About Me

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I love the sunrise. I love staring out into the horizon in front of me, feeling the sun's glow, and losing myself in my own world of thoughts... I love being awake when the world around me is fast asleep, and staring into the distance at the tiny glimmering ball of fire as it shyly creeps into my world… Each sunrise brings to me a new day and with it a fresh start. An opportunity to do things differently, see things from a different point of view... but best of all, an opportunity to ponder over the day ahead, giving a new chance every day to live...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Love someone Anwar, then you will know the truth of life."*

Living your life with love doesn't mean loving every one you come across to infinite insanity and back, it means to treat everyone with kindness. It has taken me a long, long, damn bloody long time to realise how unequivocally intertwined love and kindness are. Don't get me wrong, I was never a cruel person and I would never like to be so. But I never realised how much the best expressed form of love is kindness (although, of course, I would like to think I have been doing that throughout my life...). To love, really love, takes time and trust, but to be kind to everyone takes nothing, and yet the act says it right there and then, out loud, "I have love for you, and I want to share it with you and show you I care."

PS: Along with intelligence, I find kindness the single most attractive feature in a man. Why is being nice so under-rated?!

* The title is in reference to a dialogue from the Bollywood movie, Anwar.

Monday, December 10, 2012

On being 16 and turning 23...

Birthdays always have a way of bringing out the inner ponderer and 'reflection-er' in ourselves. What used to be a highly anticipated day turns into a long-dreaded day - the day from whence the number you tell people in reference to your age becomes that one digit higher. And of course, numbers on their own are often meaningless (and sometimes even within a social context, they are still meaningless... society, how complex thou art...), but the realisation they represent that you are well and truly in the realm of being an adult is what makes it so huge to me. I am, touchwood, extremely grateful for every day I get to be on this Earth and for the love I feel every day in my life, but being an adult is Goddamnshit crazy scary! I'm sorry, there is no eloquent way to phrase that sentiment, as far as I am concerned.

I was talking to a friend today, about getting older. He is two years older than me and he, I swear to God, still sees me as that naive nineteen year old kid I was when I first met him on the steps of our university campus's main square. He was musing over the ludicrosity of me being twenty three, amazed at how that naive, jumpy nineteen year old is going to be leading the life of a twenty three year old in the big smoke. It is indeed an odd thought. Maybe.

However, my answer to his musings was this: age has nothing to do with maturity, rather it is about gaining life experiences enough to equip oneself to survive the complexities of an ever increasingly entropic world. That is to say, I am still 'immature' and 'mature' (whatever the hell these words mean...) all within a matter of minutes, and while this expression of self is within my control, the external influences that shape my daily life do not wait for me but rather depend on my ability to learn to co-exist with their forces. And growing up is about understanding better with each passing year how to handle the complexities of greater responsibilities and rights, that enable us to be a part of this ecosystem called Life. Whether you behave like an 'adult' or like a 'child' is immaterial - that is a personal evolution and is far too complex to attach an consensual number to. (And, more importantly, we must ask - does it need a number attached to it?)

Going through this logic (well, it SEEMS like logic to me... make of it what you will!) brings me some comfort that the dreaded two and three next to one another need not be so dreaded after all. I have a tendency to live in the past and I will miss the past with each increasing year, but perhaps that is exactly what 'maturity' is about - accepting that as the years unfurl, the distance between the sixteen-year-old-you and the just-very-very-old-you keeps increasing. However much you try and hold on to that thread that binds you to what you once were, in those seemingly perfect, rose-tinted visions of days, there needs to be a time when you accept defeat that the thread is very, very thin now and it is OK to let it snap because the memories are yours and no one except Mr. Alzheimer can take them away from you now. Accepting that the laughter and the tears are all your souvenirs, now. You no longer need to try so hard to grip that thread so hard. Really.

But hey, who says I am mature now, eh? Whatever! Haha!

PS: Don't you just love the word 'entropy'? When I was sixteen and sitting in a Chemistry class on a winter's morning, my Chemistry teacher (who I still see as one of the best teachers I have ever had) tried to explain the concept of entropy to us. More than its scientific and physical value, I remember being so intrigued by its philosophical value. She used an excerpt from Stephen Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time' to highlight the application of entropy in life to us, which I want to end this blog post on. This is brilliant reflection for anyone reading this.

"Imagine a cup of water falling off a table and breaking into pieces on the floor. If you take a film of this, you can easily tell whether it is being run forward or backward. If you run it backward you will see the pieces suddenly gather themselves together off the floor and jump back to form a whole cup on the table. You can tell that the film is being run backward because this kind of behavior is never observed in ordinary life. If it were, crockery manufacturers would go out of business.

The explanation that is usually given as to why we don’t see broken cups gathering themselves together off the floor and jumping back onto the table is that it is forbidden by the second law of thermodynamics. This says that in any closed system disorder, or entropy, always increases with time. In other words, it is a form of Murphy’s law: things always tend to go wrong! An intact cup on the table is a state of high order, but a broken cup on the floor is a disordered state. One can go readily from the cup on the table in the past to the broken cup on the floor in the future, but not the other way round.

The increase of disorder or entropy with time is one example of what is called an arrow of time, something that distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time. There are at least three different arrows of time. First, there is the thermodynamic arrow of time, the direction of time in which disorder or entropy increases. Then, there is the psychological arrow of time. This is the direction in which we feel time passes, the direction in which we remember the past but not the future. Finally, there is the cosmological arrow of time. This is the direction of time in which the universe is expanding rather than contracting."

