The Forest of Life

I don’t believe I can save someone’s life. Ever. I can prolong it by a few years but I certainly can’t save it. How can I save something from the inevitable? Not even Gods, if they exist, have that kind of power. It’s the nature’s law. What is born must die.

Besides, what is the point in saving something as meaningless as life? Don’t get confused. I am neither negating the concept of life nor I am against it. I am merely saying that life, inherently, is meaningless. Think about it for a moment.

Life has various other forms. It can be an ant, an elephant, a fish, a sandalwood tree etc. What is the meaning of their life? What purpose are they serving on earth? Do they even have one?

Tough questions to answer but they are misleading. Even if we try to answer them, we’d find an answer that is inclined with human psychology. We may interpret many things from their lives but ultimately what we’re trying to answer is how their life is meaningful to us, humans.

That Napoleon found inspiration in a spider proves this. The spider was merely going about it’s daily activities, it didn’t teach him that lesson. It was Napoleon who observed what it was doing and drew some meaning out of it. Why are we obsessed with finding meaning in each and everything, anyway? Why is it hard for us to accept that like other forms of life, our life has no inherent meaning? Why do we see things even when there’s nothing to see? Stagnant water is just that, stagnant water, why then we look for a life lesson in it?

It’s all in the mind. And it is capable of doing things. Look around, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the wonders human mind is capable of creating. Read history, you’ll know the blunders human mind is capable of committing. Visit a prison, you’ll be repelled by the brutality human mind is capable of performing. Fascinating, isn’t it!

If one were to believe media reports, human mind is going rogue. More and more everyday. Studies from around the world have shown that actions performed by humans are literally, killing the nature. The question arises then, why would nature create something that is capable of destroying it? Allow me to answer it by another question, why would humans create something (Artificial Intelligence) that we fear would destroy us one day? The answer is simple. Because we can. Because we have that kind of power and we love to play God.

Who are we then to say that humans aren’t just another experiment of nature? It created us because it could. It created and destroyed dinosaurs because it could. Why do we want to believe that some unworldly power is responsible for our creation? Isn’t that wishful thinking!

Too many questions and very few answers. Or maybe we already know the answers but aren’t willing to accept them because they seem ludicrous.

A word of advise, if you’re happy with your life the way it is don’t think about these questions. Forget that you even read this post. Close the tab and be done with it. Because if you tread ahead on this line of thought, sooner or later you’ll realize everything around you is nothing but a well crafted illusion.

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Cover Source: DeviantArt

A Sombre Situate of an Invisible Man

It was the busiest street in the city. It yielded to an intersection of roads leading in five directions. Cars, scooters, bus, rickshaws, tempo, bikes, cycles and people on foot were flowing from all directions only to be headed in their own. During the day it was almost impossible for a vehicle to not touch at least two others. Often, this was followed by a minor incident of road rage. Yet the traffic flowed non-stop. The intersection was manned by at least 7 ‘mamus’ and a Police Chowki but to a casual observer their efforts would have appeared to be in vain. The so called travelers would usually be in utmost hurry and too tortured to give a hoot.

While all this was happening, in the center of the city, an invisible man was walking in the middle of the street, close to the divider but not on it. He wasn’t invisible invisible, he was made invisible by the incapability of the busy travelers to give a hoot. Like we all do every once in a while.

This man, there was something odd about him. He was walking very slowly. As a person with sorrow would walk. He was walking barefooted on that piping hot asphalt, in the middle of the day. His hair were long and shabby as if they hadn’t been washed and combed in ages. Similar was the plight of his face. He had only one piece of cloth on his body, an old fashioned jangia. Even that was loosely worn, such that it failed in it’s purpose to hide his rear. He didn’t appear older than 40. His eyes, his eyes, there..there it was, in his eyes. His eyes were half-red, sunken and they bore enormous pain.

He seemed lost, physically, mentally and spiritually. Imagine what could cause a man to walk almost naked, in the busiest street of the city, in the middle of the day and not giving a hoot. Even the best of us on our worst of days would be much better placed than him. Then what could cause him such misery? It wasn’t just lack of money. It must have been something more. Something that robbed his soul and left the living body to wander alone.

