Weekly Sun sign predictions…

…are so brilliant sometimes. Like I was checking some sites to read what they had to say for this week for Leo’s. And I would like to put down some of them here. Because I relate to them. And that’s funny.

ONE:

Diplomacy will help you the best way to bypass a tricky situation at home. Speak to your love partner to discuss your points and clear the sky perfectly. Changed scenario at work place will strengthen your position and help you amply to move forward flawlessly. No issues are there at your health front to bother you.

TWO:

If you are involved in any kind of business venture, this could really begin to take off this week. Your creativity is high, and you should be full of confidence for the future. Romantically, there’s a strong chance that you’ll meet someone special this week. Where work is concerned, a major change or breakthrough of some kind is very possible.

Support should be forthcoming from those around you and this will become important in the next week or so. Double-check all agreements and legal documents, and make sure that each piece of work you do is free of errors. Mistakes are only too likely to creep in at the minute.

THREE:

You are pressed to retrace back in the workplace or with your partner. A critical situation is developing around you and though it gets on your nerves, you may be the only one who can appear to remain calm and unbiased.

Encouragement and assurance you provide on others will bring you great acceptance and applause. This will later help you to attain the support to reach your aim.

Your physical health is in an excellent condition this week. Although you will go through some problems, you will come out of all that successfully.

A mood of enjoyment and refreshing will prompt you to take holiday for some days. You will feel more revitalized and energetic after this.

Separation from your family will be a new experience for you. But these changes will make you more independent and confidence to face any hazards in the life.

The world never needed anything

When animals don’t need a job to raise a family, why do humans have to?

Imagine a tiger sitting quietly in a jungle – at peace with itself. Is the animal bored? How would you know? But look at those little cubs. And there, look at their mother – the tigress yawning so royally. Do you see a happy family where no one has any job to do? This is a family which needs nothing but food! When a tiger gets hungry, it gets up, it hunts – and it eats. And then it sits down again – quietly – at peace with itself. What a life! What peacefulness!

Human beings are so different from these peaceful animals – aren’t they? Most of us who have never ever faced shortage of food – don’t even consider ‘eating’ as a good enough reason to keep living. We – the human beings – think too much – we imagine too much. Imagination – this is exactly what has led to all the different human societies, isn’t it? Imagine a primordial wo/man who has just found fresh deer charred by a natural forest fire. So far in her/his life s/he has had only raw flesh but at this very moment s/he is too hungry and too tired to hunt. So s/he decides to taste the burnt meat – for the first time in her/his life. S/he tastes it. S/he pukes. S/he finds the taste disgusting – raw was so much better. But s/he realizes that she is too weak to skip the only lunch available. So s/he tries again. Finally, s/he is able to stuff herself with enough meat and by the end of it – s/he quite likes the new taste.

Things get back to normal in few days. S/he hunts as she always did and gets back to eating raw meat. But s/he is a human being. S/he cannot just eat when hungry and then rest peacefully till s/he gets hungry again. One fine day, after her lunch, as s/he is ambling around in the jungle, her/his idle mind goes back to that day when s/he had to eat the burnt food. S/he wonders when would s/he get a chance to eat that shit again – definitely not till a fire strikes! Sigh! But hey hold on – wouldn’t it be super cool if I were able to create fire by myself – s/he asks her/himself.  S/he would at least try.

S/he tried. S/he kept trying. S/he never succeeded. S/he died. But then, she was not the only human who thought so. There were others like her who could not rest in peace after having a good lunch. One of them did crack the funda of producing fire at will. The human civilization moved a step closer towards modern development. Later, many more discoveries / inventions took place – God, democracy, currency, electricity, bulbs, internet etc. Each discovery / invention was supposed to make our lives better. And yet, today, in the modern developed world, how much better our lives really are? Where exactly is this so called ‘development’ taking us towards? Because if you ask me, just like the primoridal wo/man, today’s wo/man is as restless and thinks and imagines as much after every lunch as he always used to.

