Saturday, December 27, 2014

Growing up (part 2)

I really don't think I'm qualified
To be making such big decisions.
You must be mistaken, I'm afraid,
The grown-ups are over yonder.

I assure you, I'm pretending,
It's all an act, I confess.
I'm neither responsible nor wise,
A mere child- no matter what that document says.

I cannot remember when
I was supposed to have grown up.
But I was probably still in bed or at play,
When everyone else was handed the instructions.

Note: This comic sums it up perfectly. I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

Oh and here's part 1.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nerves

Shivering hands and a quivering voice
As he stood to face his greatest foe
No sword in hand, nor armor, nor shield
Not that they would help him in this battlefield

As he looked around him, he saw only staring eyes
Expectant, hungry, waiting to tear him apart
The longer he waited, the worse it would be
He cursed himself - what sort of hero was he?

When at last he oped his mouth, he found
That he was abandoned by his own tongue - the traitor!
And then he looked down as if to check whether
His belly really had turned yellow, betraying him further

This was too much, he must muster his pride
So he looked around to find a familiar face
And he did- one that seemed to encourage
And there was another - perhaps he could find his courage

Perhaps they wouldn't laugh
Perhaps they wouldn't judge
He was among friends here, and hey,
Since when did he care what anyone thought anyway?

And so he took in a great long breath
And said his piece, received his applause
He no longer remembers what it was that he said
Only his triumph at having overcome his dread

Note: Public speaking nightmares...(sigh)

Collateral Damage

As long as our heroes survive
Let the hoards perish
What do they matter?
They are simply collateral

No monuments shall be built for them
Nor any songs written in their praise
Just another number to be counted
Just another name to be forgotten

Mere pawns to be sacrificed
In this, our noble cause
They are expendable -
Extras in this real-life war movie


"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." ~Voltaire

Surely, there's got to be a better way...






Sunday, December 14, 2014

No Regrets

A conversation with a friend got me thinking about whether I had any regrets in life...

Perhaps this is youth and inexperience speaking, but I believe that to have any regrets would mean to think that I wished something in my past had gone differently. Seeing as everything that has happened to me in the past has made me the person I am today, and, seeing as I'm not too unhappy about who I am (go ahead, call me a narcissist), I don't think I have any regrets.

Besides, of what use is regret when you cannot go and change the past? Quite a waste of valuable time in my opinion. And then, if you were the regretting type, you'd later spend more time regretting having wasted all this time regretting stuff than actually doing anything, and that could just become an infinite loop of regret. And, while that's fascinating, I don't think it would make for a great autobiography to be honest.

And if there was something I'd like to change, well it's never too late for that, now is it?

Also check out this very cool French song by Edith Piaf: Non, Je ne regrette rien



Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Destiny

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” ― William Shakespeare

Destiny.

I don't much like the idea. After all, if everything is predetermined, what is even the point? I mean, why even bother?

Then again, if I didn't know that all was destined, I don't suppose I'd care either way. I imagine it's more the control that I crave. The illusion of freedom would do just as well.

Speaking of illusions, have you heard of the Experience Machine? Imagine if instead of some other entity programming your entire life, you could do it yourself. Think of the life you'd want to lead, pick up your bucket list, and program the machine to experience whatever you choose. And it'd feel real! You would have no way of distinguishing reality from the virtual experience.

The pinnacle of virtual reality, your entire life is practically a video game, or perhaps a movie would be a better analogy. And you wrote the script. It's the ultimate escape. Talk about control!

This idea eliminates risk and maximizes pleasure (for the hedonists out there). Of course, it also eliminates the possibility of surprises, and you never know...your actual life may have turned out to be better than fiction. Then again, it's probably unlikely that you were born on Krypton, or got accepted into Hogwarts. But remember, you will have no real impact on your surroundings (unless you consider that inaction, too, is an action and will have its own impact, but I don't think it could ever have any useful impact in any case)...you'd never change the world, or do anything that hasn't been done or thought of before.

So, which would you pick? Reality with all its uncertainties and repercussions, or a dream- a self-destined, virtual reality? If you choose the latter, what would your program be?

P.S. How do you know you're not in the machine right now? :)

And here's a quote from Gossip Girl: (I know... I'm full of surprises!):

“Destiny is for losers. It’s just a stupid excuse to wait for things to happen instead of making them happen.”

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Crazy

I'm convinced that there are no sane people in the world. Everyone's a lunatic. Some people are just better at hiding their madness.

