Mortality

It was morning and he woke up to the question of Mortality. Picturing the death of a beloved.

Many a times he has seen it. The eyes have fell upon bodies whose soul abandoned them. The image forms inside his head, looking for memories to connect with them. Hundreds of pictures come flashing out of the door – from movies, from life, from stories, from songs & some from imagination. Each with its own set of emotions & feelings.

Rage, Disgust, Joy, Love, Respect, Honor, Bitterness, Sweetness…

However, None influenced him. The brain has become immune to them. Such has his condition become. He recalls how he has blocked the overwhelming emotions inside his psyche somewhere. While never learned how to response to Death again.

Each time, the question of mortality confronted him – He felt like playing a game with the Reaper. At whose end, they both will come at a deadlock & leave each other pleasantly.

Reaper has tried playing many games with him.
Death of his Love. Death of a family member. Death of a close friend. Death of a mentor. Death of a leader. Death of a neighbor. Death of a countrymen. Death of a Stranger.
Each time he will see the tears flow from his cheek. Waiting with joy, for him to fold his cards.

He has faced more than one death in a day. Today, Reaper played him with the death of few Rapists also.
The emotions of intense rage & disgust took him. He saw their faces, being covered by the black cloth and then the lever being pulled. And their soul left the earth for their sake. It was justified he thought. The black pieces of cloth were pulled off the bodies. Then he faced the faceless bodies in front of him. Thousands of faceless bodies appeared around him. And he knew who were they. It was overwhelming for him. At this sight Reaper smiled, speculating a won hand.

But, he started to shut them off – one by one – some in caskets – some in earth – some in walls – some in hearth.

Reaper was perplexed at this and wanted to peak at his cards. What makes him keep playing till the deadlock ? What he has been dealt.

The cards dealt to him were all empty, without a trace of ink on them. He knew only one fact, he has been dealt – a precious & beautiful Life. Though, the cards look empty and the next move always seems risky. The Reaper was playing for this Life. And the only thing saving him was that which he has been taught and he has learned. That – Life can be what ever you want it to be.

In time, Reaper will win at his own game. It will take away him, his memories, his creations, his relations & his Life. Until then, he has to keep him in a stalemate and continue the game. After all, Time is one of those cards dealt to both of us equally. His becomes weaker while Reapers’ becomes stronger.

It was night and he needed his sleep. And then he wondered – how badly he needs this temporary mortality, only to wake up to his temporary immortality. Why can’t the Reaper be happy with this temporary deal?

The post was part of the Dungeon Prompt : Mortality and the Human Psych.

Arigato 🙂

P.S – this time I will be linking to other Dungeon Prompt writers also.
Update : Other contributors of the prompt.

Dungeon Prompts – Let There Be Peace on Earth

The Other Side – SplitSpeak

When I Go To Die – The Arkside of Thought

Mortal Lacuna – 5 Degrees of Inspiration

Let Him Be – The Story of an Ordinary Girl

Huitain: Do Not Untimely Mourne – Bastet and Sekhmet’s Library

Mortality and the Human Psyche – Liars, Hypocrites, and the Development of Human Emotion

Morrow’s End – Shainbird

Carelessness Follows Closely – The Seeker’s Dungeon

I’ll Tell Her Tonight – Traces of the Soul

Why Wait? – Traces of the Soul

5 Minutes ’til Showtime – Traces of the Soul

Death’s Masks – Marsnplato

What Does Mortality Really Mean? – Thirty, Start, Go

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Oval Pegs

Square peg in a round hole is an idiomatic expression which describes the unusual individualist who could not fit into a niche of his or her society.

Except I am not talking about the square or round pegs. I want to talk about the Oval ones in particular.

Lately I have been coming in contact & having conversations with people who are the Oval pegs. Means, they are doing the traditional jobs & are good at them. However, they want to expand themselves, get into their own oval holes or create their own dents to fit in. And I love talking with them, it is so exciting to talk with them. To share thoughts & ideas. To wonder about possible future.

