To Be or Not To Be
A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!
~A Wise Man Said~
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
~When in Lancaster~
Life as PhD Student
Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Monday, December 31, 2001
I'm not into laws. For one thing, they're too complicated and for another, they never made life any easier. Neither Newton's law of Gravity nor Einstein's law of relativity make a difference to the way my world rises and sets everyday. I might know what makes things tick, but well, if I can't make 'em tick, don't see the point behind the whole exercise.
I just found a law that I wouldn't have suspected anyone would go and make -- How could they? I thought it could only apply to me.
Just when I would say, this is the worst thing that can happen to me and fully expect it to happen, something far more worse hapens. Just when I would say there's no possibility of this going wrong, just not possible, well, the possibility itself materialises. Just when I am most eager for something, the something vanishes (person, event, whatever). Well, thats the general picture and it can't get any more specific.
If you're wondering about the law, here it is.....
If anything can go wrong, it will.
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
Corollary: If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
Farewell ......curite noctis equi
Who will call me Syl Jams? when he is gone.... It may sound like a funny name and it probably is. Don't know. I like it very much.
Maybe because it makes me feel like a naughty child, maybe because there is a personal ring to it, maybe just the fact that someone thought of a name especially for me. (no matter how weird).
It didn't take me long to get used to the new sound of my name. As I think now, I can't remember him calling me by my real name ever. Infact, even the others now call me by this name sometimes. Makes me smile, as the incongruity of it strikes me at these times.
A few days ago, when he announced that he would be quitting this job soon, strangely, the first thing that popped into my head was the name 'Syl Jams'. I have noticed, though I don't know if it's a general rule, that in tense moments our mind suddenly throws up a funny or an outlandish thought. I wondered if, after he was gone, the name would simply die out. Would anyone ever call me that? There'll be no more a 'Syl Jams'. Who would think of such a name but him?
Anyway, today is his last day. One thing that I felt about him, I could be wrong, he will probably be the first to say I am, is that he tries to appear more unemotional and detached than he really is. Infact, goes to great lengths to make himself convincing. Well, I haven't been convinced.......
I can't imagine anyone being as patient as he has been over the kind of shoddy work I did (not even myself). If he was especially nice to me, there was no reason to be. I wished he would criticize or chastise me, as he did with some others, so I could stop feeling guilty about the whole thing. I remember promising myself that this time I will do my best. This time I will prove to him that I could do as well as anybody else and he hadn't been wrong in being lenient with me. This time I will elicit heart-felt praise from him and not a half-hearted "fine".
I'm sorry he must leave before I could carry out my promise. Maybe he had managed to spoil me a little, but I'm still indebted.
Once, when I was in an emotionally vulnerable mood, he happened to question me on a piece of work, I felt close to tears. I knew it had nothing to do with him and he sensed something was wrong with me. Who would have come onto the messenger and inquired what the matter was? If there was something he could do? Who would have promised me a sweet if I smiled again? Who would have asked me to "Chill"? Who, indeed?
I can't help feeling more than a little sad that he's leaving even though it's not more than six months since I know him. When the fellow who carries in the tea everyday, comes in tomorrow, I will miss the familar words "Mera apna ek yeh-woh" .......and when I suddenly turn around, I know I won't be confronted with "Syl Jams, so what do you have to say about this?"
Friday, December 28, 2001
The Power of 'S'even
I have a soft spot for the letter 'S' and the number 7. Where I got it from I'll never know, can only make inaccurate guesses.
My name starts with 'S' , to begin with. Also, the names of most people I know (Not counting those of my siblings, who have likewise been blessed with the auspicious initial).
I once asked a friend if he could offer any clues to explain my fascination. He came up with an interesting answer. 'S' has a softer ring to it, he said. Thank you.
Then there is the mysterious number Seven. No matter how much I dodge and dive, can't escape it. (Not that I've tried). I tell myself it's only a coincidence, the number cannot possibly have a will of its own, and then am suddenly struck with the thought: This must be the 777th time I've repeated these very same words to myself. Makes me wonder at this numerology thing.
Whatever the truth of it, there is a certain thrill in watching the number crop up when I most expect it to. To tell my friends "I know I'll be assigned seven" and to see their dumbstruck faces, when my prediction comes true.
I've just hit on an amazing fact. Consider this: the number 7 starts with the letter 'S'. Looks mighty deep to me, this entire business. Can't figure it out myself, can you??
Thursday, December 27, 2001
"When I lost all faith in the goodness of man,
And was groping in the dark, unsure of a plan.
At that fateful moment, you reached for my hand,
And made the kind of difference only a friend can...."
..........scribbled these lines yesterday........when I was full of thoughts of a dear friend.....
When I was a Kid, friendship meant familiarity and differed in terms of degrees of familiarity....... I was a shy kid and not too given to familiarising myself with people.......
Over the years, the definition underwent many changes......and now I feel, there is no single one.......Strange, the most important things in life are the most undefinable....
I find much truth in the words "A friend is one with whom you can dare to be yourself" .......
