Days of My Life

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

What I say today is what mohammad ali said once , "It is very hard to be humble when you are as great as me". Lest people may be mistaken I am not into boxing. and therefore I resist from praising myself :)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Forget and Forgive ...

Many of us might have heard of this quote. I always had some reservations with it. What the heck ? For many of us, past insults and failures are the spurs to future endeavors. Maybe not a positive way to get inspired ... but again what the heck. Inspiration is inspiration. That urge to get back ... ahhhh that vengeful nature. This is what drives many people crazy and who said craziness is a wrong thing. I might be committing blasphemy here but if Gandhi was not thrown out of the train that night ... would he have got on to do the things he did. I find it hard to believe that his subsequent actions at least in the initial days did not have at least something personal. As the Americans say - "Don't get mad, get even"

Is it possible to really forgive someone ? It becomes a very serious question dealing not with minor issues like - your friend or someone becoming ungrateful and moreover justifying their actions as expediencies, ditching you for a date or a chat, backbiting or some such thing. I really mean those grave injustices that were meted out to you, the tortures of the heart and the ego bashing that you were subject to (I am not sure which of the two hurts more). The possibly life-long wounds that refuse to heal and start to bleed at the slightest provocation or slight and sometimes mere sight.

The point is we can't really forget these things. Hence it becomes even more difficult to forgive the 'antagonists' concerned. And, because you can’t forget them, however much you try to explain, justify, rationalize or even empathize with them and their possible reasons to hurt you (maybe it was unintended after all) - you tend to come back to the basic question- why did he/she/they do this to me? Of all the people- me ? Why me ? GOD !!!

All these fucking self-help books say "Move on in Life" , "Don't carry all that unnecessary baggage" etc etc. Don't the buggers know how difficult that is. We are not philanthrophists.

Sometimes efforts are made. We look back, resolve to forget and start rebuilding our lives bit by stumbling bit. We try to keep the older wounds out of this new world. But one minor incident or an unintended situation brings all the memories and ... what do I say !!! Back to square one.

Mostly this is because the hurt was caused by people who are close to us. As some Urdu poet said -

Gairon ke diye huey zakhm toh jaldi bhar jaate hain, par yeh jo zakhm apno ke diye hote hain, woh shayad kabhi nahi bharte.(It is easier to heal the wounds caused by others, but the ones caused by those close to us probably never can be healed.)

Those close to us. Those whom we respect, admire, appreciate and maybe even love . People whom we wanted to be friends with. But the whole thing gets botched up and to add to the frustration it becomes impossible to pinpoint the blame. As old Telugu movies say the easiest way out is to blame the situations (paristhithula prabhaavam). But the situations are themselves our creations.

To be fair to the self-help people it does cost a lot emotionally to carry these wounds. Wont we be better served if our brain is free of this clutter. I am sure we are. I usually think of this (among many other things) but was forced to write on this topic when my neighbour pointed out to a discussion in an online community in orkut called 'Ramaiah'(Refer post "Reporting 0300 hrs"). A member of the community wanted to know how many of the members would be attending Mr Ramaiah's funeral. FYKI the man is hale and hearty. To his 'credit' that is the kind of 'respect' and 'feeling' he has been able to elicit from his students. To his credit (without quotes) he has many devotees too. I've been unable to forgive him for the past 5 years. However my opinions are not so pungent (maybe even sadistic) as the funeral guy. Really ... what use is carrying all that baggage.

Hence I made a decision today. I decided to feel like God (as the Bajaj Avenger ad goes :) and am unconditionally forgiving all those who I feel have hurt me. I'd make my effort to rebuild the burnt bridges. With no reservations at all to ask forgiveness if I was wrong. And in some cases I'd like to forget the burnt bridges totally and just move on. Because there is no stake either in rebuilding nor in taking revenge. So just press 'Ignore'.

I feel light already.

As a few people accuse me of being totally selfish (eminently laughable of course ... who isn't , btw I asked the person if partially selfish was acceptable. no answer was forthcoming). Let this be another act of selfishness.

Forgiveness is a selfish act because of immense benefits to the one who forgives.
- The Quotations Page

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Gods must be ... well cool !!! (Part 1)

Today was Vinayaka Chavithi. Went home to perform puja with the family as has been the practice for the past 21 years of my life.And I am 21. Since this is possibly the last year I would be with my family (at least for a couple of years to come) I decided to concentrate on the proceedings rather than wait for the prasadam to be distributed :) So I come to know of the details of the story - the key words being Syamanthaka Mani, Satrajit, Jambavan, Lord Krishna, Satyabhama, Chandra (the moon) and finally Lord Ganesha Himself. This set me thinking about some of the Hindu Gods. After some references and thinking I've some to the conclusion that most of Them are pretty cool.I'd say about four of them.

