Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Obstacles In Our Development

   Imagine a perfect world... A world where everyone tolerated everyone, ignoring the social barriers like caste, creed, religion, race and what not! Imagine a world where we could go around anywhere we liked without the fear of being robbed, murdered or molested. Imagine a world where peace and order existed without its existence being threatened by chaos. Imagine how happy everyone would be. Imagine the joy which people would get if everyone's needs were met with.
   Now imagine the opposite of this. A world which everyone hates. A world where no one tolerates others, where there is only hostility. Where tyranny reigns. Where chaos surrounds us.Where no ones necessities are met.
   Which world did you like the most? I doubt even one would say that he or she preferred the second world. Why? The answer is simple- We want to be happy. That too in the laziest possible way.
   However, neither of these worlds exist, nor I think they ever will. People are consumed by greed. Many feel it is 'every man for himself'. We humans love to believe that we are self-sufficient. We love to believe that we need the society only for entertainment. We love to believe that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want or however we want. At the same time we also believe that the other person must be helped. The way I see it, this is how the necessity of certain responsible people to represent Law, Order and Administration arose. If one turned out corrupt, the other would control them and vice versa.
   The human society is dynamic. It is constantly progressing. However this progress is not without its own faults. As we progress, we cease to care about others. The more we progress, the more we tend to look down upon others who are struggling to survive. We see this everywhere. Despite the fact that some people need assistance to survive in this world, we chose to ignore them thinking that if they work hard enough, they will survive.
   But that is the one thing we don't actually know. We don't know their problems or how serious they are. All we know is that some of these people need help to be fit enough to survive. This society works on the principle of 'survival of the fittest'. We, being humans, must help one another. If we don't, there is almost nothing that sets us apart from the other living beings.
   There are so many ways people suffer in this world. Discrimination is one of them. Discrimination is even classified into various categories. Discrimination is prevalent all over the globe. Racism, sexism as well as discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion, place of birth, etc. What does this discrimination amount to? Simply hindering the overall development of our species. Till date, I have not seen the point behind discrimination. All it amounts to is hurting the feelings of those whose freedom is limited due to such discrimination.
   As of now, I have expressed my feelings regarding two of the many obstacles which hamper our development and social interaction. The obstacles seem completely different from each other, but they have one common effect on us. They all cause disparity and hamper development. They all bind us with various restrictions and dont grant us freedom. They all boost inequality.
   Today is New Year's Eve. From tomorrow begins the new year of 2015. Why not make an extra resolution? Why not resolve to change ourselves and the world for the better? After all, only we can bring about change. This is our society. Therefore it is our responsibility to make a better future for us. Not only for us, but also for all the living things. After all, it is the new year!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Is space exploration a necessity?

   Outer space has puzzled man since ancient times. Many Greeks,  Babylonians, Indians, Mayans and other people from ancient civilizations were astronomers. Many worshipped, and still worship the celestial bodies. The ancient people also recognized patterns in the sky, now called constellations. They named these constellations. The Great Bear (Ursa Major), The Little Bear (Ursa Minor) Orion the Hunter are just some of them. The progress in technology just fueled man's desire to know more about outer space. Science fiction made man fantasize about living in outer space and meeting extraterrestrial creatures. The invention of the aeroplane
made people felt that their dream of exploring space will finally come true. And it did with the launching of Sputnik 1 and Yuri Gagarin's trip to space.
   Now space exploration is developing at a rapid pace. Many countries launch satellites, rockets, space shuttles, etc. for the sole purpose of discovering the unknown facts regarding space. Space is, as far as human curiosity is concerned, a place full of new discoveries and adventures. Movies about space travel, like Gravity and Interstellar, increase people's curiosity regarding what lies beyond the atmosphere. Almost every person has, at least once in his life, dreamt of becoming an astronaut. Why? The answer is simple. It is the same reason why people venture into the unknown or go on adventures. Curiosity and thrill.
   This brings us back to the topic of this writeup... Is space exploration necessary? Or rather, is it necessary to spend money on space exploration? This question is quite controversial with three answers- Yes,  No and I Don't Know.I shall encourage my readers to form their own answers.

   Many agree that space exploration is necessary. It is true to a certain extent regarding the progress in science and technology in space. The search for life away from  home arouses peoples' curiosity. Many scientific breakthroughs have taken place due to research in space. Space exploration helps us identify the places where life is possible, places where we can go to if any calamity threatens our existence. Such programs also help to unite countries. It promotes trade as far as satellite or rocket parts are concerned. All in all, it's really beneficial.
   However, many disagree with this fact. Their concerns are that we have enough problems on earth. Instead of spending money on space missions, we must address issues such as poverty, corruption, pending debts, maintaining law and order, etc. Some are of the opinion that while millions are starving to death, a lot of money is spent on sending machines or a handful of people to space. Others say that instead of searching for a habitable planet which will most probably be littered like earth, we must make our planet a better place to live in.
   There are innumerable arguments, all valid, for and against space exploration. I personally am of the opinion that it is necessary, but must not be overdone. The basic thing still remains that like every topic of discussions,  valid arguments exist for either side. If an opinion is to be made, it must be made considering all the aspect of this topic.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Change

