Friday, December 16, 2011

The purpose of life

Is there any meaning behind it all?
To our existence?
To our dreams?
To our saving of resources for a better future that might come or might not?
What's the point behind it all?

Years ago I used to ask everyone I encountered about this. (I guess I've been a nutcase for quite some time). I got answers that convinced me that no one had a God damn clue.
There were some that said the purpose of life was reproduction. Yeah right mindless reproduction without a thought to how much of us our planet can sustain
Some said the purpose of life was to be happy, though most didn't have a clue as to what made them happy. Shopping makes some people happy. Looking good makes some people happy. Some wanted to be admired by others, respected by others to be happy. I could be immensely happy with just one wafer of chocolate jokes, but then that might not work for all.
Some were the cryptic ones who couldn't answer the question directly so they came up with their own ingenious way of saying they don't know. 'The purpose of life is to figure out that, the purpose' - Yeah right, might as well just admit you don't have a clue.

I watched the 2012 movie again. I've seen it earlier, but I guess it's had more of an impact on me this time as we are on the threshold of 2012. If the various interpretations that are floating around about why the Mayan calendar doesn't have a date beyond Dec 21 2012 are to be believed, then there will be a significant impact and change to the world as we know today. There could be physical changes (Earthquakes, faults, Tsunamis). There could be chaos, anarchy, mass-looting. As one friend says, the change will be of spiritual significance. There are also the non believers who think life's going to be as usual - 'same shit, different day'. As in the 2012 movie who knows, we might be really building space ships to get somewhere else - a selected few of us trying to prolong what we call today the human race.

So is there a purpose to life at all? Something that we need to complete before 2012 overtakes us? Frankly I don't know and having seen what I have already am not really too keen to get on to that spaceship either. I would rather be like those amazing musicians in the Titanic movie who continued to just do what they did best even when it didn't seem to matter anymore...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Huck's ten commandments

Over the years, through the lens of various experiences, I have formed my own set of commandments, which I believe would help me become a better person in my own eyes. Am hopeless at some of these today, but hopefully I'll be able to become better at them some day. These are of course based on my own experiences. They might or might not work for you. In either case, form your own code for yourself, if you have to.

I) Get up no later than 8:00 AM everyday for the rest of my life - Depending on where you live, the Sun in all probability has risen before you have. There's a lot of positive energy that can be felt by just synchronizing your timings with that of the Sun.

II) None of us knows what the future holds, but a child like enthusiasm, lots of hope, a heart that can forgive and a mind that can forget seem like worthy things to take into it - Granted none of this are possible without a herculean effort, but good things don't seem to come easily.

III) Holding extreme beliefs makes you vulnerable to experiences that will question the same - Such experiences are however truly ethereal and liberating - Either don't hold extreme opinions on anything or question everything you already hold to understand why it is so better. You'll have the luxury of time to do this at your own pace and not be hurried on to it one fine day. This could be as simple as thinking Sachin Tendulkar is a God or it could be more trickier as questioning His very existence. And yes if you think with absolute conviction that the Chicken came before the egg, question that also. Ironically enough this very commandment is a extreme belief on not holding extreme beliefs. Go figure.

IV) No two experiences are the same. The worst you can do is belittle another's pain by saying you've already been through it and therefore they ought to listen to you. The best you can do is just listen to them.

V) When you have something bad to say, say it to the person's face. When you have something good to say, write to them. The written word lasts longer.

VI) The best antidote for depressive thoughts is exercise. It's free, only takes a little amount of will power and gets positive energy flowing through your body and mind immediately.

VII) When in doubt of whether to say something or not, just say it. People usually don't get irritated with the fact that you said it, but more in the tone you said it. Go figure.

VIII) Be honest with people. Don't say "I don't know" to direct questions. Honesty brings out things they have to deal with. Dishonesty is something you have to deal with and that's more tough.

IX) Money is important - to a certain extent. Give away the rest to things you believe in and people in need. I gave away some to wikipedia this month.

