The Unwilling Hero

Hero : Someone who performs an act of bravery in a dangerous situation

World war II ended in the death of many heroes. And the death of heroism. As stable governments arose, supported by strong armies for security, the need for bravery vanished. And one by one, heroes went extinct from the general public. Now, there are no legends. Only their stories exist, to be marvelled upon by complacent men.

But even so, courage still exists discretely; hidden somewhere in meek hearts. And they belong to the unwilling heroes.

The unwilling heroes detest acts of courage. ‘Heroism is mere foolishness’, they say. And to that effect, most of them avoid any kind of confrontation. But how long can a man escape his true nature?

As the life of the hero goes on, his actions though complacent, lead him to dangerous situations beyond his control. So much so that, bravery becomes an urgent necessity. And then the lion roars for the first time. Courage surges through his spine, as if it were instinct. And then he conquers it all.

By some fantastic irony of fate, the unwilling becomes a rightful hero.

In the past, the story of legends did little to inspire people. Legends were powerful, blessed even godly men that waged battle against great evils. Ordinary folk knew their limitations and hence although quite entertained, they weren’t inspired by the stories.

But today, the times have changed. People are not only inspired, but also incited to action by the tales of unwilling heroes. This is because they see themselves in them – ordinary people with ordinary lives called up to a greater calling. And so on, one hero inspires a thousand, a thousand inspire millions and many more. The age of heroes hasn’t ended, my dear folks, it has only begun.

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She gazed lovingly into the mirror.

I was stuck. Not in war. But in something much worse. A 6 hour Chemistry class. But about halfway into the class, my day just turned around.  A particular girl caught my attention.

The professor droned on about valencies. But the girl oblivious to his rants, gazed lovingly at something in her hand. I couldn’t see what it was. So I assumed it was her phone. Maybe her boyfriend had sent her a romantic text. Or chances were, it was a puppy video. Nonetheless, it was refreshing to see someone dodging the bullets of boredom.

I turned my wits back to treacherously long equations.

After an hour or so, I felt my shield running out. I couldn’t take it any longer. If I got even a pinch more bored, I would run from the class screaming! I looked around to see if others in my class felt the same way. To my satisfaction, half of the students were sleeping with their eyes open. And the rest looked like zombies about to snap. But somewhere in that horde of dullness, I saw something shine.

It was that girl. Her eyes were still lovelocked to something in her hand. Which, I could see then, wasn’t her phone. All this time, she gazed lovingly into a mirror. At first I thought it was her narcissistic tendencies. But then I looked at her eyes and saw no pride. Only love. True love.

 

The Engineer’s Manifesto

Manifesto –  a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer (individual/group/political party/government.

Engineers are a highly underrated component of modern society. And that is because not many people truly understand what engineering is about. So here is an Engineer’s manifesto, that in a concise manner, maps out the engineering philosophy.

The duties and principles of a true Engineer are laid out in the following manifesto:

  • Search for problems: The calling of an engineer is in solving the problems encountered in daily life. But not all problems are in plain sight or visibly evident. A true engineer must actively seek out new problems to solve.
  • Expectations into reality: The knowledge of theory gives us a solid base upon which to build our technology. But having a foundation doesn’t mean the building is ready. An engineer has to bridge the gap between theory and practicality.
  • Solve problems: Finding problems isn’t enough. A solution is necessary. An engineer must apply the basic sciences and devise a solution to a problem.
  • Create: Sometimes, a problem is so unique and untouched that no one ever solved it. At this juncture, the engineer must create a solution from scratch. This employs humanities most industrious personality trait – the desire to create something new. Thus an engineer must always be creative.
  • Modify: No solution is the best one. There will always be a possibility of a better solution. An engineer must recognize the potential for a better solution by looking at a previous solution.
  • Ease the efforts of life: Making human life better is the ultimate aim of all engineering practices. Above all a true engineer must aim to eliminate the pains of life.

By now, I hope that the person reading this has gained ,at least, some insight into an Engineer’s work. The luxuries that we enjoy, the free time we have, all of that is a result of Engineers all over the world, slaving their days off incessantly, to better the life of their fellow humans.

They ask not, but do deserve all the respect that we can give them. For the arsenal of a great nation wouldn’t have existed, if it wasn’t for the pen of a tinkerer.

Salute to these silent heroes!

