Saturday, 28 March 2009

Ideology and Us

Ideology, the one thing you would stand for , no matter what the rest of world thinks, is hard to come by . Whom would you associate your ideology with and what is the end result of those ideologies? Whether we accept it or not , in our daily life we live through a society. A society in which all of us perform our parts and are mutually interdependent upon each other. A novel concept in all likelihood shall be the one which would be understood by few and accepted by lesser few of them . How do you stand on with it then ? Do you snub that entire mass of opponents to your idea or do you c0ompormise and go together with them ?

What is it that we fear when we stand against society ? Castigation .Becoming an Outcast? If the fear is so powerful so as to override the ideology then probably the time for that ideology hasn't arrived. But if the fear loses its value and your principle shines bright , then you stand for it !
Death is not the biggest fear we have, nonetheless its not irrelevant as well. But between life and death , the death which wipes your existence and not the one which you have already met numerous times, lies a lot to loose and and an equally lot to gain. To what extent are we ready to lose to gain what we want to gain is a difficult question,but the answer is what we always seek . As a human being, that part of me which revolts against the society is my mind, but how do I trust it ? Is it an independent identity to determine its own future on its own ? Doesn't it need anyone else for its survival ? If it does then it doesn't have the authority to propagate ideas that don't satisfy the normalcy. It shouldn't give in to paradoxes. If its survival is dependent upon those ideologies which it couldn't conform , its creating paradoxes by not being subservient to those ideals that feed it , that keep it alive . However, if the same is not true, it is independent . It stands on its own . It stands on its own capacity and then expounds its own belief system unmutilated by the conventional wisdom of the society.
What do I conclude from the litanies above? I don't know , my mind isn't independent enough yet to conclude anything. It's an unruly slave to the conventional wisdom.

Bhutta waali

"Unless we have equality in our society , it will only remain divided and unstable. Howsoever elusive it may seem to be , communism is the only way to achieve stability", ranted a socialist during a TV debate. Being too pissed off of the nonsense being uttered I got off to ramble around. It was a cool calm evening of Darbhanga , which lasts for few days an year only. I wished to walk around the empty field, and for company thought of buying baked bhutta. There were too many options in terms of the sellers, I landed onto the one where a middle aged lady was sitting with a child around 10 years of age. She was baking bhutta on charcoal. Seeing me approaching see took out a bhutta for me , I felt the toughness of corn and retorted, " no , this is too hard". She smiled back, "babu! take this one, its tender and sweet!" I protested , "No! I want other one!", perhaps to show who the boss was! " . All right ! she brought out another one and started baking it. A quaint smile was sprawled all over her face. It was a caring smile, a peaceful smile, a smile found on face after achieving the satisfaction of a victory. What victory did she had today ? I wondered.

She was meanwhile tutoring her son as well , as when to pluck out the maize off the field. When is the best time to get it off the field and he seemed to understand it all. That scene of a child getting the knowledge of survival from her mother seemed like they way Krishna taught Arjuna in battlefield. Although the child here was not confused as Arjuna was.
In the process she kept negotiating with other buyers as well , and perhaps indicated her son to follow her in the art of negotiation. My bhutta was ready meanwhile and I handed her a 20 Rs. note . I was a bit lost into the calculation as to how much would they earn in a day. At most 100. Not more than that. But there was no sign of pain on their face, as pain has forgotten their address or may be they have grown inured to the daily challenges of life.

Well I took the change and bhutta and went ahead thinking about it. About the disparity. About the honesty of the poor even though they have everything to loose. How much they charged for a bhutta? I saw that the change was 7 rs. She must have charged 3 rs. It just then that I remembered that I had given her 20 rs. note. She should have had returned 13.
Did she cheat ? Or had she mistaken. I thought of lambasting the lady for this, just when the face of child and his mother came in front of me. How much will she gain my cheating me of 10 rs., may she will be able to give him a better food for the day. Or may be sweets tonight. I couldn't decide what should I do ? Also , I was apprehensive that she might refute my claims of giving her 20 rs note. All my assumptions of poor's honesty was drowned. It was not that I would have minded loss of 10 rs .

After some minutes of debating with myself I decided to get the money back . I went to her and told that I had given you 20 rs. note, expecting a refusal from her side. However, she immediately apologized, beat her knuckles against her head and returned a 10 rs. note to me, still smiling the same way. I felt sorry for her, though it appeared reverse.

I don't know why I went back to claim my money. I don't have an answer to that. Maybe I didn't want to dole out alms to her or may be I was too cynic with the thought that she might have had cheated. I went with bhutta to the field to roam about, only that I had more companions now, her persistent smile and my heavy heart.

Growing up with media.

Its an amazing coordination between genes and environment. Both look out for the best compatibility of situations , thereby influencing each other considerably. How much of a person's traits and beliefs are personal or environmental , cannot be said for sure. In the same context it would be interesting to observe the role that media plays in our lives.

