A Nobler Birth

I just celebrated my 21st birthday. That means, from now on, I am legally permitted to drink. Also, I can  legally get married now. And not to mention, that my opinions are taken seriously as an adult. But despite, all of these handsome perks, I wasn’t at all excited about my birthday. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to be excited. I even put on my smiling face for the rest of the day. But the spark just wasn’t there.

That’s when it hit me. Hit me hard.

I need something nobler to celebrate. I wasn’t interested in celebrating my own birthday because it wasn’t my achievement. My mom had put in all the effort in the process of my birth. And that is exactly why the celebration felt out of place.

So I’ve decided now. I won’t celebrate my birthday from now on. Instead, I will celebrate a more nobler event – the day I achieve my life’s calling. (Whatever that may be.)

Imagine running a race, but not having a finish line. You’ll get tired soon, and give up. But if you have a finish line, and you can see it… that changes things. Suddenly you can see your goal drawing closer with your every step. And you start to visualise reaching the finish line. A new energy surges within you, as you pace towards your goal with hope that you will reach it.

The finish line is what makes the race exciting.

Our ambitions are the driving forces behind our lives. They propel us, keep us on our toes and keep us excited about the future. And that is why, the event of achieving your life’s calling is a moment of grand celebration – it is a new birth. A nobler one.

“The Na’vi say that every person is born twice. The second time is when you earn your place among the people, forever.”

Jake sully

7 months, 50 followers and the promise of things to come

It’s been 7 months since I started writing this blog. Back when I started, this blog was an outlet for the thoughts that keep popping in and out of my mind. But since then, it has grown in unexpected directions.

One of the things I did not expect was the amazing response that I got from you, my followers. And that is the single greatest thing for which writers write – connecting to the world. The biggest joy in the writer’s profession is that people read what you write, they like what you write and they’re minds are opened by what you write.

And this response from the people is what keeps a writing.

So this I have to convey to my followers and my readers,

Dear Mind Feeders,

Thank you for your support. I am a writer because I have great readers like you. And I promise you that I will keep writing great content for you for as long as I live. And the only thing I ask in return is to keep up with the great response!

Your favorite food for the mind,

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Remember all of me

 

There’s a wave in the distance.
It is rushing toward me.
Do I run? Do I stay?
Any which way, I am a grave-to-be.

So I stand still, thoughtless,
count the moments past,
relive ancient memories,
while death approaches fast.

That is when the question pops,
“What was the point of all this?”
the first cry, the last breath,
and in between, tender love’s kiss.

All that is gone now,
what remains is a shell of me.
So after I die, please don’t forget,
to remember, remember all of me.

Driving through the clouds.

 

The way from my home to my college involves a 3 hour drive on the state’s only  3 lane expressway. The expressway is level for the first hour and a half, and then it climbs up a hill and then levels off onto a plateau. And then an additional hour of driving brings me to the gate of college. Usually the expressway has zero traffic, making the ride a pleasant one. If you have never driven on an expressway, you would be blown away by the vast expanse of the road. All you have to do is put your car into fifth gear and sit back. There’s no intermittent stopping, acceleration that is the identity of city traffic.

But even this freedom and escape from the city traffic gets boring after a while. That was one such day. I had driven to college, in the middle of noon. I couldn’t see the sun, but its fury could be felt in the eyes. Sunlight reflecting from the ground had strained my eyes to the point that they were tired. And after a 3 hour long back ache, I reached college. I was there to complete some admission formalities.

Fast forward to that evening, I was ready to head back home. That was when the dark clouds appeared (not a metaphor).  An exuberantly bright sunny day turned into a dull cloudy mess. And then as if the worse hadn’t happened already, it started pouring. Literally pouring. Like some divine creature was standing above the clouds, emptying his cosmic bathtub onto the world. Rain has this effect on me, it makes me irritable. And when I’m irritated, my words turn to hysterics.

Ah so where were? Yes! It was raining, and I’d never driven in the rain. But I wanted to get back home badly. So I decided today would be my first, I’d lose my virginity. Today I would drive in the rain.

A few minutes later, my car joined the expressway from an adjoining bypass. The first thing I noticed was that the amount of traffic was ordinary but yet cars were driving slower. When the roads were dry, drivers would rev their cars well above 100 kmph. But today it was raining, and there was a risk of slipping. So every car remained well below the 80 kmph speed limit of the road. And being a stickler for relaxed driving, I breathed a sigh of relief. Now I could drive at 60kmph, and enjoy the views around me.