Romancing the rains…

The Sun is the ultimate source of all energy on the Earth. It is also the reason, our planet exists in the first place. So, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to call the Sun, Earth’s mother. And then comes the second most important source of life – water. If there was no water, life would be impossible. And I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But I wouldn’t exist even if there was no Sun. Then which of the two is more important?

To find an answer to this question, we must turn our minds to a simple metaphor.

The Parent and The Lover

Our Parents are the ultimate source of everything we are, in this life. They are the reason we exist and they are the nurturing force behind our actions. In principle, they’re the Sun to our Earth.

But as life goes on and our joy is scrambled by ambition, we become more and more weary of our parents. It is only natural, they have been in our lives even before we knew what parents were.  The Sun has been shining even before we were born. And if you have the fortune of living in a desert, you start hating the Sun. You have seen the Sun every single day of your life. Although it is the single most source of your existence, you can’t bare its monotonous glare anymore.  You start craving for rain.

And that is when rain comes, and so does love.

Our Lover is who breaks the monotony of our Parents. He\She adds a fresh angle to your life. Like the rain brings greenery with it. You begin to enjoy the downpour, the cool environment and gloomy skies.

But as is human nature, the desert dweller gets weary of the rain too. We can’t keep liking one thing for ever. After we get used to something we like, we become tired of it. So the desert dwellers starts craving for the Sun to shine again. And then the pendulum bobs back and forth between the Parent and the Lover.

So if you were to ask, which of the two is most important – the Parent of the Lover? the Sun or the Rain?

I would have no answer. I would only advice you to keep bobbing back and forth like a ceaseless pendulum. For a one can only live without blood as much as they can live without the air they breathe.

 

1 of a kind

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘superhero’? The first obvious image would be that of a man of ripped musculature, superhuman courage and profound wisdom. And also a dash of supernatural abilities.

These typical superhero characters were the staple of the comic world, once. Superman, Batman, Iron man, Captain America ruled the superhero landscape back then. But then an amazing spider bite happened. And it changed the world.

Marvel Comics introduced a new superhero – the ‘Spiderman’

And he was one of a kind.

Age

Spiderman was the first teenager superhero as compared to other superheroes who were mostly adults between 25 to 35.  This made him relatable to the teenage audiences world wide.

Physique

The other thing that made spidey different was his physique. He wasn’t a buffed up bodybuilder. Instead, his body was lightweight, athletic and agile – more akin to that of a gymnast. Spiderman made being sleek look sexy.

Costume

And there’s a hundred lines to be said about the costume – the key selling point of spiderman’s aesthetic. Back in the ages of Superman and Batman, superheroes never had their face fully covered. Spiderman was the first superhero to hide his real identity behind a fully concealing mask.

And also, the costume is simpler than other superheroes. Except for the detachable mask, the rest of the costume is a one piece spandex jumpsuit. It fits spidey’s body perfectly. This helps in accentuating his movements while fighting crime.

Conclusion

The rise of Spider Man indicated the emergence of a new class of heroes – which includes Deadpool, Ant Man and many others. And then, gradually, comic book culture deviated from macho heroes to heroes who embraced their weaknesses and used them against their villain.

So may be, there will be no hero as unique as Spiderman. Or maybe if fans are lucky, we’ll get another hero that breaks the norms like Spider Man did. Until then, Spiderman will remain 1 of a kind.

If Steve Jobs had ever designed a superhero, it would be Spider Man.

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.

 

God needs no middle man

Every religion has a structure that consists of various religious heads, priests and priestesses. This structure acts as the intermediary between god and man. Man must communicate to god as per the rules defined by the clergy. Also, the messages of god are interpreted by the priests and priestesses and then conveyed to ordinary people. But this structure leads to a lot of misunderstanding and false conveyances.

The relationship between a man and his god is a personal one. One need only talk directly to god, without the interference of middlemen. Because if god is in fact omnipotent and omnipresent, he will hear you irrespective of the fact that you speak from within a holy place or not. All that matters in your relationship with god is that you speak to him. The ways and rituals of how you communicate don’t matter. Even if you speak casually to god, like he were your friend, he would listen. Sometimes you don’t even need to speak. Just look around you, he’ll be there. He’ll know what you are going through. He’ll know what you need. And he’ll do his best to get you what you deserve. All you need to do is have faith, in him, and in you.

So the next time you want to talk to god, just talk to him. Don’t bother about what the world says. No one has the right to come between you and your god. Certainly no middle men. God Bless!