Monday, April 27, 2009

Yellow Wood

When my father made a stubborn decision that I should go to a different school for my 11th and 12th grade classes, I still think, that the only thing in his mind was that I should get a better score to be able to enter a top rated college for my "Engineering" (That was my decision versus his "Medicine") . It turned out to be a good decision, not because I got a good score but because, the new environment made me a better individual fit enough to compete in the struggle for existence. Being amongst the new crowd, re-engineered almost everything about myself. If I removed those two years from my life, I might not have walked out of college with a job in hand.

When I look back, that's the last time I remember him supporting the bicycle from behind. probably he knew that it was time for me to ride it by myself and may be fall a few times if that is what it takes to learn bicycling. Of course he has been there to guide on few occassions, but he let me make all the decisions in personal life or career thereafter.

It hasnt been easy taking decisions. Especially, with what they call "the quarter-life" crisis. It isn't just two roads that diverge in the yellow wood. Every road taken diverges, triverges and more often multi-verges. It may have been possible for Robert Frost to always take the one less trodden by. But I have very rarely taken the one less trodden. Sooner or later, I have always taken the path that many took. At the best, I try to wear a different shoe....and has that made any difference? You know, I know, 'No' :)

Decision making is a subject that I keep thinking about often. Obviously, I have written about it before, in the pre-blog days. I decided to write again now.

Scientifically, it is greatly amusing that nerves across the body use chemical and electrical synapses to communicate and thereby simulate a certain action by the body. Not all reactions happen on the fly! Some actions are based on past experiences. So, the nerves have to first identify peas in the plate, then search the folder "past signal repository" on "eating peas" and send back signal to my hand, eyes, tongue, nose and mouth - "Don't eat. Roger", then the hand has to send "Copy that. Roger". Sometimes it has to apply over-rides and say "peas prepared by friend with love. Applying override. Breach recommendation. Roger".

Now think of this - the signals about aversion towards peas is supposedly on the left side of the brain and the emotional operations of the brain are on the right side. So, everytime my eyes sense peas, the left brain has to generate orders which then are reviewed by the right brain to see if any over-rides need to be applied. What complex machine am I? Well...those of you who just thought about "God", had one pulse sent down from right brain. And those of us who just thought about "corpus callosum" had one pulse sent down from left brain....and then those of you who thought both - dont worry, you can survive on this most trodden road and do not have to take "left" or "right" in the next road and I am not going to influence you take "left" :)

Suresh, my close buddy, once said - "This is happening to me because I made a decision a while ago, but I dont know which one". I have often thought, how deep that statement is. Every decision made is interleaved with another, causing all the happiness and disappointments in life. Every decision small/big has butterfly effects that are small/big. The decisions could be good or bad. What is good for one could be bad for another. What is good for one could be bad if taken two days later. What is good for one in US could be bad for the same one if he/she were in India.
But, it is decisions that run this world. One cannot run away from decisions.

So, what is it that one should consider while making decisions? Thoughts???? If anyone wants to write on this elaborately, let me know, I will be very happy to send you an invite to be an author in my blog.

I dont know the answer to this question, but I have decided to try to come up with something within the next 8 weeks.

If this post was written by someone else, and that person were to end it right here, I would feel like kicking him/her. I am ready for the kicks - keep them coming....!

(Part II -

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Love and my first blabbering post

"What according you is love?", was the question a friend recently brought up during a weekend gathering of 6 of us from my friend's circle. 5 years back I would have immediately thrown in my 2 pennies. The few grey hairs that decorate my side burns now, made me keep quiet. I knew the answer was not easy. I said, "I dont know". Sometimes the biggest wisdom is recognizing "I still dont know". This night, my mind is clogged with questions. So, here I am sitting under an imaginary Bhodhi tree and a 60 watts aura around me, with the knowledge that I surely wont attain enlightenment.

A couple marry. The wife loves the husband very much. They are the 'made for each other' couple. They have the 'new couple' craze for may be the next 1 year....then the craze gets tainted with the daily house hold disputes. They have not stopped loving yet.....just that they are entering a differen stage of love.

