Thursday, October 25, 2012

True Pain

I have understood recently what growing up is all about. It is very simple. The ability to feel pain and still function. That is what it is all about. Nothing simpler, right? well, maybe not. Life, in all of its complications offers no choice when it comes to pain. You have to feel it, take it in, and hope it doesn't end you. It is the ultimate trainer. If you have pain for a teacher, you are the hardest SOB on the planet. And the funny thing is, you can see it coming, you can live in it, you can die in it - but you cant solve it. There are no band aids, no pain medications that can take it away. Well, I guess you could argue there is a way out. But its the coward's way. You see, Bravery is not about facing a lion or saving someone from drowning. Bravery is overcoming yourself. What if the lion mauls you? What if you die while you try to save someone? Bravery is what keeps you alive and gets you back to who you are.

Having said that, you know what the ultimate pain is? It is not being hit by a car or burned by fire. The ultimate pain is watching someone you dearly love feel pain, and you are totally helpless. It is the kinda pain that squeezes your heart and doesnt let go. It is the kind that will take everything out of you emotionally. So, you try to find a higher meaning and a work of a higher power in all of this. But ultimately, all that may be just BS. Maybe life is just about expectations and disappointments. You see, just because your expectation worked out positively doesnt make you happy longer term. You will find something to be unhappy about. So, finally, you are better off embracing pain, and make him your friend. It is here to stay, afterall. 

So, it looks like it is time to replace your invisible friends and fantasies with something more permanent, however dire that sounds. And maybe pray for it to be merciful and only give you the physical kind, not the mental kind. I guess everyone has their own choice. So, then it is time to stop fooling around, stop diverting yourself from the obvious, stop fantasizing away your sadness. It is time to dive in, and have it engulf you. Let it burn inside and out, and hope you have the strength and courage to survive. I now find the irony of my blog name. Maybe there is no middle path in life. Maybe life, by definition is about swinging between the extremes. You just imagine that the swing itself is the path. It is not. They are just temporary moments of sanity.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Someone close told me a while ago - "Know what you feel". As simple as it sounds, I thought about it for a really long time, and had a hard time coming to terms with it. It suggested that there was a way to separate yourself from what you feel, to be able to look at what you feel, and decide what, why. I wrote about judgments in an earlier post. Feelings are very heavily guided by them.Think about the times you have felt disgust at someone who has been accused of something. Do you really know if he has done it? A lot of times, the feelings that are generated by these random judgments, and the enactment of these feelings are the worst that can be done to someone. It is worse than what the traditional cultural judgments can ever provide anyone.

So, I think, the ultimate courage anyone can show is to look at themselves and analyze what they feel and why they feel it. It is somewhat of an out of body experience, and at times, you feel the rush of suddenly discovering something about yourself. Let me tell you one of my own experiences. One of the biggest problems I am dealing with right now is that my personal philosophy of life and my experiments around it are causing me a lot of mental anguish mostly because I find what I want more and more out of reach. One of the reasons it is a problem is that I look at a lot of scenarios that could happen and then worry about them. So, then, I was driving the other day, and I suddenly realized that I have a habit of looking in all the mirrors frequently and look at the vehicles coming behind me and think about what they could do. And then there was a sudden realization that these two behaviors were the same...Those realizations about self are very interesting.

Why I claim it is the ultimate courage, is because at times these realizations can throw off your complete belief systems. Whatever you have thought of, believed, "had faith in" suddenly turns out to be based on certain false prejudices. This is probably the hardest thing that an individual has to deal with. But know that it is not a bad thing. It is certainly a difficult thing. You do not have to feel guilty about what you felt at that time. Those feelings were based on your own conditioning - cultural and otherwise. As your thought evolves, you should be able to understand your conditioning and keep adjusting yourself. It is necessary to know that those were just stepping stones to get to where you are. Also, it is important to recognize that there is no "right" philosophy of life and "wrong" one. What is, is. It is just a point in your life's experiment. It is not the beginning or end of anything.