 


   We say that change is for the better. Agreed. Change can create revolutions. It can inspire a story. It can create an organization working towards the development of the poor and needy. Change has shaped our past, it shapes our present and will always shape our future.
   But what exactly is change? The Oxford Dictionary defines change as 'to become or make different'. Very concise and clean. No terms or conditions. Just making things different.
   This, though, happens to be just the definition. Like almost everything else, there's more to it. Various things are concerned with the word change. Change is not simply making things different as far as humans are concerned. We, being intelligent creatures, tend to complicate things. Thus, we started making two types of changes- for the better and for the worse. And to top all of this, good and bad are just relative terms! What's good for one may be bad for the other.
   Change being good or bad is relative. So when we look at something being good or bad, our opinions usually match the opinions of the majority of the people for we tend to think that that opinion is more 'humane' . So let's talk about each of the changes as viewed by the majority.
   Change for the better basically is that chance which would result in the well-being of the needy, poor, etc. or that change which will result in the development or progress of the region or the individual. For example, constructing dams or windmills. Or introducing a new law to prevent the spread of certain diseases. A better budget or a more lucrative business plan. On the other hand, change for the worse usually consists of the changes which harm the peacefulness of the society. We can consider policies which essentially worsen the conditions of people or regions as changes for the worse.
   The world, as a whole, has innumerable problems. Famines, droughts, starvation, pollution,etc. are affecting the world on a large scale. Most of the problems are caused by the people's opinion regarding each other. Many of us pass beggars without paying them any attention, but go to our respective places of worship and pray for a better world. This takes place everywhere.
   The weirdest part of this is that people expect things to happen. They expect the world to change without changing themselves. They forget that they are also a part of this world. That if the world is to change then they should too. That they should take the initiative and change themselves to change the world. What is wrong with performing a small, random act of kindness? We shouldn't expect much in return, for the other person may not be resourceful enough to pay back the kind gesture. But by acting out of kindness, we show others that being kind doesn't cost much. We show ourselves that we can change ourselves as well as others. We show everyone that we can all pitch in to make the world a better place to live in.

I'm gonna make a change,
For once in my life.
Gonna feel real good,
Gonna make a difference,
Gonna make it right...


-Michael Jackson, The Man in the Mirror

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Human nature

   Let's jog up our imagination. Imagine that we are looking at the universe. As a whole. Just imagine. Thousands, maybe millions of galaxies everywhere. Somewhere, if we zoom in enough, we see the Milky Way. Also the Andromeda, approaching the Milky Way at the speed of 250,000 miles per hour. Let us forget about the Andromeda and concentrate on the Milky Way. If we concentrate on one of the spirals, we will find the Sun. Helios. Revolving about the center of the galaxy. About this star revolves few celestial bodies. Let's concentrate on the Earth... The third planet from the sun. Zooming in further, there will be continents, then countries, then states, then cities or towns or villages, then houses, and then humans.
   Humans. Bipedal, social and intelligent creatures. This is basically what defines us as humans. Humans first appeared some 1-2 million years ago. Compared to the universe, our size can hardly be defined. And here we are, on dear old earth, fighting for supremacy. Humans are hardly evmillions whoo satisfied. That is good, one may argue, seeing that the moment we are satisfied we would stop progressing. But we must progress smartly. The moment progress is mentioned, we immediately visualize
hi-tech cars, weirdly designed buildings, space missions every two weeks, etc. Accepted... That's what we all want. But to achieve that, what about the resources?
What about the oil reserves which are depleting rapidly? What about the millions who die of hunger while the rest of the world builds marvels for the sake of 'progress'? The answer received? 'We are working on it...'
   Humans are considered to be social. That is true. Humans thrive and live together better in a society. With friends and family. We, in general, don't like loneliness. But when two societies have different principles, then depending on the tolerance levels,  either they respect each other, or they unleash hell. That too, in innumerable ways, each more innovative than the previous. As far as humans are concerned, competition is a must. And many people feel that they must win by hook of by crook. In such competitions, enmity rises. And the most affected are the poor, who many times have nothing to do with these competitions. The easiest example is war. The most affected are the poor or the homeless.
   Speaking of war, there have been far too many battle amongst ourselves. We consider ourselves as humans, yet kill each other for proving ourselves correct. That too at the cost of lives. Lives that would have otherwise lived peacefully. Humans are often hypocritic. We say we don't want wars, yet we end up having them.
   Humans are weird. We often come across posts on Facebook like- 'Like this picture of a farmer carrying a heavy load. 1 like=1 respect...' How can we blindly like such posts to show off the fact that we respect such people when we hardly pay any attention to the needy around us? How come abandoned animals get so much attention on social networking sites when we hesitate to help them in real life? How can we call ourselves humans if we fail to look around us and care for others while donating money to charity organizations? How can we call ourselves humans if we fail to be human in the simplest of cases?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Is our life improving because of the internet?



