The Telescope

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Raju was very excited. Yesterday, his science teacher had announced that they will start a new chapter in school. This chapter was about stars. Raju knew what stars were, but he was really curious to know more about them. What was their size? How many of them were there? How did they give out light? That morning, as he sat down for breakfast before leaving for school, he decided to ask his father.

“Father,” said Raju. “What are stars?” His father, a dedicated farmer, was not entirely happy with Raju joining school. He wanted Raju to help him out in the fields. “Don’t you see them at night?” he asked gruffly. “Yes I do, but what exactly are they?” questioned Raju. “They are the lights which guide us when we are lost,” replied Raju’s mother, as she entered with the food. Satisfied with that answer, Raju quickly ate his food and ran to school.

When the time for the science class came, he was very eager to learn. “A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, because of which it is the biggest, and also is the source of most of the planet’s energy,” read the teacher from the textbook. “The device through which one can study the stars in detail is called a telescope. It presents a magnified version of stars, thereby, allowing us to study it carefully.”

That day, Raju took down notes attentively and was very interested in the subject of stars. He wanted a telescope to view the stars in detail. There were so many questions in his mind, which couldn’t be answered by the textbook. After dinner, that night, he went outside and sat there. The sky was filled with stars and at that moment, Raju wanted a telescope so badly. He ran inside and went to his father.

“Father, can I have a telescope?”

“A what?” his father asked.

“A telescope to see the stars,’ replied Raju.

“You can see them right now,’ said his father.

“But with a telescope I can see them more clearly and study them,” said Raju.

“No,” said his father shortly.

Raju was dismayed. “But why, father?”

“We are farmers, son. We cannot afford expenses like that. I let you attend school because you wanted to, but it stops there.”

Raju was close to tears. “Please, father? I really want this.”

“Enough!” His father yelled. “Go sleep now.”

“But, father –“ Raju’s father came up to him and interrupted him with a slap. “I SAID GO SLEEP!”

That night, Raju cried himself to sleep. There was so much he wanted to do. The topic of stars fascinated him beyond measure. He didn’t dare ask his father again. Out of sheer desperation, he decided to approach his headmaster. The headmaster was a kind man and Raju had always heard from the teachers about how helpful he was. He sneaked off at lunch time by making excuses to his friends, and knocked on the headmaster’s door.

“Come in,” he said.

Raju entered nervously. “Sir.”

“Which class are you in?” “Eighth standard.”

“What do you want?”

“Sir, I want a telescope.” The headmaster regarded Raju for a second. Then, he said, “Tell your father.”

“My father cannot buy it, sir.” He looked at this young boy. All he wanted was a telescope. A rather unusual request, but he could see that the telescope meant the world to this young boy.

“It costs Rs.5000, you know. It is very expensive. I could give you the phone number of a dealer who supplies such devices for children’s use, but you must arrange for the money first,’ explained the headmaster.

Five thousand rupees! Raju had perhaps never even seen five thousand rupees in his life.

Looking at Raju’s crestfallen expression, the headmaster felt sorry for him. Suddenly something struck his mind. “Why don’t you try applying for the Sarkari Inaam award?”

“What is that, sir?”

“It is an award which is given to the highest scoring student of each class in the final exams. The award is for Rs.3000. Your father could arrange for the remaining Rs.2000, maybe?”

Raju was thinking about all that happened in the headmaster’s office. He decided to try.

“Father, if I win the Sarkari Inaam, can you give me the remaining Rs.2000 to buy the telescope?”

His father laughed aloud. “The Sarkaari Inaam is for brilliant scholars, whereas you are just a mediocre average student.”

Unfazed, Raju said, “No, father, I will work hard for it.”

“Go ahead,” said his father. “If at all you do win, I’ll think about it.” Those were the magic words Raju needed to hear. He checked the calendar. There was exactly a month left for his final exams. From that day on, he started studying hard. However, what Raju’s father said, was true. He was no extraordinary student to win that award. One day, he was trying to solve a maths problem, when his friend Hari called him out to play. Raju was just about to close his book when he remembered what the stakes were.

“No, I have to study.” 