If you get to know someone well enough, once they share with you their secrets, the weirdness of their minds, and you start noticing their peculiar idiosyncrasies that make them the person they are, you realize that they are as abnormal as you are, and you get comfortable sharing your insanity with them.

That's probably what defines a friendship: knowing each other's crazy and loving it.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nightmares

In my waking nightmares
I see a cage, a shiny prison
With walls of frozen tears
And bars of selfish selflessness
Guarded by the ghosts of sweet memories

In my sleeping dreams
The walls shatter
I break out and run away
To where I belong
Nowhere

Friday, November 14, 2014

Layers

Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. - Rene Magritte

He searches frantically
For clues to the mystery
He longs to know
Nay, he must know
What it all means
Where the path leads

It taunts him.

His curiosity will burn him
He revels in the thought
And would rather be consumed
In its ravenous flames
Than die in the cold
Of ignorance like the rest

It haunts him.

He peels off layer after layer
But the layers never end
And thus he is spent
So close, too far
He would never know all
For it was in vain, you see




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On Books

I fell in love. With books. Again.

People are okay, but they're nowhere near as cool as books....well except maybe the ones who wrote the books, but even then I'm quite certain I'm right in saying that they wouldn't turn out to be as fascinating as their characters (I'm optimistic like that).

Let me tell you why a book is man's best friend (I am obligated at this point to inform you that I have never had a canine companion and so I could be wrong). Books tell you everything, they treat you like their confidante. They will tell you the greatest story you have ever heard, they'll move you to laughter, or to tears, or sometimes both at the same time, inspire you, teach you, even change your life and ask for nothing in return (yes, you need to buy them, but that's beside the point). They don't even care how badly you treat them. And best of all, books don't judge you- they are just there for you, in sickness and in health.

Like I said, people simply cannot compare (except, we sort of need them to do the actual writing of the books themselves...but maybe someday we'll have AI for that too).

A reassuring (and simultaneously scary) thought is that there are more books in the world than you can possibly read (seriously, they actually tried to count - apparently there are approximately 130 million books!).

And who cares if the stories contained within their pages aren't real? What does real mean anyway?


"People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading." ~Logan Pearsall Smith

Friday, October 31, 2014

More on Purpose

I realized today that I am a hypocrite.

For all that I believe that life has no true purpose, and that we are simply an inevitable accident of the laws of physics that govern an infinite universe which existed long before we ever did and will continue to exist long after we won't, I want there to be a purpose. Perhaps not destiny, not a predefined purpose, but I'd like for there to have been some point to my existence. In short, when all's dead and done, I'd like to have mattered.

Have you ever tried writing your own obituary? I did after watching this video on change. And it was depressing. Not because thinking about dying is depressing...after all, death is inevitable (or is it?), but because it was an incredibly boring read.

I would like to have influenced a generation, started a revolution, or even just entertained a bunch of people...just mattered in some way, made a difference.

Someone once asked me why I write, maybe this is why. Maybe this is just my shout out demanding the universe notice me (yes, I recently read The Fault In our Stars...an excellent read, but one that could have you thinking of depressing things such as your own obit). I guess I just want to be remembered. I don't even know why: it's not like I'd care once I'm dead. And yet, today and now, it does matter to me.

Here's hoping I either do something spectacular, or that I outgrow this feeling.

“I am convinced that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending that haunts our sleep so much as the fear... that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived.” ― Harold S. Kushner

Edit: Just read that this conflict between there being no meaning in life and our quest to try and find one nonetheless is called Absurdism...has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Golden lining

Through stencil leaves, I spy
Golden clouds in a pink sky
As the sun sets: it was a beautiful day.
But it is time now to say good-bye.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall

Coo, chirp, chatter
Even the air is atwitter
With rumors of change spreading
Like a smile on rosy cheeks

Gloves, sweaters, scarves
Their hugs keep me warm
As fires frolic cheerfully
And winds whistle gaily

Red, orange, yellow
Confetti falls all around
The Earth is lit up beneath my feet
Who knew death could be so pretty?





Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Hill

At the edge of a crater lies the last sanctuary
Surrounded by the new world.
And here you will find a girl
Lost in her little piece of heaven

She never slept under the sky before
It is, to her, a giant pool
She dreams of diving into
And eating ice-cream cone clouds

As she lies on uncut grass
Drifting away to the lullaby of birds
The breeze carries away her worries
And she thinks of nothing at all

But as beautiful as the sunset is
It signals the end of the day
And Cinderella must go
Taking with her only

A glimpse of a world
Before human civilization
Before the stars were cloaked
In the glow of progress


Note: This wasn't meant to be anti-industry, but it makes me sad to think of how beautiful and alive the world was before we "paved paradise and put up a parking lot".