   Technology has changed lives. For the better as well as for the worse. Frankly, I don't find this surprising. The thing that is really astounding is the way it changes lives. Imagination and technology combined can dramatically improve a person's life, or can create a weapon of mass destruction. Technology is basically science applied in real life. A tool we created for our own use. Nothing other than a tool.
   The internet, the brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, was born in CERN in the year 1989. For a 25 year old, the internet has reached great heights. Today, internet is a necessity, rather than a luxury. It connects people with others, no matter how far they are. The internet has encouraged the growth of cooperation, trade, globalisation, etc.
   Internet has improved many lives. People can be cured of a disease by interacting with doctors over the net. Charities can make their goals clear to a larger audience. Companies need to undertake less efforts to advertise. Security has improved. One can keep in touch with others around the globe. The applications of the internet seem limitless.
   As far as the negatives are concerned, there are too many. For starters, cyber bullying. This has a deep impact on people, especially young minds which are easier to mould. Insult someone over a social network and the victim's life is practically ruined. Leaving cyber bullying aside, another threat caused due to the internet is hacking. It technically means accessing personally sensitive data without permission. Hackers hack into systems for various reasons. Some for blackmail. Others for thrill. Some people just 'want to see the world burn.'
   Internet can be used to spread malware, to spread chaos. Career destroying
rumours get leaked over the internet, mainly for finishing off the competition, or to destroy the persons reputation. Internet  has made terrorism easy. One can trigger a bomb from anywhere. Detailed plans of a building can be viewed. Even pranking has its side effects. People become paranoid. They fail to trust others. Even the most idiotic claims can hold a persons mind and imagination hostage.
   The internet is a tool. An important one. A productive one. Only if used properly. If used with caution. Internet can change lives. For the good as well as the bad. Just like any other invention, it can be used to create or to destroy. That is all in our hands.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Technology: A boon or a bane?

   
   We are surrounded by technology. Technology makes life simple. If we are lost, then the GPS comes to our rescue. If we want to see a match going on in another place, then we simply turn on the TV. Simply put, technology has made, for itself, a very important place in our lives.
   Technology is basically the application of science. Technology has made life simple, yet interesting. We can instantly get in touch with others, no matter how far away from us they are. We can, at the click of a button, get information on almost any desired topic. We can boost the quality of pictures using technology. Technology helps us keep track of appointments and important events. Technology can give a person his or her life back. It can help us to generate a cure for any disease, or rescue survivors of calamities.
   Technology is a tool. A tool that helps us to create. But also a tool that helps us to destroy. Sitting in a place many kilometres away, targets can be bombed using drones. A simple remote control can trigger a bomb. A gun can take away many lives. A bomb can destroy cities. Technology does not only create, but it also destroys. And it is not only caused by specially built weapons. A pen can ruin any person's reputation. A chainsaw can fell many trees. A matchbox can take away
lives. Pesticide kills not only insects, but also their predators. A computer and a network can create chaos. Technology can destroy a society. Completely.
   Technology can make life easy. But at what cost? We harm nature trying to solve our problems. We are aware of these effects on nature, yet we hardly do anything to reduce them. And it is not just nature which gets affected. Technology creates a divide in the society. Those who have access to it exploit those who don't. Rich countries end up exploiting poorer ones for their natural resources. Even without this going on, technology kills people when used improperly. Technology is useful when used with correctly. When used in excess, technology can have a lot side effects. Technology, hence, must be used properly. After all, it's our duty to survive in harmony with others. Not just with nature, but with other humans as well.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Failure: The Stepping Stone To Success.

   We all, as humans, wish to achieve something in our lives. We want to succeed. We crave the glory of the famous. We want to make our lives productive. To make sure all the time spent living in this world is not in vain. But there is one thing that manages to stop us almost every time. Failure.
   As humans, we make mistakes. After all, to err is human. While walking on the path of life, we stumble. The path of life, as I call it, is more like an obstacle race. Goals are placed at different places on the track. Basically living life is like a race against time. A major obstacle which prevents us from reaching our goals is failure. Or rather the fear of failure.
   It is this fear that prevents us from trying out new methods to achieve success. It is understandable. No one wants to fail. Failure has an uncanny way of disheartening a person. When a person fails, he experiences a lot of emotions. Embarrassment is perhaps the most common and the first emotion to invade the human mind. Another factor which discourages us is our hurt ego. When we get discouraged, we start experiencing a particular fear. The fear of failure. The fear of getting embarrassed another time. When we experience this fear, it discourages us from even trying to succeed. That is normal.
   But one must overcome his or her fears and turn them into their strengths. We
must overcome this fear to succeed. To succeed as a unique individual, we must venture into the unknown rather than tread the path discovered ages ago. Failure, here, is inevitable. But failure must be used to improve ourselves. We learn from our mistakes and progress along the 'path of life'.
   We can easily understand that no famous person never encountered failure. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, J. K. Rowling, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, the list is endless. Failure is just an obstacle in our race against time. A mere hurdle to leap over. When we fail, we may fail horribly. However, failure must be used as a tool to reach our goals.

Friday, 10 October 2014

CHANGING THE WORLD...