 -- A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (1988)

PPS: If my blog wasn't called 'Lost in Thoughts', I may well have called it 'Entropy'. Hmmm.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

How to move on

Is it our core insecurities that stop us from moving on? I am not just talking about moving on from bonds once formed, but moving on from anything that has done us undeserved injustice. Sri Devi's speech at the end of English Vinglish noted how if we are feeling like the weaker side in a supposedly equal bond, we need to re-evaluate our own self's identity and fight for our own self's love. Then only can we expect to receive equal treatment from others. This really struck a chord with me, as I think it is really a wonderful lesson for life, and not just for a married couple about to embark on a lifetime of feeling superior and inferior.

There have been many situations in my own life where I have felt like the weaker side, and I have noticed the one common thread in all these unrelated situations is my own questioning at the end of a tiring day - 'Who am I?' Are personalities to be formed or to be discovered? Being an egocentric introvert has its positives; I take comfort in solitude, and love putting myself first. And as I sit staring at my New York City poster and reflect on feeling like the weaker side and formulate a plan to bring magic back into my life, I begin to realise why it is Goddamned difficult for me to move on: I am not yet where I want to be. 

And therein lies the problem - without being where we exactly want to be at this very moment, how are we expected to be satisfied enough with ourselves to move on? Quoting Lennon and McCartney, there's "nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be", and I think this is a difficult concept for the majority of us to grasp. We are always seeking something - that dream job, that dream romance, that dream travel experience, that dream friendship, that dream Kuch-Kuch-Hota-Hai-resemblant Karan Johar movie - and while I believe goals and passions are extremely important not just for our betterment but for our sanity, sometimes I find myself getting so lost in chasing that darned thing that I don't learn to just sit down and accept that this is the place where I am right now and there is magic here, too. I don't need to be doing that dream job in that dream city with the dream family to feel it.

Is there a difference between happiness and contentment? I used to think there was, that is I was merely content, but not happy. But aren't you content when you are happy? Aren't you happy when you are content? Can these emotions be considered to be psychological phenomena which we have the right to mould to our own expectations? Happiness, as I once understood it, was the ultimate experience, the utopia of all the tick boxes finally being checked off with a permanent marker with a conclusive strike. Contentment, however, was a pencil's rather unsure, confused mark on the box. Now, I am questioning my own theories. Aren't we happy because we say so and are so?

And when you are happy in the knowledge that this is precisely where you're meant to be, moving on becomes as easy to do as it is to say. Because the place you came from isn't the place you are in right now, and this reality becomes that much easier to accept. There can never be another Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. But instead, we have English Vinglish now. Perhaps eventually, like Sri Devi's character, we will all learn to move on to a stronger self by seeking our own happiness first.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

'Jodi tor dak shune keu na ashe tobe ekla cholo re...'*

While yes, I love sunrises and the state of self-reflection they induce within me, there is still no feeling quite like sitting up at two in the morning, attempting work, and hearing the song you really needed to hear, come on shuffle from your music. Perfect.

Why is it perfect? Because over the past couple of weeks (months, even), I have been running around everywhere and facing a lot of sleepless nights and sleepy days (not unlike this very night) chasing work and homework and self-inflicted torture of extra work like a madwoman. And in between, I veg out in front of the TV or laptop and watch Modern Family and crush on Phil 'Dum-phy' (only a true Modern Family-ite will understand this...) guiltily. To add to the guilt, naturally, is a diet and lifestyle high in everything I am learning about is bad for me (except for smoking. Ew. Guess I'm not as badass as I sound after all, eh...). Good body image, you say? What's THAT?!

So of course, when you hear Amitabh Bachchan's voice telling you to stand tall and walk alone even if no one else heeds your voice, it is oddly extremely comforting. Extremely comforting and new-lease-of-inner-strength-inspiring. Especially so (did I mention?) at two in the morning, as you're making notes under a small desk lamp. I found myself stopping and just listening to the song, with my mind in blissful silence. More than anything, this song told me to pause from being an overworked (and never-paid) cog and remind myself of all the wonderful things I believe in, and must not give up on.

Something similar also happened to me yesterday, when I was driving back from another town and I decided to leave the motorway at an earlier junction to try and find the place where I go to for cheaper petrol through a different route. I had a lecture I needed to attend in forty minutes and I knew I was taking a cheeky gamble with exiting the motorway one junction earlier (countryside driving, if you are really unlucky, can equate to crawling slowly behind large tractors on one-way lanes), but I decided to do it anyway. Anything for cheaper petrol, right? 

As I try and find my exit on the roundabout, I accidentally end up driving into some sort of a holiday resort/hippie home resort/elderly people's retirement resort... place. I am still not entirely sure what it is! Frustrated at the time lost and cursing myself for taking the wrong turn, I drove along into the resort to try and find a place to reverse... and suddenly in front of me is a big, beautiful, blue lake, surrounded by the rich, lush greenery of nearby grass and expanding out into the horizon were hills in the background. I notice the sun is shining, and coming from the car's speakers is a trance song by Above and Beyond - 'Home'. I went into a trance myself. You must remember that I have been living in the hospital, with machines and people all around me, and it has been ages - Absolutely. Freaking. Ages. - since I had seen nature around me.

I stepped out and goshdarnit - actually breathed for the first time in a long time. The car window was still open, and I could hear the lyrics "the sunset builds a memory, our love sign... and all at sea we come alive" being sung. It was blissful, and it felt like my little secret. And to find all this purely by accident made it all the more magical. Some wine and a good book and I would happily have set up camp right there. 

But alas, I had a lecture to drag my ass to.

However, the moral of the two stories remains the same - don't give up, walking alone can lead you to discover what it was you needed all along. (And of course, always listen to inspirational music at two in the morning - this one is for the fellow insomniacs...)

* Loose translation, as I am led to understand: 'if they answer not to thy call, walk alone'