Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What if....

The other day some random, weird and may be useless thoughts crossed my mind and now they are kind of stuck in there. I am wondering if all these years we have been sold a big lie. I now have many What ifs in my mind without an answer to any of them.

What if there is no heaven and no hell? We have been told that if we do good then after death we will be send to heaven and if we do bad then we will go to hell. What if this concept is incorrect at the very core level. What if there is no heaven and hell. There are no specific set of parameters defined to determine the conditions to grant access to heaven or hell. How much good does one has to do to reserve a seat in heaven? How much bad does one has to do to be thrown in hell?

What if there is no God and no Devil? Need I say more?

What if there is no good and no bad? What is good and what is bad and how is it determined? Is it something that we perceive; is it all about perception. Something that is good for me can be bad for others and vice-versa. We live in the society where if 10 people start believing a rumour, it becomes a reality. Similarly, if 10 people start believing that something is good, it becomes good. It could be that all those 10 people were wrong and that good could actually be bad. How do we determine that something is good and something is bad? Isn't our perception about good and bad is society driven? If our perception matches with that of the society then we are in the safe zone. If not, then be prepared to travel to hell where you had already reserved a seat for yourself.

What if there is no karma? I always had my doubts over karma. How can one determine that when will karma show its effect on someone? How can one determine that when karma does show an effect on someone, that effect is proportional to the good/bad done by the one on who karma is showing its effect. When something bad happens to a grown up, how easily we say that it is due to his bad karma. When something bad happens to a child then it has to be due to his past life sins. Aren't we are taught that if we do bad then we will rot in hell. So one does something bad in his life, goes to hell and pays for his sin, takes birth again and again pays his tribute to karma. So on what parameters is it measured that how much does one has to pay in hell and how much does one has to pay in the next life. Confused I am.

What if there is no soul? What if it exists but is not immortal? Today the world's population has crossed 7 billion mark. Let's say in Palaeolithic era the population was somewhere around 4-5 million. So with the increase in population, there has to be an increase in the number of souls as well. From where are they coming? How many more souls are there? Is there a soul in other living things as well like animals and plants?

What if there is life after 7 deaths? It is said that we are born 7 times. What happens once we are dead for the 7th time? What happens to our soul which is immortal? How is it determined that we had been born that many number of times?

What if everything is figments of someone's imagination? What if it is not?

I know what you are thinking. Yes, minds a bit messed up. Am working on it. Although the progress has been sinfully low but will try to catch up soon.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Cinema is a very important part of my life. It is always there for me, it is there for me when I am happy, when I am sad, when I am with people, when I am alone. It entertains me and makes me forget how good/bad the life is; in-short, it is something that makes me happy. My love for movies started at a very early stage. I must be in 1st or 2nd standard when I started watching movies. For several years, after returning home from school, I would sit in-front of my TV and would watch Zee Cinema and Cartoon Network. Those were the days when there was no access to Hollywood and all we had was Zee Cinema. I must have watched almost all the Hindi movies that has been produced since 60s. In the late 90s I did get some fair dosage of Hollywood with movies like Titanic, Godzilla etc. It was only when I joined college did I got exposed to Hollywood on a much bigger scale. Over the years, apart from Hollywood, I have explored movies of multiple genre from various movie industries of Korea, France, China, Japan along with regional movie industries such as Tamil, Telugu and Malayam.

So why all of a sudden am I writing about movies? This is because I just have had a good weekend where I have watched 3 movies back-to-back and each movie is a class in itself. 
These 3 movies are: Wreck-It Ralph, Whiplash an Unbroken.

Wreck-It Ralph: It's a cartoon film (I'd prefer calling it a cartoon film rather than an animation movie. I don't get that feel when I say "animation movie"). We have been playing video games ever since we were kids. But have we ever imagined that the characters in video games may have a life of their own? This movie is the story of one such video game character. He is the "bad-guy" in his game and is sick of the way he is treated and wants all the preferential treatments including a medal which is given to the "good-guy" of his game. He is told that he needs to win a medal to get such treatment. Rest of the movie is his journey of winning a medal and becoming a "good-guy" so that he can get some respect in his own game. The best dialogue of the movie has to be when Ralph says: "Turns out I don't need a medal to tell me I'm a good guy. Because if that little kid likes me how bad can I be? " Can there be a good in every bad and bad in every good?

Whiplash: Andrew Neiman is a young talented jazz drummer. He wants to become the best drummer and in order to pursue his dreams, he joins Shaffer Conservatory of Music which is one of the best music schools in the United states. He somehow manages to join the band of Terence Fletcher. Fletcher's band represents the school and playing in his band means getting one-step closer to achieving the long cherished dream. But Fletcher thrives on fear of his students and will settle at nothing but the best. His ways of teaching are not accepted by many and causes emotional stress and anxiety issues amongst his students. The movie is about how Andrew overcomes all the challenges that life throws at him which includes surviving an accident and beating Terence Fletcher in his own game. The best dialogue has to be towards the end when Neiman tells Fletcher: "I will cue you" and then he goes on living his dream on the stage.
This movie makes me wonder how far one can go to achieve their dream, to achieve what they really want in life. This movie also reminded me of my own toy drum set which I used to have during my school days. This movie made me listen to some nice jazz music on youtube.

