Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Pursuit Of Happiness


Often in some point of our lives we find ourselves in the doldrums. Some part of the day, when all we want to do is crawl up into a small hole and lie there for for days to come. When in spite of the sunny day outside there lies within us, a dark tempest of gloom.
Sometimes the reason we remain shrivelled up inside is perhaps because of some sort of unfortunate circumstance, that has has suddenly come upon us. But nevertheless, circumstances not withstanding, the major reason of our doldrums are we ourselves.
We all know of the examples of the eternal optimist or the eternal pessimist. Or psychologically speaking, the notion of whether the glass is half full or half empty.
As much as we like to read and try to understand the reason for all that has transpired around us, we seem to be getting no where most of the time. By the end of the day we are back to square one.
Frankly I am no exception as far as dealing with difficult circumstances are concerned.
After some setback or the other, my first impulse is to crawl into some hole and stay there for eternity, shunning everyone and everything that comes in my way.
Irrespective of the amount of advice doled out by those around you, there are some things in life you can only understand form your own personal experience.
I in my own way managed to acquire an epiphany in this regard, when I recapitulated some of my past events.
Back in medical school, we would have weekly tests. And once during one of these test sessions I acquired a rather poor grade. Almost immediately I subjected myself to self criticism, guilt, and mental torture for not acquiring better grades. But next to me, a friend of mine who got rather poor grades himself, was laughing away gaily, chatting with his buddies, unmindful of the fact that he too performed rather poorly in the test.
This nevertheless, left me a bit flabbergasted wondering how in God's name could someone be so unmindful of what just happened.
Back then I didn't have the maturity to fully grasp how could someone take disappointment so lightly.
But now as I recollect, I realise that he didn't really feel disappointed in the first place. And as a consequence he was happy.
He was happy when he flunked, and he would obviously have been happy had he passed.
The "condition" of passing and failing thus remained immaterial to his state of mind.
The key words here are "condition" and "state of mind".
Thus any pure state of mind is usually unconditional.
Be it happiness or sorrow.
Circumstances and events however usually end up as a catalyst in enhancing our state of mind.
If your state of mind was happy from the beginning a good event would make you joyous, while a bad event would make you unmindful and nonchalant to what just transpired, thus the core state of mind being the same in the first place.
However if your state of mind was sad to begin with, a good circumstance will temporarily lighten up your day, while a bad circumstance will further push you to the brink of eternal despair.
All in all circumstance has precious little to do with our state of mind.
People always have pre set conditions to determine how they are going to feel with regard to favourable or unfavourable events. Like, "If I win the game I will be happy, or "if I lose my job I will be sad".
We end up miserable when we set too many conditions upon ourselves when we set out to pursue happiness. Only to end up disappointed when happiness remains ever elusive.
From what I have understood so far from all that around me, is that happiness isn't something that has to be pursued, but a pure self limiting entity that ought be realised as a part of us. Unconditional and uncompromising even in the most difficult of circumstance.
We have often heard examples of rich celebrities who are miserable despite every comfort money can buy. And we have also seen poor workmen who labour day in and day out, with a smile on their lips whistling a happy tune while they toil away in the scorching summer.
I suppose the day we stop imposing conditions upon us, we will truly be happy.
Until then it is pointless to remain in a relentless pursuit of something that will continue to evade us through and through.
There is no point in pursuing something that remains within us waiting to be discovered.
For happiness like all pure emotions is nothing but a state of mind, inert and unconditional.
Pre set conditions do not necessarily determine how we will feel, as long as our state of mind remains happy irrespective of the circumstances that surround us.
The pursuit of happiness is nothing but a myth, to dissuade us from feeling better about ourselves irrespective of the way things turn out.
Some myths in life are thus indeed worth shattering.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Of Snoots And Snobs