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Untamed

I was raised a princess
With the heart of a warrior
So come my steed
Let us dance into battle together

Never have I felt so alive
My fingers tremble
With sweet anticipation, never fear
This day I shall ride, I shall fly

Purr, rumble, then roar
The power within you
Pulses through my veins too
Today, I am unstoppable

Don't tell me to be afraid
So what if I fall?
I'll wear my scars proudly
And get right back on

No longer the good girl
I am wild, fierce
A whirlwind made of fire
I am untamed, finally free


Note: An ode to my motorcycle. But also inspired by the tale of Eowyn, Shield-maiden of Rohan.


The Duchess

Imagination


On lonely days, 'tis never more true
I dream of adventures to places unknown
This world simply will not do,
So let me conjure up my own.


Perhaps what sets humans apart (if I may indulge in such a claim) is our ability to imagine.

For what is hope, but the imagination of the optimist? And what is worry, but that of a pessimist? And what is an idea, but the dream of a curious mind, and a fairy tale, but that of a fantastical mind?

Imagination, to me, is the store of memories that no one else has, of stories that never happened, secretly conjured and hidden- treasures for a rainy day. A haven in which some choose to escape, where others find themselves.

Images never seen and music never heard. They're all hiding up there just waiting to be shared. But few of us do. Most are too scared of judgement, or worse, too busy to dream.

I implore you today, to go ahead and explore your mind. Daydream - it isn't such a waste of time as you've been told by those who wish you to imagine no other life, and no other reality than the one that serves them so well. They are afraid of thinkers, of dreamers, and would have them locked up, laughed at for being different. For that is where revolutions are born, where inventions created. New ideas, new philosophies, new schools of thought, all trees that began as little seeds that germinated in the minds of people who cared enough to water them.

So dream on and remember that this world would be a far less magical place without the stories, the ideas and the art that man dreamed up. For the possibilities there are endless, the beauty as incredible as the mind that created it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Haven

A butterfly flutters by
As water cartwheels 
In the stone garden

Yellow flowers sway
And purple leaves twirl
As if hypnotized

They are dancing to the rhythm 
Of the waterfall on the rocks
To the music of life

Birds I cannot name
Chirp "Good morning!"
Like old friends

Walkers and runners, all strangers
Here to find themselves
Or lose themselves

I'm happily ignored
In the camaraderie of solitary souls
Here I belong

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bored (aka Routine)

Stuck in my prison
Well fed, too comfortable
I don't want to stay
I don't want to leave

I'd spread my wings
Take off my shackles
And take flight
But where to?

I have no destination
Nowhere to go
I have no inspiration
No reason to go

With walls of uncertainty
Locks of the unknown
I'm condemned by fear
To the gallows of boredom


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Singing in the rain

Windshield wipers wipe my worries away
As I drive through the rain
The fog outside clears my mind
And I sing away my pain

Rain...
You make me wanna smile
Laugh until my cheeks hurt
You make me wanna cry
Raindrops will hide my tears
Rain...

Each flash of lightning
Remembers another picture
Each blow of thunder
Then makes me forget

Rain...
You make me wanna sing
You make me feel alive
Don't care what people think
I'm no longer gonna hide
Rain...

A drizzle will not do
Give me a rain storm
So I can wash away my world
And slowly dissolve

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Words

There are few books that make you cry.
The ones that do are the best there are.
Just words, mere marks on wood pulp.
How can they make me feel so much
More than reality ever did?

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The window

An eagle glides past my window
Soaring so calmly
As I type away frantically
My mind wired up on coffee

I chase the deadline
As he chases the horizon
Neither one knows why
Only that each must

He flies on
Not a care in the world
I type on
Unaware of the world

He passes so close to me
His majesty begging me to stop
To look around and breathe in the beauty
And breathe out the stress

From inside a turbulent glass bowl
I look out into the calm sky infinite
Then float to sleep in my little quiet pond
Dreaming of the wild ocean unattainable

Friday, August 15, 2014

Under the Hood

I woke up today (and no, I won't tell you how late) by the ringing of the door bell. The culprit, it turns out, was a small kid.

"Aunty, there's a cat in your bonnet!"
"A cat. In my car."
"Yes."
"Cat."
"Cat."
"Cat?!" In my defense, it's hard to process weird information so early (okay, late, it was Sunday, give me a break!) in the morning.
"Yes, a little kitten. Stuck inside your bonnet. Please come take her out!"