Alone. Yes, probably that’s what he was. In the world full of 7 billion people, on the busiest street of the city, he was alone. No one to call family. No friends. It wasn’t the pain in his eyes that I saw, it was the loneliness, the feeling of being neglected by the world. The feeling that no one wanted him. How would that feel? Scary, frightening, presence of a huge hole where there should have been a heart, massively depressing. How a child would feel when left alone in the dark to face his demons. But eventually, numb.

Isn’t that the worst a person could feel?

This nameless man, he wasn’t as invisible as he thought for he caught my eye, got stuck in my mind and I created this. If you read this through, now you know him too. We may never know this man’s identity and that’s on me. But we can do this. Next time, when we see such a man, let’s buy them a cup of tea and get to know their story. It might cost us a few minutes but it might mean a world to them.

Do think about it!

If you have such a story and would like to share, please do share. Don’t hold yourself back.

Kafka’s Storms

Few months back, I read a book by a Japanese author, Haruki Murakami. The title of the book was Kafka on The Shore. If you’re an avid reader you might have already noticed the reference to the German author, Franz Kafka, in the title. Did you observe how that played out? A German influencing a Japanese. Ironic, isn’t it? Not really, because between them they never saw the war that changed the world. Franz Kafka died before it began and Haruki Murakami was born after it ended. One never knew that it happened, one only read about it. Do you think it would have played out so nicely had they been present in those six years?

Oh!, dear reader, you have no idea how thankful I am that that didn’t happen. Else I wouldn’t get a chance to come across the following text:

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Whether you accept it or not, you, me and all the people around us are going through some kind of metaphysical storm. We just don’t see it and, often, they themselves don’t accept it.

Now, I have been through my share of storms, and I might still be going through some but trust me it gets over but the survival is not easy. We spoke about the great war, albeit very briefly, in the beginning, know this, these storms can be much greater in magnitude than the so called great war. Of course, the world glorifies only what it can see, so your war with the storm will never be glorified. It will never be noticed. Hell, you might even be rebuked for the sheer audacity of talking about it.

But I am here to tell you, fear not. You’ll be alone, yes. But as long as you stay committed to the act of breathing you’ll get through (as can be interpreted from the above text). The important thing is you’ll GET THROUGH IT.

What do you do when that storm will kick you so hard, as it will every once in a while, that you think you’ve fallen for good?

GET UP! STAND UP: STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS

and listen to this awesome song by Bob Marley.

Because it gets better. It gets better.

Birth Me, Birth Me Not!

Birth. Bringing a new life into this world. Creates a beautiful imagery in the mind, doesn’t it? Of course, why shouldn’t it. Over the years our scriptures, our literature and our media have glorified this process to such an extent that at just a mention of the term, birth, our mind gets flooded with images of cute little babies. We feel something holy has happened. We celebrate. We rejoice for the new life that has just stepped into this world.

But hold on! Let’s pause for a second, clear our minds of that beautiful imagery and observe.

A child born in 1920s, in Germany. Born to a Jewish family, he inherits the title. Come the great World War II, he’s executed (or rather exterminated) by the Nazis.

A child born in 1920s, in Germany. Born to a non-Jewish family. Come the great World War II, he goes through life just fine, save for troubles caused by the war.

A child born in 2000s, somewhere in India. It’s a girl. Soon after her birth she gets ‘executed’ by her family because she’s a girl.

A child born in 2000s, somewhere in India. It’s a girl. Her family is open minded, loving and caring. She goes on to live a wonderful life.

A child born in 2010s, in Cameroon/Chad/Nigeria.  Few years later, he gets killed by Boko Haram, apparently for no fault of his.

A child born in 2010s, in the USA/UK. Goes through life without the any major hurdles. “Third world problems” are a news item to him, nothing more.

A child born in 2015, to a poverty stricken family. He’s headed for a tough life. He might not even get a chance to experience most of the beautiful things of this planet.

A child born in 2015, to a rich family. His future is most likely secure. Will probably go on a world tour and have a nice time.

What did you observe in the above eight scenarios ? What’s the common factor?

Think on it a bit.