Every night he sat outside gazing at the stars. With every look, he wanted to reach out and bring them closer. Life was unfair, according to him. From what he had seen, the city people seemed to get everything easily, whereas he had to work so hard. But then, nothing which is easily acquired is worth it, he thought.

One afternoon, on a Sunday, he was trying to solve a maths problem, but he couldn’t find the answer. Out of frustration, he tore the page of the book and sat crying. He decided to give up. Outside, he could see his friends playing cricket and God knows how much he wanted to go out immediately and join his friends. He bent down to put on his slippers and his gaze fell on his science textbook. The page was opened to the chapter on stars. Reluctantly, he removed his slippers again and went back to studying.

Finally, the day of his final exams dawned. Raju had practically spent the last month studying. Even his teachers agreed that he had improved remarkably. Raju knew what the prize was, and day by day, his determination had increased. He wrote all his exams well, and waited for the results.

Over the holidays, all he could think about was his results. What if he wasn’t able to win the award? What if his dreams got shattered? What if he never saw the stars?

On the day of his results, he rushed to his school. He could barely contain his excitement and tension. He was waiting in line as the headmaster handed out the results. When his turn came, the headmaster gave him the piece of paper with a smile. Raju walked away and mustered up enough courage to look at the result. This one second will decide his future – whether he will achieve his dream or not. As he looked at the paper, his mind was spinning.

He had scored 95.2% and was the first rank holder in that school. Raju cried out of happiness and knelt on the ground. His headmaster came up to him and said, “Congrats, son. You deserve it.”

When his father came to know of his results, he wept with joy and showered Raju with a lot of fatherly love.

“I’m sorry for being so rude, my son. I will pay the two thousand rupees. Go get your dreams.”

Two days later, a package arrived at Raju’s place. His mother was wiping away tears of joy as Raju’s shaky fingers slowly removed the packaging. That single moment in Raju’s life felt like he had all the happiness in the world. He felt like his life was perfect. His dream was standing right in front of him. I’ll never experience such happiness again, he thought to himself, as he smiled and touched his dream. That entire day, he spent assembling the telescope as per the instruction sheet. At night, he took the telescope outside with his parents. His father hugged him and said, “Live your dream.” And for the first time, Raju knew how it felt to have a dream come true as he looked through the telescope.

 

 

Suicide – Cowardly or Courageous?

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For ages now, the word ‘suicide’ has had several negative connotations to it. Suicide is considered cowardly, immature, weak and is mainly seen as an act of giving up. We have so many centres which have counselling for suicidal people, but yet the number of suicide cases keep increasing. People generally commit suicide when they feel that their problems are impossible to solve. And sometimes they might be right. We never understand the magnitude or gravity of a person’s problems till we are in that same situation. But then, different people deal with things differently. The general idea is that the ones that commit suicide are weak-minded. But, is it so?

The notion of suicide being cowardly was something I believed in too. Whenever I read about a suicide case, I would mentally smirk as I thought it was a sign of weakness. Maybe it is, I don’t know.

However, recently I’ve been doing a little reading on the subject and that’s when I was exposed to this whole new dimension connected to suicide. Suicide need not necessarily be considered as something irrational or stupid.

Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, wrote: “When life is so burdensome, death has become for man a sought-after refuge”. We do not know or understand the problems people face. Sometimes, death seems to be the only answer for them. And if they commit suicide, it must not mean that they are basically weak in the mind; instead they are brave enough to end their life as and when they please. Some philosophers also argue that death by one’s hand is more honourable than living a life of protracted misery. Slyvia Plath, the famous poetess, also viewed suicide in the same light. To her, suicide was liberation – liberation from this world of pain.

If you look at it from a religious point of view, the act of suicide is considered unholy and very atheistic. Sometimes, it is also seen as blasphemy. No religion that I know of actually supports suicide. Even the act of euthanasia is frowned upon. Being agnostic, I obviously do not agree with any of these sentiments. I would not say that I am completely in favour of suicide either though.

As you delve deeper into the subject, you would know that it actually takes courage to slit your wrists, or to pop ten sleeping pills or to voluntarily jump off a terrace.

Conclusively, I am not as disgusted with suicide as I used to be. At the same time, I’m not completely in favour of it either. I have come across many people who laugh at the ones who are suicidal or at the ones who have committed suicide. I feel we must learn to be more accepting, or atleast tolerant enough, of such cases. Ideally, it would require more courage to face the crap, accept it and move on. But we do not live in a perfect world after all.

