Sunday, November 24, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
Still remain a non-clerk though, watching others, one from every college, go past, only wishing if I had a bad CLAT score 5 years back, and was in any other college, where I could have cried foul about the 'NLU bias', and gotten a preference over others like the present me in this. I need another humbling experience soon. Opportunity cost is slowly setting its teeth on my rotting yet tender sweet cake of happiness, I can't let it have the cake and eat it too. Who can save me right now? Oh wait, I see parents, girlfriend, family, extending a life-saving jacket to me, diving in the freezing ocean herself to swim up to me to give it, going through more pain than me. I have to swim somehow to stop that, I need to get to the boat myself, I need to swim. How do I learn, I am all alone. I either learn it myself, or wait to see people I care about suffer in order to comfort me. I need my passion to keep me alive. What is it? I see a lush green field, a rectangular turf pitch, I see myself facing fast ruthless, killer bouncers from Curtley Ambrose in Perth, and I know what I need to do. I just need to make sure I don't get out. I can't think of hitting sixes when the ball is new and I am facing chin music. I know I need to just concentrate, play my best game, and just hang on there, be on the pitch, batting. I can only score if I am patient and diligent, when I pace my innings. I want to hit a 300 on the first day itself, but I need to know that I am batting on WACA, facing the scariest of bowlers, not on a flat track facing Sreesanth with an old ball. A boundary hit right now will be as good as a 50 otherwise, and even if it takes 50 balls to open my account, by the time the day finishes, I'd be close to a 100, with eyes so well set that they see a football, and feet gliding around, hitting the old ball coming on the bat well. In the end, the greatest of innings are all played in challenging conditions, not on flat tracks.
If given a choice, 99% batsmen would want to bat on flat tracks without any grass, typically in the sub-continent. But then, globally, hardly any player has received as much respect and adoration as Rahul Dravid, because I am sure, he'll choose the grassiest, and bounciest, and fastest of tracks, or even a 5th day pitch in India playing spin. There is always a choice, but would you hit sixes like Chris Gayle at Chinnaswamy against Mitchell Marsh's timid bowling and get bored in a couple of matches, or rather face the chin music at Perth just to enjoy the process of survival and then come on top of it. I guess, the courts are enchanting me again. I don't care about the money right now at least. I'm just too hungry to slog at work, can't wait to get an appearance, can't wait to argue before those same judges, can't wait to feel the pressure and nervousness, can't wait to manage in very limited means, can't wait to save up, use up, solve problems, make others happy, and be an advocate!
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Anyway, this post marks a rather unplanned return for me into blogging after a gazillion ideas to write a post which could never materialize due to various reasons which all can be grouped under the simple head 'mea culpa'.
I asked one of my friends what she would love to become, keeping aside all considerations but the kind of work, and she said, "I'd love to be a judge". My reply was simple, "tell me something that you already are not". Tis' true. We all are judges, not judges of law, but judges of each other. For a long time I used to hate the fact that people judge, and I really used to judge those who judge others! I had somehow judged the activity of judging as inherently negative, something anti-liberal, that'll make people conscious. Well, that was how I judged the activity of judging and the extremely judgmental people. Going by the number of times I have used the word 'judge', it is no rocket science for me to conclude that judging is inevitable. It is a part of 'human nature', something that people cannot stop, they can only mould it in a certain way; just like food and dieting.
However, judging others, and even oneself, is still considered a bad thing. I remember reading some cheesy lines on the internet on some totally unconnected instagrammed or photoshopped picture, which I used to find true and deep at some point of time. One of them said "don't judge others when you don't know the battles they are fighting". I read this and immediately thought 'how true'. But then, come to think of it, everyone's fighting some battle or the other in life, and if some dude ends up being an asshole, or some girl decides to be just crazy, their battles are definitely not an excuse for troubling others, specially when others can fight their battles without being a pain.
Similarly, I read some article on some never-heard-of-before-foreign-website, which tried bringing out the fact that how horrible a thing it is to judge yourself. While I agree that opportunity cost is the single most disturbing thing that can take over people's happiness and sanity, I also believe that not-judging oneself for the fear of being taken over by your opportunity costs can often end up in you being in a fool's paradise. So, it is clear that judging oneself and others is not only natural and inevitable, but also quite necessary. Why, then should it still be considered bad, and have those side effects of making judgmental people be judged as judgmental, and make people feel bad about being judged?