So, let me finish this post by wishing you the courage to look at your belief systems, to understand it and to know that they are not absolute. I wish you the courage to confront it, analyze it, and if it feels insufficient, or if there are some incorrect prejudices that form the base of your personal philosophies, I wish you courage to change it. You will be a happier person for it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


This post is inspired by this beautiful little post. So, it got me thinking about the window that every one is offered into everything that happens around them. The window is so deeply guided by their past knowledge and judgments that people at two different windows fight for their own correctness. But that leads me to think maybe "no judgments" concept is deeper than I thought. Maybe it is the solution to every problem in the world. But Judgments are so wired into the human psyche that people are enslaved by it. The Wachowski brothers made a lot of money depicting that little concept in art. Another depiction of that same concept is human addiction to soap. Soaps offer people instant judgments. You can think of it even as a gym for judgments. The kind people involuntarily love going to.

So, what would a non judgmental world be like? Super intellectual? yet Super boring. Judgments are pretty much the life blood of human interest. When you read that human interest story, those emotions that you run through - it probably keeps you alive. But it is also the source of all the problems in the world. I wonder why it is that way though. Why did humans evolve to find judgments to be a great source of fun? Fantasy is a basic human need. Judgment of a person is an evaluation in a fantasy world.

But then again, what is perspective but a fantasy? The Hindu philosophical concept of the Maya - the basis of everything in the world. That explains a lot. That invisible layer of clothing you wear without even knowing it most times. But no matter what, people get a whiff of it. And, only because at one teeny tiny moment at least in their life, they had gotten to be a part of another person's Maya. The basic human almost instantly extrapolates - Maya would offer everyone with their own perspective...true.

So, the question comes - if all is maya/fantasy and everything around you is their depiction in perspectives or judgments, what is real? how do you find it? I need to think ...but one thing is for sure, the more perspectives you look at, the more middle path follower you become...

Everything makes sense...everything.

To conclude, let me quote a little dialog in Jet Li's Fearless

- Mr. Huo, according to what you say, you really don't know the nature of tea.

It's not that I don't know. I don't really want to know because I don't care about evaluating teas. Tea is tea.

-But each tea has its own character and properties.....

What is the purpose of grading? These many teas are grown in nature, all of them.Is there a discernable difference?

-Yes, once you learn this, you can tell the difference between the teas.

What you say may be right, but the way I see it is, the tea doesn't judge itself. It's people that judge its grading. Different people choose different things. As for me, as far as I'm concerned, I just don't want to make any choice.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Life's blood

It seems to me to be a special ability to be able to accept things that cannot be proven to you. The word prove is a very loosely used term. Proof expands from complex mathematical proof to a very subjective philosophical even instinctive feel. The every day man deals with proof as a very useful tool. It is everyone's struggle to be able to explain what happens in their own way and prove to themselves their core philosophies are still untouched. I don't want to confuse philosophy with value. To me, value has always been external. something you project into the times even falsely. But philosophy is what you stay true to.

I wouldn't have noticed this if I was still cruising in life being able to drive on that smooth road that is a well explained life. I am getting to a bump on the road, and I am worrying about it. But. what the bump gave me is the ability to look back on how I was able to conform...but still stay different. If you extrapolate that, everyone has this value that they project into society, which becomes the collective. A society probably needs the collective to remain a civilization. But I find it funny that theoretically, it can be the ultimate false thing. A huge vicious scam brought forth by the human ego - the ego that drives people to conform.

Now I know I am jumping around quite a bit, but in that sense, all of society's rules become this perverted..."why should you if I cant" rule. Mix that with conformity and you have an excellent totalitarian society with very strong and volatile individual emotions running around - no matter how much they claim to belong to a different philosophy. Well, maybe that is what was the vision. I am too lazy to read anyways. But mind you...The guys who say "you should even if I can't" is a very rare breed, that actually make a difference in the world.

OK. Now back to what I started. So, would anyone be able to do something that he/she cannot prove to themselves to be right in a philosophical sense? I don't think so. He might be able to do it even if it contradicts with his values. Because his core philosophy is still intact. But it just proves his values are different from his philosophies. Can you predict such a person? Sure. Because your instinct will give him away.

Now, it is not evil to have values different from the self's philosophy. It is the essential mantra to conformity. Just that the pull between the two has limits. And, when it breaks, it gets ugly. really ugly.

So, when you see your philosophies start to crack, just make sure you take a timeout and think about it. Just be true to yourself lest you stick by your values than your philosophies. The only thing to make sure is to not let it cripple you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Elegy in the death of a home

I don't want the blog to sound like an endless rant. But this matter deserves respect. It is a direct link to my heritage. As much of a nomad that I am, I have very few places that I consider home. A place where I take off my masks, and be myself. A place where I don't have to ask permission for most things. And this place has so many memories. But I have to confess a lot of it is because of the age that I was when I was around there. Still, it was one of the most beautiful places on earth.