I suppose a great deal of people have fond memories of their senior school days. What we call 11th and 12th grade. Well as for me, the experience was far from memorable. My class consisted mainly of some of the most snooty people one could have ever come across. You know, the sort who behave as though they have gold mines shoved under their affluent noses.
Now given the fact that I do not belong to the dull and dreary sort of humanity myself, nevertheless, being amidst those who believed that the very ground beneath them is a tribute to their greatness (or their dad's) made me grow immensely weary of their very existence. Not that I could do much about it though. For then, I believe I was a part of the wrong flock in the first place.
When I left India to pursue medicine, I met some of the most refreshingly down to earth people, on the planet. And not just from my own country, but also from other nations as well.
Their very existence was like a breath of fresh air. Somewhere down the line I had actually given up on the hope that I shall ever meet 'normal' people.
But there I was, hobnobbing with some of the most earthy individuals ever.
Well, we did run into some snobs as well, but they were the sort who realized that they were amongst the wrong people for a change. Needless to say, over the years they did manage to tone down their act. It was either that or face the prospect of being friendless in a foreign country.
Not that I am a saint myself per se. I do at times like to flaunt what ever assets I manage to acquire, that money can buy. But nevertheless, I do know where to draw the line.
Everyone likes to show off a bit, but not to the point where it gets awfully ghastly and annoying to boot.
I just simply do not understand what their deal is.
Frankly, one would usually find conversations with a snob/snoot unidirectional, and rather tiresome, with not an iota of sense intertwined in between their barrage of self praiseworthy drivel.
For instance, " You know, I am the head of my very own company, I work out with the actor(read nondescript) who acted in the film(which flopped miserably) blah blah. In my spare time I model for a famous brand of toothpaste and spend my evenings in one of the most swanky (read unheard of) clubs in the city."
The thing is, I really wonder the sort of audience our snooty compatriots manage to acquire in order to vent out their barrage of hot air. Frankly, any snob bombarding me with their self centred nonsense will soon realise that they are barking up the wrong tree.
You know, whenever one picks up one of the gossip magazines, one cant help coming across the glaring photographs of "socialites" wearing outfits that can only be described as a cross between a child's Halloween costume and a Las Vegas drag queen, at a "charity" event. Probably to raise money for the mentally unsound.
Sooner or later all snobs metamorphosize into socialites. I really wonder what sort of lives such people live in their spare time, when they are not busy hogging the limelight at a so and so social event.
Man is a social animal no doubt, and one needs society to exist. Nevertheless, I really wonder when did society turn to encompass some of the most unheard of has beens, and yesteryear washouts all simultaneously blowing their own trumpets.
Call me an idealist, but there did exist a time when the crème de la crème of society consisted of intellectuals, philosophers, men of art (by art I mean musicians, authors and painters, not someone who recently stripped their clothes off in a third rate movie), and self made men of commerce.
I suppose birds of a feather do flock together. But of late its a rather foul flock.
I can never come to terms with some god awful snob giving me airs. And frankly it gives me great pleasure give them a taste of their own medicine.
Irrespective of what one might say, I'd rather spend my time with my own earthly flock than to bother with some tiresome snoot.
But by the end of the day, its those who are down to earth who manage to win over more people. Not the ones who think their boots are too big for the ground beneath them.
Its too bad that they do not realize that.
But everyone has their place in the world.
If it weren't for them we certainly wont be having a lark over reading about their latest misadventures.
Well, to each of his own I always say!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Respite......


Its been nearly two months since I last posted anything on my blog. After spending nearly all my time and energy buried beneath a ton of books, lets just say the effort did not go all to waste. A great deal of thanks to all my blogging buddies who wished me well during my exams.
Nevertheless, since a medical student's (read foreign graduate) work is never done, I have yet another exam coming up after six months or so....
But in the mean time, I have decided that I needed a much desired respite.
While I spent huddled upstairs raking my brains through a barrage of medical literature, I must say I really missed blogging. There wasn't a moment when I didn't think of my blogging buddies. As a consequence, I had an epiphany.
When you commit yourself to a certain goal, you tend to lose out on all that which brought you joy at one part of time. For instance, by the end of two months, I gave up on my writing, my painting, and the utter lack of exercise has turned me into an inflatable pool toy.
I ought to have balanced both the worlds of creativity and academia, to bring about a harmony of sorts.
Now that I have a good couple of months till my next exam, I have decided that I am going to balance both worlds.
There is no point in living one life while forsaking the other.
I suppose certain realizations are never too late.
Of the most paramount of things on my list apart from studying, include:
  1. Hitting the gym
  2. Learn how to drive
  3. Continue writing.
I suppose life will keep hurling responsibilities at you, but its up to you to never lose sight of your own individual needs in the long run. Else there wont be much of a difference between you and a herd of cattle. There's no point in herding yourself from pillar to post and losing out on your interests in the long run.
In the future, I have no intention of forsaking the things I am most passionate about. For what is life, without having a few perks for yourself?
I'm sure I can balance both worlds in the long run.
I have so much to say and so much to write about, I do not even know where to begin with. All that pent up creativity will certainly yield enough material to blog about for the next few weeks.
All in all, I'm glad I got the opportunity to rethink the way I handle things.
Rest assured this blog shant run dry any more....
Bye for now, but in the words of the Terminator, "I'll Be Back"!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

International Blogger's Community Award!


Now Rads, of the Rads-blog-a-Zine fame has awarded me the International bloggers community award, and to her I say, Merci Beau-coup Mademoiselle...
And as tradition, I am carrying forward the tradition of awarding it to my blogging buddies, who I personally feel deserve this award!!