Suddenly, everything changed.

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Humans have a funny nature. They keep crying out that nothing is permanent in life, and that everything changes with time. However, they choose to be ignorant to that biggest truth in our life, which is death. Death is that one thing which will never change. It will always be there, lurking around you with its invisible presence, reaching out to you when it’s your time. When a person dies, a major part of everybody else who loved that person, dies too. Having experienced one recently, my mind was host to a number of questions. Why did this happen? Why me? Will that person know I miss them? Do they still hold the times I hurt them against me? Where have they gone? Why couldn’t I say a proper goodbye? Why do people leave? The only answer to these limitless questions is a simple four-letter word : life. This is how life is. Take it or leave it.

The first feeling that creeps into our mind when we come across a death is that of denial. And then comes in the guilt, regret and finally the grief. The denial goes away after a while. The guilt and regret makes you suffer for quite some time. The grief never goes away though. One can never get over death, you just learn how to live with it.

We all are running this rat-race and have this mind-set that we have a list of things we need to accomplish, or a list of things we must do or achieve in life. We stress out over our exhausting jobs, and continue searching for new jobs which will pay us more, irrespective of the workload. Students succumb to the pressure meted out by society, parents and teachers and get engaged in the race to “come first”, without actually gaining any knowledge whatsoever. We buy loads of things with our money and decorate our houses with beautiful things. But then, how many of us have a ‘home’ these days, filled with beautiful memories and not decorations? How many of us actually end up doing what we love in our lives?

And, in the end, none of this matters because when you die, you just leave with nothing but your soul. Hell, even your body stays back in earth. It sure feels weird to see all their belongings around you, but the person who owned them is nowhere around. And that is when all your materialistic possessions hold no more value, because in the end, this is how it’ll be with everyone. All the things you were stressing about, all the things you bought, etc., no longer matter anymore. All that matters is the memories you made with the people you loved. Goodbyes are never easy, especially a goodbye like death. The hardest part of it is to have to do it all over again every single day. Everyday, we face the same truth that life is fleeting, and that our life is short.

And to honour the fallen, we must live our own lives well. Thus, the cycle starts again. 

My 2013.

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Another year just flew by. Like every year, this year too had its fair share of ups and downs. I think this was one of those years where I learned a lot about life. I got to know more about friendship, time, distance, family, love, hatred and perhaps even myself.

The year started off pretty normally. At that point, I was just waiting for my board exams to get over because it felt like this sword dangling above my head. Not that I was under pressure. I was just afraid of letting people down, because I did that quite a few times already. March was the month of the exams, and that went off very quickly. Also, towards the end of March, I met one person who means a LOT to me. I got my results in June, and I did do quite well, so the people I care about weren’t let down for once.

Half the year passed by, and then it was time to step into a new world : college. I had several doubts within me. I chose a course which wasn’t what one would call mainstream. Also, I don’t cope well with change, and after being in a school for 12 years, this was truly a big step for me. However, I realized I did the right thing choosing what I wanted. When you choose what you really want, everything else just has a way of falling into place. I have made some great friends in college. Although my course hasn’t lived up to my expectations, I do have fun. So, yes, things seemed fine. The rest of the months were pretty much the same, with the usual drama here and there. Soon enough, it was October and I officially became an adult. I didn’t feel any different though, but it just gave me a new outlook to life. If I compare the person I was, and the person I am, I must say I have changed. But then again, as time passes, everybody changes. It just depends on whether you change for the good or the bad, and in my case, it’s the former. As mentioned in my earlier posts, I had a great birthday this year. November passed off uneventfully, and it was finally time for December : my favourite time of the year.

Everything about December enchants me. But, this year, December turned out to be the worst month for me as I found out that the person I love the most is suffering from cancer, and that chances of survival are one in a million. Initially, the news broke me. I never hit this kind of a low ever. I still cannot come to terms with it. It is very hard for me to deal with it because none of us are good with losing people we love. Although I must say I’m lucky enough to have a good support system with me. Like the optimist I am, I did find a few positives from this as well. And moreover, life does not wait for anyone, it goes on. My hope is still intact, because I believe in miracles.