Now, I'd heard of having a bee in your bonnet, but this is the first time I'd heard of a cat in a bonnet. I thought at first that it was a prank, but its absurdity made me rethink. There are easier ways to pull a prank on an "Aunty". Besides, I was curious, and this could quickly become a case of the lack of curiosity killing the cat.

So down we went to investigate the situation.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think cars are supposed to go "meow" (I would probably have had to pay extra for such a feature). Yet, a cat inside the bonnet sounded mighty suspicious.

I looked for a cat under the car, around the car, searched for some recorder stuck on the car (I hadn't quite ruled out prank yet) and even tried meowing at the car (there was no real reason for this, but it was cool to hear it meow back!).

Convinced, I opened the hood, unsure of what I might find. And there she was. An adorable ginger cat looking really lost, and really scared, the poor thing. She ran away as soon as she saw her chance, probably trying to escape the horrid creatures that built this alluringly warm cage to trap her in.

In conclusion:

Lesson of the day: Meow at your car before starting it, you never know what's hidden under the hood.

Lesson 2 of the day: Trust little kids to tell the truth about trapped kittens, even if they do call you "Aunty".

Lesson 3 of the day: You're getting older everyday *sigh*.

On Learning

The ignorance of your own ignorance
Is perhaps the greatest hindrance
You will face on your quest for enlightenment

Because your ego gets in the way
And your fear gets in the way
And it's so hard for you to admit

That you had it all wrong
Misunderstood it all along
Or that you just don't know

But it's alright, don't you see?
To fail terribly, miserably
Is step one to getting wiser

Because you don't know it all
No one does, after all
And knowing that, that is the secret.


Note: You can't get up if you don't know you're down.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Never enough

He wanders, getting lost
Knowingly, into the Unknown

He jumps, and falls
Fearlessly, into his greatest fears

His nemesis is time, there's never enough
Always on the run, he'll never be done

His comfort is in the unfamiliar
His friends among strangers

Everyone knows him
Yet no one does truly

He dances with Death
And that's when he feels most alive

He finds victory in surrender
And joy in being dissatisfied

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Silence

The white spaces in a painting

The dark of the star-lit sky

The nothingness that makes more beautiful

The music of life

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Conversations


Breaking the ice of unfamiliarity
Like a river dancing with joy
It flows and meanders, bubbles and ebbs
To the calm of the sea of familiarity

That we pass by on a long drive
Through the unexplored terrain of minds
We're not sure where this could take us
But we're going along for the ride

On a journey with no destination
As purposeless as life itself
It goes on simply because it must
But we're going around in circles now

Twirling as if in a dance
Now a smooth waltz
playful cha-cha, a fiery salsa
A tango, if you please, of letters

Written on the pages of a book

Reluctant to tell its story
One that I cannot put down
I must know what happens next

In this game of words
With ever-changing rules
One that nobody wins; one that everyone does
And I must confess, I just can't get enough


This is an absolutely lovely quote from C. S. Lewis:


"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gave value to survival."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Who are you?

Who are you when you are alone?
When you are no longer pretending for others?

When you aren't what they want you to be
When you are more than they see?

Who lurks behind that mask you wear
Behind the veils, behind the walls?

Who is the man in the mirror
And what is he afraid of?




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dreams

What if real life is a dream?
And dreams real life?
How do I know which one is true?
How can I tell the lie?


Note: Offshoot of Life is but a dream.

Update: Found a far cooler and more thought-provoking version of the same sort of idea:

“I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?” ~Chuang Tzu

Life is but a dream

All that which we see
What if it isn't real?
What if it's just an idea
A mirage, a grand illusion?

What if life is but a dream
And our dreams, a dream within a dream?
Maybe we're all just asleep
Making all this up in our minds.

What if minds are all that exist?
What if mine is all that exists?
Perhaps life is but a cosmic joke
Perhaps you are no more than an invention of my imagination.


Note: Inspired by Berkeley's theory of immaterialism. The name, of course, was borrowed from the poem "Row, row, row your boat".


Saturday, July 05, 2014

The Introvert

See the girl sitting there in a corner
All by herself reading a book?

She's the girl who you might find at a party,
Part of the crowd and yet apart, like she's there but not really.