By the way, Rads in her site has jotted down a list of rules, concerning this award, which I will display here...
They are,
  • Link the person who tagged you
  • Copy the image above, the rules and the questionnaire in this post
  • Post this in one or all of your blogs
  • Answer the four questions following these Rules
  • Recruit at least seven (7) friends on your Blog Roll by sharing this with them
  • Come back to BLoGGiSTa iNFo CoRNeR (PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THIS LINK) at http://bloggistame.blogspot.com/ and leave the URL of your Post in order for you/your Blog to be added to the Master List
  • Have Fun!
The questions with my answers:
  • The person who tagged you: Rads
  • His/her site's title and url: Rads Blog-a-Zine: http://rads-blogazine.blogspot.com
  • Date when you were tagged: 7th July, 2009
  • Persons you tagged: I tag the following...
Kaddu
Kadambari
Ramya
Choco
Shadowthrone
et
Mukund
Varun
Lazy Pineapple
Gayathri
Brocasarea
Thousif
Vani
Sandhya
Acp
Viyoma
Today's Writer
Quirks of Sanity
SSQuO.

PS: As an update on the on goings of my life, I have finally returned to India. As a medical graduate. Now I have to study for a couple of months for a rather important exam.The aim of the exam is to enable me to begin practice in India. Kind of like a licensing exam. Once I clear it, I'll be free (for a short while at least), but until then I might not be as regular in the blogosphere.
Besides the internet in my city has abysmal speed, and I'll have to install a broadband connection to do some decent surfing. The blogger page took ages to load!! I'll have to install one of those high speed broadband connections soon, but after my exams.
Newayz...that's the news from my side...wish me luck (I'll really need it) to clear my exam.
Till then, to all my blogging buddies, take care and God bless.
Au revoir for now...

Friday, July 3, 2009

An Ode To A City


I usually do not write much about myself, but nevertheless, the past few days have been quite a milestone in my life. For I have finally graduated. And hold the degree, Doctor of Medicine. I never thought the day would come. For it always seemed so distant. And as a consequence, I have forever remained in the illusion that time shall forever remain still, and I shall be a carefree student in one of the most beautiful cities in the world forever. But I suppose as we all know, time is one stealthy entity.
It manages to delude you till the end of days, and when you least expect it, the carefree days of your youth are curtailed in one sharp stroke. Like the swift blade of the guillotine, your time as a youth are struck off, and immediately one is thrust unprepared, into the realm of adulthood.
The emotions that ravage my mind like a wayward ship stuck in a tempest, have me at extreme ends of human emotion.
One one hand, there is the joy of graduation, the happiness and the jubilation, while on the other hand there lies the bitter sorrow and anguish of parting forever with ones close friends, who have been by my side for the past six years.
Perhaps a third person observer may not be able to comprehend what exactly I am going through, and frankly I cannot expect him/her to understand the pathos when one leaves the place he has been so well accustomed to.
I owe a great deal to this fair city. One can always be proud of their home city, but this city has been somewhat like a surrogate parent to me for the past six years. St.Petersburg is a marvellous city. Mere words cannot describe it. For, of all the places in the world, this is one of the few places, that has stayed back in time, retaining its beautiful palaces, museums, gardens and streets. It doesn't have the snooty air of the common metropolitan cities across the world which are towering with concrete skyscrapers and awfully polluted streets.

Even now the city retains its historic charm from the times of the Tsar, like a time capsule which has not succumbed to the sort of riff-raff the modern cities today possess.
I have been very fortunate indeed to live and study in this city.
From the pristine and pure white snowy cover of winter to the bright, white nights of summer (when sun doesn't completely set) the city retains its magnificent glory, throughout the year.
The photos posted here have been taken by yours truly, and his friends, while touring the city and during our nocturnal boat ride on the day of our graduation.
The city is best explored when one walks down its streets. Its not the sort of place that can be relished when one is in a noisy motor vehicle. One has to walk down its streets to get an actual idea of the city. Passing by numerous portrait makers, souvenir stalls, etc.


Moreover, like Venice, this city too is interconnected by numerous canals, through which one can see the architectural magnificence of the place.


Words truly cannot do justice nor describe this place. One has to actually come by here and walk about the place. Besides every street is so spectacular, your camera wont have a moments relief.
Walking the city for the past six years has made more familiar with this it. I know the roads, byways and alleys of this city by now, far better than my home city back in India.
This is one place I sincerely recommend everyone to visit at least once in their life time. And moreover at least spend a week here to absorb the beauty and feel the romance of a city preserved in time, through the ages.


It has been six years since I came here, as a scared, shy 18 year old, and now when it is finally time for me to leave this city for good, my home for the past few years, I am indeed at a loss for words. The city, my close friends shall all soon be left behind, and my stay here will be nothing more than a memory. Though many may philosophically put it, "It happens, life's like that", I do not think that those so called philosophers can possibly comprehend what I am going through right now.
And I do not expect them to understand either.