So, I don’t particularly have any new year resolutions. My whole outlook on life has sort of changed after this incident. At the end of the day, all we need is people who genuinely care about us. This new year, I do not have much expectations, because one thing I learned is that we cannot control or speculate about the future. Whatever has to happen, will happen. In the meanwhile, all we can do is live more, and when I say live more, I do not mean anything crazy or wild. Just get rid of all the negativity – anger, hatred, jealousy – and replace them with positivity. Only then will we be able to truly live more, in the truest sense of the term.

Happy New Year 2014 🙂 

What we really “need”.

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Being a mere autorickshaw driver wasn’t what Govind expected from his life. At 43 years of age, he had a loving wife and two adorable kids. He was able to provide them with a decent living, but devoid luxury of any kind. Nevertheless, they were a very close-knit family. His younger child had just joined school, and his older one was in class V.

One morning, Govind was feeling particularly dismayed at how things had turned out when his wife, Neeta came up to him and said, “Can you come home early tonight? There is a puja at our temple and we must attend that.”

“No,” he said shortly. “Why should I waste my time praying to God when he believes in so much inequality?”

Surprised, Neeta said, “Is anything wrong?”

“Of course, something is wrong! Look at us, look at our house. This is not what I had in mind for us,” yelled Govind.

“I don’t know what has gotten into you. I’m attending the puja with the children, and you can come if you want to,” replied Neeta and walked away.

That day, Govind stormed out of his house, and got into his auto. Another meaningless day of deprivation, thought Govind, as he started the engine.

His first customer, that day, were two teen girls. They wanted to go to a mall nearby.

“What do you want to buy today?” asked one friend to the other.

“Does it really matter?” she asked, pulling out a cigarette. “My parents don’t really care about what I do, so I have stopped caring too.” 

“Yeah, good thing we have a credit card. Atleast we get some happiness from the things we buy.”

As they paid him for the fare, Govind looked at them. They looked so happy on the outside, with all their rich-looking dresses and shoes, but inside, they were not even close to happy. He started his auto again, to search for a new customer.

His next customer was a man who wanted to go to the new fancy MNC building that opened up a few months back. Govind envied his distinguished suit and expensive mobile phone on which he kept texting. His customer then, received a call.

“Look, Naresh, I told you. If ExCorp wants to play tough, so shall we. Make sure everything is ready for the presentation, we need to complete it by tonight.”

Govind took a right turn, as his customer continued talking on the phone. “I know it’s my wedding anniversary tonight, but my wife will have to understand, work comes first. I cannot help it. You go ahead and set everything up, I’m on my way.”

Govind thought about his last anniversary. They didn’t do much, but Neeta made his favourite dishes and they spent the entire night talking. As he collected the fare, he had a smug smile. You can strut all you want with your fancy clothes and phone, but atleast I spend my anniversary with my wife, he thought to himself. However, he felt bad for the way he yelled at Neeta earlier.

The rest of the day passed on uneventfully. At lunch time, he opened his tiffin box and found a picture drawn by his youngest kid which said “My daddy is the best.” Govind had a tear in his eye, as he smiled to himself.

He was on his way back, when he saw a young boy waving out frantically for a ride. Govind stopped and the boy got on. He wanted to go to the beach. Just as Govind went a little further, he heard a woman’s voice scream, “NO, STOP!” Shocked, Govind stopped the auto. The lady was the boy’s mother.

“Where do you think you are going?” she cried out hysterically.

“I DON’T KNOW, mom. Somewhere far away from you and your drunkard new husband.”

“No, no, please don’t go, Rishab. You know I love you, right?”

The boy laughed. “Oh love? Really, mom? Do you even know how I spend my nights in that big empty house of ours while you are out with your husband?”

“Please, come inside,” said the lady, looking at Govind. “We can talk inside, Rishab, please.”

“I will not enter the house of your husband because he made it very clear that I am unwelcome and that it is his house, so fine, I am going away,” yelled the boy, his eyes welling up.

Govind could see that they were quite well-off. Yet, again, they were so caught-up with their problems. Somehow, the lady calmed the boy enough to take him back.