   We all talk about changing the world we live in. Why wouldn't we? The world we live in has so many faults, so many fields which require improvement. We all say that corruption is ruling the world, that we must work to improve the situation. Many others also claim that their respective country's system is not ideal and that of other countries is. We can accept the fact that different countries have different systems, each having its own faults. However, if our aim is to make the world a better place, changing the system is not the answer.



   The earth is just a planet... But a planet with a gift. The gift? Nature. We owe our lives to almost everything in this world. We have been given resources to make our lives simple and luxurious. But like in every contract there are terms and conditions. One of them is that we must live our own lives. We must not expect someone else to fix the little things in our life if we can do it ourselves.

   Let us come back to our question... How to make the world a better place? How to convert it from its present situation to a paradise? The answer, my friends, is so simple to say, yet so hard to put into practice. The answer is to change ourselves.
                                                      
                                                             I'm Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change

-Michael Jackson, The Man In The Mirror.
   


   This song basically is the answer to our problems regarding changing the world.
  


    It's not the place, I think. It's the people. We would've been the same anywhere else.
-Markus Zusak, I Am The Messenger.
  


   The truth about this wonderful planet is that it supports life. It is the people along with other creaturemake this world beautiful. The people and their behaviour. Their outlook. Their honesty. Their egos. We must learn to improve ourselves. We must
strive to be the 'ideal' human. To be perfect is impossible, the world will never survive if everything is perfect. But we can come close to being a perfect human. We can be human... There is no one to stop us.
  
   Being rude only  makes us suffer... It increases hostilities and widens the gap between people and societies. Being hostile leads to pressure, depression and desperation. We become desperate for success. We want to see the other person fall. But why? Is this productive? Is this necessary? Is this beneficial to anyone? And the most important- Is this human? The answer is a single word- NO. 
  There is a simple solution for the problems. We must change ourselves. For the better. Then only will the board meetings, the conferences, the discussions and all other solutions be useful. Then only will this world be a better place to live in.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Nature is the best teacher


   Since ancient times, nature has been worshipped and feared by man. Nature created all the living things. Nature ensures the continuation of a particular species for some, or many generations. When some species die, new ones come up to replace them. Nature ensures the survival of the fittest, but gives everyone a chance first. Nature nurtures living beings till they are fit enough to survive.
   Man is one such creation of nature. Supposedly evolved from apes, our closest cousins, man is said to have a relatively well developed brain. Man has been innovating, creating and inventing various things since almost 1.8 million years ago.      Many of these inventions were, or are inspired by nature. The rotating blades of the helicopters are inspired from certain seeds that were dispersed by air. The aeroplane
wings are inspired by the wings of large birds. The nose of the bullet train is inspired by the beak of a kingfisher, enabling reduction of sound pollution and power consumption. Velcro- one of the simplest things we use in everyday life is inspired by the hooks of burdock burrs.
   In order to call nature our teacher, we must understand nature, strike a conversation with her. Understanding nature helps us to understand her secrets, what she expects from us, what she wants us to do. Being 'intelligent' and 'technologically advanced' it should not be a problem for us. However, we do not perceive the various signs nature uses to communicate with us. We look at our fellow animals and plants in zoos and sanctuaries. Little do we realise that they try to communicate with us, begging us to free them, trying to show us the way to live in this world. We only fail to notice this.
  We fail to interpret the messages nature sends us consistently. And those messages are not just requests, but are orders and threats as well. And every time we fail, nature gives us a dose of her power. A volcano erupts. A tsunami wrecks havoc in the coastal towns. A bolt of lightning kills a few people. All threats. All warnings. Yet we fail to correct ourselves.
   If we have a logical approach, we can easily understand that we are wrong. The carnivores kill others for food, but not for sport. Herbivores eat grass and plants, but do not clear forests like we do. So how do we get the right to do all this? I am not trying to say that we should stop this. That is a feat next to impossible. But the least we can do is to ensure that we all do our part in making this world a better place. Not just for us, but for all living beings.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Never Say Never

  Let us start by introducing ourselves to one of the most popular words used in English, or for that matter, any language. No. It's a really easy word to say. Only two letters. Only one syllable.
  Never is another simple word. But both have the capacity to tear the world apart. These words often ruin lives and scar people... Both physically as well as emotionally. The word 'never' is defined in the dictionary as meaning 'at no time in the past or future; not ever' or 'not at all'. However this same word depicts arrogance, stubbornness and acceptance of defeat when used under certain circumstances.
   It is truly surprising that our will to do something can manipulate our thoughts extremely effectively. For example, a person may assume that performing a certain task is out of his or her hands. Many people simply make up their minds that business is an impossible task for them. The moment we start thinking that we can't, think we can't excel in. We avoid taking risks.
or that we'll never be able to do something, we create limitations regarding our abilities. We forbid ourselves from venturing into field we
  We, however, fail to notice that the famous people took risks. They never said never. They didn't think they couldn't do something. The words 'no', 'never', 'can't', etc have a negative effect on the way we perceive life. These words show the fact that the person has accepted defeat, that he is not willing to venture into new places or discover some of his hidden talents.
   In this way, these simple words lower the person's morale dramatically. Steve Jobs wouldn't have been able to create Apple, Pixar or NeXT inc. if he would have assumed that he'd never be able to do it. If Dhirubhai Ambani would have thought that he wasn't capable of running a firm, Reliance would never have existed and he would've died as a petrol pump assistant, not an entrepreneur. Same goes for Bill Gates, Sabeer Bhatia or even for that matter authors like J. K. Rowling.
   Saying never lowers our self esteem. It takes away our confidence. It manipulates one's thoughts and actions. But never is just another word. The real culprit is our mind. Our mind is afraid of failure, of hurting our own ego, of the humiliation that almost always follows failure. By saying never, we just give it the additional support it needs to manipulate our thoughts. To fight this, we must learn to conquer our mind. We must learn to use logic. We must be fearless regarding failure. And the first step towards this is to never say never.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Overcoming The Obstacles...