Media is the conduit through which the voices (influential and powerful), ideas, thoughts, beliefs percolate down the social structure. If I consider my own childhood to be an archetype ,I would consider media as my second parent. It is true that I got my values and beliefs from my parents and guardians, however its nonetheless very true that I got another set of guided support from the movies, soaps, etc. They shaped my thoughts in a certain way , which is quite irreversible now. The real damage was that of perception, caused by the truths perpetrated by them , with elements of untruth embedded. To name the few conceptions that I have grown up with and nurtured from them was of a black and white world, afterlife horrors, sex and death as taboos, "and they lived happily ever after", definitions and requirements of love, narrow nationalism, "us" and "them" line of separation and so on and so forth. I don't intend to say that it was solely there "gifts" to my inquisitive mind, my own personal inclinations too molded the facts and accepted it. The real issue was that the underlying falsehood was wrapped in a glittering , shiny wrapper of truth which made me accept the whole package as sole truth.

Needless to say that all of those leanings that I grew up with suffered serious jolts. It shook up the very foundation I was raised on. A person may say that he follows no principles in his life, but then again that is his principle. And so as these "maxims" were eroded with time, my underlying base got too weakened to be referred to. I gave in to confusions, indeterminism, agnosticism. Although, I have discussed it in the terms of my own growth , I very confidentially presume that the story won't be too very different for you. Particulars and durations may differ, but the underlying facts would be the same for most of us.

However, as every dark cloud has silver lining , I understand that by employing our own brains, our own reasoning, our own rationality, we will expunge the adopted "values" and shall create our own "values", the one we truly believe in. It appears difficult and confusing, not very different from the former, but the fact that its you who are at the helm of the affairs now, compensates.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Beauty of writing.

Why write? Whats so special about writing ? Should everyone in his capacity write something? Is writing as essential as other cognitive processes . An old Chinese proverb says , " The weakest ink lasts longer than the strongest mind". No doubt we all would agree to this mandarin quote, however , its not only due to the longer lasting capacity of ink that writing is important. There is an another important factor .

Human mind has an amazing capacity to change tracks, parallelize as well as diversify. Also it has a strong capacity to visualize abstractions. However, the same agility that provides it great resilience also proves a bane to the clarity of abstract concepts. Till the time it becomes clear it remains a mess of ideas, concepts intermingled and mixed. Once these thoughts get out of the realms of the mind and land onto the paper, it starts getting clearer. Problem solving techniques too stress upon the utility of writing. Once you write the problem down and visualize it , brain gets channel in a straight direction , stops wandering and acts on the problem. It wouldn't be wrong to say , to write down a problem is like half solving it.
However, besides problem solving there are several benefits. Even writing down your day to day problem on a sheet of paper helps you to get a better view of it. Several novelists like Ayn Rand wrote intensively in the newspaper articles before she started with her book in order to gain clarity and give structure to her thoughts. Thoughts are like an unbridled horse , free to prance in any direction, but writing provides a direction to the thoughts.

Its not necessary that whatever we write will be perfectly structured but the fact that we can always come back to it and realize where did we waver gives us a proper self analysis. A very small experiment shall be worthy of emulation. On a day , when u are taking leisure, take a pen and paper and start writing. Don't worry about whats coming out on the paper. Go on writing incessantly for some time . Stop after say 10 -15 mins. You will be amazed to see what you have jotted down. What happened was as we start writing while being consciously aware of the process itself mind wavers in every direction . Probably whatever you write wont be congruous in the initial stage. But slowly your subconscious instinct takes over you, and then your subconscious self writes , and its always amazing to find the results. This technique is largely used in psychoanalysis to identify what lies in the corners of mind.
Verily you would agree with me now that writing is as important as reading and visualizing or thinking. However, the good thing is that you too can realize it by just starting it right now. Go ahead. Happy writing. May the beauty of it manifest itself to you.

Monday, 2 March 2009

On a nostalgic note.

Next song popped up on my lappy. I knew the song, It has been long since I had listened to this song. "Hum to hain pardes mein, Desh mein nikla hoga chaand". Nostalgia overtook me, in a flash.

Images conjured up to my mind. I am lying on a chowki , all alone, bathed in milky moonlight. May be I am not all alone , I am accompanied by the moon and the serenity surrounding me. Gentle breeze sways over my sweaty body and sweeps all my worries.

In lethargy

Boredom, lack of purpose, lethargy, banality, unexciting, all these adjectives tend to mark only one point. That you are not liking what you are doing . Jump a wall , walk a mile, hum a song or do everything wrong. Plethora of options , yet lacking in motivation. Any possible road appears to be overused, mind seems to be overwrought with nothingness. What pleasure does this state of existence give ? Hard to tell but impossible to ignore.