Most of the time, we are hardly what we are...... hidden behind polite masks, making all the right sounds and speeches. We feel more secure in presenting a false facade......then when we come upon people whom we begin to like, we feel the urge to drop this charade and for once, give in to the temptation of being ourselves......but then, there is the possibility (we imagine) that we may not be liked, and so hesitate.............perhaps hesitate forever......
Monday, December 24, 2001
Saturday, December 22, 2001
"Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more."
I believe in humility, but more than that, I believe in wisdom.
It's natural to look down on those who seem to 'know' less than you. In an Information Age, people who do not posess the ability to gobble up facts, left, right and center - are at a disadvantage.
I for one, believe that intelligence or wisdom, is independent of knowledge. You may have a mine of knowledge in your mind, but if you have not the ability to analyse and deduce, to sift and sort, to reason and question, in short, to think rationally, logically, and intelligently, all that valuable matter is fit for the drain. Then you can make conversation perhaps, but not arguments.
An intelligent man can make use of the facts that are available to him, however little, and make much out of them.
A distinction can be made between knowledge, in terms of facts , and knowledge, gathered into a body, for eg, science. One can well imagine the pleasure recieved in the study of an entire body of knowledge (or subject), especially if one has a natural inclination for it. Bring an intelligent mind in contact with meaningful matter and there you have a promising union.
But where random facts are concerned, which offer no illumination whatever, on any subject whatsoever, I cannot imagine why people must and will feed on them. Selective knowledge, to my way of thinking, is the best kind of knowledge. (Of course, the rest depends on your intelligence)
Friday, December 21, 2001
A Wise Man Said
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
Wednesday, December 19, 2001
I love poems......
Also like to scribble stuff.......more as a means of emotional expression than for any creative satisfaction....
Would like to share my word plays ......here's one I wrote some seven years ago......funny, it applies even now....
It is an enigma to me
How people change overnight
Yesterday they were happy to see me
Today they hate my sight !
Tuesday, December 18, 2001
This page has some real good celebrity insults......
To quote some of them...
She's not only kept her lovely figure, she's added so much to it.
- - - Bob Fosse
He never chooses an opinion; he just wears whatever happens to be in style.
- - - Leo Tolstoy
Reader, suppose you were an idiot; and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.
- - - Mark Twain
She has been kissed as often as a police-court Bible, and by much the same class of people.
- - - Robertson Davies
They hardly make 'em like him any more - but just to be on the safe side, he should be castrated anyway.
- - - Hunter S. Thompson
A woman's mind is cleaner than a man's. She changes it more often.
- - - Oliver Herford
He is a self-made man and worships his creator.
- - - John Bright
...........Lots more where these came from.......
Sunday, December 16, 2001
But the Best
It is a funny thing about life, if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it -- Somerset Maugham must have found that this principle worked for him. It used to work for me too. I would say to myself that when it comes to quality, I accept no compromise and never did.
But these days, I find it harder to stick to this rule. The act of decision- making has become something of a trauma. I cannot make up my mind even after excessive deliberation and even after I do, I’m not sure if I’ve done the right thing.
I can imagine why neither my sister nor mother would accompany me on a shopping expedition. There’s no way I could tire before I found exactly what I was looking for. Given the fact that I didn’t have the vaguest clue, it took some looking. When it came to selecting something as innocuous as a greeting card, I would pore over as many as it would take to find the one that described my emotions to a T.
Of course, I did find an exquisite pleasure in being complimented for my choice. But it was nothing compared to what I felt when I would reach the end of my search and know that all the effort was not a waste. I kept looking and in the end, I found.
How could it be wrong to set high standards? If you’re a person who cannot be satisfied easily, well, you can be thankful you can be satisfied at all.
I realized to my dismay that where this principle worked perfectly with ‘things’, it was pretty much faulty when it came to human beings. They refused to be slotted into the ‘good’ ‘better’ ‘best’ categories. There was nothing like a ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ person. (If you discounted the people you saw in the movies or read about in books).
Inspite of this knowledge, my hankering after the exclusive and the best had spoilt me drastically. I couldn’t get rid of the silly notion that there were hidden gems of people and that it was in my power and wholly upon my judgment to find them. Needless to say, the gems were never discovered.
At times, I would sense a little glitter, but it would turn out to be the subtle effect of darkness. When all is dark, your senses tend to play upon you and the most ordinary things seem to take upon a character and brilliance of their own. Doesn’t take too long for the illusion to fade. And when it does, the disappointment is acute. You haven’t come any close to finding the ideal and you can’t find it in yourself to be satisfied with the real.
I wish I didn’t have this fetish for the best. Maybe I would have been a far happier and contented person, if I didn’t try to evaluate everything in imaginary scales. If I could accept people for what they were worth and try to see the best in them. If I could free myself from agonizing moments of indecision and accept whatever came of my actions. If I could take whatever I fancied without muddling my head over whether it was best for me. I might not have found ‘just the thing’ but who is to say I might not have lost it ?
(For all that, I must mention, that I've come across some true gems of people........and furthermore, some of them have been good enough to accept me as a friend.......and but for whom, I would have still been like a boat without an oar !!)
Wednesday, December 12, 2001