The common factor here is that these children were born and their destiny was tied to their neck at that moment, by Birth. Of course, I have taken a very minute sample from a large population, and there will be exceptions too, but tell me this had you been born in a different time, at a different place, to a different couple would your life, your dreams, your ambitions be same as they are now? Most likely not.

If the outcome of one’s life is dependent so much on various factors related to one’s birth, then why is it taken so lightly? Why such a critical factor is only glorified and not criticized? Why, if taking a life without one’s consent is considered crime, then giving life, where one can’t provide a consent, is so liberalized?

Life is a symbol of hope. But, to some extent, birth does decides it’s nature.

Note to the reader: If you have a views/opinions on this topic. I would love to hear them. You can leave a comment or mail me at mailme [at] udaymittal [dot] com

The Incomplete Game…

Phuff! and it was over. It was like one of those dreams you see during night but forget when you wake up. Only, it wasn’t such a dream in this case. It was similar to it but this was surely no dream.

The other day I was playing with my friend. You may call her my special friend but for me she was just another female friend. Classifications like special friend, girlfriend, wife etc. do not exist in my world. We are not governed by such “sophisticated” nomenclatures.

I was merrily playing with her. Not “playing” but playing, as children do. We were playing a game where either one of us runs and other has to chase. I’ve heard some local children calling it Pakdam Pakdai, but as I said words have no meaning in my world, so we don’t have a name for it. It was her turn to chase me.

We were in one of those jungles that lie on either side of the flat grey surface.  I think it’s called sadak in your terminology. It has some strange magic because during day time many objects run over it, at speed far greater than mine, but come night all of them disappear. It is very difficult to predict when one might come running, so we take special care not to step on the grey surface unless necessary.

That day fewer objects came running than usual. I think it was because the Sun was bit cloudy and it was cold. These objects must be affected by cold. Given fewer number of objects, I and my friend found it reasonable to play the chasing game. I started running at my fastest speed and a few seconds later she started chasing me.

Unknowingly, I stepped on the grey flat surface. No sooner than I stepped, something hit me. I can swear to God it wasn’t there when I started running. It was one of those objects that run on two black round things. It hit me on the side, at my stomach and ran over a leg. I wasn’t bleeding but I felt pain. I couldn’t move. I could only cry.

From where I lay, I saw someone lying ahead of the object. He must have been on the object, for he seemed hurt. He was lying face down. Soon, many people gathered near him. Some helped him get up. Some consoled him. Some offered to take him to a doctor. For a minute he seemed oblivious to all, as if he was trying to grasp what had happened. Some people helped him get into a car and he drove away.

I saw this while lying there, in pain, crying for my friend to come and help me. But she was afraid, afraid of stepping on that grey flat surface. I saw tears in her eyes, as she stood there. Tears for my pain, tears for her helplessness, tears for betrayal by my “best friends”, tears for watching me die, slowly and painfully.

Soon I passed out for I couldn’t bear the pain and Phuff! it was over. Like one of those dreams you see during night but forget when you wake up. Only, it wasn’t a dream.

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Dedicated to a dog, who I know is hurt bad, alive or dead, I know not but I am responsible for his state. I know he can’t read this, but you can. Next time, if you see an animal hurt on the road please take a moment to help the poor soul, at the least give it the gift of dying with dignity. No one deserves to die under tyres.

The Sentience Departure

G is dead.

Obviously, G is not this person’s real name. In-fact, their name is irrelevant to this story and people tend to determine one’s religion by name so I chose to call this person G.

This person has a gender but again their gender has nothing to do with this story so I am not telling you that as well. Rather, I leave it to you to give this person an identity.

As I was saying, G is dead. G had a life as ordinary as the letter G in algebra. G left behind two children and a loving spouse. Their entire life G had thought that the secret to happiness was in making other people happy even at one’s own cost. It did made them happy, but only on the surface. Why else would they, subconsciously, wait for their friend, Death, eagerly and with a smile on their face?

G is lying on the hospital bed where they had spent last few days of their life. Only a minute ago doctor had announced them dead. Their last thought was of disappointment. G was  disappointed because all their life they had believed that in their final moments their life would flashback in front of them like they had seen in movies and read in books. Therefore, it was but natural for them to expect that. Only, it didn’t happen.

