Sunday, January 16, 2011

A long weekend of my life

Sometimes there is a moment in life when the things start spinning around you. You start seeing something. People are walking, doing their stuff and you have just had a moment. You know something and see something. You dont need a verification. You see it in your mid's eye. All is going on on its own. And the definition of what you see what you believe in and what all is has just received a major overhaul. I dont want to call it a name. The moment I talk about it it starts to seem different to me.
Its something like a concept in quatum mechanics. What the thing is - an electron for example - its existence - changes depending on its observer. Where are YOU when you observe it? Its not the thing - its the thing and the observer - the system between them. So this blog post which you are reading right now, may, may have a different effect on different people on different times that they read(I mean the reading 2 days from the first time that you read it). Just like AR Rahman's music has a different effect and good films have different effect on multiple viewing. This is the biggest funda in life and it applies not just in science.
It happened to me because I read. If it had happened to me sometime earlier it may not have had the same effect. Thoughts grew to that point and when I read a few sentences I had a smile on my face. I was a little delirious.
I had a lot of time on my hands. The school had Annual Day function on Thursday and Friday, so I had four big days. What did I do? I am not going to reveal all that I did but some of that I spent reading and thinking and writing. And this activity sent me into a little jolts of depression - depending on what I read and also a moment about which i mentioned in the beginning.
I want to do here is to give an incomplete description of what I feel and enlist all the resources from which I read, the books the blogs and quotes. It is my ambition to get published someday. And all these are endeavors in that direction.

Long time ago I read this blog post and it set in motion my thoughts about work and purpose in a more focused way. Here is the essay by Hardy. The most important notion I feel is similar to the quantum mechanics thing is that talking about the work you do changes your purpose and your work. Then will the work of your life keep changing once you ask questions and you mind seeks new horizons to explore?

Paul Auster's Invention of solitude sent me into depression for a day. Then brought me back. He showed me the images in Pinochchio. Images from my life and the thoughts about my father were swimming in front of my eyes and it gave me a certain freedom. It showed me how fragile life is. More quotes from this book, here.

Reading Catcher in the Rye the second time wasnt as entertaining. but you see a lot more. you can see past the words. A line struck me, as it happens again and again, I started seeing things.
"Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad."
J.D. Salinger has this rambling way of making Holden Caulfield tell you a story, full with 50s American slang and style, these gems are embedded in the middle of loneliness and aimlessness. I thought its been a decade that I have been struggling with guilt. Even when something good happens I am guilty about it. Why? Because there is this feeling that I dont deserve it. Maybe as the only child I got things, all the things I wanted very easily. So if its heads I'm guilty and if its tails I'm guilty. I love guilt and I wallow in it. This saves you from doing something - anything to get ahead in life.You like being that victim and you persecute yourself. Persecute! Cut to -

Dom Cobb: I know what's real Mal.

Mal: No creeping doubts? Not feeling persecuted, Dom? Chased around the globe by annonymous corporations and police forces, the way the projections persecute the dreamer? Admit it, you don't believe in one reality anymore. So choose, choose to be here, choose me.

I love Inception not for what it is, but for what it means to me. Its not what the movie or anything in life is – it’s the projection that is there in your head that matters. We love to cuddle some projections in our minds. They persecute us, we let them. The game goes on for years! The game will consume your life if you let it. First be aware that all this is there. Then conquer it.

"Human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves; when that right is pre-empted it is called brain-washing." - Germaine Greer

I visualize that projections in my head are like bubbles or soft cushions from which I constantly keep bouncing off my actions and decisions. These bubbles you create reactively for yourself. What you need to create for yourself are powerful projections for execution, creation, development and growth of skills. You invent these and they in turn will invent your character. As the above quote says - you have the right to invent yourself. Immediately picture in my brain is that of a mad scientist that is me in my lab, putting projections together - they are chemicals red, blue bright silver and they mix and i start the engines and they rn wild and explode and i control them. I invent a new me. This notion I find very powerful. Dont accept others' opinions without questioning. Protect the projections from getting adulterated.

I get the freedom to let it out spell it out and say yes - it is true. I admit and then comes along another thing that gives me strength to admit the fuck ups.

I was in the book shop and browsing I chance upon two books, completely unrelated and the situation mentioned in the beginning of this post presented itself. i didnt have to open the books, the blurbs gave me the breakthrough.

First I saw House of Cards, it’s a book about the big financial crisis. Written in bold letters was “We all F***ed up!” I said to myself if Nobel prize winners in Economists, Harvard an other Ivy league business and management gurus sat and watched the fuck ups then I think I am allowed to fail. And I said “yes, I admit I wasted my parents’ money doing an MBA that did not amount to anything much. The teachers didn’t teach me anything in Information Systems and I didn’t learn anything. More than anything I am the one to blame. I shouldn’t have taken up the job. I should have taken marketing. I shouldn’t have taken MBA if I didn’t want it. I shouldn’t have taken MSC (Hons) in Chemistry if I didn’t want it. I should have stuck to Medical if that was my passion. Only I am to be blamed if I fucked up. I admit. So there. The truth as it is. So I say if these big guys can get away with billion dollar fuck ups and thousands of job losses, if politicians can swallow crores without burping, if thousands’ deaths can be justified in the name of race, religion and blasphemy then I sure can be given a second chance for the fuck ups of my life.