She may be alone, but she isn't lonely
So don't pity her, she doesn't need it

She isn't unhappy, her happy is just quieter
Her joy comes from within, not without

She has friends, maybe not very many
But they are the only ones who truly know her

It isn't that she doesn't like people
She just prefers her own company

So if she doesn't want to talk sometimes,
Don't take it personally, it's just who she is.

Note: If you too are an introvert, you may also like this old post on the joys of solitude.

The Happy Philosopher

A friend of mine claims that a "happy philosopher" is an oxymoron. His contention is that only a person who is unhappy would be in search for answers to life, the universe and everything. That if you were satisfied, you wouldn't need these answers.

It makes sense I suppose. If you were truly satisfied, you really wouldn't need anything. You certainly wouldn't be analyzing life and its purpose.

I think the problem here is that we're confusing happiness with satisfaction, and these, to me, are very different things.

Happiness is a state of being, a mood, or even an outlook on life. Satisfaction, on the other hand, is the fulfillment of need. You could sate your hunger but not be happy. And you could be dissatisfied with your job without spiraling into depression.

To say that satisfaction is the only route to happiness would mean that an inventor who makes something, an athlete who works hard at improving his skills, a student trying to learn more about his chosen field of study, a traveler who wanders the world, even a person who goes shopping, are all miserable. After all, they must be dissatisfied with the way things are for why else would they feel a need to change anything?

In fact, the only people who are truly satisfied are the dead.

I don't believe thinkers are unhappy, they are simply people who are dissatisfied with the answers given to them and seek out something more. They are those who find joy in contemplation, whose curiosity leads them on a pursuit of knowledge like one possessed by love, for what is a philosopher but a lover of wisdom? They lose themselves in the vast universe of their minds and then laugh at the absurdity of life.

They may, in fact, be the happiest amongst us.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Note to self on being happy

For your happiness
Depend on no one but yourself -
Not an object, not a place, not even a person.
For all of these can be lost
And then where will you be?
It will do you well to learn to find joy within you,
That cannot be taken away, no matter what.
Dependence, after all, is weakness
And you are not weak.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Storyteller

At the sea-side bonfire
On the last day of summer
When we could eat no more
And dance no more

When the last embers of the fire
Flickered strange shadows upon us
There sat the storyteller
Surrounded by his admiring listeners

Some had heard his tales before
And never tired of them
Others, like me, were young and had only heard of him
All waited with abated breath

There was nothing special about him at a glance
He looked like just another fellow
'Twas when he spoke that you knew there was magic there
And that is, after all, what we were waiting for

And so he began to cast his spell
Setting the scene so he could take us along
On a mind-adventure to a far-away land
Both young and old were quickly enthralled

Soon all you could hear was his voice
Punctuated only by the "Ooh"s and "Aah"s
And the laughter and cries that the story commanded
Oh, you would have thought us insane!

And perhaps we were, just for a while
And just as we wished the summer wouldn't have to end
So we wished for a never ending tale
But end it must and end it did - like all good things, as they say

We went home to dreams of enchanted lands
Tomorrow, and reality, were still a few hours away.
None knew if his stories were real
None cared, for they were real to us.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

What will people think?

If they have nothing better to do
Than to speak about you
They don't matter.

And if they have better things to do
As most people really should
Then it doesn't matter.

And besides, haven't you better things to do
Than to think about what other people think
About the little aspects of your life?

Think about it.

Consider also that no one ever became great without
Offending a few people and breaking down the doors
Of their closed minds.

Wouldn't you rather be talked about than forgotten?
Wouldn't you rather be thought different
Than make no difference at all?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Escape

Wouldn't you give anything
To forget for just a day all your troubles
To escape from this world and live once again
Carefree as a child?

And so you drown out the noise inside your head
With the noise outside
So all you can think about anymore
Is nothing at all

As you drink away your problems
Your mind becomes numb
At least you don't feel the pain anymore
In fact, you don't feel anything at all

Go ahead, take the coward's way out
And run until you cannot run anymore
Life with all its misery will still be here tomorrow, waiting
Wouldn't you rather face it head-on - wide awake and fearless?