After their death, G had expected to see either a stairway to heaven or a hole to hell. While they were living, they weren’t sure which would happen so they had been looking forward to find out. They imagined, depending on their karma, they would either see light or fire that would guide their soul. Apparently, our G had been an ardent fan of movies. It took them a few moments to realize that it was hocus-pocus, nothing but the pigments of human imagination. After all, who has ever returned from being dead to narrate the tale of what lies beyond.

Naturally, after being dead they couldn’t feel disappointed or any other emotion for that matter. They couldn’t hear anything, couldn’t see anything, couldn’t smell anything. In a nutshell, they couldn’t do anything, common to the living mortals, except for two. They were aware of being dead and being touched. They could sense that someone was busting their head against their [G’s] chest. They didn’t mind it as there was no pain.

In the mortal world, their family was preparing for their last rites. I am skipping over the details of what was being done because I know, dear reader,  you would, albeit subconsciously,  try to determine G’s religion, which has nothing to do with this story. I would, however, tell you this, G was very much aware of what was being done to them. Imagine what is apt as per your religion, G was aware of it. Though they felt no pain but they sensed the very act. Though they weren’t living anymore, they were aware of being dead.

Being aware of being dead…

Illusion of Solace

Muskan is 12 years old. Born to a single mother, she was abandoned the moment she entered this world. Her mother thought her future would be better without her new born daughter. She could have given Muskan  for adoption or left her at some orphanage instead she sold her for some cash that would help her [mother] survive a few more days. People who bought Muskan, were no God sent angels. They belonged to a gang of beggars, who’s business thrived on children like Muskan. Luckily, they didn’t mutilate her but the treatment she got was even worse. Twelve years she spent like that. Her only thought throughout the day is how to collect enough money to avoid the beating from her master.

Alvia, a 34 year old woman, is strolling along the Marine Drive. It’s a beautiful evening with orange sky and a cool breeze. But it doesn’t seem to calm her. All she can think about is her abusing marriage, which she can’t quit, and her sick daughter, suffering from neurosis. She had loving parents, belonged to a family of means, had a dog named Muffins, in short a happy childhood. She met Palchin, her husband, in college. They became college sweethearts and got married soon after. Things, however, changed after marriage. Palchin was a mumma’s boy and would never go against her mother. This frustrated Alvia. Moreover, whenever she tried to confront him he would threaten to leave her. As the years passed, her frustration grew and threatening converted to beating. To add to her miseries, Palchin started abusing her sexually. The man, she once loved more than her life, now repelled her.

Now imagine this.

You walk up to Muskan, narrate Alvia’s story to her and console her with this, “Cheer up kid! Your troubles are nothing compared to Alvia’s”.

OR

You  walk up to Alvia, narrate Muskan’s story to her and console her with this, “C’mmon Alvia cheer up! You heard Muskan’s story. Things could be worse.”

Would you like to do this?

You might be wondering if this is some joke or what the hell is wrong with me. I ask you what the hell is wrong with you? Would you ask someone to feel less happy because someone else is more happy? Then why compare misery?

The Path We Take

How hard is to walk on a path that you’ve chosen for yourself?

In life we all want something or the other. A successful career, a wonderful and loving family, lots of money and fame or maybe plain simple peace. Its easy to wake up one day and say that I want to be this. Its easy to get carried away by quotes like “You can be whoever you want to be” or “Each day is a new one, live it to the fullest”. But its hard to follow it for long.

Sure, for a day or two we live like that but as time and life move on we tend to fall back into the same pits from which we were trying to get out, in the first place. We carry that vision in our minds, where we would like to see ourselves some day and believe in it. There’s nothing wrong in that. Yet we aren’t there yet. Are we really working in that vision’s direction or are we just fooling ourselves with an illusion of a better tomorrow and doing nothing to make things happen?

At times it feels easier to give up than to keep walking on that path. How many of us still keep walking? How many of us consider it as a price we pay to get to where we want to be? Of course, there are people and they’ll say all kinds of things, they’ll give all the advice they can but the ones who matter will keep you going. You’ll hear them say, “C’mmon get up, dust yourself and move”, “hey pal..I know it’s going to be a tough ride but I am here with you”.