I feel the answer lies in the huge baggage of judgments coupled with sweeping generalizations that these judgments carry. "He's so irresponsible!", "Oh! He's worse that pigeon shit." "Oh! you are so untrustworthy" "Oh! She is such a rich bitch!", etc. All these tend to indicate an entire person with one characteristic so as to indicate others how to be with him/her. But at the same time, they all are judgments, not evaluations. Now I said above, that the act of judging is inevitable and necessary, but not the act of passing judgments. There is a huge difference. When you judge someone, you analyse, you evaluate, so what you should have at the end of it is a result, maybe something similar to a balance sheet, where you look at a person's attributes objectively. A judgment is a decision made on such an evaluation. That is a highly subjective thing. So, what blots this wonderful, intellectually superior activity of judging in humans as a bad thing is its confusion with the act of passing a judgment. Here's a cliche that I would not mock at "judge the acts, not the person". Now this, is very true. You may pass a decision on a particular act, like, "You shaved off the dog's hair to match his owner's haircut. That is a very inconsiderate act. However, you are not inconsiderate. You are just a person who..." (well, let me come to the bit about analysing persons!)
Having clarified the difference, I will now propose my tried and tested tools of judging a person, which can be passed off as 'objective', and will in 99.99% cases not affect the person being judged in a way passing a judgment would, and at the same time, will enable the person judging to get the relevant info about the person. (I would have written a long long long never ending post about how amazing this 'technique' of mine is without telling what it is and then at the end, tell you to buy it by selling your kidneys, but I preferred to go the Telebrands way). This is about identifying where a person is in certain scales. These scales are about certain attributes that tell about a person more than their acts. In all these scales, there are two extremes (obviously), and my assumption is that the sum total of the attribute on both the extremes is constant at all the points on the scale.
The first scale is between talks and actions. The amount a person can talk and act is constant. So if he/she talks about doing things more, chances of doing the same are a little less. Similarly, if someone stays quiet about things, he/she'll (actually only he) will be up to doing more things that you'd know. The middle point on the scale will be the equilibrium between the two. Similarly, the second scale is about attitude/outlooks: positive/optimistic and negative/pessimist. Although these depend a lot on the specific state of mind, everyone has a natural tendency to respond to things in a particular way - sporty or complaining; happy or sad; angry or chill; repenting the opportunity costs or looking forward. A person at the equilibrium, would be aware of both the ends and be balanced. Autonomy/Dependence form the third attribute. The extreme end of autonomy would imply someone who only listens to himself and everything else falls on a deaf ear, while dependence extreme would render a person thoroughly confused and scared when alone, and they'd do whatever others tell them to do, without much problem. The fourth attribute is rigidity and flexibility/adjustability. This one's self explanatory I believe. And the last one is the scale of Justice in the Jesus sense. 'Do unto others what you would want/expect others to do unto you'. How much does a person believe in this, is the sixth scale.
The above, I feel, are parts of a person's nature, which can place them on different scales in different points to give an evaluation about them. The primary purpose of such an evaluation, I believe, is to know how to exist peacefully with others. Just like you can't expect a blind person to walk to you in a path strange to him/her without any assistance, you can't expect any person who is naturally inclined towards pessimism to take a defeat being sporty. We often tend to not consider these evaluations while branding others as 'crazy' or 'psycho'. It's as wrong and insensitive as judging a person who is on a wheelchair as a bad or undesirable person because he/she needs a wheelchair to move. Maybe, undesirable to some as a personal choice, but it still remains an objective fact. That is what I have tried to sum up above.
And just to make it cool, let me throw in a hash tag here #just-another-attempt-to-harmonize-people
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Written long back.. just found it lying somewhere in the hard drive. Long article, read at your own risk.
I have been unhappy, virtually lifeless and restlessly disappointed over quite some time now, a few years so to say. Whatever happiness has been mostly temporary. And yet, what I seek is not happiness but the cure for unhappiness. I keep feeling that we as a generation, as people, as a nation, are losing ourselves. More than anything else, we are losing certain values which we shouldn’t, and losing them with pride. What values do I speak of? I speak of tolerance, respect, understanding, genuineness, depth, substance, selflessness, gratitude and constructive freedom (I say constructive because absolute freedom would mean freedom from these values and from conscience, which I don’t intend to support).
