Tag Archives: Life

The Day I Die

The day I die

Be it with a Bang

Or more likely, a whimper

I ask only this

Don’t mourn that I am gone

Be happy that I was.

 

The day I die

Take for the needy

My eyes, my kidneys

My heart and lungs

Take all you can

I won’t need them anymore.

 

The day I die

Use all the money left

It won’t be much

For every cent saved

Means I worked more

Than I ever needed.

 

The day I die

Gather all my cronies

Keep a picture of me

And drink to the good times

And times that were bad

When we were together.

 

The day I die

Laugh and be merry

Celebrate a life

That was complete in every way

The tears that might be shed

Be bittersweet, not sad.

 

The day I die

Bury what’s left

Plant a tree

Fertilized by me

So what’s left behind

Can flourish and give hope.

 

The day I die

And you plant the tree

Put it on a hill

With a view of the sky

That’s where we are from

And where we will reach.

 

The day I die

As I cease to be

Don’t feed lies to kids

About better places

About angels and Gods

Tell them instead, about eternity.

 

The day I die

Waste not a prayer

Or a breath on sorrow

All I ask, all I need

Look at my tree

And remember me.

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If Only…..

Life is strange. The most meticulous of plans sometimes come apart or a poorly thought out tactic sometimes works wonders. One has to account for the vagaries of random chance. And after a particularly disappointing outcome, we often think, “If only”…

“If only I had studied a little more”, thinks the boy who failed a test. “If only I had spoken more confidently”, feels the person who has been rejected after an interview. Life is filled with us asking such hypothetical questions. But the most important lesson to learn is, shit happens. Not everything you wanted comes to you. If it did, life would be so boring. To experience the joy of victory, it is critical that we first face the agony of defeat.

You will get hurt in life. You will be loved by some, more than you can ever imagine and some will hate you for what you did to them. There will be those who will never forget you and those who will never forgive you. Life is about learning how to be happy and make others happy as best as you can and somewhere, you will fall short. You will achieve many things which you thought impossible, yet you will utterly fail at some of the simplest tasks put to you.

Some things which were once unacceptable to you will become an essential part of your identity. And you will lose people. You will move on and forget some of your best friends. But you will make others. You will forget the passions you once had but you will find newer ones. You will learn to love and you will learn to hate. You will realize that you were not as great as you once thought you were and you will be reminded time and again that you are mortal. Your idols will fall from their lofty pedestals and you will look up to people you once held in contempt. Because you will change. You will change because you will keep saying “If only…..”. And it’s part of being human.

As Achilles says, “The Gods envy us. They envy us because we are mortal and every moment might be our last. Everything is more wonderful because we are doomed.” Learn from your regrets and live free of the guilt. Life is not about constantly asking yourself, “If only…”. It’s about the moments where you don’t have to ask that question.

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Does Drinking Enhance Creativity?

Christopher Hitchens, in his own words, usually used to have enough alcohol in his system to stun the average mule. He claimed that it enhanced his creativity. Not quite being in his league, I often wonder if this claim is correct.

I will attempt to put this to test by slowly consuming alcohol till the time I become incoherent.

Considering the fact that I am also with friends, today I shall just be posting random thoughts.

–  The good kind of whiskey never gives you a headache in the morning. Vodka always does.

– When it comes to public transport in India, women have it bad.

– I am not used to eating chicken. Humanity survived because humans learned how to hunt. But now, we can choose not to eat meat and still survive. Eat what you will. I will not judge you.

– The number of fucks given is inversely proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed. 

– Captain Ahab epitomizes obsession. Is such an obsession good our bad? Moby Dick still remains one of the greatest novels ever written.

– A salute to everyone who wants to be an IAS Officer. It’s a thankless job but I thank you.

– The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a bad novel. The movie is worse.

– It was in an Ajay Devgan movie where he tells Manisha Koirala that
Marriage is where you get society’s permission to live together. I agree.

– The best whiskey I have had is Johnnie Walker Black Label.

– Apartments are expensive. But money is nothing. Relationships are everything.