For the first time in years, I could steal a few moments to look around while driving. And this is an outpouring description of what I saw.

The roads are glistening in the light of the evening sun. Meanwhile, vehicle large and small pass by me as they speed to their destination. Their tyres spray water from the road into the air, making it look like they’re driving on small clouds. This is driver’s heaven, I say out loud. There’s no one in the car, no one will find me insane.

And then the road rises up the hill, it is the edge of the plateau. The visibility starts decreasing slowly. I have to turn on the AC to keep my windscreen from fogging. And then I turn on the headlights and the fog light. I look at the rear view mirror to see if other cars have done the same. But I forget my intention and stare at what I see behind.

The road is covered with clouds. All one can see are headlights. The vehicles cannot be seen. It looks like giant fireflies have taken over the road.  I turn my attention back to the front, lest I desire my own death.

Soon the pouring stops. And the clouds gradually part, not all of them though. The road starts to descend into the plains. The plateau has ended. And after a few minutes of climbing down, the road levels off again. That is when I breath a sigh of relief. My first time driving has proved to be a success. And as a reward, I let my eyes steal a quick glance at the sky.

I see a red sun, flanked by retreating grey clouds. And all of a sudden, I forgive the sun for causing me discomfort in the noon. I smile wide. This small display of nature’s elegance feels like a medicine to sore eyes.

I didn’t mention one thing in this whole extract. Every other moment, I cursed myself for not bringing a camera to capture what I saw. And then I thought to myself, this isn’t worth capturing. This is worth writing about. After all, the job of a great writer is to create an image in the minds of readers. And the job of a photographer is to tell a story through his image.

Write what must be seen and capture what must be written down.

 

The 365 day Vacation

I am an engineering student. And I spent the last year at home, on a vacation from college. Of course, I wasn’t expelled or forced to forfeit the year because of low grades. Infact, I was a good scorer. My parents and my professors expected good things from me. But I chose to take a year off from college.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy engineering. It was my own choice. And yet whenever I pictured my future, I never saw myself as an engineer. So I took a break from college to really evaluate what I wanted to be. And evaluate I did.

From the first day of my 365 day vacation, I spent hours reading up on several fields – investing, psychology,photography, literature, anatomy and what not. Also I joined a film library, where I learnt about Kurosawa’s directorial style. I shot an ad for Bisleri that is probably rotting away in some folder on my computer. I kayaked for the first time in my life, and realised what peace truly felt like. I got back to sketching, reading novels and philosophizing about the meaning of life.

People might be of the opinion that I’ve wasted one year of my life.  They aren’t wrong. They have a right to hold an opinion. And so do I, and my opinion is this : I haven’t wasted one year of my life. Because spending money (time) for buying things (intellect) isn’t a waste. It’s an investment with great risk, but great return too. And this past year, I’m honoured to say, I’ve invested 365 days towards the growth of my mind.

And whatever happens in the future, this year long vacation will be the most important milestone in my life. Every future success I will achieve, I will owe it to these 365 days, that have been the best 365 days of my life.

Informal Education is a needless Taboo.

What is informal education?

Informal education is style of education that diverges away from the formal structure of education. Unlike the the fixed curriculum, a finite number of exams and the emphasis on physical presence in a classroom ( the features of a formal education), informal education promotes more flexible methods of learning which involve – self learning, experiential learning, out of the box thinking and acceptance of new trends.

The history of Formal Education

Ever since the modern education system began, a majority of the human population has subscribed to that system. The reason for this bias was that the formal structure of education was more dependable, predictable and had a potential to show consistent results. This is why, the formal education system spanned every nook and corner of the civilized world. There was no second thought to whether a different style of education might be better in some way or the other. Formal education became the way to go, if you wanted to become successful in life. And more so, after the beginning of formal education, every field adopted the structure. And before we knew it, engineers, doctors, accountants, artists and even military men were being subjected to the same style of education. Despite having contrastingly different occupations, they followed the same classroom approach to everything they needed to learn.

Since the system was proving to be successful, no one ever thought to question it. And by question it, I don’t mean completely overthrowing it. I mean thinking hard and sound about whether formal education is appropriate for oneself.

Think to yourself. After you’d finished high school, you would have spent days, even months on choosing a field of learning that best fits your interest. But you never even for one second, spent time evaluating your style of learning. If you had, you would have asked yourself this question –  “Formal and informal education, which of the two am I comfortable with?”

But instead we go on, without questioning the style. We dive into the water, without judging the depth.