He checked the time. It was 7.30pm. He made his way back to his home and found Neeta getting ready.

“You came,’ she said. “How are you feeling now?”

“You know,” he said, smiling. “For the first time, life doesn’t seem so bad after all, because when it comes to a choice between want and need, one must always choose the latter.”

Neeta smiled. “And?”

“And, I don’t need anything else in life as long as I have you and the kids,” replied Govind.

 

Chasing materialistic pleasures, we have truly lost contact with the simplicity of life.” – Paulo Coelho.

Are you true?

Image Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that is true. Our words have the power to potentially cause either a lot of pain or joy. Sadly enough, not many of us recognize this hidden power of our words. The world renowned psychologist Carl Jung once said, “The man who promises everything is sure to fulfill nothing, and everyone who promises too much is in danger of using evil means in order to carry out his promises, and is already on the road to perdition.”

The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one’s self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course because not everybody can be trusted in this “modern, fast-paced, ever-changing” world of ours. Some people break promises for the pleasure of breaking them. Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible. A person could make ten thousands of different promises to different people, but that’s not the point ; the point is, we must take every step possible to actually do what we say. Like the famous proverb goes, “Actions speak louder than words”, we must focus on DOING things rather than SAYING we’ll do things.

Since our words have so much power, we must avoid making empty promises. It is easy to make promises – it is hard work to keep them. But, why does it have to be so hard? Who complicates it?

The only answer to that is being honest – with yourself and everybody else around you. Only then, you wouldn’t have to resort to making promises you can’t keep because YOU know the truth and when you do, you’ll say the right thing. Unknown to us, our words may mean a LOT to someone around us. Atleast for the sake of that person’s feelings, we must try to be honest and only make those promises that we can keep. It is really not that hard. There’s this song by Def Leppard called ‘Promises’ and a few lines go like this :

I won’t make promises that I can’t keep
I won’t make promises that I don’t mean
I’ll even mean the things I tell you in my sleep
I won’t make promises babe, that I can’t keep

So, ultimately, it all boils down to this : don’t keep promises which cannot be fulfilled.

Our story.

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It was a day when she expected nothing – she woke up from bed with no prior notion of the magic she would experience that day. She was leading a lifeless existence till then. Every day she felt like the walls were closing in. She ignored everybody and hoped that everybody would ignore her. Nothing meant anything to her. It was like she was bound by the sense of pessimism, which developed over time. Like a mask, she faked a smile and tried to blend in because she did not want to attract too much attention to herself. She preferred being a loner. Dependence was something she hated. Even if she was broken on the inside, she’d plaster a smile over her face and pick herself up without relying on anybody else. This is how things were for quite some time. But then everything changed the day she met him. 

 He was standing a few feet away from her. She was busy reading something. But then, something made her look up. Probably the same force that made him look in her direction. And that’s when their eyes met for the first time. She had been in love before, or so she thought, but never had she experienced something as strong as this. Especially with a mere stranger. It’s nothing, she told herself. Trying hard to resist looking at that mysterious stranger again, she concentrated on the task at hand. Fate was only laughing, as she again looked up at him. She noticed his features and tried to memorize his face. He was beyond perfection. As his chocolate brown eyes met hers again, she quickly lowered her eyes and went back to what she was doing. It was like time had stood still and nothing else mattered. When they looked at each other, she was overcome with a scary, yet irreplaceable feeling – a feeling that made her want to stay rooted right there and to capture the moment. 

Slowly, they started to grow close. They basically completed each other. Although alike, they shared many differences. He made up for what she lacked and she made up for what he lacked. Whenever they were together, it felt like there was nobody else around. “What is happening to me?” they asked themselves. The answer was a very simple word with a very complex meaning – love. Both of them were in solid denial of the inevitable though. However, what’s meant to be is meant to be. In the midst of a lot of misunderstandings, tears and the immense pain of separation, they finally believed in their love and decided to confess. 

From being strangers, they now share a bond which is unbreakable. A bond based on the principles of trust, honesty, understanding, care, friendship and love. They were tired of listening to other people finding love. She wanted someone who would care for her and understand her more than anybody else. He wanted someone in front of whom he could drop his walls and just be himself. It’s like he was waiting for her all his life and she for him. It is an evolved relationship wherein they even accept each other’s faults. Where the road will lead, they do not know. But as long as they are together and are able to soak in the beautiful feeling of each other’s company, does anything else really matter? 