So what prompted this post?
Actually, most of the friends & people I come in contact with just talk about their careers(& mine). I am fed up with such talks. And in this case with the Oval Ones – I noticed they were also going on about the career only.

A : “I am unsatisfied with my current package, want to switch over, want to join XYZ global firm….Blah Blah Blah.”

B : ” Yaar, I want to do something.  I want to start working on something – -I want to create – – Yada Yada Yada.”

And then there is the pause in the conversation. They look up to me for some response or reaction.
If it is a person A – I would not like to continue the conversation. *smile + head nod*
If it is a person B – I will be deep in the shit with him/her. *Big smile + gleeful eyes + activated brain & mouth *

The difference was the quality of stuff coming out of their mouths. I mean it was not baseless & uninteresting.
But I am bored with it.
It is like in school times – the kids who could buy the whole set of Action Figures along with all the accessories, used to keep on bragging about them. They could only use their imagination in making stories not imagining them. And the ones who only got a single soldier action figure, they will use pens,pencils,compass & myriad other stuff to imagine crazy plots and play with them. They each have unique set of ‘Play Box’ with them.
It’s extremely exciting to look into those ‘Play Boxes’.

I also had it. I still do. Not the one, my brother & I had in our childhood. It has changed now & it will keep on changing.
Play makes Art possible and Art is ever changing like Life.

I consider myself the Oval type. If you put me into the traditional system – I can easily work there & with efficiency. And I am not totally eccentric. But there is a unsettling creative part which want to stretch/break the mold.

The potential inside is excited to convert into some dynamic kinetics.
And we all Oval types are looking for others like us. To talk with them. To meet with them. Just like the Seth Godin’s ‘Tribe’.
When we Oval types come closer & start sharing ideas and thoughts. Vibrating with excitement – some of will jump from the structure & gain his/her real shape. Make a dent in the system.

So If you are one of the Ovals – meet others like you & keep close to them.Perhaps one day you may take the flight & realize your true shape (star,square,egg,spike,line….e.t.c). Or else you will always remain a ‘Circle’ struggling inside a fixed boundary.

Arigato 🙂

P.S – It is ironic that I am writing/preaching/thinking this while I am preparing for a Job inside the system(bureaucratic). Well, future is filled with possibilities here also – after all I am an Oval one. :p

India After Gandhi

I am reading Non-fiction books now, most of them are Text-book type of material. Earlier I thought of not reviewing them, but now, I will both review them & comment on there utility from the viewpoint of the competitive exam.(UPSC here)

INDIA after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy

By Ramachandra Guha

Rating: 4.5/5

Ramachandra Guha is already an esteemed historian and an author. This book is being bought in frenzy by UPSC examinees , all thanks to the changed course of Mains exam and recommendation from the IAS coaching students. However, I picked it up for dual purpose of UPSC prep and for reading Guha. Already read through most of his work, this one was missing from the list. As far, the best one still is the ‘ Difficulty of Being Good’.

About this one: as the tagline & the name suggests, it is an insightful work on the history of India after the Freedom was won by Indian people.The chapters move swiftly with a narrative style, pointing out the milestones & road-blocks faced by the nation.

The book is divided into five parts.The first three parts belong to Nehru , part fourth to the later years and the last part is a summation of the various changes since independence.

First & Second part deals with the Idea of India in the sub-continent. The various forces of cohesion & secession working across the diverse geography of the country. How the leaders came to decision on complex & important issues while composing the biggest constitutional text in the world. Adding to their trouble the various princely states, faction leaders, tribals, religious riots. To even imagine how they were dealing with all these factors is enthralling at the least.

After establishing the India’s identity in the world-map, there were myriad internal & external aggression like Pakistan’s insurgency,Chinese insurgency, formation of separate state, creation of Tribal autonomous states, Rights of lower & destitute section of society and many more. The whole time the world being critical of existence of Democracy in India. One may say the issues were not best handled and mistakes were done. But the present we inhabit is because of those efforts and we should be thankful to them.The third part deals with the above factors.