X) The best you can do is put yourself in a situation that gives another what they want even if it ends up hurting you. The worst you can do is wallow in self pity. - Love another beyond the capacity of what you thought possible. If you get hurt, there's a lot of people out there who can and will help plus of course there's always Huck's ten commandments to fall back on!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


So I had time to kill and I figured I would play around with a few themes and jazz up my blog. After countless permutations of color combinations coupled with background images of the grass, the sky, the birds, abstract art and even exotic windmills, I was swimming in ugly disgusting waters, which is when the beauty of minimalism silently surfaced from beneath and took upon itself to bathe my blog in it's pristine perfection.

It might not look the greatest, but I like it a lot better now.

Reminds me of a famous quote
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

Monday, August 1, 2011

All is fair in love and war. Really?

Amélie Poulain's friend poses the nice looking guy a series of questions revolving around proverbs.
"A rolling stone"
"Gathers no moss", he answers quickly.

"Out of sight"
"Out of mind"

After a few more proverbs, she declares that her dad used to say that someone who knew proverbs can't be all bad and she tells him where Amélie is.

Though I suppose the French might have their reasons for supposing so, I've never thought of being merely cognizant of proverbs as such a strong and desirable trait. Arguably what you probably believe in might offer a better incisive look at your personality.

There's been two of these especially that make me boil inside every time I think deeply enough about them. One of them is "Out of sight, out of mind" along with it's counterpart the more classy "Absence makes the heart grow fonder". Though I am not quite sure about the times or the circumstances in which these two idioms were born, I have a strong propensity to classify the latter as medieval and the former as one that accurately reflects our contemporary times and in case you are wondering am a sucker for the latter. It's sad that most of today's generation demand instant gratification at everything, at work, at career, at passions and even at love. Whatever happened to the slow moving medieval pace of Pride and Prejudice?
"Out of sight, out of mind" - I mean what is that? Does it mean we don't let each other get out of sight? for a month? a day? an hour? for a minute? What are we? needy dependent people who don't value freedom, solitude? What are we? parasites? It brings more fundamental questions out in the open. Anyone of you would have stayed away from your parents for a reasonable stretch of time. So is that it? You don't care anymore for them? If you do, then why two different yardsticks for your own personal relationships? Do you know what that makes you look like?

The other one that's been on my hit list for some time is the one that strives to remind us that "All is fair in love and war". Really? As simple as that? Yes?

In the holy war of the Mahabharata, the Pandavas resort to all sorts of trickery to win the war.
Arjuna, the embodiment of valour hides behind Sikhandi (who was originally born as a girl) when they attack Bhisma, that warrior who had a rather neat policy of not fighting women. So he simply stood by receiving Arjuna's arrows that cut through him slowly, while doing frankly nothing but trying to distinguish which of the arrows were Sikhandin's and which of them were Arjuna's!
Yudhishtira, the very embodiment of truth lies about Ashwattama's death to Drona (on Krishna's advice) making him lay down his arms when Dhristadyumna swoops down on him with a bloody sword!
Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas asks Karna to not kill his brothers. The great warrior promises to kill only Arjuna if at all so that she would still have 5 sons and during the war, he very clearly has chances to kill each of Bheema, Yudhishtira and Nakula, which he refrains from and spares them with mere taunts! (OK this part from Kunti wasn't exactly trickery, but you get how the odds are stacked against the Kauravas)
Krishna advises Arjuna never to get into a direct battle with Karna as long as Karna holds Indra's weapon as that could easily kill him. Karna is then later forced to use the same against Ghatotkacha (Bheema's Rakshasa son) on one fated day when the battle continues into the night when the Rakshashas apparently have greater power.
Krishna saves Arjuna by pressing the chariot in the nick of time during the direct battle with Karna!
Krishna clues in on Bheema to break Duryodhana's thighs against the established code of fighting in those days.