Unbroken: I have always admired Angelina Jolie for various reasons. I never knew she is a producer and a director as well. I was pleasantly surprised to know that this movie is produced and directed by her. This is a true story of Louis Zamperini. Had never heard his name before and will never forget it now. He is an Olympic athlete who during WW2 survives a plane crash only to spend the next 47 days on a raft and then being caught by Japanese navy and being send to prisoner-of-war camp. In the camp he meets a sadistic Japanese officer who's tells them: You all are enemies of Japan and will be treated accordingly. He singles out Louis and beats him quite often. He beats him almost every-time he is in the frame with him. The man: Louis Zamperini is literally unbroken. Nothing could break him and his will to live, will to survive. He didn't just survived but even remained a true patriot even during all the hardships which life threw at him and didn't pass on any information to the Japanese and didn't even go against his country on the radio.
This movie teaches me that how one can go to any extent to survive and nothing can break ones will to live. Louis Zamperini survives the war and returns home, gets married and again visits Japan at the age of 80 to participate in an Olympic run. It amazes me that how strong can one's will power be to survive. There are so many different types of people in this world. There is a Louis Zamperini who will break at nothing and will do anything to survive, then there are those who give up their life so easily.

I must say, life cannot be so bad with movies around.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Life without goals and To Do lists

Ever since I was a child I was told to make goals and have a To Do list. As a child I was taught that how important and good it is to make a note of all the things that are to be done and then strike them off one-by-one as they get completed. When I reached the 10th standard people started asking me to set some goals for myself like I should achieve at-least 80% marks in boards, take up Science, do this do that. Few years later, I was told to set a goal to get an admit, then make another goal of securing good marks in college, then another goal to do something else and so on. Where ever I go, people talk about goals, be it parents, relatives, friends, teachers, boss etc. Even a random guy at an NGO once spoke to me about the importance of goals and how one's life is aimless, motionless and directionless without the lack of proper goals.

I was never really intrigued by this idea; was never really good at it. I don't remember making any to do list, don't remember setting any goals for myself either. It's not my forte; this is something that I just cannot do. I am always amused how can people actually sit down and prepare a To Do list, review it and again prepare a new one with a new set of goals, how they can set goals for themselves and then give their best to achieve them. The worst part of my office is the goal setting session with my manager. This is something that I have never done in life and something which I don't think I will ever do. The only To Do list that I may have prepared occasionally is the list of things that need to be done the very next day; I can't think beyond that.

People are funny; the most amusing goal setting advice that I would have got till date is that of setting a goal of getting married within an year. I couldn't even understand how this is a goal. People say: What is life without Goals? I really don't have an answer to this question. All I know is that I cannot prepare any To Do list, I cannot set any goal for myself, I cannot have any bucket list either. I don't think I will ever be able to do any of these things; neither am I looking forward to it. Let's see how I survive in this big bad world without any goals of my own.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

India is no land for unmarried/divorcee/widow

We Indians are good at judging people. We judge people based on anything and everything. One’s marital status is one such thing. If you have attained a certain age and are unmarried or if you are a divorcee or a widow, then be prepared to be judged.

In India it’s tough to be a woman. If you have attained a certain age and are still unmarried, this means that there is definitely some fault in you, there is something wrong because of which you are not getting married. This is still better, in-fact much better than being a divorcee or a widow. I don’t like the way we treat a divorcee or a widow. I grew up learning about Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s efforts to abolish the practice of Sati from India. The practice may have been abolished but the aftermath is equally dreadful. I remember watching Deepa Mehta’s Water which was about the life of widows. However, I do agree that their lives may have been improved a bit (in urban India) compared to the previous couple of decades but it still has a long way to go before widows can live freely. There are so many restrictions imposed on widows; they are supposed to live their entire life in a certain way even if they would not want to.
I once read a post by one of my batch mates. She had lost her husband after just one year into the marriage. One day she pays a visit to a Church and was introduced to someone as “The girl who lost her husband” She said that this one incident changed her identity and all she was now was the girl who had lost her husband, a widow.

This is still better; what angers me the most is the way we treat a divorcee. We at times even use it as slang; use it to hurl abuses at someone. I remember watching a reality show where two contestants were fighting and were hurling abuses at each other and it was only when one said to another: “Saali Divorcee” that the fight ended because it was too much to take for that contestant who was just out of a bad marriage. As if the trauma of going through a bad marriage/divorce is not enough, we have to remind them that they are a divorcee and most of the times make it look like it’s their fault. It is ok to remain married to a wrong person but it is not ok to set yourself free.