    Life, the wise say, is a journey. Accepted. Life starts at birth and ends with death. Every single living thing in this world has a final destination... Death. When life ends. No one knows what happens after death. So we must make the most out of our life now. While we live. While we breathe. While life continuously beats death. We must make our life fruitful.
   But how? That I cannot say. The fact remains that God has entrusted us with our lives. He has faith in us. Life, as I mentioned before, is a journey. Like every journey, it has its ups and downs. No one's life is an exception to this. These ups and downs are handled by different people differently. But little do we realise that these ups and downs are actually challenges thrown at us. To test us. To strengthen us. To toughen us up. For, in this world, only the fit survive. 
   Some people can't handle these events, especially the downs. Some get motivated to do better the next time. Others go into depression. Of those, some come out of  this 'depression' and move on. Others continue to remain in its clutches, their spirit rotting away till they die. Then thoughts come to their minds. They think of committing suicide, of meeting their creator a few years in advanced. Of mingling among the dead a few years before they were meant to. They do not think of the unsettled debts, of the pending loans, of the future of their families, or of the pain and greif their families would have to go through if they died. And this is not only a problem with humans... Animals are victims of the same murderer. This murderer, though abstract in nature, is highly effective, killing thousands of burdened, mostly productive minds everyday.    


    God, or whoever one believes in, expects us to enjoy life he has given us. To reap pleasures from it, to make it productive.  Life is going to throw obstacles at us. It, though, happens to be our responsibility to deal with it. Referring to the popular saying, 'When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade,' we must use these 'lemons' thrown at us, manipulate them, create something useful out of them, or, in other words, make lemonade out of them and enjoy it. After all, this is what life is about.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

GENDER EQUALITY: A NECESSITY IN TODAY'S WORLD



   Gender inequality is perhaps one of the worst evils to have taken root in this world. This problem is faced in mainly developing nations, though developed ones are nowhere behind. Gender discrimination has prevailed since centuries... Men deciding what women must do, or women deciding what men must do. This form of inequality results in the growth of many other social evils, like domestic violence.
   I shall speak mainly about the Indian culture since I happen to be ignorant regarding other cultures. The Indian culture used to give a lot of importance to women... They had a fair role in the society. But time changed it all. Slowly the Indian
women were denied education. She became ignorant. This pitiful condition of the Indian society remained until the Indian renaissance. For those who are unaware of this term, the Indian renaissance, like the European renaissance, brought about a change in the social and religious outlook in Indians. Women became aware of their position in the society, and joined the freedom struggle against the British empire. Now most of the women in India, and the world, are aware of their rights and duties.
   People generally talk about women empowerment. However this expansion is aimed at gender equality. It is necessary to specify this, because women in matriarchal systems have socially more influence than men. Even this is not ideal. In a society, for equality to be assured, everyone must have equal rights. Everyone must be aware of their surroundings. Gender inequality is a hurdle in the path of development. It restricts our freedom of thought. It inhibits the development of our imagination and thinking processes.
   This is, to put it bluntly, wrong. What is the point behind this social division? Aren't we all humans? Aren't we all of the same species? Aren't we all God's children? Shouldn't all of us have equal right to lead a successful life?  This must be stopped. And we are the only people responsible to bring about this change. We musrt treat others kindly, with respect. We must empathize with each and every individual we encounter, to be able to respect the way he or she has fought hardships in his or her life. We must love each other like they are our own family members... Because they are our own family members. How can we call ourselves humans otherwise?