Iam sure there are a lot more instances I have missed out. The Pandavas finally realize at the end of the war that it was won not because of their valour or military prowess, but because Krishna was on their side. Every time they had a problem, it was Krishna himself, the embodiment of God who guides them on the path of trickery, which they follow religiously after the initial instinctive apprehensions.

On reading various versions of the Mahabharata, my first reaction was one of disgust. I mean clearly there were two sides here. One was in the right and one was in the wrong. Why couldn't the side in the right just win out rightly without having to resort to any sort of trickery? Didn't being the right side imply just that?

I've never understood that part of it until recently when I've come up with a much more plausible analysis, that's comforting and rather soothing once you understand it. What's right and what's wrong isn't exactly in black and white. It's more of shades in gray. It's still distinguishable, but it's quite difficult to figure out what exactly is the right thing to do in a given situation. It's no real wonder that more often than not people get this wrong, ... really wrong. One reason for it is the same impatience that makes them swear to "out of sight, out of mind". See the connection?

what I read from the Mahabharata is irrespective of how the war was won, it's important to know why the Pandavas won it. The Kauravas were practically invincible. Bhishma himself had a boon that he was the only one who could choose when he wanted to die. Drona could never be conquered (without a lie). Karna had Indra's weapon(though use and throw!) that could kill anyone. Yet the Pandavas won, because Krishna was on their side. Dharma was on their side. Here's where it gets interesting. You could see it as the Pandavas won because Krishna was on their side or you could see it as the Pandavas were on Krishna's right side... Krishna's right side, since he was the embodiment of everything there was also a dark side, ... hence those acts of trickery! Which leads us to...

All is fair in war only when you are on the fair side itself.

Love isn't exactly war, but there's a fair side to it and a unfair side to it. There's a compassionate side to it and a vengeful side to it and there's also plenty of shades of gray in between. We might want to see which end of the spectrum it is that we are standing on before we resort to say morally questionable acts. The art of deducing where we stand is often the trickiest part though and is the part that matters, the rest being fair/unfair are mere consequences and maybe, maybe in light of all this it's just worthwhile to reserve judgement until all the facts are presented.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Rat Race - And then what?

So you got that new promotion you wanted? Cool! More money, I bet!
What do you plan to do with it?

LED TV! Yay!

Nice! And then what?

Bose Home Theatre!

Great! And then what?

Blu-Ray player!

Ok. And then what?

I'll be content. I promise. serious. Trust me.

That LED TV, was it 3D that you wanted?

Oh! 3D's out? No I had only thought of a 46" one!

I hear there's a 55" one out.

Oh! Ok that's the very last thing I need and then I'll be content. serious.

This is never going to stop. It's a vicious cycle. Money needs more money to survive.

Wah. Very profound. Care to enlighten me?

You make so much money. Now you are worried you might lose it. So you try to protect it. How? By maybe hiring security. How do you hire them? With more money!
You buy a HD TV and then you realize you can't enjoy it's benefits without HD transmission. You need to throw out your existing set top box, buy a new one with HD capabilities, pay more every month. It doesn't stop.
You buy a much better car. A sedan compared to the old beaten up hatchback that you drive and guess what? You put in more fuel? More expensive maintainance? More money!
The more you crave for these possessions, the more you are stuck making money to take care of the money you already have. And crave you will. I mean there are so many things that you don't have and who could possibly resist all these temptations?
It doesn't stop. It never does. And then what?

Hmm now that you put it that way, I feel guilty to even crave for a ice cream right now. What do you think I need to do?

They say time is money. So instead of putting your money(time) making more money to retain and enjoy the money you already have, why don't you put it in pursuit of more intangible things?

What's intangible?

Simple stuff. Things like riding a bicycle. You never forgot once you learnt. Did you? I'll leave you to figure out the rest, but remember even when you lose all that you have, you won't lose these ... ever.

This dialogue with self was inspired by a long standing desire to buy a LED TV and constant demands from family and friends to upgrade my old beaten up hatchback, both of which I've resisted upgrading ... for now