“In our lives, we are often afraid to take a chance. We fear that things may not turn out to be as we expect. We become submissive to the looming thoughts of failure and rejection. But, we need to shove all of that aside and just speak our hearts out. At the end of the day, it is our emotions that keep us sane, so it is very important to share them with people. If we love someone, then we should just go for it. Of course, there are chances that that person may reject us. But it’s a good thing, because that way, we won’t be harboring false hopes of any kind. We can think of a thousand reasons why something won’t work out, so why can’t we just find one reason why it can work out?” – Anonymous.

Wake up and live.

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I had a great birthday this year. Almost everything was close to perfect, which was so unlike last year. Trust me when I say EVERYTHING went wrong last year. And yes, I also cried. It may sound dramatic, but hey, who wants to cry on their birthday? Anyway, it is no secret that our mindset affects our life in more ways than we could imagine. Someone with positive thinking can find fragrance even in flowers made of paper, whereas a person with negative thinking may find it difficult to extract fragrance even from an actual rose. But then, our mindset has to be born from within us. No one can ever be truly happy if they keep expecting happiness from other people. Of course, some special people can make us happy. But even then, it would be wrong for us to always expect them to make us happy. We need to understand that only one person can be given the responsibility of keeping us happy, and that is ourselves. Let’s face it, there are some things you do alone. And this is one of those things. If people make you happy, then that’s fantastic, but you need to make yourself happy first to allow others to make you happy.

I did this mistake last year. I was too dependent on people. Instead of taking charge of my own happiness, I waited for other people to make me happy. That lead to a lot of crap which ended up with me crying my eyes out. To be honest, a day before my birthday this year, I again started feeling the weight of everything that happened last year. I felt maybe the same things would repeat. Perhaps things won’t go as planned or maybe something would go wrong. But that’s when I questioned myself : Why do I need other people to make me happy? Except for a few, I shouldn’t really give everybody so much of importance. And that is when I did things that made me happy – I started reading a great book, listened to the Pussycat Doll and Guns n Roses, saw a few Superwoman videos on Youtube, and yeah, that made me more happy than I could imagine. Again, happiness is a relative term. What makes me happy, may not make you happy, and that’s fine. Do whatever makes you happy. Life is short, and before we know it, we are at the last chapter. And I sure as hell wouldn’t want to sit and regret then, thinking about all the times I should’ve taken control of my own happiness. 

All of us go through trying experiences which may still affect us in some way or the other. Those experiences are capable of upsetting us. But, letting go off the pain is the first step to happiness. What has happened has happened. No matter how much you cry, yell, fret or sulk, nothing is going to change the past. But you can change the present, and do yourself a favour and stay happy. No revenge is sweeter than being happy in front of the people who upset you. So, if someone made you feel bad or upset, just smile and enjoy your life while karma does its job. I don’t know if you may agree with me, but if you are someone who has just fought with a loved one, had a break up, or failed at something, let me just tell you it gets better, much better. Take it from someone who has been through all the three – life does not wait for you. Take charge of your own life before its too late.

Technological Black Hole

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Every year before my birthday, I save up some money. I donate half of it to Help Age India and spend the remaining half on myself. I usually like to go alone when I go to spend that money. So, that’s what I did today. The primary idea behind going alone was because I like observing people. Not like a creepy stalker, but just as a curious dreamer. The mall was mainly filled with families since its a holiday for most people. Conventionally, the idea of spending time with one’s family, fills the mind with images of people having meals together, laughing, chatting and updating each other about the happenings in their lives. And that is how it should be ideally. However, what I saw today was contrasting. Families sitting together for meals were either all typing away on their smartphones/tablets or playing Angry Birds. Technology is overpowering us so much that we find it hard now to spare approximately a minimum of three hours’ undivided attention towards our families. I wish I could say my family time was different, but sadly, no. Although we might talk for sometime, ultimately everybody turns to their smartphones for entertainment. This constant dependence on technology is somewhat scary. It is killing real-time conversations and interactions. 