Life and Death: A Short Comparison



   Life and death- two complete opposites, yet heavily dependent on each other. On the day we are born, a lifetime battle between life and death commences. Each time we inhale and exhale, life has beaten death.
   When people ask us whether we are afraid of death, we say no, merely trying to show off how brave we are. But everyone fears death, for no one knows what lies in the world beyond. Life, on the other hand, creates us, it gives us the ability to survive. We love life and we despise death. Only a few people think otherwise.
   Death is cruel. There's no doubt about it. It takes away our near and dear ones. The way to perceive death, itself is confusing. Our brain's logic claims that it is necessary, but our heart tells us to save as many lives as possible.
   Some people, however, seem to be unaware of the consequences of death. For example, the stuntmen in the local trains of India.
They perform hair raising stunts for the thrill, but little do they think about the pain and the grief their families would face if they were to lose their lives.
   Life is all around us, even in the most unimaginable places. The well known dead sea is sterile, or that's what we feel. The truth? Life does exist there. Life is beautiful. A lotus blooms in the morning, signifying hope. Birds chirp as they search for food, squabble, or make nests. The sign of life is so joyous that some times, it becomes intoxicating. The people who will definitely understand what I mean are mostly those who have spent some time of their lives in places devoid of life. Each day the sun rises, life starts again, or so the ancient Egyptians believed.

   Life and death, however different, have a similarity: they bring people together. People come together after a child is born, to see the broad smile on the mother's face and her child. When anyone dies, people come together to pay respect. Life and death complete each other... Without one, there's no chance the other could exist. Thus, life and death, together, make this world.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

IMAGINATION




   Imagination- what we see, what we think, what we whip up in our dreams. Whether it is thinking of a plot for a new novel, dreaming up an answer to a never-before-seen question which comes in the exam, or dreaming of winning a lottery and living posh, imagination is where it comes from.
   Imagination, it is said, is the source of power. That, I truly agree with. It's through imagination, and nothing else, that we create things. Imagination will take you everywhere, as Albert Einstein correctly stated. Imagination is the very resource man has been using since times unknown. Imagination was used to build the first boat, the first settlement, the first cart, the first city, the first farm, the first pyramid, the first nation, the first Velcro strip, the first zipper, the first lighter, the first radio, the first car, the list is tremendously long.
   However, imagination, if not properly used, can lead to mass destruction. Wasn't the machine gun a child of imagination? Or for that matter, dynamite? We can even throw in agent Orangeone of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War. Or the atom bomb, hydrogen bomb and the neutron bomb. I have learnt that knowledge is power. However, the truth is that knowledge, combined with imagination and creativity, is power.
   Imagination, however abundant we find it, is rarely used productively. Each time we try to imagine something, we find ourselves distracted by our surroundings. Now-a-days, imagination is getting a stepmotherly treatment, due to the syllabus of school, college, university, etc. Competitive exams, like the Olympiads, further hinder the development of this aspect of our brains. Imagination, like muscles, becomes flaccid due to less usage. Imagination, as we know, is extremely important. Didn't imagination help us to survive the stone age? When man became a nomad, he used it even more. Imagination was the cheif trait to lead us humans out of the dark ages, into the Renaissance and further on from there. Imagination created the Bhurj Khalifa, the Eiffel tower, the Big Ben, the Taj Mahal and other monuments. Imagination created Hollywood, Bollywood and other forms of entertainment. Imagination was responsible behind various Picassos, Michelangelo's David, the Colosseum and various other wonders.
   Imagination is a powerful human trait, capable of destroying and creating, of fostering development and inhibiting it. We, however must concentrate on developing it and using it wisely. Only then, will we be happy and successful.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

WE'RE A PART OF NATURE, NOT APART FROM IT

 


 Nature- the creator, the parent. She happens to be called by us as Mother. Approximately 3.8 billion years old, yet still surviving. Still youthful. What she is is what we are. We may claim ourselves being negligibly dependent on this Mother of ours, just like the successful businessman, but the reality is exactly the opposite.
   Since the times passed, the earth has aged. Nature has survived through many stages of our earth's history. From the Eoarchean era, the beginning of life, till now, the twenty-first century. Nature has witnessed dinosaurs on earth, the prehistoric birds as well as the newer versions of history, like tigers, lions, possums, cats, insects, reptiles, marsupials, etc. And MAN.
   Man is said to have evolved from apes, though the thought is mostly based on common characteristics and traits. As far as I'm concerned, there is more to it. But we all can accept the fact that man progressed from being a primitive hunchback to being an 'intelligent' animal. This intelligence, as we call it, has resulted from, as I was told in the fifth standard (grade), has resulted from our comparatively bigger brain. But, the real question is, are we as intelligent as we think we are? Are we, as humans, as human as we think we are? These are questions only we, as rationally thinking beings can answer.
   For example, we build big cities, a clean drainage system, with what we claim are the best technologies in the world. But where does it end? The answer- the ocean, the sea, the ponds, rivers, lakes, reserves, wherever we find, we dump our waste. In many countries, entire truckloads of garbage are dumped in the landfills and left over there. We, with our advanced science and technology, know what happens next.    Leeching takes place. In short soil and water pollution. The poisons dumped into water bodies effectively harm the aquatic life. And then we get poisoned eating fish and other life forms. And then we complain. When we run out of fertile land due to soil pollution, we complain. We complain of lack of resources. Of lack of wealth to purchase fertilizers. And above all, of lack of support.
   And its not only the water and soil pollution, or air and noise pollution, but our own greed. Our wanton felling of trees, poaching of animals and other acts of destruction have lead to or are leading to our own destruction. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an excellent example. Innumerable times, we mess around with nature, running experiments for 'progress', creating waste for the sake of 'development' and clearing forests for the sake of resources. Little do we realize that the more we screw up with nature, the more she'll toy with our lives.
   We boast of skyscrapers in huge cities, yet in those very regions, people fight for their lives on a daily business. We spend so much money on creating mere shelters, massive bungalows for a four member families for example, but fail to acknowledge the poverty prevailing. This isn't humanity. Humanity is acknowledging the conditions around us and striving to create a better world.
   Nature has created us, has fed us, has nurtured us. And we wage war against her when we are strong enough... Or rather, when we are confident enough. But nature, being our creator, knows our secrets, our weaknesses, and surely knows how to cause havoc, thus reminding us that we're a part of nature, not apart from it.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

