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
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Special week for me what with the birthday and all that :) A year older and am not feeling any the wiser… though I do feel less prettier :( Maybe it’s a mind thing or a real thing, but you keep wishing you looked like what you looked like 5 years ago and every 5 years you realise you didn’t look so bad 5 years earlier. OK, I have not spent that many decades on this planet as this thought process might suggest, but am sensing this would be the case going by my experience so far :( Appearances are not a topic I usually voice my thoughts about, but well… why not? I guess with all the ‘showing-off’ craze and ‘selfie’ menace, one might end up evaluating ones mugshot a lot more closely and frequently than I think it’s worth.
I have thought about starting a new trend for myself on my birthday. I am a ‘sucker for gifts’, as the yuppie brigade would put it, and one of the highlights of my day is anticipating what my family would be gifting me (well, they are the most consistent gifters and they dare not be inconsistent ;) ). This time, I thought to myself, why not give myself a gift too to show how much I love myself? I usually don’t quote out of movies (looks like I am treading into lot of unknown ground in this post ;) ), but there’s this line in the movie Jab We Met where Kareena Kapoor says “Mein apni favourite hoon”—I quite liked it. I mean, who can love you, pamper you, comfort you, understand you, and be there for you more than you? So it stands to reason that on your birthday, this most special person in your life, which is you, should give you a most special gift :) I would think the process of buying a gift from myself to myself on my birthday should tighten this bond further, give expression to all these feelings, and make me love myself more, if that’s possible! ;)
Friday, January 02, 2015
Was reading The Fall by Albert Camus yesterday. I wouldn’t recommend it as healthy reading on the first of the year. While I couldn’t relate with many of the monologues—I guess I am too rooted a person even though I have my flights of fancy—here is an extract that caught my attention. It may sound morbid but think of it.
“Men are never convinced of your reasons, of your sincerity, of the seriousness of your sufferings, except by your death. So long as you are alive, your case is doubtful; you have a right only to their skepticism. So if there were the least certainty that one could enjoy the show, it would be worth proving to them what they are unwilling to believe and thus amazing them. But you kill yourself and what does it matter whether or not they believe you? You are not there to see their amazement and their contrition (fleeting at best), to witness, according to every man’s dream, your own funeral. In order to cease being a doubtful case, one has to cease being, that’s all.”
Don’t we sometimes feel that the best way to punish people who do not appreciate you enough or value you enough would be to completely disappear from their lives? But then, like Camus says, what would be the fun if we couldn’t watch their reaction. And worse still, what if, they simply forgot you. Which is more likely than it may seem. Everything and everyone is eminently forgettable and replaceable. Sample this.
“Besides, isn’t it better thus? We’d suffer too much from their indifference. “You’ll pay for this!” a daughter said to her father who had prevented her from marrying a too well groomed suitor. And she killed herself. But the father paid for nothing. He loved fly-casting. Three Sundays later he went back to the river—to forget, as he said. He was right; he forgot. To tell the truth, the contrary would have been surprising. You think you are dying to punish your wife and actually you are freeing her.”
Hmm… well. I won’t say I am as pessimistic about the human capacity for emotion or affection. But the general mass of humans probably forget soon enough. I remember hearing this story about this character who lost his wife and kids in a tragic fire that took many lives. This chap also did what he could to save as many as he could but unluckily couldn’t save his own. Apparently, he married his childhood sweetheart just a year later. My friends who related the story to me didn’t find anything odd about this. The wife and kids are gone now; doesn’t he have a right to life and happiness? What would I have—that he mope around his whole life because he lost whom he loved? What’s so wrong about beginning afresh and all that. Forgive me if I sound a little harsh, but I couldn’t but question this fellow’s sentiments for his wife while she was alive. I mean, if he could forget her in a flash and what is a year but a flash? Well, I don’t know.
Another anecdote in the book really amused me.
“One day while I was eating lobster at a sidewalk restaurant and a beggar bothered me, I called the proprietor to drive him away and loudly approved the words of that administrator of justice: “You are embarrassing people,” he said. “Just put yourself in the place of these ladies and gents, after all!”
See? It’s amusing in such a provoking way! Living in India, any scene with beggars is easy to imagine. One almost sees them and one doesn’t. One almost ceases to think of them as unfortunate ‘humans’. One almost blames them for being a nuisance on a good day… this exchange made me think about it.