Then I found a book and got the second jolt. The blurb on a book called Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse reads as follows:

The unhappiness that I need and long for, is of the kind that will let me suffer with eagerness and die with lust. That is the unhappiness or happiness that I am waiting for.

I had to stop doing anything and sit down for this to sink in. This made me write and write and write. All which I cant put up here.

I spent considerable time writing, not just this weekend but the Christmas vacation as well, as I mentioned in my last post. It has given me so much space in my mind. You explore new meaning in life by writing. Its essential for a good memory to write. Meaning of things and purpose crystallizes by writing. You see things more clearly and plan things well. One must devote time for writing, reading what you have written and plan accordingly. At a level of ideas, your mind is muddled, you have this incomplete definition of things and for me this definition is completed by writing.

In the course of last 9 months teaching communicative English at a school in Kochi I have had tremendous change in my confidence. I have gained this love for my voice and I know for sure that I want to teach. I remember this video lecture by Larry Lessig and it reminds me that there is such power in good presentation. I want to be able to do that. That is my aspiration.

I have no qualms telling that I am quite a socially underdeveloped individual. For a major portion of my life I was and probably still am pampered and cared for as the only child. I never had to wash my own clothes and do other things like that. I have spent a lot of time in my childhood being alone, and having nothing to do. It may sound a bit obvious and simplistic but the biggest problem of children is the lack of activity. I see in the school LOTS of children spend HOURS in the school doing absolutely nothing. This is sureshot recipe for all kinds of trouble, bad habits, low self esteem and zero skills just to name a few. I am prone to jealousy, guilt, anxiety, nervousness, little depression maybe (I don’t know), very reactive. I realize the pattern of things happening in my life. Writing helped me find my way of dealing with my persecutions. Films helped my find my way out of the lack of social skills. My friends like Monica, Jammy, Piyush, Jassi, cousins, Ameya dada, Sneha, Sonal, Babbu, Chonki, Appu, Priyanka, Sapna, Hrishikesh, all, just by being there have given my such a support. And after writing I started doing the necessary. Step by step. I stumble, get up, go back, make mistakes again, go down then get up again.

In the Christmas holidays I read Doris Lessing’s autobiography Under my skin. Most important thing I learnt was you don’t need education to teach you life lessons. Her and Ray Bradbury’s lives bear testimony that you learn by finding you own way. Education from books is not even half the learning. That being said, I find once people start working they cant go back to books. They seek answers in self help books because they seem to give instant answers. Never go for short cuts. One needs eye for brave writing, different from mollycoddling inspirational self help, mind open to ideas and comprehension of all kinds of writing. In real life one gets disillusioned by events, nothing seems to make sense. One needs to synchronize book knowledge, principles, opinions with the real life.

And as I teach in school I learn that telling is useless – showing and taking a person through a process is most important.

From Lessing’s life another fact that strikes the most is health – the connection of the mind with the body – the confidence that one derives by the strength of the organs, muscles, by being close to nature one tunes into the rhythm. The sun, the rain, I think I have tuned off from these.

I found that asking the question “what is life? What does it mean?” is futile. Jumping in is the best way. Make mistakes, read, ask questions and listen. There is nothing right or wrong. Once you get some answers you have to live in circumstances, do the deeds, make things work, trial and error to see the meaning of the answers. There is no use knowing. You have to see it in action and I then see the beauty of life. It can’t be described. It’s just to full of chaos and uncertainty and colors and sparks. Everything can be turned on its head and it’ll still be true.

I will conclude by quoting Ray Bradbury. He tells me that each day has these infinite possibilities waiting. Nothing is impossible. Every moment there is the next level of awareness to be achieved.

I get out of bed every morning and explode.

PS: I have told a lot of things in this rambling post. Telling never works for people. Note to self: Even after this you may go down but you know how to get up again. Dont worry if nobody reads your blog and if they do then find it bland and repetitive. We knew this all along Nik whats so great about all this? The usual inspiration crap....... Telling never works.


keeths said...

I soooo had to read this post! If you ever release a book (which I sincerely hope wid all my heart you do someday!) I will buy the first copy! Your thought process and writing style ... you remind me of John Bayley...

Nikhilesh said...

:) Appreciate that Keeths. I havent forgotten to get hold of John Bayley but I didnt find him in Blossoms, Bangalore and havent found em in Kochi but I sure will.
Thanks again :D

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