Dasvidanya, fair city. For perhaps our paths shall cross once again. But till then I bid thee a fond farewell.
For you shall be in my heart forever.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Tribute To Eccentricity


I suppose by now all of us are well aware of the passing away of Michael Jackson. Frankly, I suppose this has been by so far one of the most read and sought after news articles that has gripped people from across the world.
Now frankly what has captivated me by far, is not the musical genius of Michael Jackson, but the ability to reach across to millions of people across the globe. I doubt there exists even a single nation, whose occupants would not recognise him. There are very few people who manage to evoke such a powerful response to either their talent or their works of other nature. I do not call him a genius merely on account of the number of records he sold or the number of Grammies he won. But I call him a genius on account of the faithful adoration he received from millions of his fans till the end of his days. Its not everybody who can please a crowd of such stupendous proportions.
I hope the media who spent hounding him for the past decade accusing him of being an embezzler, a pervert or even a freak would finally acknowledge his true genius and give him due credit.
Truth be told, I have never been particularly passionate about his music. For neither did I follow his career in earnest, nor did I listen to every song churned out by him. Personally, for me the person in particular, interested me more than anything else.
It really makes me wonder so as to what makes such a person tick. What is it that makes a person become the legend he/she is and the sort of lives such people in question lead.

People in the later years considered him to be a freak. Waco Jacko they would call him. For in the eyes of the common strata of society, he perhaps was indeed a freak. A freak they could never understand, a freak that was almost always misunderstood, a freak that could never be at par with the sort of insipid society that sought to surround him.

Thats the trouble with genius. Your mind will never be at par with all and sundry. It can never belong to the same wavelength of the common folk that exist around you. To them, your ideas will always remain insane, and your perceptions of reality will always seem ridiculous.
As a genius you will always remain alone, forlorn to the extent that even those close to you will never be able to understand you.
But these are the very individuals, that revolutionise the world as we know it. These are the same people who rake up a storm and seek to banish the sort of monotony one exists in. These eccentric "freaks" are the ones who are responsible for making our lives feel all the more worthwhile.

Michael Jackson's life reminds me of a similar individual, called Howard Hughes.A man who revolutionised the aviation industry. His story is depicted in the film 'The Aviator', by Martin Scorcese.
Known to develop one of the most sophisticated aircraft back in the day, he too in his later years was known to be a reclusive freak, who lived a life of eccentric proportions. Similarly hounded by the media, and accused of embezzling millions of dollars, he lived a life quite similar to most of the misunderstood geniuses we know today.
Seclusion I suppose is the only refuge such people have, to get away from the contemporary world that they all belong to. For they can never be understood. Their fears and delusions in their later years become the source of mockery for the very society that once benefited from their contributions.
I have never been fond of contemporary society. For while you are at your prime, you are their patron and their messiah. But once circumstance takes a turn for the worse, you turn into a freak, to be ridiculed and mocked at, like a common ape in a zoo.

Just like the indignity suffered by the celebrated author, Oscar Wilde in the later period of his days.
Even Queen Elizabeth I who heralded the golden age of England, spent most of her remaining years as a misunderstood senile recluse, much to the merriment of her subjects.

No one can understand genius. For the thoughts and emotions that run through their minds have very little in common with the remainder of society.
Their lives usually end up alone and solitary. In spite of all they have managed to contribute to society. A precious few can actually comprehend what runs in the minds of these eccentric individuals.
And yet you have to hand it to them, as they struggle to overcome the differences and manage to win the hearts of those around them.
They are a different race by themselves. The sort of people who seek to enrich the lives of those around them, while in return forsaking their own.
All in all, I would like to raise a toast to all the misunderstood geniuses around the world and across the ages. It takes a great deal of perseverance and fortitude to live the sort of lives they live. And as fellow humans it is only fair that they are granted the credit they truly deserve.
For one may never understand them. But at least one can acknowledge them for their works, overlooking their flaws.
For its the only fitting tribute to genius and eccentricity, which sets them apart from others in the grand scheme of things.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Of Race And Men


Theres a great deal of hullabaloo going on about the racist attacks in Australia. After the general elections, the Indian media seems to be going whole hog on the latest scoop, which I suppose should give them enough material for at least a week.
Given the so called plight of our dear countrymen in Australia, I cannot help dishing out some of my own experiences in a foreign country (read Russia) for the past six years.
Now, for those who are not aware, Russia and not to mention a good deal of Europe, have their own fair share of racist episodes.
It only seems like yesterday, when I was studying for a debt in Anatomy, my neighbour came running, huffing and puffing to my room and told me that a young Vietnamese student has been killed just a bit of a distance from our hostel. It was around 9 pm at that time, and immediately a good deal of Indians (from my hostel), Africans, Sri Lankans and of course the Vietnamese students rallied together in protest at the lack of security and the so called racial atrocity against the foreign students (the Chinese were conspicuously absent throughout the whole deal).
Did that incident horrify me? Was I appalled, angry, horrified or for that matter scared at the fact that foreigners can be attacked any time at the drop of a hat?
Frankly..not even the least.
All I bothered about was, how am I going to find time to clear my debts in Anatomy.
Nothing more.
While I did spend all night on the streets protesting against racist groups, in a gesture of solidarity to our Vietnamese colleagues, the incident by itself was not of any life changing consequence.
Now as far as the Vietnamese boy who was killed is concerned, he belonged to another university, and decided to visit his friends in my hostel for a birthday party.
Afterwards he decided to head back home, and chose to venture through an unlighted dark short cut instead of going through a bright nicely lit road which would have taken 2 minutes more of his walking time.
And, needless to say that's where he was ambushed and killed by Skin heads (a radical anti Semitic Neo Nazi group).