It was a place that instilled calm in everyone. Anyone at the height of tensions could just go sit on the verandah and just feel the home fill them with calm. You could notice that the instant they start to talk.

The home had small rooms, but very cozy. I used to sleep really well when I was there. There was a magic to the cool feel of the old place...and to the soft hum of the table fan...

My grandmother's sister used to live there alone most of the time or with some hired help at times. She used to be happy anytime I go there. I would just go and get some laddoos or Vada for her and that used to make her happy. Conversations with her were always pretence-free and straight. No interpretation needed.

Aah...the old attic - and the hours I spent there searching for hidden treasure. and I often did find some though mostly in books. But it was an adventure always what with the fear of the mythical crazy cat that apparently used to stay there.

My grandma's sister remains a spinster her whole life. There was not much that happened differently in her life, but she would get up at 4 every single day. We keep asking her not to. But she couldnt get rid of the habit ever. And mornings as you come and sit at the grand table, coffee would be ready. Needless to say she is an excellent cook and I enjoyed her food very very much.

My post wouldnt do any justice to the place without the mention of the ice box. There was never a need for a refrigerator at the place. Every food was fresh and cooked daily. But there was an old ice box...a really old one. You could put ice in the bottom trays and then the top compartments could be used like a refrigerator of sorts...

But the funny thing is that this ice box had been turned into a library of sorts. I come from a family of hyper enthusiastic readers. Though at that time they couldnt afford most books, they got their hands on a lot of comics. And I think I have read every single one of them atleast 15 times. My mom's uncle who used to come there often would make fun of us calling it a reference library. but it was what it was...Something about those comics - we could never get bored with them...

Some of the classic Batman, Superman, Phantom, Flash Gordon, Garth and Bahadur...very well written and imaginative...I am talking about the time before when Batman and Superman used to be sane and straight forward. It is funny. Life was pretty straight forward and simple there.

Well, it is just a dream now. The place is no more. I know it hurt a lot of people who doesnt deserve it. Ironically, Batman and Superman took a turn to fight mutants and crazy new villains. Life started to curve and climb. And the home was built for a much purer life.

A sign of the times...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

First rant

So I finally decided that I need to vent. And at that time nothing seems to work in a speed I need it to. Even my machine takes a while to boot up. I am sure it just feels longer. But then again, what is time but the perception of it?

So, the observations of a middle path taker - who would want to read that? Seriously...But on the other side, life around has become radical enough that the middle path guy might be worth while listening to...Hell, its the life of reality shows...Every one wants a sneak peek at each others lives to know what they are doing different thats making them happier than us...So life has become one giant gossip. So, it doesn't sound so bad putting my own out there.

So, I was watching the movie Prairie home companion today. Garrison Keillor is an awesome artist...A very nerdy looking character who will show you emotions you didn't realize you had. His voice has this narrative quality that anyone who listens to him automatically becomes a part of it. So how do I identify with a very calm sounding radio host whose thoughts are very entwined with religious, philosophical and comical vines? I am still looking for the answer. But, I think the easy answer is fantasy.

I get *fantasy*. And someone who understands fantasy can understand a lot about life. It is simple. Life is but this journey towards some distant fantasy. People call it ambition to rid themselves of the guilt. But it is not different. Ambition is just specialized fantasy. And if you keep your mind open enough, you can explain a lot with that point of view.

So as I hear the toilet flush in the apartment next to mine, I think of the different permutations and combinations of emotions that a things as trivial as that triggers in different people. Every normal thing around you is normal because of your prejudice. Aaah...Now I got into that dangerous territory called Prejudice. That is a concept so huge I'll have to write it another day - so vast just because everyone is a victim of it.

But to put a spin on a thought, anything we perceive as real, is in tune with every other thing we perceive as real. I am going to call each of them a *thing*. And each thing has a core value, which is the value the thing has the most of. But that also means that other values are inbuilt in each *thing* just at a smaller percentage. You know I'm starting to think that theory has merit in the unreal world too. Heck, there might not be any difference in the values in either of the worlds :P

(This post dedicated to Baiju ettan)