Let's start with Ganesha (or Vinayaka) Himself as the practice goes. The most popular and pervasive deity in the Hindu minds. The Lord of success and the destroyer of obstacles ... he is also the God of education, wisdom, knowledge and prosperity (of all kinds ... Lakshmi is only of wealth I guess).His elephant head and the human body is an interesting story in its own. But the pot belly is the most interesting part of it.Possibly the only God in the whole pantheon to have one. It led Hindus to believe that a pot belly is an indication of prosperity. Ganesha is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations.He is the person to have written (while being dictated to by sage Ved Vyas) the Mahabharatha. And who set the mischeivous condition that the sage must not stop while dictation. His large ears are symbolic that he is all ears to our difficulties. And inspite of all this greatness ... he rides the humblest of creatures --- the Mouse. Now if that is not cool ... what is.

Next comes the God after whom my Dad named me Ravi - Surya (the Sun God ... also called Ravi among many other names). Surya ... the supremo of the solar system. There is no disputing the fact that He is the life force sustaining the earth and the life here. The only God whom we can see all day long and experience His miracles day in and day out.Surya is the third eye of Mother Nature ... the nature to which we belong. Penetrator of darkness and dispeller of ignorance. Revered by the mantra - Aditya Hrudayam and the basic asana of Yoga ... the Surya namaskar. He is said to be a benevolent deity capable of healing sick peeple.The most celebrated mantra of Hinduism called the Gayatri mantra is an incantation to Surya. Father to illustrious kids like - Yama, lawgiver Manu, river Yamuna.

... to be continued.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Mind over Matter ... does it really matter ?

A pretty serious post.With lots of bullshit (as you may define the term).This is due my recent forays into philosophical websites. The sites were great.The same is not applicable to the post.

I never really considered myself a person who is overly considered with matters of the heart. I've always believed that emotions cloud our ability to think properly and rationally. And to date i haven't been proved wrong. An emotional person has many variables to manipulate his functions and not just pure reason and logic. Agreed that we are humans and not machines, but emotions have had no perceptible influence on my thinking faculties and on the decisions I make. At least I try to keep them out. But as with many things ... I end up on the losing side more often than not. I think we can never be unhappy if we listen only to the mind. It analyses failures and brings out rational reasons. But the heart simply refuses to accept a NO. The mind says "move on dude ... time up... it was not what you thought" the heart says "wait for sometime... things might really be what you thought they were". The mind is a realist, the heart - an optimist.

However some recent conversations and correspondences have hit me in the face making me realise that factors beyond pure reason influence even the decision making and thinking of hardcore professionals.And we are better off for this influence.As with most other people I too am a Prisoner of my Heart rather than being a Master of my Mind. This set me thinking on this age old issue of mind vs matter.

Our ancients I guess believed that the body is the most important of human posessions and with great reason. Their identity was defined solely by their body. If the body dies the person dies . Period. All faculties were dedicated to the protection of the body. The mind was really just another faculty. Well it took them some time to realise that the mind was much more capable and powerful than just being a protective source.Today the case is that we declare a person to be dead if he is "brain dead" ie his internal organs are still working except the brain. A swiss philosopher called Bonnet defined a term called "Epiphenomenalism". Which says that the mind has nothing to do with the body. The brain runs its body functions as it wants to and is programmed to. But influence of the mind is not even considered. When people say its all in the mind ... well the body needs to cooperate too.

This has in a way made me conclude (at least temporarily) that the mind and the body have clearly demarcated functions and with minimum overlapping. But the question is ... do we allow one of them to attain supremacy over the other. Do we help a guy on the road who has met with an accident or do we continue driving ? Do we stop by to admire the flowers or do we think of why they are there ? Do we admire a cuckoos cry (I dont know what it is called) or do we close the window ?

I think that all the extreme emotions are left to the heart whereas the mind is left to do the balancing act. Without the heart - a poet taking a morning walk would not have produced magic on the hills (Daffodils), a writer taking a train ride would not have created a heavenly soong (Vande Mataram) and no Lady with the Lamp nor any PM Relief fund.

But without the mind a guy relaxing in an apple orchard would not have discovered how the nature works (Newton ... when an apple fell on his head instead of eating it, he postulated about gravity), nor could have early man discovered the wheel.

No conclusions drawn.But the idea is clear. God (or nature) created both the mind and the body as both of them have their own functions ... else only one of them would have been there. And evolution made our minds sharper. So think with your mind ... but act with your heart.