Photographs

Let's take a picture
It'll be a memory
Now let's take another
For the world to see
Just how much  fun we're having
And how happy we all are

Later then we'll have the photographs
But memories only of pretended joy
Of smiling fake smiles into the lens
The beauty around forgotten
And then we do it all over again
A different place, different people, same old story



“I've become like one of those people I hate, the sort who go to the museum and, instead of looking at the magnificent Brueghel, take a picture of it, reducing it from art to proof. It's not "Look what Brueghel did, painted this masterpiece" but "Look what I did, went to Rotterdam and stood in front of a Brueghel painting!” 
― David SedarisLet's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Superstition

If there's one thing that truly irks me (oh, very well, it's one of many), it is when otherwise sane people -people of science at that- say something astonishingly ignorant. You've met them. They're the ones who discuss calculus and numerology (no, your lucky number plate does not make you a better driver) in the same breath. Ones who understand astrophysics, and then go ahead and use astrology to make important life decisions (have you heard of horoscope matching? No? Thank your lucky stars!)

And you're not really allowed to laugh in their faces, because that would be socially incorrect. Voicing your scientifically incorrect opinions in public, however, is absolutely fine.

So we have the apologists who say superstition is harmless. I (not so) respectfully disagree. What happens when you decide not to get your child treated in a hospital and instead try ineffective alternative "medicine"? Your child pays for your "harmless" decision. And just how long is the road between witch-doctors and witch-burning?

Then there's the pascal's wager form of superstitious folk. Here's an example:

"Someone said that if I change my name to X, that I'll be more successful in life. Now he could be wrong, but why risk it?"

Let us assume that a name could affect your success. Then it may well be that your current name, Y, was really your lucky name, and changing it would make you even more of a failure. So why risk it? (Isn't it fun when an argument defeats itself?) Even if there was a name, say Banana, which would make people successful, once everyone changed their name, we'd all still be just the same, except we'd go around calling each other bananas and that would simply defeat the purpose of having a name (not to mention, grocery shopping for your pet monkey would become far more challenging!).
Oh, and by the way, success is relative, so everybody becoming more successful by the same factor would essentially mean there would be no change whatsoever.

Now that we all agree (if you don't, feel free to get back to reading your daily horoscope) that no good comes from superstition, let's try and surmise reasons as to why people are superstitious. The usual suspects are fear and ignorance, but there could be more to it.

Ever notice how successful sportsmen and movie stars seem to be, as a population, more superstitious? This may well be because they are successful and famous which makes their beliefs and thoughts more well-known than those of the average person, but let us suppose that it is not. I have a theory which tries to explain why such people may be superstitious (no, it hasn't been proven, and yes I could be wrong, but conjectures can be fun sometimes). I think it may come from a sense of humility - the fact that they do not feel like they deserve their success because there are people out there doing far more important work, and so, there must be other forces at play. Let me know if you can come up with other reasons for superstitious thinking.

I once heard someone say that we are all superstitious and that what we call a fact today could well be disproved as superstition tomorrow. And that is true. But the difference is that once science proves a theory to be false, scientific minded people will discard it and accept the new truth. Superstition would be clinging on to that which has been proved wrong.

In summary, to not know is sad but can be corrected. However, to know better, and yet to choose to remain ignorant, that is the tragedy of humanity.

Besides, it's just dishonest (yet another thing that irks me, but that's another post).


Also check out this fascinating article on why astrology isn't harmless.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

In pursuit of happiness?

It is said that happiness is the true goal of life. That no matter what you claim your true purpose is, it always comes back to the same thing- we're all just looking for happiness.

So you find people working hard all their life, doing things they do not like in the belief that at the end of all the misery, they will find happiness. Like life is a treasure map and when you finally dig up the chest and unlock it, you will find true joy. That, of course, never happens. There is no treasure chest at the end of life, there is only a casket.

And then there are those, who run from place to place, and party to party, desperately searching for every moment of joy and so afraid of missing out that they miss the point.

You see, happiness doesn't quite work that way. It isn't lost that it must be found. It hasn't escaped that it must be pursued. It is within you...this hidden potential just waiting to be unlocked. And only you hold the key.

And so I say, happiness isn't the goal of life, it is a way of life.


Update: Also see this video where Alan Watts speaks about money and happiness.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Bread and Circuses


"Power to the people!", to the poor you say
But who cares about policy when they cannot say
If they'll live to see another day

To them you give as a sop
Promises of a brighter tomorrow
But who was it that darkened their yesterday?

Then there are those of us who are luckier
The educated elite - we walk about proudly
Oh so very informed are we.

We talk politics, and offer our opinions
It's time to wield our vote, to change the nation!
Just like last time, yeah?

You speak your lies, and veil our eyes
Distract us enough with ad hominem arguments
And if that doesn't work -there's always hate and fear

"Give me power, and I'll bring about change!"
That's all well and good sir,
But just how will you go about it?

What do you stand for truly?
What do you plan to do?
How qualified, exactly, to lead us are you?