What scares me the most is that it’s us, the so-called-educated class of urban India, who don’t shy from treating women in such a manner.  There is this friend who used to like a girl. All used to address that girl as “His Girl”. One day he told us that she is a divorcee. Since that day, that girl became from “His Girl” to “That Divorcee”. As we got to know that she is a divorcee, she ceased to exist as a friend, a daughter, a sister; all she was now was a divorcee. One of my friends was persuading me to get married. She said that if I will not marry now, at a later age, I will only get a divorcee. I replied that so what if I get a divorcee. If I am able to connect with the girl then what’s wrong in marrying a divorcee or a widow. The look at my friends face said it all; it said everything about how we feel for a divorcee or a widow. If you are young and it’s your first marriage, it’s not ok to marry a divorcee or a widow.
It’s tough to be a woman. I don’t even wish to mention the countless honor killings, female feticide, rape, domestic violence etc. Men may have more physical strength than women but women are stronger than men both: mentally and emotionally. Still, all that I see around make me feel lucky that I don’t belong to the so-called-weaker sex.

I have not travelled much and have not seen the rural India. But from what all I have seen in urban India, I don’t even want to imagine the scene in rural India. I often wonder that why can’t we treat women in a normal way. Why can’t we mind our own business and leave them alone, why do we tend to outcast them as if they have committed some crime and hold them responsible for all the bad that had happened to them? They have gone through some pretty bad phases in their lives. The least we could do is to not make their lives more miserable by treating them differently. Why is it so difficult to understand that they are not different; they are just like anyone else. Last week I read an article which said that in Paleolithic era, people used to believe in gender quality; women had equal rights and it was they who invented and began using farming and agriculture. What happened to us in the modern era? Guess we evolved!!

Can reality shows be inspiring?

It is the season of reality shows. These days, every other channel is airing some or the other reality show. The concept used to interest me when it was started a few years ago. Over the years it grew popular but so did the stories surrounding them. There have been countless stories about how the reality shows are rigged, how everything that we see is scripted and nothing is real in the reality shows, how it is spoiling the children who are so crazy for the show that they are ready to put their studies at a backseat to participate and so on. I used to feel that it is something pretty stupid and useless.

Reality shows can be grouped into 2 categories. One in which the so-called-celebrities are the contestants and the one which has common people as the contestants. The other day I happen to see this particular reality show where the contestants were the common people like you and me. One such contestant caught my attention. He was disabled and was doing things which were not possible even for a perfectly able person and that was pretty inspiring. In that moment I realized that reality shows too can be inspiring. It may be rigged and what not but the stories that it shares about common people from various backgrounds, who, most of the time are underprivileged and are capable of doing unimaginable things due to their strong will and determination, are pretty inspiring. These people put in a lot of effort to develop some or the other kind of skill/talent but their effort is restricted to a limited set of audience but the reality shows provide them a platform to showcase their talent to the world which is pretty cool. They get their 5 minutes of fame and I am sure it boots up their confidence level and the will to go on and do something good in their lives. Yes, I do believe that reality shows too can be inspiring.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

How would it be to change your profession every 2 years!!

Switching companies every now and then is pretty common these days. In fact as a fresher, unless the person is in some very good company or profile, it is considered a bad career move if he sticks to his job for more than 2 years. There is a common notion that in the initial years, a software engineer can grow only by switching jobs. But, how about switching the profession?

I am a Software Engineer and have always worked in some or the other IT company. I have never worked in any other field; have no experience what-so-ever of the outside world.  Eight weekends of teaching in a school and recording 2 shows for a friend doesn’t count. I often wonder how it would be to change my profession, my line of work, every 2 years.

I recently got a slight glimpse of the insides of the theater world, got to see some behind the scene action. One of my friends is a theater artist and performs for various production houses. Last month, he was performing in one of the countless plays that take place every week in Bangalore and asked me to record his play. It was then when I got a chance to look at the proceedings that take place behind the scene. I got a chance to see how a bunch of amateurs get together for their rehearsals, how they manage their props, how they get nervous before every show as if they were appearing for some exam, how all the teams do their stage rehearsals before the show begins, how they manage the sound and the lights during the show, how the producer gives special instructions to all the actors, stage attendants, prop managers, sound and lights manager before the show begins, how the director bullies his actors, how it feels to film a show. This one experience has made me crave for various experiences from different fields and now I want to experience it all.

