to venture into a world where the final preparations for an entry into a bigger world were to be done, the University. The conversation digressed from the admission procedures and the selection criteria to the best colleges and universities and ended up with us reminiscing about the life we had when we were kids, with parents doing what is best for us.

No, actually they did what they thought was good for us. Which was not always a good thing according to us, the kids. We wanted something, we got something else. Like it or not, you had no choice but to take it. I believe it was the same for everyone, but to a different extent. I think that extent, the limit they set on what we can get during those formative years defines a substantial part of our personality for the rest of our lives. Those who get everything they want during those years, end up taking everything for granted. Those who don’t, think ten times before they want to get something for themselves, even though they know well it is fully within their power to get it and there’s no one to stop them. I’ll leave further analysis to the professionals.

Coming back to nostalgia, it’s amusing how it brings back so much stuff and makes it jump from one memory to another just so randomly. The thoughts and events that are brought back are usually bad, those that were hurting, those that caused anger or sadness.In the end, nostalgia makes you think about those past stuff and you either laugh at it or make a decision not to pass it on to the future. Nostalgia perhaps is called so because it brings back those memories. Painful it may be, but sometimes it can make the person feel alive.

Religious people are from Lilliput

The people of the fictional island Lilliput in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels were at war with the people of their neighbouring island Blefuscu. The reason, disagreement over the right way to break an egg. The people of Lilliput said that the egg should be broken at the big end and hence were called Big-Endians and the other party naturally were the Little-Endians (Not the same as the bit order in computing). Gulliver being captured by the people of Lilliput helps them and wins the war for them. Now that’s the story. A recent brainwave suggested that there may be some meaning underneath Swift’s portrayal of the reasons for the warring factions.

As anyone can see, the most obvious comparison that can be made to real life situations where people fight based on reasons as frivolous as which end of the egg to break is religion. People of different religions and sometimes within the same religion, fight and kill other people claiming that their way is the only way and the others are so wrong that people following the way ought not to live. What makes this all the more ridiculous is the fact that human beings are inherently selfish and would do anything to survive. When resources are limited, only the strongest and the biggest were able to survive. That happens all the time. Now why would they fight over something/someone they all claim is the creator/protector/controller of all life on earth. If they were trying to reach that someone, they shouldn’t they work together to achieve the goal? Or is this something part of human evolution where humans find some reason to fight where there are none? I can only hope there are answers, because a great many number have tried to answer this question but ended up getting beaten and forgotten.

After I wrote this, I was curious if Jonathan Swift had really made religious references and checked Wikipedia. I wasn’t surprised to find that it indeed was the case. No wonder he made the Lilliputians little people.

After the rain

These flowers signify the optimism that makes them face up to the world even after a heavy downpour that tended to tear them away from the plant.

The water drops may also stand for the tears shed after a bitter fight between lovers with the flowers standing for their faces after the fight. (Wish I could put this into a story format, to make it more interesting)

अहँ ब्रह्मास्मि

The title literally means ‘I am Brahman’. Brahman, according to Hindu philosophy is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this universe (Wikipedia). In simple terms it means that I am God. Though this may be difficult to accept for those who believe in an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent personal God, the realisation that one is God is what leads to enlightenment and eternal salvation from the misery that is life.

However, this statement can be verified in terms of our relations with fellow human beings. For convenience, the reasons are listed below

  • God was created by humans and so was I.
  • God gets the devotion and love from a few and so do I.
  • No everyone likes God and so it is with me.
  • Some deny the existence of God but want to know more and so it is with me. (At least I hope so.)
  • Some know God but claim otherwise and some don’t know God and claim otherwise and so it is with me. (At least I think so.)
  • At least one person runs out of things to write about God and so it is with me.

Going by the above relations with humans, the relations I have with other people is on the same level. And I have no choice but to accept that I am God. अहँ ब्रह्मास्मि

This post was actually made to test the Hindi input offered by blogger. Not a bad effort by them and am waiting for Tamil support.

Life is a Fatal Disease

This is the title of a poetry collection that caught by eye when browsing at the library. This is the kind of phrase that makes one think about its profundity but after sometime it becomes just another way of describing the mundaneness of being (a la Marvin the paranoid android).

A fatal disease is that leads to certain death. How, when and where the death may occur is what makes the difference. The person may try to prolong their life with medical aids but cannot prevent the inevitable. Likewise one may live like one wishes because in the end, when all ends, life too, ends.

Why does the above not make any sense at all?? Oh well, nevermind. Life is a fatal disease.

Life = Chess

Is life a game of chess? Yes, but with a few differences.

You always play black and thus don’t get to make the first move, ever. Because the decision to start the game was not yours. The first few moves are easy as the people who started the game are there to guide you. The opposition is not strong either. Everything looks good.

Then it gets a bit more complicated. You enter the middle game and find that there is no one guide to anymore. Sometimes it seems they have joined the opposition. Suddenly you find that to progress further, you have to sacrifice some pieces. The opposition is stronger now and the decisions difficult to make. The game accordingly becomes difficult or easy based on these decisions and the way you started the game.

This is when the game becomes unbearable. Late in the game, the arbiter informs that the game is timed and you have to play faster, just to survive. You are happy that the rules are still the same. After this you are either all at sea to save the game, or totally in control. At this point you may start a few games of your own and play simultaneously. Finally, both the players may lose all pieces and end the game a stalemate or may draw earlier. As for a more conclusive result, I am waiting to see how my game proceeds.

It’s not easy

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me

I’m more than a bird
I’m more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees

Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd
But don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed
But won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away
Away from me
It’s all right
You can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy
Or anything

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me

It’s not easy to be me

This song (Superman by five for Fighting) has been playing in my head for the past week or so. Though this song is written from the Clark Kent point of view, I feel I could relate to some of the lines – marked in bold. Sometimes I feel it really is not easy to be me. By the way, who am I?!