Why is informal education a taboo?

We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.

-Christof, ( The Truman Show – 1998)

Now since the belief in formal education has been reinforced over many generations, usually everyone instinctively chooses formal education. Why wouldn’t they? It shows success and everyone follows it. From their standpoint it is completely logical to blindly follow formal education.

And a rare few stop to logically evaluate the two styles of learning. Some of them arrive at the decision that informal education is better for them. And to those who have stepped into formal education  with blind faith, choosing informal education seems completely illogical.

The fish in the water looks at the bird in the air and despises him.

That is why when someone chooses to follow the informal structure, they’re termed as crazy, lazy, and other degrading terms.  And since formal education is the norm everywhere in the world, informal education has become a global taboo.

Why it is a needless taboo?

It is completely illogical to not question your style of learning. And more mindless is to choose your style of learning based on what others have done in the past. What ever style you choose should be a reflection your particular strengths and weaknesses. Your style of learning is your identity and should be chosen after proper evaluation of the alternatives.

And if after such a process, one arrives at the decision that informal education is the best for them, it is their personal choice. No one has the right to insult a person who choses to educate themselves outside the bounds of a classroom. It is their own choice. No one  (Not even parents )has a right to interfere in what route of learning an individual chooses.

Snippets from my life

Exactly one year ago, I got around to evaluating whether pursuing a degree was right for me. I reached the conclusion that I wasn’t comfortable with the structure of formal education. I wanted to learn things on my own terms. My interests are highly divergent. I have a professional interest in a variety of fields such as engineering, physics, filmmaking and writing.  Having such a wide scope of interest, being subjected to the a singular field of interest for half my day is uncomfortable.

And when I communicated my thoughts to my parents about me wanting to discontinue formal education, they erupted into hysteria. They called me crazy. When I said I didn’t want to be like everyone else, the asked me why the hell did I want to be different? They didn’t understand me back then, and they don’t even now.

So to them, I have this to say.

I love learning but on my own terms. I’m uncomfortable dedicating 4 years of my life to a singular interest. I want to learn everything, and I want to do that all the time. From your standpoint this might seem logical, but it isn’t. What is illogical and completely psychotic is that you yourself have never evaluated your style of learning. I pity you because you cannot see through my eyes, because you are missing out on all the sides of this world that I can see and you can’t, because you have closed your mind.

So whatever you say or do to force me into formal education, the reality won’t change – you followed the masses blindly, like mindless sheep. It was your choice. And to not live blindly is mine. I didn’t interfere in your choices, please leave me alone in mine.

 

Parenting is the art of Parent-making.

Good parents raise their kids for success. Great parents raise them for parenting.

People have forgotten what it is to be a great parent. And all that remains of the field of ‘Parenting’ is just a matter of delegations. Parents nowadays outsource their responsibilities to various institutions. They rely on religion to teach their kids values, on schools to make their kids knowledgeable and on law and order to discipline their kids.

This blatant delegation of tasks is happening because parents are too engrossed in earning money. In the pursuit of being the providers, parents have forgotten how to raise kids.

But becoming a great parent isn’t impossible.

Of course, the  Art of Parenting is difficult to master, but is governed by a simple principle.

Raise your kids for parenting and success will follow.

This simple rule is the pillar of parenting. If you don’t agree, give me a moment to convince you :

According to nature, our purpose is to reproduce and further our species. We do that by becoming good parents and ensuring that our children survive. But what if you go the extra mile? Teach your kids to become good parents. This will ensure that their children will survive. By raising your kids for parenting, you have made them strong and intelligent. And more so, you have made them great parents, so that they raise their kids the right way. In doing so, you have not only ensured the survival of your children, but of your grandchildren too. You have done more than nature demanded of you. You have excelled in your role as a parent.

I’ve seen many people in my life who’ve knowingly or unknowingly followed this principle.  And one such person has been my mother.  Not once in my life did she treat me like a kid. She treated me like a parent-in-training. She imbibed in me all the necessary qualities that were necessary for being a great parent. And for that, I’m eternally grateful to my mother. Her timeless dedication in raising me to be a good parent, is the reason I am able to write this blog or do anything for that matter.

So, Thank you Ma!

P.S  – If my blog has survived the weathering of time, and somehow, my future child is reading it, I just want to say:

I’ll strive to be a good parent all my life. I will put you above everything else. I will spend a lot of time with you. And I will raise you to be a great parent. And we’ll have a lot of fun.

Can’t wait to see you, kiddo 🙂

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