We lack sensitivity; we are not being good human beings. Why has a ‘good human being’ become an oasis in the desert of today’s society? What do I mean when I say ‘good’? I am writing this post well aware of the fact that the judgment of good and bad is not universally the same, and also, being a liberal person myself, I have believed it to be nothing short of an irony to ask others to tread a certain path, to dictate terms or hold strictly defined views of being liberal. But today I feel that inaction of liberty gives way for fundamentalism (the words being merely symbolic of the entire spectrum that I am talking about) to penetrate to the roots of people. An idea of being tolerant towards others can only materialize if people become tolerant by their own volition, and that is not possible till there is even a small group of people that can take undue advantage of the others being tolerant, to further their selfish goals. That is the problem with being on the side of freedom, tolerance, selflessness and respect. It is very easy to leave them all, especially after seeing others live happily leaving it. ‘It is better to make than to break’ used to be the order of the day before, not now anymore. And that is why, I feel it is imminent for each and every one of us to revisit ourselves and further the path of righteousness.
It might seem that I have gone totally cynical, ranting and complaining about everything. I have not. I would have gone cynical if I had made peace with, and digested, all that is troubling me. The ability to reason or justify, which takes us a little higher in terms of civilization, also is the biggest curse to us. I am sure many more others would feel troubled by the things which affect me, but they prefer to find comfort and solace in justifying them, reasoning out how there is no point being troubled by them, and thus, effectively accepting them. We all study and debate and critically appreciate our constitution for the value it gives to individual freedoms, we read about the importance of freedom for personal development of citizens and of nations, but why don’t we get affected when a bunch of people (claimed to be sponsored by the underworld) remote control the State to ensure that Salman Rushdie does not come to India, otherwise he’d be killed, and prevent his virtual presence with a threat of violence. Why do we keep quiet when an honest work in history illustrating the possibility of multiplicity of interpretations of such a text as the Ramayan, is forced to be removed from university syllabus just based on fear from a handful of fundamentalists who might not even know the actual sanctity or the values from their version of Ramayan? Despite all measures, why have the religious and social minorities not moved up the social ladder or the socio-economic ‘standard of life’ ladder after 63 years of the Constitution’s existence? Because if they cease to be minority and all sections of society merge into a common pool, there can’t be a vote bank! Yet we as citizens affected by all this don’t do anything about it.
How many of us can actually stop cribbing about the most insignificant of things in life and feel the pain and misery of millions of people around us? It is not uncommon to see wasted people sitting or lying down on the road with a devastated look on their face. I still can’t forget or forgive myself when I rolled up the window on a poor old woman begging on the road. She looked like she didn’t deserve that treatment at all. She was an old woman and deserved to be cared for. The amount of people unemployed and devoid of opportunities goes beyond my comprehension. A peanut seller on the footpath in Patny sets up his stall on a fine Saturday morning; gives a packet to his kid who happily sits next to him and eats. Imagine living off just by selling peanuts! He has a family to maintain, to provide food to, and can he even imagine affording to send his kid to a school? Meanwhile some college students, excited on a Saturday buy peanuts, shout and bargain and frown and ask for more peanuts at a lesser price; the same students who’d never have even asked for a discount at the showrooms of different brands of which they were wearing clothes and shoes. How can we be so blind to all this? How can we find comfort in ignorance just because we can’t face the truth? But a good man will at the most do his share and give others happiness, he can’t beat these college kids, politicians, corrupt officials and businessmen up and thrust sensitivity in their heads. And that is another big problem we have, to have adopted the wrong means.
We don’t realize that to achieve an end in its true sense, there is always a certain way in which it needs to be achieved. The means are as important as the end. That the end may be decided by the heart, but the means should always be decided by the mind. Look at the anti-graft campaign led by Anna Hazare. The goal of fighting corruption, which hardly anyone could oppose, was made a mockery of by the campaign. People were not being made to change themselves internally, but the anger and frustration of people against corruption was being used to fight only the corrupt public officials with literal force. How long could it have its effect? Can you even possibly end corruption by threatening people at gun point? Look at the Naxal movement. Ignorance and marginalization of certain backward areas by the governments incited the movement. Socio-economic development of backward areas is again a goal which no one can say no to. But they gave up beliefs in democracy and elections, took up arms, and justified violence by the oppressed while criticizing violence of the oppressor. The government could in the first place not understand the problem as violence was resorted to directly, and even if it did understand it, it had the violence to counter in the first place, so development plans became secondary. Even now, the attitude of governments towards such areas is always biased because of the means of naxals which did not go down well with the concept of civilization. And what do we do as citizens? Not give a damn.