Like a black hole, this technological black hole (or Tech Hole) is sucking humanity in, using technology as a bait. We humans do not know when to stop. I can’t remember the last time we all sat with people at a table without touching our phones even once. Slowly enough, this Tech Hole is just growing bigger and bigger. I am not saying that technology isn’t beneficial. That would only be stupid, because it is extremely advantageous. However, we must know where to draw the limit, in order to reap the maximum benefits. 

Earlier during festivals, people genuinely engaged in gift-giving. Now, we only receive a text message, or if we’re lucky, a phone call. And of course, the people who voraciously tag thousands of people in a picture on Facebook with ‘Happy Diwali’ or ‘Happy New Year’. Even if people exchange gifts, they only try to out-do each other. If ‘A’ gifts ‘B’ something worth Rs. 1000, ‘B’ would want to gift something worth Rs. 1500. This apparently seals their ‘high’ status in society. Competition in the workplace is understandable, not in such cases. Very few people gift only because they really want to, and I applaud such people. The way festivals are celebrated have become mechanical too, as everything is carefully planned so that a lot of pictures can be uploaded on Facebook or Instagram. Different poses, different backgrounds. Again, I don’t mean everybody does it this way. But the people who celebrate festivals only for the heck of it, please get a life outside Facebook. 

Anyway, festivals are meant to be enjoyed to the fullest and so is family life. Family life is highly underrated so do give it the importance it requires. We’re only human so it is okay to have faults. How we improve ourselves is what matters. I am going to try and curb my texting habits and spend more time making real memories, not memories on Facebook. Stay safe, and Happy Dashami 🙂 

Life.

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For my first post, I’d like to present my views on life in general. Let’s start with a very basic question – what is life? Unfortunately, there is no definition of it, as such. The only palatable definition that I have heard of so far, is that, the meaning of life is you’re not dead. For some people, life is all about enjoying and getting rid of your fears, whereas for some, it is to ensure that their loved ones are secure and that they have to provide for them. For some, it means being independent and making your choices, and for some, it has no meaning. When I go out, I see so many different people around me. A man selling coconuts, a salesman in a shop, a really handsome guy walking past me, a young kid eating chocolate, an old man wiping sweat off his forehead, a middle-aged woman working as a waitress, etc. What would life mean to each of them, I wonder? When we are happy, we have no sense of what’s happening around us, do we? When we party or share fun moments with loved ones, hundreds of people may be mourning around us, or vice-versa. Basically, life is all about perception – how we take life at each and every situation. Life is NEVER going to be perfect. Underneath hunky-dory lifestyles, you often find shattered hearts. At some point in life, everybody has to struggle. Few years back, I didn’t know if I’d ever survive what I was going through, but here I am, strong as ever. People face a lot of storms in a lifetime. However, these storms teach you a lot too. I would definitely not be who I am today if it weren’t for the things I went through – both good and bad. It is how we face those situations that matters. You can either decide to fight it with gritted teeth, or just give up. Giving up is never the answer to anything. Sometimes, people change drastically due to some incidents. I believe there are two sides to people – a good side and a bad side. We often focus only on the negatives and fail to appreciate the positives. People never realize the effect of their words. In anger, words of hatred are spewed out like venom, but never do they realize what others may feel about it. Hearts can be broken into tiny pieces in just a matter of a few seconds. And mending that is a Herculean task. Sometimes people fail to consider the fact that everybody has feelings. We never think of what our actions might do to shape up another person’s future. If we hurt someone, knowingly or unknowingly, they may either choose to wallow in depression and bring upon a tragic outlook to their life. Or they may choose to turn the negative vibes into positive work energy and bring a cheerful, yet practical, outlook in their life. So, in a way, it’s the choices we make that matter the most. Like Peter Parker says, “Our choices make us who we are”. Think of it as a plant. If we choose to water it in regulated measure, it will grow in a healthy manner. On the other hand, if we choose to keep watering it, we would end up killing it. Life is about choices. Our choices shape us as individuals and make up our future, thus affecting our destiny. Karma is something that plays a role too. The fact that our every action brings about an equivalent reaction, is the best possible way to describe karma. Of course, life will invariably drop you in a dark hole and it’s upon you to climb out. It’s the way we choose to do it that matters.