IT'S ABOUT TIME


   Time... We never know what to make of it. Sometimes we think that time is speeding ahead, whereas sometimes we jump to the crazy conclusion that even a snail would beat time. The fact is that we as humans tend to see the world the way we want to, not the way it actually is. 
   We are enjoying for what seems like an hour, but get shocked when we realize that a few hours have already passed by. Time and tide wait for no man, or at least that's what the wise say. Time basically is like that persistent, stubborn tortoise who we have read about as kids... In the race, he kept on going, unstoppable like time, till he reached his destination. Time, however, doesn't seem to have any destination.
   Time thus goes on, and on, and on, till eternity. According to me, a simple science loving student, time neither has a beginning, nor an end. Time just keeps going on uniformly, unbeaten, without a pause. Time, as an abstract quantity, has the uncanny ability to freak us out... Especially if we are on a deadline. For example, we have to submit a project by next Monday. A diligent, hardworking person would do a little everyday, thus finishing it off before the deadline. We, however, being the most sophisticated creatures on earth, would mostly laze around till Sunday morning, and freak out at night. This 'freaking out' of ours is termed as pressure. Some can handle it, others cannot.
   They (the wise, intelligent humans) say that time is like money, except for the fact that we cannot store it in the bank. The thing, however, still remains that time is not going to wait for anyone, anywhere. It will just advance, steadily like a stalking cat, ruthlessly like an army of dedicated soldiers. It progresses, undeterred by anything. All it asks us is to keep up with it. That is understood from the way time toys with us everytime we fail. And we find it impossible to keep up with it. Every time. Every single moment we waste, time goes a step ahead, deciding our fate.
   Our future depends on time. We never realize it at that instant, but it is due to time that we frame our decisions and goals. We must therefore be able to use time as efficiently as possible, to work for our benifit, as well as the benefit of others, of mankind, and of nature. 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

THERE'S ALWAYS A WAY OUT

   Ugh... what's the time... 6:45 already! Get up, brush teeth... absolutely white... a salesman's smile sells the product... waking so early on a Sunday... wish i was still at school... take a bath... shave.... comb hair... no styling, only decent hair... must look like a banker... what's the time... 7:01... I'm doomed... wear clothes... take cellphone, wallet... get out of house...
    "RICKSHAW..."
    Climb in... always there is traffic when you are late... reach office...
    "Good morning, sir."
    "Ah, Mishra, welcome to hell."
    "Sir?"
    "Did you see yesterday's sale record? No? Well, apparently you haven't sold a damn thing yesterday. I hope you know that your job is in my hands."
    "Yes, sir."
    "Well then get lost, or you will find yourself as a newspaper delivery boy again. And sell something for Christ's sake."
    Damn Christian... not all may be bad, but this is one stupid idiot... but I'm sure he's serious... take articles... make a move...
    As Rajan Mishra made his way to the first house, he took a comb out and redid his hair. Any person seeing a skinny salesman walking and combing his hair would have been surprised, but Mishra's hair had a stubborn habit of standing up. I should've been a musician in a band, he mused. He knocked on the first door. It opened... and slammed back shut. Idiot... find solace in hell, will you? He knocked on the second door. The person inside actually saw Mishra before saying that he was not interested and slamming the door shut. Nice... that's an improvement. Thus it continued. By the time he failed to even contact a potential customer, he was fuming.
He found a potential customer when he banged his fist on the fifty-first door. The old man invited him inside. A good half an hour later, when he thought that the old man was going to see some of his goods, the man said that he was least interested in buying anything from 'random vendors' and sent him away. He could've given me at least a cup of tea... He, in frustration, kicked the fire hydrant, only to find himself cursing at the officials of the municipality. He went through another building till the top floor. Now seriously irritated, he stormed down the steps. Soon, the anger gave way to depression and he slowed. His eyes moistened with tears as he sat on a platform near the building's entrance. What now? He sighed. He could see everything crumbling around him... his life... the rest of his family... There's a way out... there always is... He heard his mother speaking. Determined not to disappoint her, he went into another building. Rejected. He startes going down the stairs. "Excuse me... what do you have to sell?" He whirled, tripped on the stairs and landed on the steps in a perfect split. He thanked his gymnastic classes, but just then, he heard his pant tear with a triumphant 'rrriiipp'. Great... just great. 
"Are you all right?" The old woman who had addressed him earlier appeared concerned.
"Yes, ma'am."
"Do come in..."
An hour later, he left an old woman's house. Happy with his progress, he registered the number of items sold and went to meet his boss.
"How many customers?"
"One, sir."
A sigh. "How many items did you sell to our lucky customer?"
"All of them, sir."
"Wha- all of them?"
"Yes, sir."
Silence. Mishra enjoyed watching his boss's jaw drop. The boss suddenly regained his composure.
"Well, then, you may go now. But come on time tomorrow"
Happy, Mishra set off for home. Not getting yelled by his boss was a first and Mishra was sure he could do better to get an actual complement. Silently, he thanked his mother. What would anyone do without mothers?