It might seem ridiculous now that I have been harping on the fact that we don’t do anything about injustices and miseries in this world without mentioning what is it that we can even do about it? The answer is to change ourselves for the better. To define a value system that sustains diversity and includes everyone’s welfare; to be genuine rather than look for a cover. To not desert our ideals which lie in the foundation of our existence. I can easily wrap this up by saying that sometimes it is better to not consider ideal and practical as two different adjectives, but I know that will make this post half of its worth because we will again go wrong in our means to change ourselves. The option of Mr.Hazare to tie people to a pole and beat them up till they agree to change might not be effective in the long run after all.
One way is to sensitize ourselves, try and understand the plight of others. I can travel in a bus in the city without any music or company just by momentarily living the life of the people I see, to know how they feel. But that again, can only be partly effective, as we love ourselves so much that it is difficult to really leave oneself entirely even for a moment to experience others. Still, if things start concerning someone, making them uneasy, half the work is done. Worst is the case when there is neither any attention/sensitivity nor any feeling of remorse for our actions. So if one is troubled and wants to do something, what is it that can be done? This question has perplexed me for most of my adult life. To even begin introspection, we need to understand that we are slaves of our pre-conceived notions. Judgment, hatred, insecurity, and everything else in the ejusdem generis, is what we need to rid ourselves of first and then make ourselves contributories of justice. It does not mean being totally selfless like a hermit, it only means that we should not be at the other end of the spectrum by being totally selfish either.
We gain education in different disciplines so that we are well rounded, informed persons. But why don’t the
concepts of freedom, mutual respect and tolerance found in our constitution, international law and various other sources ever affect our life? It is because it is very difficult to be in a situation and not think whether I am being affected by it or not. A person will never do anything as long as it does not affect him/her. I have made the same point in a previous post as well, but I still feel there needs to be a specified way for one to even feel affected, even though he/she is not actually being affected, in order to shape his/her value system accordingly.
And for this, I resort to a drug that is so bitter that it takes anyone’s patience away, but is probably the only thing that can control a human for the betterment of society. This drug is uncertainty/ignorance, not of others but of oneself. Just as the ability to justify, being a symbol of mental growth can be a major factor for cessation of spiritual growth, like a double edged sword, even uncertainty, while taking away one’s peace of mind can also ensure that such decisions are taken by humans that benefit all. This is nothing but the theory of justice given by John Rawls. His theory is based on the concept of social contract, i.e. an agreement in which all the people of society arrive at certain rules and agree to abide by them for their collective sustenance and development. To put it simply, he talks about entering into a social contract behind the veil of ignorance i.e. at the time of deciding the rules of society, the laws or the value system which people should agree to, if everyone entering into such a social contract is behind a veil of ignorance, has no idea what he/she will be like when they exist, rich or poor, whichever caste, whichever race, in power or without power, etc., then whatever rules on which people agree will be just and fair for all. Why? Because everyone will be facing an equal amount of risk with an equal probability.
There will be total uncertainty. And if I am uncertain as to which caste I may belong to, or whether under the current social fabric, if I may belong to a lower caste, I will obviously want the belief in caste-based inequality to not exist, or the belief to not be unfavourable to any caste. And if everyone is in the same position as me, everyone would want the same. Similarly, for everything, if everyone has an equal chance of being at the receiving end of the causes of any kind of injustice, everyone would agree to do away with injustice as much as possible. We don’t need to assume the most ideal world, but we just need to imagine us being at the receiving end, and we will be mobilized. Hence, as much as I hate uncertainty in life, I wish everyone could be uncertain about his/her wealth, social status, feeling of possessiveness, love, hatred, judgment, etc. and I hope the values of tolerance, respect, patience and strength are never lost in the ‘changing times and changing generations’ in which we belong and the ones to come.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
- Rabindranath Tagore
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
These young students (with some diversity even in innocence) meet, become friends, some ready to judge each other, some ready to let time take its course and some confirmed loners right from the very beginning. But overall, almost everyone is fascinated to see and meet new people and make new friends which everyone knows will stay together for 5 years and hopefully even after that. Unaware of the coming law school life, these freshers enjoy their present to the fullest and with innocence.
Among the diversity (I’d prefer to use this word instead of ‘inequality’ which according to me carries a negative connotation) of people, the ones at a relative lack of advantage (reason being regarded to the previous place, lack of exposure and a difference in lifestyle and notions of fun) like me start socialising with the small step of neighbourhood. And thus, among the gradually growing competition and ambition and crossing through the ragging sessions as time passed in the first semester, a small group of people on the top floor of subconsciously became close friends and this incident is as abstract and symbolic to not be restricted only to the group on the top floor but I guess, to be applicable to the entire batch in some way or the other.
