This year hasn’t been great to me. In fact, I think the downward spiral started a little close to last year. Without getting into details let’s just say, things did not at all work out as I wanted them to, either physically or emotionally, personally or professionally. I fell sick time and again, I was always in emotional doldrums with some or the other concern on my mind. This year, has been a year of learning, a year of recognising limitations, a year of acceptance of fate, a year of being humbled. Sometimes, the feeling of failure was so crushing that life ran on autopilot for days. I did not want answers. Every situation taught me something new. I wanted peace. I just wanted the noise in my head to stop. This lead me to some interesting places.
He who does not travel,
who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
Over the last two months, I’ve been thinking a lot (I’m a thinking man after all, aren’t I?), some based on what I read, and some on what I’m going through. All worth sharing:
Silence – The curse of the wise is to keep quiet. When we know something, the natural tendency is to speak out, help the other person. But, if the student is not ready, it would be water on a duck’s back. Life has to bring us to a point where we are open to learning. Till then, wisdom of words is just hogwash to anyone. Look at ‘Gurus’. They don’t run after disciples. They only preach to those who come to them. Look at books, they lie on your shelf till you come to them. They never come to you. The teacher should appear only when the student is ready. Need to change has to be realised internally, it cannot be forced onto anyone.
What is a book? Is it the printed matter found on the pages? Is it a collection of sheets bound by a cover? Is it an idea frozen in time? Or is it, an idea with a personality of its own?
Probably the format & idea of books hasn’t changed much since the mass popularity and proliferation of printing press after Gutenberg, till the advent of eBooks. Digitization is affecting the book industry as much as it has affected all the other things it touched. Like music, we are now left wondering, if it is the song/book that matters (aka a file) or is the experience of walking to a music/book store, browsing through the cover art, holding the record/book in hand, probably listening to a song or two/reading a page or two, that give music/books a personality that have endeared them to us. Or am I just a hopeless romantic hanging on to an outdated idea?
Last week I went to Varanasi and Gaya on a pilgrimage. Few thoughts from the trip.
Of the 10 people in the compartment, all of them are into their cell phones. No one looking out of the window or reading a magazine. No wonder I did not see a book cart on the platform.
One passenger started a philosophical discourse not bothered if he has an audience or not. Some people start talking assuming other people want to listen. They never think otherwise. Thank god for earphones.
Another, thought, if he can survive in this world, can’t I find a corner?
Last week I was going through my cupboard and discovered I had bought many books which I even forgot I did. I didn’t have the time to get to them. So much so that I forgot I even bought them. But, this didn’t stop me from buying more; after all buying was only one click away on Amazon. I kept buying more. Because I need(ed) more to be happy.
Is this the only thing that I didn’t enjoy due to the lack of time? Or, were there others too? How much (stuff) do we have that we are not enjoying because we don’t have time?
Last week I completed 4 years of blogging. I was surprised I stuck along for so long. The doubts that plagued me when I started are the same that plague me today. Biggest of them being – ‘does it matter?’ Sometime back, I showed a friend, a blog post before I published it, to get his perspective and he simply said, ‘its good. Post it if it makes you feel better’ what he left unsaid was, ‘who cares’.