Saturday, 28 June 2014

YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE

    As he entered the extremely small lane, he stumbled. A bit giddy from an overdose of the alcoholic beverage he had consumed, he placed a hand on the neighbouring wall for support. Inspector Raj Mehta walked further to the entrance of his ancient building. As he climbed the five floors of his building, he thought about the day's incidents. Thoughts rushed through his mind. Inspector Mehta, improve yourself... Inspector Mehta, stop drinking... Inspector Mehta... Inspector Mehta this and Inspector Mehta that, he savagely thought. That rascal can't handle his own finances, and he's the boss. Deep down, though, he knew that the Chief Inspector was right... Drinking had effects on him... And they were not positive ones. He looked at his large belly, which his buttons were straining to hold in place. It was humiliating as a policeman, and often he'd hear people whispering, "THAT'S a police officer? No wonder Mumbai isn't safe..."
    Discarding his thoughts, he proceeded to his apartment and slammed the door shut so hard that his parents' picture frame almost fell from the wall. He immediately straightened it and sat on the bed, gazing at himself in the mirror. I'm a loser, he thought. A hopeless wimp. He was due to be fired tomorrow for lack of conduct. He used to be the star of the Mumbai police... feared by all outlaws. But a failure in nabbing a corrupt pharmacist changed that. He immediately lost all hope and failed in the rest of his assignments. He saw his parents' picture's reflection. I'm sorry, baba...
    His moustache quivered slightly as he thought of the days when he was the pride of the police force. He saw his father's photograph reflected in the mirror. Mehta Senior's eyes seemed to bore into his drunken son's. He heard his father's trademark words: You are what you think you are... He pondered over them. He tried to use his father's method of boosting self confidence. He stood up, faced his shadow and thought of it as his enemy. Then he started shadow-boxing while muttering simultaneously, "I'm the best... I'm the best..." But the only thing that happened was that his beer-belly too bobbed up and down to signify its existence, thus dejecting him even more.
   Frustrated, he sat back on the bed, only to get up again for a stroll. Dressed plainly, he casually walked the lanes of Mumbai. Maybe I should become a tour operator after getting fired... Suddenly, he heard someone say his name.
    "What if Inspector Mehta uncovers our plan?"
    The voices were coming from a cafe which was undergoing renovation.
    "That drunkard? He can't even walk properly now-a-days..."
    His blood boiled. Me... a drunkard?
    "But still, I don't want to take any chances. I think we should get the drugs out of Raghu tonight itself."
    "Alright, we will, at one in the morning... now stop irritating me. I'll never understand how you always get your way..."
    Mehta had heard enough. He immediately turned about and went to the police station.
    Inspector Ramesh Khanna was busy with his paperwork when the door opened. Bewildered, he looked up. First a pot-belly came, followed by a six foot tall man. When he finally figured out that it was Mehta in plainclothes, he saluted him, and was replied by a salute.
    "Khanna, do we have a warrant for raiding Raghu Club?"
    "Yes, Mehta, but why?"
    "Report to the Chief Inspector- or no... I'll do it.Tell the others that we are raiding them today at-"
    "TODAY? I thought tom-"
    "Yes, today, at midnight. I want everyone ready by 11:45 pm. And make it quick."
    Without waiting for Khanna's reply, he picked up the phone and dialed CI Rahul Bhosale's number.  He picked it up at the first ring. "Sir, we are..." and he explained the situation to Bhosale, who rose up to the situation, reporting at the station with 15 other armed policemen. Together the 45 policemen raided the club they had been monitoring.
    The next day, Mehta saw an uncharacteristically grave expression. "Well, Raj, you helped us a lot yesterday." They had wrested large amounts of narcotics and cash from the smugglers.
    "Are you sure you want to resign since the decision to fire you has been withdrawn?"
    "Yes, sir... some other youngsters deserve a chance."
    "But what will you do now?"
    "Tour operator, sir."
    "Really?"
    "Yes, sir. My own company, sir."
    "Well, at least people will feel safe travelling through your company."
    "I doubt so, sir... I'm a known drunkard."
    They laughed loudly. Mehta submitted his resignation form and Bhosale accepted his resignstion. "Do keep in touch, though."
    "Of course, Rahul."
    The CI glared. "How dare you... oh, yeah, I'm no longer your boss."
    They laughed again.
    As he bade farewell and wished every police officer all the best, he spoke to his father. You know what, baba? You were right. You are what you think you are.