Was it really necessary for us to shift to cooked food so that we had to keep burning wood to serve our improvised taste-buds? Did we really need a God so that each one of us could interpret Him differently and keep fighting with everyone else who interpreted Him in her/his own way? Did we really require the concept of currency so that most of our lives we kept doing a ‘job’ and worrying about our bank-balance? Did we need electricity, the bulb, the internet – anything? Isn’t each of these the mere result of our not being able to be happy and content and peaceful after we have had our food – raw? Shouldn’t we realize that we were born to be bored so that we could imagine – dream – do something new – create something new – and use up some more of earth’s resource, only to get bored again?

But look at you. Are you even doing that much? When was the last time that you imagined something new besides what you have been conditioned to imagine? When did you do something new besides what you have always been asked to? When did you dream last? It’s time you break free and do something that you feel like doing and not what the world thinks or needs – remember – the world never needed anything at the first place.

Happy Indepence Day to you.

When you went away…

When you went away I thought you broke my heart. Today, when I look back, I realize how wrong I was. You only brought truth to the surface.  I was born with a broken heart – just that I never knew it, especially when you were around.

Living with unfulfilled wishes might depress me once in a while but the good thing about them is that – these unfulfilled wishes shall live forever, unlike the fulfilled ones.

The story of my transition into a Vegetarian

It occured to me how I never shared with my readers my evolution into a vegetarian. It happened after a post on selfishness and the post following it (which carried forward the issue raised in ‘Selfishness’). The comments that were left on those two posts also helped me make up my mind.

After having witnessed the Mumbai terror attacks (albeit via TV and newspapers), I am crystal clear about my stand and feel good about it. For our survival, we need to destroy something or someone. In other words, selfless survival is not possible. The only thing that we can do, if we do want to keep living, is to choose how cruel we want to be.

All of the following are forms of destruction, but in increasing order of cruelty (that’s a personal opinion):

  • killing plants to feed ourselves
  • killing animals to feed ourselves when there is nothing else to eat
  • killing animals to feed ourselves even when plants are available
  • killing animals for pleasure / luxury clothing / luxury bags
  • killing a human-being when it is absolutely necessary for our survival
  • killing a human-being for any other reason than that mentioned above

Terrorists would belong to the last group (most cruel) and a vegetarian would belong to the first group (least cruel). Gandhi had gone a step ahead – he had even stopped eating killed plants and had taken to only fruits (further less cruel). I might not be Gandhi but I asked myself if it was possible for me to climb down the cruelty ladder at least by one step. The answer to that was an obvious ‘yes’ – and that was when I stopped eating animal flesh.

Since this change had happened before I had left for London, my decision had ensured that it wasn’t going to be easy for me there. Unlike India, the veg platter never has much to offer in UK. Also, it felt odd to refuse the chicken cooked with so much love by Bua in Leeds (she obviously wasn’t aware of the transition) that I ate it quietly. I should have realized this earlier that she would have definitely prepared the favourite dish of everyone in my household – when her nephew was visiting her house for the first time. But eating the chicken that night, didn’t change anything. I know that I am a vegetarian now and I shall remain one for the rest of my life because there is no other way I can be true to myself.

13 more days to go

I don’t know what are the chances of me going – so 13 more days to go is a rather optimistic title. The Passport wasn’t received yesterday. All hopes are for Monday and if the Monday hopes are met, then I will have to be in Kolkata on Wednesday (Tuesday being Diwali and a holiday).

Wednesday would  be the 10th-more-day-to-go. Will that be too late to get a Visa on time? More important than that – what if I don’t receive my Passport even on Monday?

Had I been few years younger, still chasing the dream of living the life style of successful rich men, London is all that I would have been thinking about, day in and day out. However, as on date, I am least bothered. I fail to see any achievement if work takes you places. Having already decided to refrain from luxuries of life – there is no real desperateness – no real worry.

What I do worry about is the time that is passing by without me being able to do anything significantly about anyone who can be called needy. I gave off 10k to my bro so that he could buy a 1 lakh bike – but I can’t call him needy. I bought mom a washing-machine. At least in this case, the need factor was slightly high. A WM might not be regarded as an item of luxury by many who read this post, but to many who don’t have access to net, who don’t have access to even a private toilet, a washing machine is indeed an item of luxury. So though I fulfilled the self-imposed duty of a son, I cannot convince my soul that I helped a real needy person.