The fourth part is where India seems to force its Strength & dominance position, all thanks to Indira Gandhi. Though, we all understand the effect of her transgressions whose price we are still paying. This part can invoke passionate & varied feelings in a group. So, I wouldn’t go further into it. For the last part as I said – it presents the summary of the eras gone by. There is also a whole chapter dedicated to the entertainment of Indian people(read Cinema). After all, it do shares a major part of societies reformation & ill-wills.

I thought the text may be biased towards the Congress regime. On the contrary I found it balanced in approach. All the angles were tried to be presented in the chapters. Well, you yourself is the best judge on that.

Finally, for the students who want to read it for examination point of view. Go through this book as an introduction to the history after independence. One will need more solid material to write answers in mains. This text needs to be supplemented by some text-book.

So, pick this huge 750 page narration of Indian History. One must have knowledge about the path one’s nation took to be standing at the present position.

Arigato 🙂

 

Finishing it

You know the Crazy Project i started last month. I decided i will have the first draft finished by the end of November.But it seems it is not going to be so. Just like it happens with most of the things which i decide to do and leave it in limbo.Angry and dejected -that’s what i am feeling. I again screwed up and it seems my credibility is on stake.

My mind starts by rationalizing about why did this happened.Then going to blame people for this, to finally coming to the main point.It was a personal project and I stalled it myself, I am to blame.One of my tuition teacher used to say that – “If you can’t keep a promise made to yourself, you can’t keep any promise to anybody else”.So, It’s about keeping promise to myself now.

The purpose of writing this post is to just get it out from my mind.And deciding to go for the engineer’s way.Yeah, the Engineer’s way – If you have studied in any engineering college of India, you will know what it is. An engineer doesn’t do anything till the deadline comes near.Just an hour before the deadline, he/she makes it,the work is done.I am going to attempt the same.It is a Bullshit story and i can write it.I can make it in 3 days left of my personal deadline. After all, what matters the most after you start a project is finishing it.

Finish it

 

So, here I go for keeping promises and finishing work.Wish me luck.
[ Motivate me a little,Push me a little, Criticize me a little,Inspire me a little ]

Aarigato.

P.S – I am unable to find the original link to the image used.If you know who made it let me know.Thanks.

The Power of Myth

by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers

Rating: 3.7/5

I came to know about Joseph Campbell through one post of Steven Pressfield which was about the Hero’s journey. This Hero’s Journey has been the structure of many contemporary hollywood & of course bollywood movies- that’s what made it enticing. I wanted to learn it & understand the importance of it. So, i bought this book & started unraveling the power of myth in our lives. Joseph Campbell has studied the bouquet of myths from all around the world & he saw the connections between them. Just like the way we are discovering now and similar to the importance of every event or occasion in the Indian(not specifically Vedic) way of life. He has clarified the role myths play in our life. I was getting wary of all the rituals but after reading this, i have a change in perception.

The book is the conversation between Bil Moyers & Campbell from a PBS series on Myths. Moyers poses his questions to Campbell & then the explanation given by him with Moyers supplementing & complementing his views, gives the book its form. It is divide into eight sections- starting with Myth & the modern world. The journey inwards, first storytellers, sacrifice & bliss, Hero’s adventure, Gift of Goddess, Tales of love & marriage follows with Masks of eternity ending the conversation.

The first section on Modern World impacted most on my current beliefs. The major point i took was that in modern world everything has been made so scientific & easy to do without any hassle that the importance of any occasion has diluted. An individual doesn’t realises when he has entered the next stage. Earlier, it was done through social rituals which are mythological rites. How one child knows that he has become an adult? The other points about conservative religion or attitude calling for old-time and by-doing that they are throwing oneself out of sync with history. Also how there has been increase use of LSDs to experience some mystism which has cropped up due to lack of relevant myths which could have directed them. This section paced me into the book further & had many more connections with contemporary trends & mythology.