Then there’s that pain of falling and all the ruckus caused by it. But do we realize that like anything in life it’s temporary? Are willing to give that pain it’s space? Do we suppress it and pretend to move on instead of feeling it and letting it out? I know it’s easier said than done but to heal from any injury the pain has to be felt. Do not try to get rid of it, let it be there, let it become you because when it’ll be over you’ll be a lot stronger.

Excuses. We all make them, live them and believe them. “I’ll do this tomorrow.”, “Just five minutes more of sleep.”, “I think this is cool because my friends think this is cool” and the list goes on…Why is it so hard to be honest with oneself? Why are we ready to break all hell lose if somebody lies to us yet we keep on lying to ourselves? Why is it so difficult to accept us as we are? We can be a very good friend to others yet when it comes to ourselves we are our greatest critics. Why?

So to answer the question above, it’s very hard to walk on that path. Brutal. It drains me. At times it exhausts me. But I still keep walking. Why? Because at the end of it there’s something very beautiful and amazing waiting for me there. It’s not the destination. It’ the feeling that I’ve made it despite the rocky path.

What makes me go on? To quote a friend, “Be brutal with yourself. Be true to yourself and have the courage to walk the path, everything else shall pass”.

Vote for a better India

Let me get straight to the point and ask you a simple question. Did you cast your vote? or (if the elections are yet to be held in your region) Are you planning to cast your vote?  Mind you, there’s only one right answer. If your answer is anything other than ‘Yes’, please do have a good look at the video below and stop fooling yourself with whatever reason you’ve ingrained in your brain for not voting.

Pledge To Vote with Mr. Shyam Negi

‘Ek vote nahi padega to kya farak padega’ (What difference will it make if one vote less is cast), ‘Saare neta ek jaise hain kya fayada vote dalke’ (all politicians are alike there’s no use of casting a vote), ‘Is desh ka kuch hone wala nahi hai’ (no good can happen in this country), ‘Vote dene kaun itni door jayega’ (who will travel so far to cast a vote)……..

These are the most common excuses people make for not casting a vote and I agree, with this attitude ‘Is desh ka kuch hone wala nahi hai’. This attitude…we need to change and change begins with us. Even if it’s only one…it’s your vote, it’s your right..exercise it.

Do you know what happens when you don’t vote?

Fake VotingYour vote is cast for you. It gives them the opportunity to fill their vote bank and yes for them your only one vote does matter.

If you’re not satisfied with the candidates appointed from your region, show your disappointment by casting a vote for None Of The Above (NOTA) but do vote.

Your vote is the voice of your dream to see a new India. Your vote gives you the right to question the government when it’s not fulfilling it’s promises.  Your vote is how you tell the politicians that power given to them is a responsibility and not a luxury. 

Your vote can bring a  change. Your vote can build a better India.

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As for me, I did cast my vote (traveled almost 3000 KM to do it). Here’s the proof.

Did you vote? (Leave your answers in the comments section 😉 )

 

     

Do that thing….I’d rather pass.

“You shouldn’t do what doesn’t make you happy”, I would have been a millionaire had I got a rupee every time I read/heard this statement. While it does bring in some inspiration and motivation but the truth is, in a single day we are forced to trample it multiple times.

Everyday, someway or the other, we’re asked to do things that we rather won’t to do acting out of our free will, but for some reason we end up doing them. Being in this kind of situation can be very frustrating specially when one can’t do anything about it. It can even make you hate the thing you once loved.

So if you do see yourself falling in this type of situation, please..and I say it one more time..please..follow these tips:

1. Learn to say NO. If you can’t say a straight no, sugar coat it or beat around the bush and dodge or act stupid but do whatever you can to avoid whatever it is you don’t want to do.

2. Stop fooling yourself with ‘IT’s JUST THIS ONE TIME I AM DOING IT’ act. If you’re good at something (which you don’t like) do not demonstrate it or you’ll be asked to do it again and again and again.

3. DO NOT FALL FOR THE VERBAL PRAISE/APPRECIATION you might get as a result of doing what you didn’t want to. Make sure you get something substantial for it, that way you can still pacify yourself.

4. If all of the above fails, that’s your cue to SWITCH/CHANGE.

You got just this one life, would you rather spend it doing what you love or acting to love what you hate doing?