After 2 years, a child is born. The wife is a mother now. Most of her time is spent on the child. Has the love for her husband stopped? No, she still loves him. But she has someone more special to take care of now. The love spectrum has undergone a major shift.

The kid spends time around his mother most time for the next 4 years. I dont have to say that the mother's love is the purest and probably never ending form of love. The kid may not understand it at this point, but eventually he will, when he is in Appleton - away from home, writing blogs. The kid starts going to school, makes friends, meets teachers. Some kids, because of the kindness and fondness shown, love their teachers. I have seen kids who chose 'Betty Miss' Vs. Mom.

The kid becomes a teen. He reaches a stage of independence. He meets new friends. Develops new habits. He starts spending more time outside than in the house. The teachers thrust assignments. The parents thrust discipline. Naturally, he loves his friends' circle more than anything else. He has no respect for his mother/father/teacher. He may or may not love his parents depending on the pocket money and importantly how they accept his friends.

[wait now, have you already raised your eye brows and started jotting down points to retaliate? Read my disclaimer at the end. Hail the discoverer of disclaimers!!!]

The teen goes to college. He makes some special friends here. At college, especially in hostels where everyone is deserted from their family, where there isnt much to do beyond class hours, where there is so much fun, hobbies, love failures, shortage of pocket money and bad mess food, a bond develops which is stronger than the bond with siblings. Some of these frienships would continue life long.

Then eventually, there is a special one. Now, he would walk the sea, bend the sky, pluck the stars and die if needed. This could be love or infatuation. As if it were grammar, this passage should end with "What is the difference between love and infatuation?"

Infatuation eventually dies. After 2 years, assuming that there was no proposal/acceptance scene, the girl becomes an academic interest. "Oh she is doing MBA..?...I see", "Oh she married that guy Vinoth...?!?...I should have probably given a try". But - love - wherever she is, he cares for her. He may not walk the sea, bend the sky, pluck the stars, but he would sit with her one whole night listening to her problems...he would sacrifice a cricket match when she is in town(it is a big deal, girls!!)...his phonenumber/password/car registration something has her name/nick name. He never frowns that she did not marry him. He just wishes her good luck.

Well ofcourse, he could marry her and not do any of the above.

A couple of passages back we introduced some people called "life long friends". They are still there. But each of them is running his own love thread. So, the love among the friends is assumed to be global constant 'k' and can be used wherever the equation needs them.

Let us say he marries the special one. We have made a circle and come to 'New couple craze'. Wait....I ignored the mother for a long time....well, not me, HE. Right after his teenage, the love for his mother has undergone a spectral change. Mother's love is taken for granted just like friend's love is contant 'k'. Occassional calls and weekend meets will keep 'k' a constant unless some money-lending involves.

All this while, the mother never stopped her love for the child. As a kid she loved her mom, then her friends, then the special one, then the husband, then the kid, then.....well, there is no 'then'. The love for the kid never stops....she cannot love anyone more than her kid. (May be until super-hero 'grandchild' gives entry). A mother's love is not a human-only property. It is common to all vertebrates.....(hopefully, invertebrates dont read my blog).

Ofcourse there are other forms of love - siblings, cousins, pets, after-college friends and others that I cant clearly think of at 4 am.

Well, the point is, love is like God, it doesnt have a form. One can survive as an athiest....but not as a non-believer of love. Love is like energy, it transforms from form to form. Love is like light, it shows different colors when reflected by different objects. It doesnt have a definition.

Love involves happiness, celebration, satisfaction, inspiration, motivation, pain, disappointment, possessiveness, envy, disputes and re-union. It also involves songs and dance in Bollywood movies.

It exists in the real world!! For a man to survive, he needs, food, clothing shelter and love at every stage of his life. The best thing about love is, the more you give, the more you get.

The universe is huge, the stars small, the earth smaller, and human life very insignificant. Life is short and there is no time to be hating anyone. Fill life with love. Enlightenment.

(Disclaimer : I know some guys who love their parents than anyone else, I know guys who still talk to their friends everyday, I know Bollywood movies that dont involve song and dance. I dont claim this blog post to have said everything about love. Amen!)