Journey inward section had the focal point of finding ones inner self or the soul.The mythologies metaphoric  in a poetic manner not in physical or logical manner.The basic functions of mythology – mystical,cosmological, sociological & pedagogical. This plus the next teo sections had more or less tint of Indian mystic or spritual ideas of myths & rituals. Hero’s adventure was also similar to Kundalini Jagaran of Yogic culture.Campbell showed how the myths & stories have been telling the same stories all around the world.Like the story of essence of life as eating of itself –  Life lives on Life. The hero is the soul again connecting to the unknown-known energy of the existence. Gift of Goddess is underlines how the concept of a superior maternal productive power gave to the male-dominated culture & myth. Love & Marriage and the dichotomies they put a person into is the theme of the next section. ( I lack understanding in this field so probably later i’ll get it). Finally Campbell & Moyers discuss how to connect to this eternal center of the world. Campbell suggests that ‘ Follow your Bliss’ is a way to achieve it in current era.

 I loved how the conversation went & Campbell was putting forth various stories or myths right from African tribes to American Indians to Europeans to Oriental. Campbell has influence of Jung in his explanations whenever subject of unconscious occurs. Campbell being brought up in Christian culture have critiqued the Christian mythology in comparison to myths of other cultures. The idea he put forth of ‘Need for a global myth today which encompasses the planet – is what we are observing now in various movements all around the world. According to him this new myths will be bought about by the artists(don’t limit your idea of artists here – anyone can be a one). There are many more ideas & thoughts i took from this book, it complemented my interest in the Indian mythology & contemporary India. Better to read this book & find out yourself – i think there is something for everyone in it. One suggestion though take it with open mind without any prejudices of your own. I will end this review with few lines from the book:

“Myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth”

“When the world changes, then the religion has to be transformed”

“Unlike theology, Mythology is poetry & the poetic language is very flexible”

Aarigato.

(S)Trolling the Book Fair

Today I went to Kolkata Book Fair 2012 – excessively crowded with books & people, most of whom(people) were there to have a stroll or picnic with friends & family.I know most of go to such fairs for that purpose only & its fun.Around 12 yr ago when I was in Kolkata & went to such a Book Fair, I thought *Gosh* so many people like reading books.I would have preferred to play games or watch cartoon that time(i still prefer that).Even when I was reading course book or doing homework I used to watch Cartoon Network – I was a multitasker…LOL
Today I observed something else, I observed the similarity in the behaviour of people trolling the websites which provide free content and the people (s)trolling in an Open Entry Book Fair.
Virtual Trollers are similar to our Physical (S)Trollers.
Out of all the users and contributors of an open content website(like Wikipedia) only 30%(not actual data) of people contribute back to the site.Most people only use the content and don’t care much to contribute back to the website(even if they use that site most of the time).Comparing the effort one user/contributor will put back into the website content with that to the expenditure on buying books, the open entry book fair was just like Wikipedia.As to a user ,with a computer & net connection, accessing site like Wikipedia is inexpensive;similarly for a middle income family going to a Book Fair situated at one corner of the city is inexpensive.I don’t know whether such type of behaviour is prevalent in every place or just in Kolkata. From a general observation of content people coming out of the Fair carried, in a period of 2 hour, it seems most people were there to have fun & do some window shopping.People were sitting everywhere having *moodhi* , tea & coffee like it was a picnic garden.There were students from college having fun & couples(envy & frustration for me) wandering around and enjoying the fair.I thought at least in a Book Fair people interested in Books would come, i mean i never perceived “A picnic Book Fair”.Got 2 new perspective now, “fairs of any-type can be fun” and also “I need open and quit place to buy books”(can’t check any book in chaotic environment).
Apart from that, I was amazed to find an equivalent physical system already in place which resembles a virtual system.Being interested in open source – free – decentralized physical system which is based on such virtual system – it was enlightening. In future, if I get any chance to do research on that topic – I would surely consider this type of open to public fairs to understand the people behaviour & efficiency of such structure.