-But are achievements more important than relationships?

-If you don’t appreciate Black Friday, I don’t have words to express my disappointment in you.

– Love your parents. Nobody but them will love you unconditionally.

– If you see a eunuch, pay her. They cant make a living like the rest of us because society is prejudiced against them.

– I love hearing strangers speaking in Marathi. It reminds me of home.

– Nostalgia is a combination of the words Nostos which means a return home and Alogos, which means pain. Latin or Greek, I am confused.

– That’s all for the night.

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Life, The Cosmos And Everything

“How much would you pay for the Universe?”, was the question asked by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. What is the universe worth? There is a curious school of thought which makes some regard themselves as above and beyond the world. They seem to look at the Cosmos with a strange detachment – as if they can divine it without discovering anything about themselves.

But we are part of the Cosmos. Inextricably so. To know the Cosmos is to know ourselves.

There are some who would rather not think of such things. Some who question those whose business it is to question. “Why do you want to know?”, they ask. Some want to give up even before they begin. Should we let sleeping dogs lie?

Yet, our curiosity has long been the hallmark of our species. We want to know. Is there any evolutionary advantage to this? Perhaps. I will leave that to the biologists. But what is certain is that this curiosity has served us well over the millenia.

There are some traits which we have not been able to shake off. We tend to group ourselves within clusters without realizing that we are connected to everyone else. Before we are black or white or brown; before we are Indians, Americans or Chinese; before we are Hindus, Muslims and Christians, we are human. We are the descendants of a tribe of bushmen who migrated from Africa more than 50000 years ago. Will we ever appreciate that?

Going back even further, we are connected to every living thing on this planet. From the humblest bacterium to the most gigantic mammal, we share the essential building blocks of life. We are nothing but combinations of chemicals which, for an unknown reason, gained consciousness and populated the planet in an explosion of life. Will we look at a chimpanzee and realize that our DNA differs by around 2%; that we share a common ancestor?

And finally, the most poetic fact about the Cosmos. We are connected to literally everything we see. Every bit of matter is made of atoms, atoms that were spewed from the explosions of entire stars billions of years in the past. When you die, your body disintegrates and the atoms that make you, go back to the Cosmos. Parts of you will end up as other people, parts of you as a rock, you will end up in the ocean, in trees, in grass, in the air and a part of you will reach the stars. When you consider this, you realize how small minded you are when you worry about the little things. And you realize how absurd it is to fear death or to imagine a heaven where you spend an eternity in boredom.

The Cosmos made you, you are part of it. It is all that is within and without. Enjoy your moment under the sun and live your life free because really, there is nothing to fear. The Cosmos will take care of you.

 

 

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No Point to the Poncho

At Niagara falls, I board the iconic “Maid of the Mist” with my parents. It’s their 25th anniversary and this trip is my gift to them. Before boarding, we are each handed a blue plastic poncho designed to protect us from the worst of the torrential spray that is expected to unleash it’s fury on us; we who seem to mock the might of the falls by daring to venture so close.

I have been warned that the ponchos, which are essentially just recycled garbage bags, will be of no use and we should expect to get drenched. That prediction is partially correct. As the boat makes it’s way past the American falls, the spray reminds me of the worst rain Mumbai has to offer. But the sight of the falls is so mesmerizing that I stare right into it, taking in the worst.

Moving past the American falls, we approach the even more magnificent Horseshoe falls. We are enveloped on three sides by the falls and the spray thrown up by the millions of litres of water that tumble towards the ground from hundreds of feet above resembles a tropical thunderstorm that one might expect to encounter in the Amazon rainforest. It completely overwhelms us and many passengers scurry to the back where they are somewhat protected. I want none of that. I stand right in the front and welcome the deluge. It is no surprise that I am soaked when we finally get back.

This experience makes me think about life, about growing up and about learning through experience. In a somewhat poetic mood, as I always am when overawed by nature, I muse that the poncho is akin to the comfort and protection that parents seek to provide. They have experienced much in life and seek to pass on their wisdom to the next generation. But deep down, they know that like that flimsy poncho, their words would only protect those who seek to remain in their shadows and actually want us to go out into the world and discover what life is really about.