In my opinion, its always easy to fume and grunt when you hear, that some Indians in so and so country have been racially abused or targeted. But one ought to know how such incidents take place and how we foreigners ourselves are responsible when we end up as targets.

In my six years of stay in this country, I have hardly come across racial undertones. The Russians, if you get to know them, are quite a friendly race. And for some strange reason, they really like Indians.Especially the elder generation. The minute they hear, that you're from India, they begin talking about how much they like Indian culture, about Raj Kapoor (the only Indian actor they know) and of the film Awara. Not to mention their weird fascination for the song "Jimmy Jimmy Aja Aja" filmed on Mithun Chakraborty.
Whenever we have visited the patients ward, the Russian grandmas always wished us all the best for our future and asked us to study hard in order to be a good doctor.

Either way, I cannot deem them racist or prejudiced.
Yes there are groups of people (read Skinheads) out to create trouble, and over the past few years, two Indian students have even been killed in Petersburg (strangely neither the Indian media nor the government cared two pence about the incident) .
But in my opinion its about being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

When as a foreigner, you decide to visit, or stay in any country, you need to have some knowledge about the place you are about to visit, the nature of the people living in the so called country and a respect for the local cultures and traditions.
I knew about the Skin head problem, even before I came to study here. So frankly it wasn't a rude shock to me. The Indians here on the contrary were the real shock.
All foreign countries carry a risk.
Its up to you to be careful and safe guard you assets when you move about in an unfamiliar surroundings.
Even India isn't that safe.
One keeps hearing of American, German or Russian tourists being swindled, abused and even killed by the locals.
I once met a Russian woman at the Mumbai airport, who couldn't speak English, she obviously didn't know Hindi, and the only currency she had were Roubles. And she didn't know anyone in India either. Fortunately my friend helped her reach a currency exchange and managed to drop her off at a decent hotel.
But just imagine, if she had fallen into the hands of a greedy cab driver. One can very well imagine the consequences.
Its people like these who fall prey to all sorts of hoodlums, because of their own stupidity.

In spite of knowing well about the Skin head situation, in Russia, you have Indian students roaming out alone in the late hours when the streets are deserted, and hitting pubs and discos in unheard of places.
And sometimes I believe they deserve what's coming to them. I have heard of cases of Indians here who act the goat in discos and ogle at the Russian girls as though they have never seen a female in their entire lives. As a consequence they tend to get drunk, misbehave and end up with a black eye, blaming the "racist" Russians.

I an not naive to say that racism does not exist. It very well does. But sometimes, racist "incidents" can be avoided if one is careful enough.
As long as you happen to be a foreigner, one must always be humble, respectful and decent in your mannerisms and behaviour when you are in a foreign country.
This rule applies to even those who visit India. You cannot roam about as if you own the place. You are then bound to attract trouble.
No country is without its share of issues. Even the United States which finally has a Black President, is still plagued by racist attacks in certain areas.
Therefore even though the news of racist incidents are unfortunate, they can at times be avoided.
It finally boils down to the individual to be careful in a foreign country, and be responsible for his/her own safety.
For as we all know, when in Rome....

Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thivierr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahidoodi, http://www.flickr.com/photos/thivierr.

PS: Since my final Russian State Exams are around the corner, excusez moi from the blogosphere. Hence I shan't be able to post anything new for a while.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of


I suppose a significant few of you would have heard of the name Susan Boyle. For those who haven't she is a Scottish singer who received general attention, when she first appeared in the show, Britain's got talent. Now the thing that set her apart from all the usual sort of people you see on television, is that the first impression you get is nothing particularly remarkable.
When she first appeared on the show, the public as well as the judges, sort of looked upon her as a bit of a joke. They saw a 47 year old woman, who was not remarkable in her looks or in her demeanour, someone who seemed cheeky enough to have the audacity to come and participate in a well known television show.
Well, nevertheless, the judges expecting to chuck her out the minute she would sing, asked her to go ahead.
The song she sang was, "I dreamed a dream" from Les Misérables. And frankly, her rendition took the crowds by storm.
So much so, that by the end of her performance, she received a standing ovation.
Now, before she had sung the song, one of the judges, Simon Cowell, asked her, what's the dream? And she answered "I'm trying to be a professional singer". Now, on being asked why she hasn't been successful so far, she said that she never had the opportunity. And furthermore, she hoped to be as famous as Eileen Paige(a famous English singer) . Now, this earned her a couple of guffaws from the audience, and raised eyebrows from the judges.
Nevertheless, the minute she started singing, all the smirks from the audience were soon replaced by a look of awe.
And the rest is history.
Last I heard, she has been awarded a music contract from Sony music, and is well on her way to fame and stardom.
I have a lot of adoration for the woman, who in spite of the hostility from the audience, managed to win their hearts by the end. Its like something out of the books and novels.
In life, such incidents really inspire you and make you think that there is nothing out there which is impossible.
The thing is, I can completely relate to her.
It is not uncommon, for people to put you down, snub you, or discourage you, when you speak to them, of your dreams, your ambitions or your innermost wishes.
People have a way to put each other down, and make the other person feel worthless, or like some sort of insignificant insect.