Moving ahead with abstractness, the conditions in the first semester of emotional and practical difficulties are in some way compensated by the relaxed (as it appears now) academic demands. And just as carpe diem ruled, one fine morning, proximate to the end of the first semester, in the legendary room no. 312 of boys hostel 3, a plan is made for the upcoming vacations. The best use of tension free, stress free time of life when there is no dearth of time to devote on everyone and hardly any occupation of mind in relation to human-relations is made by a vacation with friends to the beaches of east coast in Puri and Chilika Lake.
And these vacations turned out to be precious memories. When most of us in the noble pursuit of work and fulfilment of ambitions were busy interning more than the library, the five of us (one out of the six couldn’t come from Dubai) took a week off from everything that could’ve occupied us then and gathered at Cuttack. From there, in a car we had set up our base in Puri from where we roamed around the whole of Puri, Chilika Lake and Konark. Those nights of poker with bubble gums and jellies and fifa on psp, the road trips with complicated academic comments about the praise of the ‘blend of civilisation and natural wild’, the elaborate photography sessions, the conning of marus (only one to be precise and respectful to the rest of the community) with ‘black pearls’, every night after-dinner tea and the gazing of waves on the beach, the attempted time-capsule in the form of a live Neanderthal, the ultra adventure of a fisherman-boat ride on the violent but relatively calm Bay of Bengal and the common part in all – the tension free relaxed life with the zeal life with nothing to bother.
The picture above is one of my favourites. On a closer look, the letter ‘N’ on the sand is clearly visible and top half of the letter ‘A’. This was the excitement we had about NALSAR, not just because of professional reasons but because of the happiness about finding friends and the excitement of a life ahead which started this way in the college. Yes, we all owe it to nalsar for bringing us together is what someone among us had said while writing it on the sand.
Recently while talking to one of my friends who couldn’t believe how time passed and we were about to complete two years here, I held that if we look back, it does feel like we have been here now for some time, it does feel that two years have passed. I’ve seen a lot of changes – changes in my person, in the structure of human relations, in the attitude of most of us, in the shifting focus from social hyperactivity to academic concerns and devotion. So much has happened in our lives in these two years and I don’t restrict so much of happenings to academic achievements only. And it many a times appears that the diversity has been reduced to a great extent. The diversity in innocence, in lifestyles, in notions of fun and other things mentioned above. I haven’t been able to stay in the same routine as in the first semester (for my own good) but a gradual shift to the other extreme is what I have been sensing in myself.
With increased work load, which might not be a load if enjoyed but becomes a load when considered with the fact that you can’t spend time with those whom you like to spend it with, is the biggest change that happened with time. I am not saying that there should be no desire to work, on the contrary, this change in the amount of work is mostly voluntary. But it seems like a crossroad when you realize how important and desirable it is to work and at the same time you need to manage time with close ones. And once into a commitment, it is inevitable and undesirable to come out of it and hence, the only solution is to ‘manage’ time. However, with the diversity in the working pattern of people, which is brought about by this place contrary to being subverted by it, makes it almost impossible to successfully manage time. One time you might be free but others busy and other times when others are free, you are busy and no one can manage times depending on others’ schedules. This leads to a person becoming a loner with work as the only confirmed company and if friends encourage and cooperate with the workload voluntarily undertaken, this puzzle can still be solved rather much enjoyably. However, if too close, the feeling of irritation at my non-availability takes over the prudent faculty of cooperation and encouragement. Then despite the goodwill, it appears that your working style or choice is detrimental for your social relations and hence, you should cut down on the work or change the way you work. But work is the main reason why parents spend so much money to educate us in such institutions and therefore, putting it in the backseat attracts a huge amount of guilt.
Gradually with time here, life becomes tougher and whenever you feel like you’ve settled yourself down in this place, you are reminded of how planting your ass in this place and working is a boring activity and shouldn’t be perpetuated. It often makes one feel like running away forever from everything as everything has so many problems. Right now, I do miss those tension free relaxed days of freedom, of spontaneity and impulsiveness and of purity of fun and the purposelessness of enjoyment – ‘the days: 27-11-08 to 02-12-08’. The sphere of human relations often becomes so complicated that sometimes, it makes me wonder whether getting too close to anyone is good for anyone. But that’s a separate talk altogether and hence, something to wonder some other day.