I want to be an HR and experience how difficult it is to keep the employees happy, want to be a doctor and save a life, want to be a teacher and educate children, want to be a CA and audit a firm, want to be a Judge and give a sentence, want to be a writer and write a romantic-cum-thriller-cum-sci-fi novel, want to be a traveler and write a travel blog, want to be an economist and make policies that can make or break a country, want to be an investment banker and be a part of a merger, want to be an actor and kiss the leading lady, want to be a businessman and negotiate with the vendors and customers, want to be a priest in a church and listen to people’s confessions, want to be a politician and help someone, want to be an astronaut and travel space, want to be a super-hero and save the world, want to be a police officer and solve a criminal case, want to be a scientist and discover something cool, want to be a chocolatier and craft delicious pieces of chocolates, want to be an environmentalist and protect the environment, want to be a musician and create some soul cleansing music, want to be a sportsperson and play for the country, want to be a stand-up comedian and make people laugh, want to be a time traveler and experience history in making, want to get wings and fly,

Obviously, this is not a real-time scenario and it is not possible in the real world. But for someone like me who lives a delusional life, who is a day-dreamer and dreams with open eyes, this entire idea, is quite intriguing. Just imagine the new challenges that a new profession will bring with it. It will have its own share of risks involved, but how cool would it be to be a Software Engineer one day and a teacher the next? I have been thinking about it from quite some time now. I have friends who were brave enough to attempt such a transition at an early phase of their lives, some of which are now very successful in their new profession. Such people can also be seen at Tedx and Converge; so I believe that this is something which is doable. At some point of time, I would definitely like to resign and try something new; the transition may happen slowly and steadily but I know it will happen one day.

Monday, May 4, 2015

We are all alone.. Are we ??

The other day I was talking to a very good friend of mine when in context of the topic of discussion, the friend said “We are all alone, nothing is permanent, not friends, not anyone. We all eventually drift apart and die. The only person that is with you for life is you.” I didn't agree but at that moment all I could say was that this is not true and if one feels this way, this merely means that one has not yet found someone to fall back on and the day that person is found, one will change his/her opinion.

I don’t like philosophy; I don’t even like discussing it with anyone. But what my friend said prompted me to think about it; more so, even write about it. I don’t think about every jibber-jabber that goes through my ears; there is a lot that goes in throughout the day but I process only what I feel is worth processing. Now this friend of mine is very wise and way smarter than I am; whatever she says rings a bell in ears and keeps lingering for days, months and years to come; so naturally when there was a conflict, it was definitely worth giving a thought.

I thought about a concept or we may say - a feeling which has almost vanished, some may have not even heard of it and may shrug it off as something alien. Hint: it has name and is prefixed with the word “Unconditional”. Doesn’t ring a bell yet? Good news for you; you belong to the majority of people. I am talking about “Unconditional Love”, “Unconditional Support” and “Unconditional Friendship”. Yes, I do believe that there can be unconditional friendship, unconditional love, and unconditional support. I do believe that someone can selflessly and unconditionally be there with us/for us without expecting anything in return.

The answer to what my friend said revolves around it. If we have someone in our lives who is ready to lend us unconditional support, unconditional love and unconditional friendship then we will never be alone, it will be permanent and you will not be the only person with you for life. Yes, it is extremely difficult to find someone like this so it is on the verge of extension. But, there is one thing that has kept us sailing till now and that is hope; hope that one day we will find the one who will love us unconditionally, hope that one day we will find a friend who will be by our side and will lend us unconditional friendship and support.

So what can we do till the time we do not find such a person? Had I known the answer to that, I would have got a Nobel by now. We believe that we are strong enough to take on the world all alone but at times when we begin to dwindle, we do hope that we may have someone to fall back on. Even if we cannot reach out to that someone in person, just by knowing that he/she exists and got our backs, gives us strength to face the world. We may find companion/soul mate/friend in various forms. It may not necessarily be your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/parents/siblings. I remember how one of my friends mother was telling about her soul mate who was her girl-friend since their childhood which led me to believe that one may find a soul mate in friends as well; how one other friend of mine calls his hard-disks his companion, how another friend calls his dog his companion/soul mate.

Long story short- We are alone - until we find someone who is ready to give us unconditional love/support and friendship. Nothing is permanent – agreed; it all ends when you die but we have seen stories in the past where it did last a lifetime and I would call it permanent if it lasts a lifetime. We all eventually drift apart – there may be conflicts of interests but they can easily be resolved as well; law of magnetism doesn’t apply here; like minds do attract and can resolve the conflicts as well. We all die – this is the ultimate truth which cannot be used as an excuse to say that we are all alone and nothing is permanent. The only person that is with you for life is you – Strongly disagree; this is only till we don’t find the one who can be with us unconditionally.

Well I think this should be enough for the day; this is way more than I can take in a month. My head is already heavy by such heavy stuff and before it bursts open, I shall rather get myself a bar of snickers. Oh!! did I find something on which I can fall back on when in distress? I always knew chocolate is there for me "unconditionally" :)