It takes a great deal of courage and self confidence, to brace yourself to all the smirks and the guffaws that will follow you when you set out to achieve your goals.
I don't know why humans keep underestimating one another. Perhaps its the result of their own cowardice, or their own insecurity.
But all in all you have teachers telling children that they are stupid and thoroughly incompetent. You have "friends" who smirk when you tell them what you want to do with your life.
Unfortunately sometimes, even parents can end up discouraging their children.
The biggest joke is, when Einstein was a child, his school teachers thought him to be "dull" and unable to learn things.
We all know then who had the last laugh.

People have told me all sorts of things, through school and collage.
Even now, when I tell some of my "friends" that I want be a specialist in so and so field, I cant help notice the judgemental look, which reads "are you kidding me"?
Like I said, humans seem to get some sort of pleasure in putting each other down.
The thing is, like Susan, I suppose the best thing to do, is to wear your best smile, and look nonchalantly at your judging audience.
They will eat their words in due time anyway.
Its very rare to have people genuinely encourage you, when you set out to live your dream.
Some of us are fortunate in that aspect when our friends or family are happy for you, and egg you own to do your very best.
But for the remainder, the best thing to do will be to hold your head high, and not care a damn about those who keep putting you down.

All of us have a right to live our dreams. But its just our own inner fears and insecurities that keep us from achieving them.
It really gets my goat, when people underestimate me. And frankly many a time I have as a consequence, felt discouraged and forlorn. But I have in time learned to make peace with the fact that I don't have to give a damn about what people think.
Its up to us to prove the world wrong and have the last laugh. And making all the people who once called you stupid, ugly, or just plain dumb, eat their own words.
The worlds one big huge reality show by itself. And frankly one needn't be perturbed by a cynical and narrow minded audience.
You know that you have got it in you, and that's what counts.
For its the sort of stuff that dreams are made of.

Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/swamibu, http://www.flickr.com/photos/estherase, http://www.flickr.com/photos/curoninja.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Petrified!



The purpose of having a blog are numerous. Some use it to convey what they feel, while some use it to spread some sort of social message. A good number of people use it as a medium to sharpen their writing skills, while a good remainder of people use it to rant out their grudges against life and the society they live in.
Today, I have nothing particularly to convey, nor am I exactly in the mood for personal introspection. On the contrary, as the title says, I am currently within the grasp of absolute petrification.
Within a month and a half, I am going to come across a very major milestone in my life. And that is graduation after six years of medical school!
Perhaps at this moment I ought to sound solemn and confidant, as I look to the future with the resolute calm and ease that would manifest perhaps in an individual who is certain of his prospects.
But I am not that person!
And for a fact I know that life is anything but certain.
On the absolute contrary, I am terrified of the future prospects, and constantly am kindling new and unimagined thoughts that manifest themselves as constant anxiety and nocturnal tachycardia.
Man throughout history has either been curious or fearful of the unknown.
Moreover one always seeks refuge in things that are always meant to be certain and consistent. When one knows what to expect, it usually prepares a person mentally to face whatever that is out in store for them!!
Au contraire, when you feel like in course of your life, you are about to enter a deep dark tunnel, where you have no idea so as to what to expect at the other end, it can be a good deal frightening to a significant few.
I do not have the curiosity and the spirit of adventure, of the sort that perhaps would exist in Indiana Jones, in order to abandon all thoughts of insecurity, and fearlessly jump into the abyss, gliding with ease as to be prepared for whatever lies out there.
The very thought makes me ill at ease.
So far, for the past six years, it has always been the same routine. Ten months of classes, followed by two months of vacation, and the cycle would go on and on.
But now everything is finally going to grind to a standstill.
As human beings, we are all temporarily deceived into thinking, that the lives we currently lead are going to stay the same forever.
We never even stop for a moment to contemplate on what are we going to do when things are going to take a sudden change in our lives.
Like when a student lets go of his fun filled collage days and is about to graduate.
And suddenly you are thrust out there in the world unprepared and find yourself running nook and corner for a job.
Or when someone has to forsake his single carefree days and has to eventually commit to someone eternally in matrimony.
The prospect of uncertainty is too much to consider. Perhaps even overwhelming to some.
I really wish things could always stay the same.
For instance, where the only major concern for me would be preparing some sort of report for the class the next day, or figuring out what movie to watch while I have dinner.
But it is never so!
They say change is good. It refreshes life and removes any sort of monotony.
Perhaps so. But then again, I haven't a clue so as to what sort of prospects will the so called change herald into my life.
I wish all of us were born with a manual which told each one of us, what sort of direction our lives are going to take.
But if wishes were pennies.....you get the picture.
Its just awful that one has to be left wondering so as to what is going to happen next. Frankly for me the current prospect of graduation, and subsequent entry into medical practice is leaving me terrified so as to how will I handle everything.
I seriously haven't a clue.
All I am aware of at this moment, are the final exams that are looming somewhere in the corner, and the tachycardia that seems to grow more and more consistent day by day.
For some the world "out there" is interesting, while for some, it doesn't make a difference worth a shilling. Whereas for me it is just plain scary.