Oh, but who are we to complain
When we aren't brave enough to provide an alternative
And when we don't have the answers ourselves?

So let's get on with the games once more
We'll pick between Scylla and Charybdis
And next time we'll do it all over again

Monday, April 07, 2014

Happiness

Think a happy thought
A sweet memory or a hopeless dream
Then sprinkle a little fairy dust
And see how you fly, wild and free

Let the hateful beings come
And drain the warmth around you
Let them bring their bitter cold
They can't touch the fire inside you

Now think another happy thought
And dazzle the world about you
Then see how the foul thoughts flee
And beauty again surrounds you

Such is the magic professed in joy
But joy, in itself, is magic
It lies within you, waiting to be unleashed
All you need to know is the trick.


Disclaimer: Inspired by the works of J. M. Barrie and J. K. Rowling. I am ever grateful to them and all other authors out there who have brought so much happiness and enchantment into our lives.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Teachers

Knowledge
The greatest gift of all
So nobly shared
So carelessly ignored

Because we're too cool
For an education
Who needs it?
We know it all

And so we disregard
Those who opened our eyes
Taught us to see more than ever before
To think and to question why


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Celebration

(My first attempt at songwriting)


Everyday can be a celebration
Of the fact that we're alive
I don't need a cause for jubilation
Nor chemicals to get high

I'd rather be dreaming than worrying
Laughing than crying
I just want to live a crazy life
And feel alive before I'm dying

Every night is new year's eve
Each morning a new beginning
Life's too short to waste in grief
I'd rather spend it singing

And dreaming than worrying
Loving than hating
Don't you just want to live a crazy life
And feel alive before you're dying

The universe is so exciting
You'll never catch me bored
While my heart is still beating
I refuse to grow up!

I'd rather be dreaming than worrying
Laughing than crying
I just want to live a crazy life
And feel alive before I'm dying


Friday, March 28, 2014

Self-discovery

Life is about finding yourself, they say.
But what if you don't like what you find?
And who put says I'm lost anyway?

They tell you to be yourself.
But who decided who my "self" is?
Couldn't this be my new self, or just another version?

Perhaps, then, life is about creating yourself
And making sure, that at the end,
The journey was worth it.

Imagine finding at the end a work of abstract art!
Not meant to be defined, categorized, or even understood.
Not meant to fit into a box.



When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. –Lao Tzu

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Homelessness

Trapped without walls
It wasn't my choice
I had my pride
My will too, until it was broken
Leaving me with nothing

So don't walk past me
And don't look through me
Like I'm invisible
I am here, I exist
Do you care?

Does it hurt too much?
Do I spoil your pretty picture?
Does it make you think too much
About the injustice of it all
And your part in it?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Purpose

It's not about the money,
And not about the fame,
Not about your work,
Nor about your aim.
There is no purpose.
You just are.

A hundred years from now
You'll be dead.
A hundred years ago
You already were.
Ashes to ashes,
Stardust to stardust.

Note: a followup to Life, as I see it.

Update: Also take a look at this awesome video.

Yet another update: A friend of mine once said something very interesting-
"The purpose of life is to distract yourself until the time you die".

Monday, March 17, 2014

Safe

Don't imprison me
For my own good.

Don't limit my boundaries
To keep me safe.

Don't tell me I can't do this
Or that I shouldn't do that.

I'd rather be alive
Than die in a safe.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Human after all

An ode to the incomparable Roger Federer

There once lived a player so great
He wielded his racket as if it were a wand
And cast a spell upon all those who looked on.
So talented was he, maestro, they called him
So graceful- poetry in motion, they said
So incredible- a magician, surely!
It was just so easy for him.

Then came a day when the unthinkable happened
As we knew it would - the match was lost.
But we didn't lose faith.
Slowly though, defeat became less scarce
And we ran out of tears
We thought he was done
That we'd have to learn to move on
As would he.

He didn't though.
He played on, just for the love of it
He never lost belief, even when we did
And he rose again, like so many times before
And many times to come
Never have I been so glad
To be proven wrong

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hate

"Let us kill those who look different
They are not from around here
They are a threat
And threats must be eliminated

Ostracize those who dare to think differently
Because we do not understand them
And any new thought must be dangerous
We like things just the way they are

Burn the witches
Who dare to challenge tradition
There's a reason things are done this way
Even if we can no longer remember it

Imprison those who love differently
Hurt those who live differently
They are not normal
Do you think we can cure them?"

Oh, come on!