As I sit on the lovely sofa in my guest-house hall, here in Bhubaneswar, I wonder whether I am sitting in the right place. How will I ever get to feel what these needy feel if I stay away from them? Where are all those folks who I think I can be of great help? I talk about my family being beyond my real family. But where does this bigger family live? Something has to be done about this. I need to leave the guest-house and find a small place in a poor locality. Wondering about poor, and blogging about your thoughts is one thing. Deciding to leave the luxuries of your guest-house – free accommodation and food, dedicated cooks, sweepers who clean the place daily, 24 hours electricity (thanks to the generators), gym, wifi, driver to take you to office – is another. Living in such an environment, I am not doing justice to my thoughts. I better move out.

This diwali, when many of you would fly home to be with your family, many would have already flown to your family, and those who wouldn’t, will at least miss being there. For a change, I would neither be flying back home, nor would be missing my family – I would instead be busy searching for them, right here in Bhubaneswar, only to ensure that soon I start living with them, than away from them.

And if you ask me, reaching London is easy. To me, the more important thing is reaching ‘the real home’.

Give me logic baby

Yes, I am talking about human decisions. The context is one that was raised in the last post titled Selfishness.

Let me pose this question: would you eat a dish made out of human flesh, if the flesh was scrapped out of a human, as soon as he met an accident and died (meaning, the meat was fresh and healthy)?

No?

Do you realize that even if you are a vegetarian, you eat vegetables that are plucked away alive and then burnt, just to satisfy your taste buds and your convenience (how many of you veggies out there survive solely on apples that fall from trees on their own)?

Here I was offering you something, which would have decayed soon, only to be consumed by flies and bacteria. Wasn’t it a better deal?

You would go ahead and burn the body instead, or cremate it? That guy who died, doesn’t deserve his flesh to be eaten? Even when his dead body is bound to turn to dust? Where is the logic? Isn’t it nothing more than an emotional choice?

So would you accept that you simply are comfortable, eating vegetables even when you realize that you need to kill living cells in the process? Would you accept that you don’t want to go by logic – that you would prefer to weigh your emotions and convinience more?

Give me logic. Go ahead.

Selfishness

The fact the human beings need food to survive tells that for our survival, we need to destroy others – the others, in this case being only plants and fruits, if you happen to be a pur veg. So essentially, there is not much of a difference between vegetarians and non-vegetarians as far as ethics is concerned. Just because a section of human beings cannot feel the agony of a plant that dies, but gets pained by killing of chickens or boiling of eggs – they cannnot call non-veg as cruel beings.

If someone asked me to kill an animal, be it a hen or a lamb, I would never be able to do that. But those who are butchers, and do this day in and day out – do they really feel they are doing anything cruel?  I don’t think so. They get conditioned. They look at these animals as plants. Both are living beings. And human beings, being more powerful than either plants or these animals have the power to decide what they want to do with them. This is how nature works.

I was thinking on these lines. And then I asked myself – does this mean that someone can also be conditioned to stop regarding killing of fellow human beings as a non-cruel act? I already had my answer. Of course yes. Do the criminal who kill people on a regular basis really feel guilty about doing so? I don’t think so. Isn’t it almost like eating non-veg? Isn’t it almost like ignoring to accept that plants and trees are living beings too? It is all about conditioning of the human senses.

Is survival without selfishness possible? Or is it only the limit of selfishness that matters?

The new resolution and guiding principle of life

Let me get back to the question that I had left unanswered. Why did I book my tickets in an AC coach for traveling? Before trying to answer it, let me also highlight the irony of such an action vis-a-vis the fact that I have stopped using the AC in room. The irony is that by not using AC here at the guest-house in Bhubaneswar, I don’t save any money from my pocket. The company afterall, takes care of all the bills. On the other hand, for booking the train-ticket, I had to pay from my own pocket. In other words, any reasoning that justifies my travel day before, is bound to render my non usage of Ac at guest house, a funny, useless and an utterly insignificant act, even by own standards.

To answer the question raised in the first line of the preceeding para, I need to ask myself another question, already discussed before in previous posts: why don’t I use AC in my guest house at the first place? My last answer was: I don’t want money to spoil my lifestlye. There I go! When I booked the AC train ticket, didn’t I do exactly that – spoiling my life-style? If such a trend continues, how much time will it take before I become used to traveling in AC, before I become a slave of this habit? I let myself fall for the advantages that money can bring to a person! So, without any defense, let me accept: it was not right, especially after me already having made a decision to lead a simple life. I cannot have dual approach to life. I accept my mistake and take a pledge to not repeat it.