There are those who find comfort in the fact that they are protected and perhaps do not feel that need to test the poncho. There are those still who are completely mindful of the fact that it may not be a great idea to test it out, but do it anyway. When you are exposed to world, ideas and perspectives rain down upon you and completely engulf you. You see, you feel, you think, you learn and once you experience the highs and traverse the lows, you never want to go back. The poncho exists whenever you want it, but ultimately, it is just a notional concept and you would like it to be nothing more.

Like the falls, life is spectacular. But to really know what is about, you have to welcome it with arms wide open and a smile on your face.

 

 

 

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The Ultimate Question

Being a skeptic comes at a price – you have few romantic notions about life.  We are dead for billions of years then, apparently without any rhyme or reason, we are born, gain consciousness and all too soon, we die again and considering the evidence we have, or rather the lack of evidence, we never live again. The ultimate question for me is, what is the purpose of life?

Everyone has probably asked this question. The religious have their explanations but no evidence to back it up. The Hindu would tell me the purpose of life is to accumulate good karma, then die, be reborn ad infinity till  you finally break out of this cycle and gain a place in heaven. The followers of the Abrahamic religions also have their improbable tales of being born to not violate the “10 things we should not do” laws and finally meet God in paradise. Oh and if you are Muslim, you get 72 virgins to rape in the bargain.

Perhaps the most annoying point some people cutely try to make is, “The answer is 42! We should figure out the question!”. Up to a point, Douglas Adams fans are tolerable except when they stop asking the important questions and go on and on about the number 42 and about Adams’ genius. He clearly was a genius. You are not if you don’t stop.

This of course brings one back to the question itself. You can phrase it in any way, but for me the ultimate question will always remain, “What is the purpose of Life?”

While we waste our time fighting futile wars, supporting and living in an unsustainable monetary system and arguing over petty points like spelling mistakes, there may be a simple answer. I am an atheist but that does not mean I claim with certainty that God does not exist. I just say that I don’t see any evidence for it and hence do not believe in his existence. If anyone out there can show me incontrovertible and scientific evidence that there is God, I will become a man of faith. Show me any evidence for the purpose of life and I will believe in you.

Perhaps there isn’t any purpose to life and this is what I am inclined to believe in because there is no evidence to believe there is one. But like every other thing that we humans come up with, I propose a simple answer. How about we as a species for once agree that perhaps, for now, the ultimate purpose of life is to discover the ultimate purpose of life?

 

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Routines

Living with roommates is a very unique experience. However it is up to you how you go about it. You house can be like a hotel with different people staying in it, minding their own business, cooking for themselves or it can be a wonderful, funny place. A real home away from home. That happens when you make an effort to connect with your roomies and make it a point to do some things together – like cooking.

We cook together most days but the one thing we make it a point not to miss is to have a cup of Badhia Chai together. I am a big tea fan and for the last 2 years I have been drinking this wonderful brand of tea called Red Label Natural Care. It has all sorts of herbs in it and that makes it taste positively divine. I happened to get a packet along but was too lazy to open it until one day Bharath discovered it inside a hard to reach shelf of our kitchen. He said “Let me make some Badhia Chai for us.” Thus began an awesome tradition for us. We even lifted a catch phrase for it – “Khoop jamega rang jab mil baithenge chaar yaar. Aap, main, badhia chai aur southpark”. That is another tradition. Every meal is consumed while viewing episodes of South Park.

This is quite surprising given Bharath’s initial loathing of South Park. But me and Pradnyesh have converted him. It is now Bharath who insists on the South Park episodes and of course we do not need any persuasion whatsoever.

But now the way of the Badhia Chai is under threat. The sole packet is about to be exhausted and with no store selling anything quite like that in America, we are doomed. Unless my mom sends a couple of packets by courier.

God save us in such testing times.

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Filed under Life, Ramblings