All in all, its an awful thing to let fear and doubt plague you.
Perhaps the key would be to let go of all that bothers you. Like the fears that manifest themselves as malignant dark clouds looming overhead.
And pretend, as though indeed things are going to stay the same forever.
The past no longer exists, and the future is something that is yet to be seen.
The present is the one reality.
I suppose the answer lies in living in the present, and not bothering about what the future has to offer.
I have never been a fan of planning things because things seldom have a tendency to work out the way you would expect them too.
So all I can do for now, is play pretend, act as though there is nothing "out there" to get me.
And live in the moment.
For tomorrow is just another day.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vermininc, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessjessjess, http://www.flickr.com/photos/kitsa_sakurako,http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsukubajin

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Perils Of Prejudice


The other day on you tube, I saw this channel made exclusively by Queen Rania of Jordan. Its where one can see her interviews, her opinions and thoughts on the current obstacles faced by the Arab nation, when it comes to gender discrimination, religious fanaticism and the focus on educating the poor children.
Now, what struck me profoundly, is that the Jordanian Queen, sought to reach out to the people in a very down to earth manner, where she answered questions by the viewers of her channel, with regard to clearing stereotypes about the Arabs and Islam.
Not many leaders of the current so called major nations, reach out to the public to clear misunderstandings, and enlighten the masses about the correct interpretation of their faith, or the developmental hurdles faced by their community.
Basically she has focussed on drawing attention to the problems faced by the Arab people, especially the women. Pretty much like a cultural ambassador.
The response she has received as a consequence is rather overwhelming.
For anybody would love the fact, when a particular world leader reaches out to the masses and conveys the honest truth about the hurdles faced by them, and at the same time giving out ideas so as to how one can rectify the problems that plague society.

In comparison, I reflected back on the major issues that plague our own society. Not even once has any so called Political leader, ever come forward to ease any social pains, and sought to clear prejudices that plague Indian society.
On the absolute contrary, all they have done, is instil hatred, violence and discrimination between one community and the other.
Prejudice is one of the root causes of any social disharmony. Its moreover easy to instil in an impressionable (not to mention ignorant) mind, and has rather violent consequences.
Throughout history, there have always been fights and skirmishes between one strata of society against the other.
But the advantage of being a human being is to figure out a way to end disharmony and cultivate tolerance.
Any fool can start a squabble. Aggression is the most basic types of genetic programming that exists within the most simplest of species like insects.
Nevertheless, it takes intelligence and wisdom to stop a squabble. Something that can only be possible by the human species. And something that a majority of us have long since forgotten to do.
I doubt that there exists any longer, a line of demarcation that separates us from the remainder of the animal kingdom.

Getting, back to the topic, there can be no doubt in the fact that whatever community we today belong to, somewhere down the line our forefathers have suffered discrimination and persecution from some other community.
The thing is, times have changed. Do you still wish to keep the flames of vengeance alive, or do you take the first step, and let bygones be bygones.
Would you prefer to let things go? Or would you prefer to plant the seeds of prejudice into the next generation?
Its ironic that most of us keep fighting a war that long since ended. We are taught to hate and despise another community, just because our forefathers at one point of time suffered at their hands. And so, you must take up arms against them to retain your communities"honour". In spite of the fact that the community in question is now settled peacefully beside your very own home, and for as long as you remember, never bothered you personally in any way.
Violence always be gets violence.
There can never be an end to constant bickering and hatred.
The problem is, knowing this all to well, our so called leaders have the ability to end the years of prejudice, if they manage to strike the right cord with the public.

But they wont!
Its a difficult thing actually, to convince the masses to let go of old prejudices and live in harmony with your neighbours. Its a personal risk actually, for not many at first will want to do so. And if you tick off a certain community, there can be the obvious risk losing precious votes.
So therefore they choose to do just the opposite. Instigate one community against the other so that one may be well assured of the votes from at least one section of society. In short grant them blood when they want blood. And as a consequence keep the masses busy, burning the homes and families of the "evil" community, while the "leader" can be assured of another term in office.