So, this becomes the new resolution and guiding principle of life: I shall never travel in AC coaches, irrespective of however money I have, as long as the reason is not beyond plain personal comfort. I have added the “as long as..” condition here because there might be a case or two in future when the reason for getting a ticket booked in an AC coach might have nothing to do with my own comfort (for example a group booking by company, non-availability of seat in other coaches etc., while traveling with parents / grand – parents who might feel comfortable in AC).

Wow! Self-doubt melted away so quicky, leaving such a satisfied soul. Thinking good is so easy. Being good is a continuous effort. May God be with me (and by God, I refer to that part of me, which is formless but which has powers beyond the limited powers of my physical self – the body and the mind).

A regular day

We make things converge. The moment we realize that several unconnected ideas have suddenly converged to form a big picture, we are filled with true delight. As human beings, we love it when chaos leads to simplification. It makes us feel at ease. This is in the human nature. We strive for one ‘universal truth’ which can probably be stated in a sentence. We define God to simplify things. We define good and we define bad. We find ourselves running away from chaos, all the time. We have been doing this since generations. That’s how science came into being. And since we haven’t yet succeeded in explaining every thing that happens, a God still exists. The true success of this constant desire to escape chaos would be marked by the day when God would cease to exist. That would be the end of life. Because there won’t be any reason for it. Till then, let us live. And till then, let us keep fighting the chaos.

Philosophy usually breeds when man is either idle or when he is under extreme pressure, loaded with work and stress. On regular days, when we are chirpy and happy, neither too bored of our small indulgences, nor coping up with extremely demanding and pressing scenarios, we forget to think beyond. On regular days, it is immaterial whether God exists or not and if He exists, where does he stay, inside us, outside us, in temples, mosques, other buildings or in an eco-resort in the Himalays. On regular days, it is immaterial how we are living our lives, whether or not we know what we are supposed to do, what is right, what is wrong, etc etc. Such is the beauty of a regular day. What say you?

May God bless you all

Once again, the mind is full of thoughts, impulses, internal forces, unconnected lines. And once again, I have the desire to write, as clearly as I can, trying to make sense of all the chaos that’s running inside.

First things first. I am back to Bhubaneswar.

Yesterday evening I left Deoghar – the small town where my parents stay, to Patna – the capital of Bihar where my grandparents stay (and where I stayed from childhood till class X). Let me confess that I traveled in an AC train. Let me also confess that I took a taxi to reach home, and that I reaced, only a little after 11 in the night. As I sit right now, typing away this post, the AC of my room is still off. I have kept the resolution (if I may be allowed to use this term) so far. Why then, did I not travel in general class yesterday? I am smart enough to come up with answers to defend my decision. I choose not to do that. Same goes for taking a taxi. I remember the last time I visited Patna, I walked all the way from station to home. In fact, if you go check that post out, you will see that I totally refused to acknowledge the existence of taxis! So what happened to me yesterday? Am I becoming a man of only words and no action?

It is not the correct time to answer it. For the time being, I just want this question to prevail without looking for any answer.

Today morning I got up at 4:30 AM, finished the Pooja Recital by 6:50 AM, boarded my flight at 9 AM to reach Bhubaneswar, via Delhi. Today is Ashtmi. Dad must have done his recital without me today in Deoghar. I am sure he would have missed me, as much as I missed him today morning, as I sat alone in front of a Durga statue in my grandpa’s room. Like all these days, I could feel nothing. It was all a mechanical act where I read the shlokas, one after another, pages after pages. It simply was easy to do this routine than not do it, in turn upsetting (or so I fear) dad or even grandpa.

Wouldn’t a nicer way to show humbleness to God be to serve a human being in need? Even as I don’t know what exactly to tell my dad, I already know that unless he reads my posts, and we have a discussion over this issue, I will, by default, do my pooja tomorrow (the last day of pooja). All for his faith.

I need to write more, and so I shall return soon. Happy Dushehra to everyone. May God bless you all.