What are you so scared of?
What's with all the hate?
How did I ever harm you?
How would you like to be on the other side?

I am not so different from you
Walk a mile in my shoe
Perhaps then you'll find some empathy
Maybe then you will see

That we're all human
We feel all the same things
And deal with the same struggles
Just trying to make our way through life

If only people understood that
But if that's too hard
The least we could do
Is let each other be

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Money

When did a man's value
Become the things he owned
Surely he's worth more than that?

How long have we wasted, how many lives
In obtaining petty trinkets
When they could have done more?

When did it become so normal
To hoard things we don't need
Surely others could benefit more?

When did we decide
That pooling resources together
For the common good was a "taxing" thing, something to avoid?

When did mere bits of paper
Matter so much you killed your brother
Surely your greed didn't turn you so evil?

And when did we become slaves to riches
Doing what we hate, just for some extra money
Surely our time- our lives- are worth more?

Surely, folks?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Keep Out!

Here's one written by my 16-year-old self:

As I stare
At the annoying crack
On the wall
I am reminded
Of the barriers we put up
Between ourselves
And the world

Just walls, without cracks
In our minds
That keep us safe
But keep everyone else out
Walls of apathy,
Of faked indifference and true fear
Because what if they find out?

"You must break them
You need to reach out
It's what makes us human
Why then do you fear?
Why keep them out?
Why can't you trust another person?"
I fill in the crack so I can't hear the voice anymore.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Good for Goodness' sake

If it's the fear of punishment
Or the greed of reward
That keeps you from being bad,
Then goodness that is not
For goodness needs no reason.

If I proved to you today,
Beyond a shadow of a doubt,
That there was no heaven nor hell,
Would you then be bad?
I expect not.

Why then do you need to believe?
Why taint your beautiful conscience
With cowardice or avarice?
When you can just be
Good.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Is this it?

I pull over for a minute
And look at the road I've taken.
I've traveled so far
And gotten nowhere.
Try as I might
I can't bring myself to care.

Whatever happened to
Changing the world?
To dreams of glory
And of wonder?
Is this it?
Is this all that I am?

Like windshield wipers
In the rain
Going back and forth
Over and over again
This can't be it.
This can't be the rest of my life.

Time for a change
Time to take back the wheel.
I'm not coasting anymore
I've got my map ready.
Because, this is it.
This is my life.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Strings

I tickle the strings on my guitar,
How they sing, and oh, how they laugh!

Their sound rings sweet, melodious
Warm, friendly, joyous.

How can mere wood and steel
Speak to you, make you feel?

And to think that I created music.
Surely, 'tis magic!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Failure

When courage is mustered
And anxiety conquered
When we forget self-consciousness
And do what we fear most
There is joy to be found
Even in trying and failing

Fear

The absurd belief in our immortality
Is what causes fear
Accept that we'll all die someday
That life is evanescent
Then see how your fears flee
And know peace


Note: I fear most a life unlived.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Regrets

As a child, with wide-eyed wonder
I listened to tales
Of bravery and adventure
And swore I'd do it all myself someday

But then I grew up
And forgot all my promises
Picked the safe path
And lived the same story every day

Now I am old and wrinkled
And have no tales to tell of my own
Only advice to give on my tombstone
I played it safe and died anyway.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Over-thinking it

Fear-
A thousand scenarios
Considered

Reality-
Things never work out
Quite as imagined

Monday, January 13, 2014

Empathy

I nearly walk past her
A poor beggar girl.
She approaches me and tells me
So very respectfully

"Kind Miss, I have two little brothers
And nothing to feed them.
Won't you please spare some money
So I can buy them some bread?"

As she speaks I can see
Her features morphing into my own,
My dreams reflected in her eyes, but crushed.
An alternate universe. Does she see the same?

I look away - down at my hands,
Laden with things I do not need.
Heavier now, I put them down
And give her the money.

Naught have I done to earn a better life.
I have all that I need and could possibly want
When she has nothing.
And she knows that.

It's not fair.
How many times does she think it?
Perhaps she hasn't the time to.
She's too busy trying to stay alive.

Like too many others.

But what can one person do,
In the face of such despair?
Sometimes it's easier
To just not care.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Change

What wouldn't I give
to be someone else?
Anyone really
who isn't anything like me.

Then again, who's to say
that I must stay this way?
Perhaps instead of a body swap,
all I need is a new perspective.

I am not a constant.
I am not even the me I used to be.
I know I can change.
I will be the me I want to be.

I start today.