Queen Rania is lucky that she is an absolute monarch and doesn't have to deal with the nonsense handed out by sleazy politicians who may thwart every honest move, to make society a better place. By the way, Jordan is the only other Middle eastern country apart from Egypt to have made peace with Israel.
Too bad not every nation is gifted to have righteous leaders.
Somehow, the "unity in diversity" aspect of India is turning out to be the biggest sham.
I suppose most of our problems seem to be arising from diversity.
Its turning out to be one of the greatest disadvantages that mar the progress of our country. Not to mention the pseudo democracy that chooses to instigate the masses with their hate filled speeches.
Improper schooling and parenting are to blame as well. As a child, most of us, like Queen Rania stated, are told what to think rather than how to think. And as a consequence begin to inculcate prejudice from a young age.
All in all, in my opinion,
Giving people the right to think for themselves if the greatest gift any political or religious leader can give.
Any other means of rallying the masses through inflammatory remarks is nothing short of human rights abuse.
Times have changed, as far as possible things go, its better to sow the seeds of harmony, instead of being brainwashed by corrupt politicians and biased religious leaders.
The old wars are over, its not our battle any more.
No human being must be entrusted with carrying on the hatred of his/her parents and forefathers towards any particular community.
It has nothing to do with the world we live and breath in today.
For the only key to social harmony is to give up prejudice.
So that the future generations can live in peace alongside one another.

Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/a77ebny, http://www.flickr.com/photos/integraldan, http://www.flickr.com/photos/ramananv.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Truths About Moi!!

Brocasarea, tagged me recently, and I have been admonished by todaywriter for not writing this sooner(who tagged me long back)....so thought its about time I posted this!!
While I'm not usually the sort of person who divulges info about me at the drop of the hat, I have nevertheless decided to bore y'all with 25 facts regarding moi.
So here goes!!!
1) I am a single, spoilt and extremely pampered child of the most wonderful parents ever!!
2) I consider myself as a bit of a misfit. Someone who never really belonged here. Always wish I was born, say in the ancient age where things were so much simpler.
3) I have my head in the clouds for a greater part of the day. I daydream a lot. And still have make believe fantasies running through my head.
4) I can tend to get really argumentative. I can ferociously defend my beliefs and my perspectives.
5) I believe in looking out for myself, even if the remainder of the world may deem me to be selfish (which though I claim to be, I am not!!!)
6) I am very superstitious, and intricately study omens.
7) I am not a morning person. I hate getting up early in the morning (though I have to) My day ideally ought to begin say at 11 am.
8) I love hearing about myself. I can be very vain (a Virgo trait??), and there is hardly an astrology site that I have not visited so that I get to read more about me.
9) I am hideously self conscious, one of the main reasons I am late for class, is I keep doing and undoing my hair to get the "perfect look"...which actually just ends up with me looking all the more worse.
10) I love to paint and sketch. I have sketched away to glory during many boring lectures. I consider myself an amature painter, and I like to reproduce pictures. Below is one of my creations!!
11) I love to sing, much to the annoyance of my neighbours who I wake up during my long morning showers.
12) I can sing songs in Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, Persian, Arabic, French, Bengali and Hindi... ironically my Tamil singing only evokes smirks and grins from the bad pronunciation!!
13) People consider me to be a good singer, and I like to immediately learn the lyrics of any song that catches my fancy irrespective of whether I understand them or not. I have a good memory for lyrics.
14) I am a mega huge history buff and can rattle on for hours about the fall of the Roman empire by Attila the Hun, the religious reformation brought on by the Pharaoh Akhenetan or the conquest of Sri Lanka by the Chozha dynasty.
15) I love to read and understand different cultures. I want to travel across the world to see and experience different cultures and traditions. Will venture anywhere, right from the Brazilian rainforests to the sand dunes of Egypt. Heck!..Given the chance I'll even go to Antarctica.
16) I always picture myself performing on stage or giving an interview to a reporter. I long to have a public life..(not like those on reality TV!!!..God Forbid!!)
17) People keep asking me why did I take up medicine, because according to them I am letting my talents go to waste. But I'm sure I can juggle both!!!
18) Never thought I had it in me to write. Frankly, this blog is a first. And its one of the best things to ever happen to me!!
19) I HATE sharing food!!!...I just cant. I would rather give it all away than to part with bits and pieces of it!! I am very possessive about it!!
20) I consider myself to be decent cook. I can whip up quite a few delicacies, right from Biryani, Shahi Paneer, Sambhar, Gajar ka Halwa....you name it!!
21) I consider cooking to be an art, and I hate it when people eat my works of art just because they are too lazy to cook themselves!!
22) I love reading. I am very versatile in that aspect, I cover everything right from comic books, magazines, works by Oscar Wilde and Somerset Maugham (two of my favourite authors!!), and history books...(err...did I mention Medical books??)
23) Love haunting museums and book stores. I am an absolute geek, and I have no qualms in saying so!!
24) I adore dogs. I just love them. The dog I'm gonna buy next is gonna be a Pug!!..They are so adorable. So far, I have had boxers, Great Danes and German Shepards.
25) Am God loving...and I tend to bully Him/Her into giving me whatever I want. And God has thus always been kind enough to to so.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/midnight-digital